Anima: Gate of Memories Review

Anima: Gate of Memories is an action adventure style role playing game where you play in the third person and hack and slash your way through enemies and bosses while you claim precious upgrade points that will go towards levelling up your character. The game is played in a semi open world environment which will send you out into the vast outdoors where the world is lush and vibrant with colourful greens and blues, and also send you through dark musty hallways that I could almost smell. The gameplay is heavily based on hack and slash combat but exploration is also key to getting through this game. 

First of all the graphical style is reminiscent of Japanese anime styling with a different feel to the environments. It's almost like the characters from an anime game have been placed into the world of the likes of Dark Souls or DarkSiders II. The characters are built in 3D for the full 3D environment and world. I could also draw similarities in the art style to Gravity Rush on the Playstation 4 and Vita. Animations go well within the universe and the characters and special effects look pleasing when mashed up in the heat of battle. All of this just amazes me when I realise that this game was created by a team of only three.

The story of Anima is focused around the two main characters that (minor SPOILER ALERT) you get to play as. Firstly there is The Bearer, a twenty year old female character that has had her real name taken away from her as a part of a magical pact. The Bearer works as a hunter for a secret holy society called Nathaniel. About ten years prior, The Bearer woke the entity Ergo Mundus which is where the pact was made. Ergo shared his special powers with The Bearer and an unfortunate side effect is that a part of The Bearer was taken from her. On the positive side, it was just her name and not a part of her smashing body. Further detail about The Bearer can be found throughout exploration of the game.
If I have written all of that well enough, you might be able to see that even though the basis for the story is as farfetched as these types of games go, it's pretty easy to understand and really sparks my interest. Most games of this genre lose me in heavy lore that even the most seasoned Dungeons and Dragons players would have a hard time following. This one just makes sense I guess. It's not a bad starting point to have such a powerful and genuine basis for a video game. 

The controls for the game are not the best that I have experienced from big name games, but they're definitely not terrible. The controls for the most part are very intuitive and follow the usual layout for video games of this genre. There is a lock on feature which will allow you to lock onto an enemy to assist with the camera movements, however when there are several enemies on screen it's not very user friendly to switch over to the others without having to disengage the lock on and then re-engage it again while aiming at a different enemy. Even though I felt it necessary to mention here, it's not something spoiled any part of my experience. It was simply something that I needed to overcome to move on. The game does allow you to quick swap from enemy to enemy, but I did find that to be a little tricky to execute on some occasions.

Anima is quite pretty when you're in the throes of combat. The slicing away at enemies and the firing off magical beams of energy at the bad guys just looks great. This is where the action part takes over. You get to control two different characters by switching to them whenever you want with the press of a button. Both The Bearer and Ergo have their very own skill sets which are very individual. In case you're wondering, no you don't fight enemies as a book. Ergo is allowed to transform into a male character with the guiding eye of The Bearer by his side. As you fight through enemies, you will encounter some that you just won't do any damage to while playing as The Bearer. This is where a nice mechanic comes in that is new to me. Switch over to Ergo and you immediately start dishing out the damage. Both characters also have their own skill points, skill trees and their health bars are also separate so if one is a little low, you can switch over to the other who might stand up more to a fight. It was great to see this used to its potential throughout the game.

Anima isn't an easy game by anyone's measure. Previously I made mention of some similarities between this game and Dark Souls. The boss fights and ultimate difficulty also resemble the Souls games which means you're up for a struggle in some parts of the game. The best part about it all is that the more and more you play (and die) you will learn new tactics and tricks that you can use to your advantage to overthrow the enemy.

Anima Gates of Memories is a solid video game experience that appears to have been motivated by a lot of very top notch games that are already out there. If you're anything like me, you are very likely going to enjoy the game with respect to quite a few rage sessions along the way. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Anima and I won't hesitate on recommending it to fans of the games and I have previously mentioned in this review.

  • Strong lore and story lines
  • Interesting characters with witty humour
  • Enjoyable solid gameplay mechanics
  • Weak lock on enemy system
  • Can't control menus using D-pad
  • Skill tree map hard to navigate effectively
SCORE: 8.5 out of 10

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC/Steam
Genre: Action, Adventure, RPG (Single Player)
Initial Release: 3rd of June 2016
Developer: Carlos B. GarcĂ­a and Badland Indie
Publishers: Badland Indie

Lucas Aurelius
Aussie Gamers Express
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