Anomaly 2

Hello and Welcome to my first Review. 

Christmas has come, and along with it, Steam Sales. One of the things that showed up for me was a title called Anomaly 2.

So… Let’s check it out.

Developed by 11 Bit Studios- who also developed This War of Mine, it was released on the 15th of May, 2013.

It claims, in loud letters, to be a Tower Defence vs Tower Defence Real Time Strategy game.

Reviews on Steam are Very Positive, based on 401 reviews at the time of writing, and it has also earned 77/100 on Metacritic. It also scored the Games Radar 25 Best Indie Games of all Time, Video Game Writers; Best of PAX, and the Best of Show PAX award RTS Guru- a rather impressive array of awards, to say the least..

An interesting observation is that, while the game can be bought on Steam, it can also be bought on the Apple Store and Google Play. This point peaked my interest because, at first glance, it seemed as if I’d bought an app ported to the computer- and yet, it has so many awards. The question arose- Is it a legendary masterpiece worthy of it’s praise, or a weird app port that got hit with a hype train…?

On another, interesting note, the game is available in six languages- though only English has a full Interface, Audio and Subtitles, five other languages have an Interface and Subtitles, which is nice; these languages are French, German, Spanish, Polish and Russian.

Another nice detail is that the game is available on Windows, Mac OSX and even SteamOS and Linux, needing only very low minimal requirements for each; if you have a machine less than five years of age, it should work. For those like me who obsess over these things, that’s any 2 core 2.8 GHz CPU, any 2 Gigabyte RAM, and any graphics card of greater than 512 megabytes. 3 gigabytes of hard drive space is also needed.

The story, in a simple and unspoiled way, is the continuation of that of the previous game. It’s relatively stock. Basically, in the first game, a race of aliens called the Machines- I know, very original, showed up and fought the peoples of earth. The earthlings won. However, they showed up again only three years later, and somehow eradicated human life globally. How they did this considering humanity kicked their asses only three years earlier? Your guess is as good as mine, but it might be something to do with the fact that Earth is now a frozen wasteland.

Anyhow, we must now use the biggest, shiny-est, most future-y tech we have to kick the machines off the planet. As stories go, it’s fairly generic, but it’s not the game’s main focus, and is done well enough to give it a good pass.

Sometimes, a character makes it’s game. Unfortunately, a lot of these characters are Generic Soldier- we don’t even see most of their faces, and they have generic masculine voices. At the beginning of the game, we get to play as Captain Poise. His design is nice, if, again, a tad generic, and he’s barely different from the soldiers in terms of voice. At the end of the first level, he…

dies.

I should feel something, but he’s just too generic for me to connect to him. Added to this the fact that he plays a role- and presumably a big role- in the previous games means that he should enforce some sort of connection, but I just don’t feel it. The only character that begins to get me connected to the world is General Roberts. Who, again, is generic, but he really pulls off the feeling of a man from a dying world- tired but… determined.

The next level introduces our main cast; our avatar, First Lieutenant Simon Lynx, who we don’t actually see at this point, and his voice is very generic- though what he says is actually quite interesting, and his worries do shine through. His Commanding Officer, Colonel Ellen Bolt, also enters Stage Left. Colonel Bolt is the first character to show deviations from the generic, though she is still fairly standard. She genuinely looks pretty bad-ass, with that scar, military-grade hair, the works. Her tone is great- she sounds like an officer. In the middle of the level- a Virtual Reality simulation, by the way- the VR begins to glitch, as the convoy’s fallen under attack. She, quite calmly, instructs us to continue training, as she can deal with it. And she does. It does damage the simulator, but still.

She’s a certified bad-ass, which is good, considering that (as our CO), she’ll be talking a lot in this game. Of course, she does need your help after an ambush, but she still holds her own.

The game has a somewhat unique style- every level consists of what is essentially an escort mission, in which you move with your vehicles and utilise your Combat Suit’s Prowess- which include, but are not limited to, healing your units and sending decoy signals.

The game has a simplistic, but very effective and professional HUD system. The HUD lets you know what powers you have, the health of your and and your opponent’s units, and the rate of fire for units with variable rates of fire.

The Combat Suit’s prowess are not unlimited- you must collect uses of the powers from destroyed enemy units. Additionally, to upgrade units or get new ones, you must spend ‘Carusaurum’, the in-game currency, which, again, can be obtained from defeating units or be found on the ground.

The difficulty is fairly fair, as long as the player remembers all of the mechanics the game lays out.

As the player progresses, they unlock more and more units to use. There are many achievements in game to enhance the experience.

The game has a great tense atmosphere- this is a cold, barren, post-apocalypse planet, and it really shows.

The environments are quite incredible considering that the game is from 2013; perfect red mist and deserted urban expanses make this game look strangely beautiful.

The musical score is fairly generic, but hey, it’s well done and does fit the tone.

It is a good game. Very generic, but hey, there’s nothing new under the sun, right? The game is a masterpiece. But- it’s not a computer game. It’s a phone game on a computer, so it isn’t too deep or complex. And you know what? It doesn’t need to be. I had a lot of fun with this one.

Anyone who enjoys Real Time Strategy should probably check this one out, at least briefly. And if you’re new to the genre- somehow- and have ever thought ‘can you have a good escort mission’? Well, this’d be a good way into the style. Overall, a thumbs up from me.

Okay, so that’s my review of Anomaly 2 transcripted, with minor edits to help it work on paper. If you have anything to say, please do! Good or Bad, if it’s constructive, it’s helpful. If you want more content like this, please feel free to Follow me to see it. And with that, I’ll see you next week for the next review.

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