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Anima: Gate of Memories - The Nameless Chronicles Review

Note: This piece is based on a demo copy that may have been different from the full release.

The Nameless Chronicles is an Anima: Gate of Memories title, which means it’s an anime-inspired action RPG. The story sounds intriguing — a war unfolds that you will have a big part in, while you play as the beautiful Bearer of Calamities, alongside your partner Ergo. Unfortunately, what is good in this title gets overshadowed by too many problems.

FAILED START

The demo version that was received for testing was almost unplayable five minutes into the game. Even though there are key binding options, they seem to be designed with a controller in mind. All of the on-screen prompts referenced the controller buttons even when one wasn’t plugged in. I had to constantly go into the options menu to reference the key bindings. When I did try a controller, the camera constantly spun around my character when I wasn’t even touching any of the sticks. Eventually I gave up and played with the mouse and keyboard, which is not all ideal unless you have nimble fingers.

When I picked up an item for the first time, a prompt told me to open the inventory menu (luckily this was set to the “I” key like in most games), but once there it wanted me to press “Y” to equip the item. I had no idea what keyboard key corresponded to the “Y” button, but the game wouldn’t let me exit the inventory menu to look. So I pressed every single key on the keyboard until another menu popped up showing what looked like the controller D-pad, and then I had to go through every key again to set the item to one of the directional buttons. Luckily, I didn’t actually need to use that item in my time playing, because I had no idea how.

I discovered a strange design decision once I finally equipped that item: An enemy appeared, and the game switched to a pulled-back, fixed-camera view until the fight was over. It did this a few more times during the demo, and it really feels awkward. It made my character harder to control, and the camera was so far back it was hard to judge my distance from the enemies. In consequence, these fights ended up being more about luck and guessing where my attacks would land than actually using any skill.

FOR A FOCUS ON ACTION, IT DISAPPOINTED

Combat is nothing special. It involved a lot of dodging and mashing the same few buttons to attack. The description promises a deeper combat system, with customization to build your own play style, but that wasn’t on display here. All of the combat in the demo was nothing more than using the same attack against the same few enemies. There were some flying enemies that needed to be hit with a ranged attack, and other enemies that required you to get close, but even the boss fight at the end against three more powerful enemies at once was just another variation of the same thing.

SHARP-LOOKING, WHEN THERE’S SOMETHING TO SEE

The graphics are about the quality of a remastered PS2 game. Textures are sharp, but there’s not much detail. It seems like they’re trying to hide the poor quality under a cel-shaded look, but it doesn’t help. The environment is basically empty of any real detail. You spend most of your time in a cave, without much else to see. There was never a reason to stop and enjoy the scenery — no breathtaking landscape to make you pause and look around. On the topic of presentation, it’s nice that all of the dialogue is fully voiced, but unfortunately the voice acting is pretty dry and lifeless.

STORY

I’m not familiar with the world the game is set in, and the demo only gave me a small taste of what to expect, but this at least seems interesting. There’s some talk of Inquisitors, and people seem to have some special fighting abilities, or magic, or something. It’s pretty generic for anyone who watches anime, but still captured my interest enough to want to know more. This seemed like the best aspect of the title, so it’s a shame it was in short supply.

4

The Verdict: Flawed

The Nameless Chronicles released on June 19, 2018 to mostly-positive Steam user reviews. Hopefully, the developers fixed some things before release. While this game looked like it had some potential to be fun, the frustrations pervasive in the demo didn’t give me a chance to find out for sure.

Brad Huffmanparent
Written by
June 15, 2018
Published in Action

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Brad has loved gaming since he first picked up an Atari joystick in the late 70s, a fact that makes him feel really old right now.   He recently graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a BS in Game Design and Development /Interactive Storytelling.  He’s the co-founder / editor / writer of an indie comic studio, and is also working as a writer on an upcoming indie MMORPG. It’s probably easier to list the types of games he doesn’t play (RTS and sports) rather than the ones he does, although he wouldn’t turn away any game that you put in front of him.  He likes to think that even the worst games have some redeeming quality, and finds it a challenge to dig in and discover what aspect the developers thought would be fun and try to figure out what went wrong.

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