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Anomaly 2 | Review

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Anomaly 2 is the newest edition in the Anomaly series staking a foot in the tower defense genre. Its last and first known entry was Anomaly: Warzone Edition released just two years ago from 11 bit studios. They continue their efforts to provide us with a better experience in Anomaly 2 with more upgrades, new modes and story as well. It’s a different kind of tower defense game than you’d normally see on the market today but it’s an interesting game that should hold your interest as you play through the single player campaign. I do have a confession to make however: I have not played the first game in this series, Anomaly: Warzone Earth. Therefore I will be judging this game on its own merits instead of comparing it to its previous original release.

Anomaly 2 is what they call a real time strategy defense game that takes what makes tower defense and utilizes it in a different fashion. You’ll control a soldier and a convoy of vehicles that travel a pre-determined path. You have the power to change that path as you delve deeper into the campaign but in the beginning you are guided through the level as you defeat the alien race that is invading and keeping you from your objective. The different vehicles you get to control determine how your progress will be made through the game. It’s up to you to upgrade your units and purchase new ones in order to tackle the current objective that’s handed to you. There is plenty of action as the game provides a challenge making you think of which unit to use at any given mission.

The world map is what you use to navigate across each mission that you move forward through. The overall design of the game is pretty simple to follow and doesn’t do anything too intrusive to interrupt your experience. The game has a pretty decently long tutorial and training area, but it is intertwined with the main story of the game so you’ll be able to jump right in the game once you are given your first real mission to take on. There is a lot to take and you make complete use of your keys and mouse controls. Using the mouse allows you to control your mech units, whether you want to upgrade them or purchase new ones.

The game’s story feels like it’s there but you never completely get a sense of character development, especially if you haven’t played the first game. While I did understand there was a previous element to the story that was introduced in the first game, this second entry made it difficult to follow along being a newcomer to the series. The story is presented to you with pictures of characters; whether during cut scenes (which are pretty much glorified story boards) or as you see them on the ground in the over-head camera view.  There is a pretty well written script, but it doesn’t feel like you’re gaining any sort of value or empathy for the characters involved. There is a narrator here that provides you with an overview of the mission you are about to undertake or a brief tutorial of the new mech or weapon or skill you have acquired during your missions.

For what the game lacks in storytelling and writing it makes up for in the visuals. The game looks great and provides very intricate and unique detail to every mission level as you progress through the game. It’s nice to see this level of effort to be able to make it run smoothly (at least as advertised) on an Alienware platform. You’ll be fighting through the Antarctic to the jungles and even encounter many urban warfare battles in various cities as well. The level of detail shown in the aliens themselves are quite interesting and lends itself to the overarching story that is being told making it that much more believable. While you don’t get to see any of the main characters up close the character designs and mech designs all seem to be in top shape as you experience what the game has to offer. I won’t say the voice overs starting from the narrator all the way up to the in game character voices are the best by any means, but it gets the job done as far as you being invested in the game. Unfortunately, that aspect of the game isn’t memorable, however, and it doesn’t capture your imagination and bring you along for the ride. But, for what it is, Anomaly 2 does provide a grand scale to work with for a tower defense game. You won’t be disappointed with a 15 dollar price tag, so feel free to dive right in if you are given the chance, it certainly is a time killer when it all boils down to it.

Overall, Anomaly 2 doesn’t break any boundaries or shatter worlds, but for what it is, Anomaly 2 provides decent entertainment if you are looking for something to pass the time or warm up for your gaming night. Anomaly 2 has its creative style and with the nice production values in this game you’ll definitely have something easy on the eyes. Be sure to give Anomaly 2 a try if you are a looking for a PC game that won’t hurt your budget.

(Reviewed on PC. Review code supplied on behalf of 11 Bit Studios)

ONLY SINGLE PLAYER SCORE

Story – 6/10

Gameplay/Design – 7.5/10

Visuals – 8.5/10

Sound – 7/10

Lasting Appeal – 7/10

_______________________

Overall – 7.5/10

(Not an average)

Platforms: PC, Mac

Developer: 11 Bit Studios

Publisher: 11 Bit Studios

Ratings: T (ESRB), 12+ (PEGI)

I'm a veteran gamer with a passion for writing and the video game industry is where I plan to stay. In between playing/reviewing the latest console releases and the latest news you'll find me reading and watching NHL games rooting for my team (New Jersey Devils) Outside of college taking over my life I enjoy a very active social life.

Review

American Fugitive Review — A Grand Tale of Theft and Auto

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American Fugitive gameplay screenshot 1

The original Grand Theft Auto rocked the virtual world with its violent gameplay from a birds-eye view perspective back in 1997. Once the series moved to a third-person, 3D perspective with Grand Theft Auto III, few gamers looked back and few developers attempted to replicate the original style. More than 20 years later, Fallen Tree Games has become of those few with American Fugitive.

Players control Will Riley, a man convicted for a crime he did not commit and filled with the desire for revenge. Once he has escaped from prison, Will must find old friends—and meet some new ones—to run errands and discover the person who killed his father.

The game is played from a top-down perspective in a 3D open world. More reminiscent of Chinatown Wars than the original Grand Theft Auto, the camera adds a level of complexity to American Fugitive, as players often will not see what lies beyond the edges of the screen. While a behind-the-character perspective would, at times, not go amiss, players will eventually grow to familiarise themselves with the camera, respecting the callback to classic open world titles.

American Fugitive gameplay screenshot 2

The open world itself is also reminiscent of classic titles, with simplified designs regularly complimented by the detailed art style. The game’s animated, cartoon design scheme is fitting of its fast-paced action gameplay, always managing to keep the player on their toes and keen to discover more. Technically, the game plays almost flawlessly, with no significant performance issues to disrupt the player while they explore the map.

Players can explore the rural open world of Redrock County on foot or in a vehicle. The vehicular gameplay may take some time for players to familiarise themselves with, with some overly slippery mechanics leading to some unfortunate collisions, though fitting to the game’s tone. Thankfully, most environments in the game are destructible, so sliding off the road—if the player follows the road to begin with—does not often lead to disaster.

Despite beginning the game as a seemingly innocent man, Will doubles down on his criminal actions once he escapes from prison. Akin to Grand Theft Auto, the player can hijack cars, kill civilians, and attract the attention of police. Most residential buildings in the game can be robbed by the player, often leading to tense confrontations with the homeowners or police, so players must continue at their own risk.

American Fugitive gameplay screenshot 3

The ‘wanted’ system in the game works similarly to Grand Theft Auto games, with players accumulating up to five stars depending on their behaviour. The stars often accumulate a little too quickly, however, with additional stars regularly added simply for evading police. Oftentimes, the player may possess a full wanted level—complete with large police vans and circling helicopters—within a minute of committing a minor offense. While this over-the-top gameplay design is fitting to the pace of the game, it may lead to frustrations within the main story missions by bringing the player’s progress to a halt.

The missions are also reminiscent of those in Grand Theft Auto, tasking the player with a wide variety of tasks to keep them busy while the story evolves. While many of these missions may seem disconnected to the main narrative structure, they are unique and regularly keep the player entertained, ranging from simple fetch quests and car robberies to full-scale shootouts. The game’s fast-paced gameplay and lack of loading screens also make the poorly-placed checkpoints bearable, especially when the beginning of missions require the player to drive to a certain location.

American Fugitive‘s storyline is simple in design but entertaining enough to keep the player engaged. The game’s ‘cutscenes’ exist in the form of text atop character designs; while some simple voice acting would elevate these scenes with more dramatic tension, they are short enough to maintain the player’s attention and continue the missions at a fast pace. Players will find themselves surprisingly engrossed in the story, wanting to see it through to its full conclusion.

American Fugitive gameplay screenshot 4

Accompanying the fast-paced gameplay and narrative is the game’s music. From slow, explorative themes to fast-paced tracks, American Fugitive‘s original score is reminiscent of some of the best soundtracks across different media—from television’s True Detective to video gaming’s Red Dead Redemption 2 and The Last of Us. Each song accompanies the gameplay nicely, ramping up and down as the player makes the appropriate actions, and, along with the expert sound design, add the auditory sprinkles atop a visual and narrative treat.

American Fugitive, simply put, is fun. Fallen Tree Games has added its own unique twist to a classic gameplay formula, and utilised a simple but engaging narrative and a beautiful original score to maintain the player’s interest until the very end. Despite a few minor flaws in gameplay, the game stands strong against its competition. Players looking for a fast, fun, and mature sandbox game should not miss American Fugitive.

OnlySP Review Score 4 Distinction

Reviewed on PlayStation 4 Pro.

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