Anima: Gate of Memories (PlayStation 4) Second Opinion Review

By Thom Compton 22.03.2017 2

Review for Anima: Gate of Memories on PlayStation 4

Let's travel back to a year so long ago, called 2016. It may surprise you, but a lot of games came out in 2016 you may never have heard about. Games like Pony Island and Mini Metro may have snuck under your radar, slipping from your grasp as hundreds of games were shot at your eyes and ears. One of those games was probably Anima: Gate of Memories, and as far as games you may never have heard of go, this could be one of the better ones.

Anima: Gate of Memories is a lot of things. It's a hack and slash platformer in a Gothic world, with elements of RPGs. Fortunately, it manages to balance all of these fairly well. In a lot of ways, it really doesn't sound fantastic on paper. A lot of what has to be done is ploughing through enemies, trying to reach each boss, who are pretty wicked characters, to put it mildly.

Players take control of the Bearer of Calamities and her possessed book companion. The two can be switched between on the fly, and focus will want to be put on building both characters. Enemies hit hard, even on easy mode, and each character appears to be the perfect counterpart to their companion. While the Bearer is good at up-close attacks, she also feels a bit clunky when it comes to ranged attacks. Fortunately, her counterpart is just fine at clearing the room and whacking an enemy away.

Combat is simple yet incredibly rewarding. If you like mixing moves up, you can, though button mashers can expect to be equally rewarded. Enemies are generally very creepy, and wailing on them is remarkably satisfying. The Bearer of Calamities' main move is kind of weird looking, because it kind of looks like she's summoning pain from within the enemy. This isn't a detraction, just a weird little aside.

Screenshot for Anima: Gate of Memories on PlayStation 4

It's even better once you realise that the platforming manages to handle well. Jumping manages to feel natural, which leads to even more exciting air combat. Enemies can be juggled, their lifeless bodies floating in the middle of all your pain inducing mayhem. It's actually pretty impressive how, even at the beginning before players start levelling their abilities, how much can be done with the small set of attacks.

The game features cel-shaded graphics that work against the creepy environments, which is a genuinely beautiful blend that makes this experience feel entirely its own. Unfortunately, environments still manage to have a hotel wallpaper effect, where a lot of areas look repetitive. It's not a huge issue, and it only rears its head every so often. Sadly, something much more nefarious creeps in.

Enemies can be pretty tricky even during the earliest hours of the game. Bosses, however, are downright ridiculous. They have enormous life bars, and they seem to go on forever. It doesn't help they often feel so overpowered that there's no feasible way one could beat them. You can, and will, and even the mid-stage boss-like enemies suffer from this crazy imbalance. It doesn't ruin the experience, but it drags it backwards enough to be noticeable.

The other thing that drags the experience back is how frustrating the combat can be. As mentioned before, the two characters can unlock abilities and seem better suited for different things. However, their skill sets aren't so different that it makes combat in large areas less frustrating. A good early example happens in what appears to be a library. Players can clear the room with the Bearer, but by then the enemy has already prepped and executed its counter attack. It is frustrating dealing with these bigger combat arenas, but it really just blends in with the wild difficulty jumps that come with nonstandard enemy encounters.

Screenshot for Anima: Gate of Memories on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Anima: Gate of Memories is a must-play. There's no point in calling it anything else, it's just a fantastic game that suffers from poor enemy balancing. If you view it from the perspective of toppling giant after giant, it might be a bit easier to swallow, as the wins feel legitimately rewarding. Still, the difficulty spikes are noticeable and tough to excuse unless you look at it that way. Outside of them, this is a wonderful and dark world that begs you to explore it. Do yourself a favour, and accept the invite.

Developer

Anima Project

Publisher

BadLand Games

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

i did this game a while back.

great visuals and quirky story... but horrible combat.

See, I enjoyed the combat to a point, but only in smaller spaces.  It felt very sluggish dealing with larger arenas, cause you just couldn't move fast enough to clear spaces. I found the combat really nice in close quarters, though I can see how some would find it grows repetitive after awhile.

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