Switch version tested
Review code provided
Anima: Gate of Memories on the Nintendo Switch benefits from being the complete edition and contains both the base game as well as the extended campaign. This offering is based around the world set up by the tabletop game that has been around since 2005. Anima is an action role-player developed by the Anima Project and published by Badland Publishing. It has also released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. The series has been released across multiple generations starting back on the Wii with Anima: Ark of Sinners which at the time wasn’t favourably reviewed.
While playing this game you don’t get much of the story upfront instead you have to go and search for it in memories that are littered across the play area. These are usually following a high-level fight or a random platforming section that really seems to be a little out of place in the main game. At the start of the base game you play as The Bearer of Calamities and a second character called Ergo. You soon find out they have been bound together and Ergo has been trapped in a book by a very powerful wizard. The game mechanic allows Ergo to be swapped in and out, when needed, during combat. You also get a second campaign where you play as the nameless character which neatly intertwines with the main campaign.
For a game that hinges itself on storytelling, it’s damn hard to find anything of real substance in the opening two hours other than the details mentioned above. It feels a little disjointed but you slowly begin to piece bits together from there. And this is coming from a guy that loves games with obscure stories and hard to find plot points, such as the Dark Souls series, Bloodborne and Breath of the Wild. The difference being with these you get more of the story in the first couple of hours and the game hands you a critical path to follow. Anima is so obscure it doesn’t really guide you in what you have to do at all and most of my opening hours are just left wandering around.#
When you start out combat is a standard affair and in keeping with the RPG genre but it becomes very deep as you unlock more of the skill trees. This is with a twist though, the controls are clearly optimized for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One but on the Switch everything feels very out of place and there is no way to change it. The dash being on the X Button feels very strange as this is the skill that you use the most along with dodge. Thankfully dodge is mapped to ZR and is one of the only buttons that feels like it is placed right and easy to reach mid-combat. Another miss is that the combat doesn’t feel weighty and heavy like it should, it feels very floaty and all over the place and with each passing upgrade things become more frustrating. Lastly to top things off is the voice acting which is atrocious, especially the voice actor who plays Ergo. The level design is the best thing about this game, you have large open areas to explore but this all hinges on getting to know the routes to take and where to go which as previously mentioned isn’t made clear by the game.
Anima: Gate of Memories could have been great with a more varied combat system and a less obtuse story. The poor voice acting makes a strong case for all dialogue to have been kept as text and overall I didn’t have fun while playing. It’s easy to see why the game has been awarded an average score from most other outlets and I didn’t find it engaging, more frustrating than fun.
TBG Score: 5.5/10
Platform: Steam, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Release Date: 29/06/2018
No. of Players: 1
Category: Action Role Playing Game
Developer: Anima Project
Download link: eShop