Platinum Games (Madworld, Infinite Space, Bayonetta) has put out some amazing and, in my opinion, underrated titles since they reformed from the defunct Clover Studio (creators of both the legendary God Hand and Okami). While God Hand is one of the greatest titles on the PS2, it is not the best. That glory belongs to the only beast left on the stage after all others have stepped down beneath the footlights: Urban Reign by Namco. Seen as Tekken toaster leavings in the States, Urban Reign, like God Hand, is an extremely difficult Double Dragon style brawler, one with some exceedingly unforgiving levels, well, unforgiving if like most of the reviewers of the game, you never bother to learn the fighting system. Hence the game, one of Namco’s best, was reviled by reviewers in the USA who typically get a game on a Wednesday and have to have a completed review on Friday. This is simply not possible with a game as difficult as Urban Reign (nor God Hand, nor Demon’s Souls). Of course, Japanese reviewers actually take the time to play the games they review, and it was put on the pedestal it deserves by the Japanese. Out since ’05, only in the last couple years have purveyors of punchy type video games spread the word of mouth across the Pacific that Urban Reign is not only one of the best Double Dragon-esque brawlers, it is the best game on the Playstation 2. While the single player is OK, what makes Urban Reign great is the multiplayer. It supports 4 person multi-tap, and if you haven’t experienced the game in this way, I urge you to go out and buy it and a multitap and do so, or find someone that has one. The game itself can be had for a song, the mulitap– not so much.
Namco, where’s the sequel? Steeped in Tekken, and probably brow beaten by poor sales over seas, I honestly don’t see Namco pulling out the franchise again in a recognizable form on a modern console (hell though anything is getting made into a mobile game these days). So where do we look for the next great Multiplayer brawler? Yeah, Platinum Game’s Anarchy Reigns. Looks like online co-op, online free for all (I counted 4 players total duking it out, but interviews say 8 at a time) and from the videos online so far– an assload of lag! No word yet on any single player, but the interviews (see below) have entirely focused on the multiplayer action. Needless to say, it looks a lot like Urban Reign, and of course the use of the word Reigns in the title is probably no accident. Obviously we mustn’t overlook the distinct similarities to the also excellent Power Stone series. While this seems great, Anarchy Reigns is stepping into the ring with some of the best games in existence, including titles like War of the Monsters and even Twisted Metal, including one I have to give props to but dislike quite a bit: Smash Brothers Brawl.
The characters in Anarchy Reigns seem your standard Platinum fare– that is totally foaming at the mouth berserk. The only semi-normal character is the ice lady above, but even she has a BARCODE ACROSS HER TITS. The rest of the revealed cast so far are pretty much cracked out stereotypes. Four of the characters are straight from Madworld and I’m sure we’ll see a few more from it. Whether Platinum can tap into their Clover IP is yet to be seen but you could see Gene, Devil Hand, Shannon and Elvis. The lady in waiting for announcement is, of course, Bayonetta. Since Bayonetta 2 is confirmed, I doubt you will see her as a playable character but who knows. Her and that other witch with the red glasses would make fine editions, though they seem a bit over powered compared to the current cast (they can stop time and all that jazz).
Fall of 11 is going to be a brutal time with Elder Scrolls and this busting out. I need to make sure to spend my summer entirely outdoors in a tent raped nightly by animals digging up from under the earth.
There are a lot of videos out there, but this limey one seems the best of the bunch for a quick view of what the game is about:
Interview with the Producer: Atasushi Inaba.