I didn’t know anything about Anima: Gate of Memories until just recently. The game wasn’t heavily advertised at conventions, so I didn’t know about it until I started looking at BadlandIndie‘s website for game reviews. When I had seen this action RPG on their website, I thought that it would be nice to check it out and see if it might be any interesting. And it was! Especially, for someone who’s been a fan of RPG’s for a long time now. Also, I needed something to hold me over until Final Fantasy XV came out in September. Anima: Gate of Memories is a third-person action RPG set within the Anima: Beyond Fantasy series. The game was developed by Anima Project and published by BadlandIndie. It was backed on Kickstarter. Then, there was Greenlit to be released on Steam for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Anima was released on the PS4, and XBOX ONE on June 3, 2016. In North America, it came out on June 7, 2016.
The story of Anima: Gate of Memories is about two characters The Bearer and Ergo. Members of an ancient society known as Nathaniel which for centuries has protected mankind from the darkness. They both receive the order to recover an old artifact called The Byblos that has been stolen by a renegade of the order. After a long pursuit, crossing areas ravaged by war, they are able to corner the fugitive in the middle of an ancient construction. However, suddenly the whole area is swallowed by light. Soon our protagonists awake inside a strange structure where they are no longer alone; strange beings are also summoned there. Soon, both will discover that something darker than they could imagine is about to start, a war in the shadows in which they will have a leading role.
Although the game is a third-person action RPG, it contains many elements of a western RPG such as the freedom to being able to explore a vast open world, customizing your abilities, and switching between characters. Players will be able to switch between the two main characters Ergo, and The Bearer, as they experience both characters points of view, along with being able to use the characters different attacks, and combos, and skills. However, there’s no possibility to do this right away, at the beginning of the game. The switching is locked until you get to the first boss fight against Red Lady. Once you reach that point, you’ll be able to switch between Ergo and Bearer at any time. Ergo and Bearer have different play styles. I think the best way to describe their play styles is that they’re very similar to Aqua’s and Terra’s from Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep. Ergo’s is very aggressive and Bearer’s is very agile.
The characters can be customized through a skill tree. Throughout the game, players can obtain experience points and be able to level up the main characters. Once they level up, you gain skill points which can be used to unlock new skills. You will be able to create all sorts of different amounts of skill, whether it being an offensive spell, a support arcane, or a Ki technique. And it doesn’t matter if you are attacking, moving, or jumping. However, skills are only assigned to four slots, and some of them can only be accessed after achieving a certain level, but besides that, players will have the freedom to create as many different skills as they want.
Players will also be able to equip weapons and items. It is possible to equip consumable items such as potions that heal or increase your stats. Arcane and Gaia can be explored, unfortunately, there’s no travel system within the game. The only way you’re able to explore is by running through the areas. You will also make your own decisions and go off on your own path. Along with being able to discover new places, revisit areas, discover secrets which will help you be able to solve puzzles, and be able to unlock access to previously inaccessible places. Which unfortunately is one of my only problems with the game is the fact that not everything is available to you from the start, and that there are certain places you can’t enter. Also, one of the things you will come across are many puzzles within the game which are very cleverly designed and reminded me of the puzzles from The Legend of Zelda. The combat system is good but not great. It felt a bit like Hack and Slash when I was fighting against enemies, and I could see some of the patterns of the enemies. But I did enjoy the combat, even though, I didn’t like that the combat system felt a bit boring a times. It took me 15 hours to beat the game.
The graphics in Anima: Gate of Memories looks like something from the modern Square Enix games. You can see that the game looks gorgeous just by exploring the world itself, and seeing the intricate details that signify how polished the world is. Even when fighting against enemies, the visuals looked stunning. It definitely shows off the power of a next generation console.
I really enjoy the opening of Anima: Gate of Memories. It reminds me a lot of Dragonborn from Skyrim with amazing vocals mixed with a beautiful orchestra track. The soundtrack really sets the tone for the overall game. However, it’s disappointing how the voice acting was kinda stiff. One of things that I look for in RPG and JRPG’s, especially those that have voice acting in it, is how well the actors were able to portray the characters roles. I didn’t feel like the actors did that. I mean it’s OK but not as great as the voice acting is in other top RPGs and JRPGs that we see today.
Along with the standard release of the game, which also contains an extended manual and the CD soundtrack, there is a Collector’s Edition for Anima: Gate of Memories on PlayStation 4. The Collector’s Edition contains an extended manual, a CD soundtrack, a 20cc resin figure, and 22 tarot cards. Unfortunately, this was only exclusive to the PS4 version, which is a shame to those who are getting the XBOX and PC versions.
Although I enjoy the game, it does have its ups and downs. I love the story, as it is very well written, but the voice acting makes it really hard for me to get invested into the story and its characters. I do love the visuals and the music, though, it was spectacular. The frame rate never dropped once, even when fighting against enemies! And the music never missed a beat. There weren’t any times where it felt off. The music always made me feel more immersed into the world, and I think that’s a huge thing when you’re expecting an open world like Gaia, or any kind of game, that has a huge open world. All gameplay elements were great. I loved the puzzles. They were really well designed. Even though they were frustrating, it was satisfying to beat them; I love those types of puzzles. RPG elements were great. Being able to customize your skills, level up, and switch between the characters is cool. However, I didn’t like the enemy UI; it felt pretty simple. Most of my enemies had same pattern of attacking and dodging; it was boring. Also, I didn’t like the combat system because, at times, it felt a bit like a hack and slash. However, even though Anima: Gate of Memories is a pretty good game, it has its flaws. The game has a good direction, but I don’t think that it holds like many of the great RPG’s and JRPG’s that we see today.
With these Pros and Cons in mind, I would have to the give it a 7.1 out of 10. The reason is that Anima felt like a mixed bag to me. Although Anima Project was heading in the right direction, the end result isn’t great. Which is a shame because this was a game that was founded on Kickstarter. Indie games got this game as an example of a game that tries to hit all the right notes but only gets some of them right. Even though Anima: Gate of Memories has its flaws, It was an enjoyable experience for me.
|+ Great Overall Story||– Bad Voice Acting|
|+ Amazing 60 FPS Graphics||– Boring Enemy UI|
|+ Beautiful Orchestrated Soundtrack||– Simple Combat System|
|+ Vast Overworld|
|+ Clever Puzzle Designs|
|+ Great Use of RPG Elements|