Great story telling, puzzles that make you think, solid platforming and strategic combat is just the tip of the iceberg for what comprises Anima: Gate of Memories. At its core it is a third person RPG, but there are so many more facets to the game that mesh together to create an enjoyable, rewarding experience. The RPG aspects of Anima are classic in that you fight enemies to gain experience and level up, which in turn gives you stronger skills, combos and links. You can somewhat control your path by choosing to focus more on a physical or a magical build, allowing you to dictate how you want to play the game with each of the two characters.
A CHARACTER TO REMEMBER.
The game focuses on a girl called Anima, also referred to as The Bearer of Calamities. She attempts to fight for truth and what she believes in, but as the game progresses she becomes confused and begins to think for herself, rather than strictly doing as she is told. The game plays heavily on the theme of memories. Anima remember this one dream constantly, and with time we get more and more information on the dream at key moments of the plot. It is a classic story of good vs evil, and not to believe everything we are told.
BUT WHY PLAY AS A BEARER OF CALAMITIES?
In her possession is Ergo, a powerful demon trapped in a book that the Bearer has obtained by…(play the game to find out!) Ergo may be a powerful demon with potent attacks but he also serves as comic relief with his attitude and wit. At first his voice was a deterrent, but the character quickly grew on me (especially when he started singing The Reading Rainbow).
READING ABSOLUTELY REQUIRED.
Anima takes place in a single location, kind of. You are in a sort of a great hall (Arcane Core) with multiple floors and wings. By completing wings on the lower floors you unlock the higher floors which lead to tougher opponents and more complex puzzles. The use of memories as a means of story progression goes beyond just pushing the main narrative but is also used in each wing to provide information for puzzles or ways to defeat certain enemies. The memories fuel the lore of the game, if you get bored listening or reading game lore than you might find this frustrating since some of the information obtained from memories is crucial to you throughout each respective wing.
THE BANE OF ALL BOSSES: PATTERNS.
Boss fights can be difficult at first but they typically all have specific patterns, so memorizing animations or the order in which they use skills is important. However, sometimes you get stunned locked or just pushed off a platform which can become tiresome. That being said, boss fights are amusing, and an exciting boss is always preferred to ones that offer no challenge.
JUMPING PUZZLES LIKE IT’S 1985.
Platforming can be quite difficult at times since the characters’ jumping patterns can be a little less than accurate. Timing is somewhat difficult, but luckily if you fall to your death you simply respawn at the first platform. Getting accustomed to jumping is important, so find out your characters’ jumping distances, heights and timing before attempting difficult levels.
Anima: Gate of Memories is definitely worth checking out if you enjoy RPGs with deep storytelling and a good deal of lore. The puzzles are my favorite feature of Anima as they are flawlessly set up and sometimes quite difficult. The game has a very well-polished look and combat is smooth. So next time you are looking for a game to play, remember Anima: Gate of Memories.