In “Anima” you use might, magic and a transformation to get through the game. Nice! But what exactly is this game all about then? Well, “Anima” is a third-person action RPG with some puzzle elements making your way to find out what the meeting is about. It all starts with a journal being stolen and needing to chase the lady in red down to retrieve it. Your character is a nameless entity that holds the book or calamity, with this you are able to transform into this other being.
To start off we need to explore something that needs to be polished, fixed, or outright changed the things that pulled me out of “Anima”. First is the camera, it seems to be utterly broken, and at times it looks like the creators just didn’t know what they wanted to do.
What seems broken with the camera is that it really doesn’t move on its own following your character, I have this option selected to be on but when I turn my character and run at the camera it doesn’t shift and move, this isn’t good when action is a primary part in the gameplay.
The second problem with the camera in “Anima” is that there are places where it doesn’t seem to know what they want to do. For example, when running into a spot where a different zone will load the camera moves to a top-down view, and there are spots where this seems to just happen for no apparent reason.
Lastly when it comes to the camera is there are fights where the top-down view happens as a mechanic that completely breaks your flow (the fight with the red lady). Simply, pick a camera view and do it well, any one of the cameras uses are good to use. However, it fails when the camera types change all of the time.
Puzzles are interesting, needing to swap between forms as one has a magic using light and the other dark. This is also true with some of the combat and enemies that are in Anima, because some of the enemies are immune to light magic or dark. Making combat more than just push Y rapidly to win every single fight, some thought is needed.
On top of this is the combat combo style, of which is done really well. Charge in, do a flurry, knock them into the air, do another flurry, change characters, rinse and repeat. Pulling off long chain combos are very enjoyable to behold, especially of the said combo had been practiced for hours on end.
This really doesn’t translate well to boss battles of which become more of a chore to get through…As all bosses have this ability to move instantly to the opposite end of the arena, fire off nearly unavoidable attacks. So once you reach the moment where you can catch up to them, they teleport to the other side all over again.
Leveling up your nameless character opens up some nice RPG elements. A talent tree full of abilities that can passively increase the power of your character, and others that add new talents. Both characters have their own talent trees, there are some differences between the two but for the most part, are the same. Luckily enough for me though, weapon and item equipment management, where I like that this exists. Even so, it changes nothing with the model of the character or their movements.
Placing a weapon on each hand will increase their attack power but no new weapons are placed on the model. I think this is a missed opportunity to make the characters feel different, and add much more personalization to what they bring.
“Anima” is fully voice acted, with times decent voice acting, and at times it feels more like a WTF moment. For example, having some kind of grunt when the subtext is “…” is just cringy. Now, this isn’t bad. It also isn’t good, just entertaining that they didn’t even try to do lip syncing when two characters are talking to each other. The two characters are shown up close with their text and voice acting but their lips never move.
+ Flashy combat
+ Decent talent trees
+ Fully customizable equipment management
+ A few nice head scratching puzzles
+ Some simple platforming
– The camera needs some work
– Models never change due to equipment
– Enemy variety is small
– The game’s bosses teleport themselves away instantly
– Controls aren’t responsive enough for the game type
I can see what the attempt to make was for Anima, I truly do, and Anima Project came really close to nailing it. Making their own style of a Bayonetta or Devil May Cry game that has more of an open world than either of those. Point blank Anima is a fun game and worth exploring, and it is one that I want to love as there is so much character in Anima, like how Ergo keeps hitting on the nameless main character and going over the top all of the time.
There is just so much to love about it if the things I described. So if my list over cons doesn’t bother you, then “Anima: Gate of Memories: Arcane Edition” might just be worth picking up. On one last note that if the problems I stated get fixed. Then I would gladly change the score, as Anima deserves one that is much higher.
Title: The Journey Down: Chapter one
Developer: Anima Project
Format: Nintendo Switch
Release date: 2018-06-19
Spent time: +10 hours
Average grade internationally: N/A
PEGI age rating: +12
Price: 29,99 USD via the Nintendo Eshop
Robin Ek – Editor
The Gaming Ground
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