Review: Anima: Gate of Memories
Anima: Gate of Memories is a third-person action RPG with abilities, attacks and magic. A magical artifact known as the Byblos has the key to saving the world and as The Bearer, you must track down this item. The second player in this journey is Ergo, a wise-cracking monster sealed in a book and he can appear in physical form to help out The Bearer. The Bearer and Ergo have some different abilities, but for the most part their repertoire is the same. The story is confusing to follow, mostly due to the lackluster writing and performances from the main cast, but as an action RPG, it offers enough gameplay, with enough skills and secrets to unlock, that makes it a somewhat enjoyable journey.
Anima: Gate of Memories is mostly a non-linear experience. Upon completing the prologue, you’ll be in a place known as Arcane. This will act as an overworld to different and diverse areas in the region around you. Each area tasks you with finding Memory Fragments, then fighting a boss that controls that certain part of the world. Boss fights are tough, and it may take several tries to complete. Once you know the pattern of the bosses and level up a bit, you should be able to get through the game. Anima sets a nice pace, and you know what you need to do in each section and what you need to do next. Once in a while everything comes to a halt when you encounter a tough boss, which is frustrating. Even on Normal difficulty, the game can be tough. I needed to lower the difficulty to the easy setting about halfway through the game. When fighting multiple enemies, the camera can be a hindrance. The camera is manual, but when you lock on to an enemy, you can’t see what the other enemies are doing around you. In addition, enemies gang up on you with attacks, leaving you little room to recover and little room for error. Even though I completed the game once, I still don’t feel like I have the skill set to counter all of the attacks. Many of the areas can be tackled in any order, so if you are stuck on one area, you can leave and come back to any of the other areas. It helps knowing that if there is one really tough section, you can come back to it later once you’ve leveled up your character a bit. After one area is completed, not much happens in terms of story, other than a few extra dialogue options. You learn a little about some of the players’ backstory, but it isn’t much. The game does have multiple endings to find, and replaying the game to find each of them is something that is worth exploring.
The two playable characters, The Bearer and Ergo have some different abilities and skills, but they are mostly the same. Each move, unlocked by using skill points on a skill tree for each character, can be mapped to different buttons so you can play how you want. It takes a while to fully upgrade the characters, but there is a New Game + option to replay the game and fully upgrade the character all the way. Weapons and artifacts can be bought and sold by using experience points or can be found in the world. These weapons and artifacts help add better statistics to your defense and attack powers. Some platforming sections in the game can be very tough, and while some aren’t mandatory, if you want to achieve everything, you’ll need to get through these tough and brutal sections. A secret area, below the area known as Mansion of Puppets, includes a prison with intriguing prisoners, and releasing them will lead to new, added secrets in the world.
The presentation for Anima is overall poor. Voice acting is very bland, and each actor sounds like they are going through the motions. This lead me to not care about any of the characters, and any immersion I had in the game was lost every time a character spoke. Ergo’s dialogue is perhaps the worst, he constantly refers to The Bearer as “baby” and constantly makes bad, sexualized jokes to the character. Most of the jokes just aren’t funny and I found them distasteful. The best part of the presentation, however, was the soundtrack. Each new area has a different theme and the music was able to complement the area you were currently in. The music gave off an isolationist feel, knowing that you’re the only one exploring old ruins and new areas.
Anima: Gate of Memories does some things right, but it also does a fair amount of things wrong. The story isn’t very interesting and is predictable. The dialogue and presentation doesn’t help immerse you into the world very well. On the gameplay side, the camera can be tough to maneuver, and platforming sections can be frustrating. However, the game works as a third-person action RPG with the skill trees, items and secrets. The existence of a New Game + and finding the several multiple endings may rope some players back in for a second playthrough.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- New Game +
- Multiple endings
What I Dislike:
- Dialogue and writing
- Confusing Story