Game Title: Anima Arcane Edition
Company: Badland Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Availability: Digital Download
Battery Life: 2-2.5 hours
Download: 6.1 GB
Hearing the word, Anima, what comes to mind? For me, it’s that dark, secret OP summon from Final Fantasy X. For others, it could be the set of tabletop games that have made a franchise for themselves.
I’m not really into tabletop games so much, but when I saw Anima: Gate of Memories pop up on the Nintendo eShop, my eyes sparkled. I saw Action RPG, 3D, and very colorful visuals and was already set on playing through not only Gate of Memories but the 2nd game of the Anima video game series and jumped on the bundle.
Released along with its “sequel”, The Nameless Chronicles, here is my review of Anima: Arcane Edition for the Nintendo Switch!
Gate of Memories centers around “The Bearer”, a nameless woman whom made a pact with an Evil Entity locked away in a magic book. While chasing a thief that stole an ancient artifact from her organization, she finds herself trapped in a magical tower, cut off from her own world and dimension. She is then tasked with taking out the powerful entities gathered there to prevent an Apocalyptic Prophecy from coming true.
Gate of Memories has a pretty interesting story towards the end, but the early half is very sloppy and doesn’t make a lot of sense. While all the backstories for the 5 evil entities has some really nice storytelling and development, the overall plot around Bearer is pretty offputting until the very end, which is brought down even more by lacluster voice acting.
The newly-release game, The Nameless Chronicles, serves as less of a sequel and more as a backstory and perspective change. It takes place during the events of Gate of Memories, but from the perspective of Nameless, one of the antagonists of the original game. It serves as a broader explanation of who pulled the strings and what was going on in the background while Bearer was navigating the tower.
Nameless Chronicles definitely did better at storytelling, but also suffered form lackluster voice-acting, even to the point where different actors would pronounce the same names and terms different from one another.
Both of the Anima games are third-person Action RPGs with platforming and exploration elements thrown into the mix. You’ll be running around 3D environments in a very Devil May Cry-style of movement and combat.
In terms of content here, Arcane Edition is a bundle of both Anima games. You get Anima: Gate of Memories along with Anima: The Nameless Chronicles (like on other consoles, this bundle is $29.99 vs paying $19.99 for each of the two titles).
Progression in these games is a matter of exploration. Gate of Memories has several different sets of areas to its tower, and you have free roam to explore and clear them in any order you wish. While there are some areas locked behind defeating so many of the game’s boss fights, but you can otherwise explore at your own leisure and clear the bosses in whatever order you wish. Nameless is a bit more linear, but does have a fair amount of exploration involved.
To get through these areas, you have to locate the “Core” where the boss awaits and find that entity’s memories. These are used not only to teach you their backstory but as keys to unlock the Boss Room, so you can fight them and move onto new areas of the tower. These memories are found around each wing, mostly from solving puzzles and exploring the large areas the game offers.
When you’re not exploring and platforming, you’ll be fighting off enemies in real-time battles. These fights feel straight out of games like Bayonetta or Devil May Cry. All enemies have attacks to be learned and dodged around, while you have both physical and magic attacks to use against them. Gate of Memories also has a Character system where you can switch characters for different combat styles while Nameless has a Power-Up feature to mimic it.
Ending combat is where the RPG elements come into play. You gain EXP from defeating enemies and eventually level up. Leveling up gives you Skill Points, which are used to learn new abilities and upgrade previous ones through an in-depth skill tree. These abilities range from new attacks to stats.
Of course, this game isn’t as simple or easy as Bayonetta or Devil May Cry. Anima is a very difficult set of games that requires a lot of pattern-learning, utilizing dodging and countering over just running forward and attacking at will. Kind of like Bayonetta’s system, but without the slow-mo dodge mechanic.
As far as time is concerned, it isn’t massively-meaty like Xenoblade Chronicles or Disgaea, but it’s got a decent amount of length to it. Each of the two games should take you around 12-14 hours to complete a piece. That puts the bundle at around 25 hours of content for $29.99, which is a great deal.
The game is pretty involved with how many buttons are used, but it’s not too hard to get accustomed to. But know that this goes off the PlayStation-style of action buttons, so the B button is the select/confirm option and A is the cancel option.
The Left Analog Stick is used to move around and the Right Stick for the camera. The D-Pad / Arrow Buttons are used as shortcuts for items and viewing the map. The four triggers are used for combat. The L trigger is used for launch attacks and the R button is used to swap characters. ZL is used for ranged attacks while ZR is used to lock onto nearby enemies.
The action buttons can be customized, but by default, here’s what it has: A is used for magic attacks and B is used for jumping. X is used for dash / homing attacks while Y is used for dodging.
Graphically, the game looks nice. The renders are nice and smooth, and many of the environments look quite colorful and beautiful, especially the more open ones.
The game’s true shine, though, is the music. Every area of the game is filled with beautifully-crafted background music. From the fast-paced battle music to the calming music from pre-boss rooms, I found myself stopping countless times to just sit back and listen to the amazing soundtrack both of these games offer.
Optimization is also superb, as both games offer a buttery-smooth 60 frames per second in and out of Docked Mode. For a game that was made by only a handful of people, they really know their stuff.
All that great optimization seems to have come at a cost, though. Here are my Battery Times, from 100% to 0%
Max Brightness + Wi-Fi – 2 hours, 11 minutes
Max Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 2 hours, 13 minutes
Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 2 hours, 18 minutes
Low Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 2 hours, 21 minutes
So, pretty low on the Battery spectrum. Definitely worth it for that amazing frame-rate, but pretty low all the same.