After a wait of 2 years, the $100,000 crowd-funded Anima: Gate of Memories finally makes it’s way to the Xbox One.
Controlling the Bearer with a character named Ergo who’s been sealed within a book, you set in search for an artifact known as the Byblos, Sadly the presentation and poor narrative direction mean you’re well over an hour into the game before you begin to catch wind of the ‘story’ and while there’s clearly a lot of passion thrown into the title it’s unfortunate it’s now been organised a little better.
Firstly graphically it’s tough to call Anima : Gate of Memories a next-gen game, it might just pass as past generation, but would feel much more at home on the original Xbox or PS2. Character models aren’t too shabby, but environments and textures look bland and clunky with little detail other than repetition.
As you progress through the game you’ll level up a skill-tree for each character, these include moves, attacks and movement and need to be built up for each character, initially it feels like you can concentrate on your preferred character, although you’ll soon realise you’ll be switching between them pretty freely especially during combat. From this point much of the combat follows a basic back and white system, The Bearer can attack white enemies while Ergo can attack black, this is thrown up firstly in a 10 minute training section and then frequently as the game progresses meaning you’ll want to hit some form of balance when advanced through the skill tree for each character.
Unfortunately regardless of the skills and powers you unlock you’ll quickly settle into known combinations, you’ll work out what takes down an enemy quickly and use it again and again and again only pausing to switch between the Bearer and Ergo to then do the same again.
This disappointing lack of depth makes combat feel somewhat flat but at least there’s the opportunity to mix things up a little if you wish.
Much of the gameplay centralise around two areas, firstly the combat and secondly platforming sections which occasionally seem to drag on just a little too long, precise jumps and movement are a must but an awkward camera angle and fiddly controls mean it’s often difficult to meet the precise requirements of the game, It’s not all bad because when you get to grips with traversing the more challenging sections you won’t have much trouble else where, but the above weaknesses mean it’s not the most accessible side of the game.
As you play more Anima certainly starts to grow on you, there’s some decent boss battles and while it’s nowhere near the quality of Bayonetta you do get a feeling that Anima borrows more than a few ideas especially in the way the dialogue is delivered and the flirtatious manner of Ergo with an overall sexual undertone to much of the conversations and characters.
While graphics have to go down as below average, sound might just scrape the average mark if it wasn’t for the below par voice acting, the musical score and special effects fill the speakers nicely and then someone has to go and start talking.
Anima Gate of Memories was born from the crowdfunding campaign to bring it’s root Anima: Beyond Fantasy table-top game to gaming screens, and fans of the franchise will probably appreciate the work that’s gone into the title, even if it’s final result is merely mediocre.
There’s certainly enough gameplay to warrant the purchase if your a fan, but sadly not enough quality to make it worth while for outsiders.