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How Anarchy Reigns broke me

Ed tries out Platinum's brawler, lives to tell the tale

Hi team! This is Edwin, closet Northerner, gentleman traveller and purveyor of smelly diary pieces about acute and crippling failure. You might remember me from such contributions to science as This Guy Sucks At Gears Of War, This Guy Sucks At Halo Too and my exhilarating video debut, Come See How Much This Guy Sucks At Medal Of Honor, Hey At Least He's Ironic About It.

There exists not a game on this misbegotten ball of rock and brine that I cannot, with a sweep of my thumbs, reduce to a fumblingly inept chaos. Developers of so-called "accessible", "easy to master" experiences fall to their knees in my presence, begging me not to record myself playing their game lest I somehow convey the impression that it's tougher than Dark Souls.

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Are you surprised to learn that I suck at Anarchy Reigns too? Ah, but this time I'm probably in the majority - among English speakers at least. Platinum's florid, flashy brawler has been available in Japan for over half a year, which is more or less forever in online multiplayer terms - and the game's small community of pros have a taste for blood. When Anarchy Reigns hits shelves in the UK on Friday, it's going to be like every Black Ops 2 campfest imploding simultaneously, refracted through every Hollywood car crash sequence ever filmed.

Your head, dear reader, will be kicked in, pulled off, ground down and smeared across the wall of an Olympic squash court. "Anarchy"? You'll plead for something as civilized and easy-going as anarchy. Plead through the liquefied remnants of your toothless gums.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. I've been playing the multiplayer this afternoon, in the wake of our Anarchy Reigns review, shoving my head cheerfully into the lion's fetid maw. The aim: to make all the mistakes you'll make before you actually make them, with a view to helping you not make them. Let's get this show on the road.

When you fire up Anarchy Reigns for the first time, you'll be disarmed by its simplicity. This isn't Bayonetta - that impossible goddess of an action game, throwing punches and projectiles together into a flesh-evaporating firework display. Instead, the tutorial walks you through basics that are basic indeed by the genre's standards - light and heavy attacks, an uppercut and ground pound, blocking, dodging and supers. As automaton after automaton succumbs to your grotesquely oversized fists, you'll feel oddly underwhelmed. Where's all that anarchy you promised, Platinum? This is a scattered outbreak of petty vandalism at best. A sit-down protest, even.

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Here's the thing about the tutorial: THE TUTORIAL TELLS YOU NOTHING. Showing a player how to punch in Anarchy Reigns and expecting that player to survive a real fight is like showing somebody the wheels on a car and expecting them to win the Indie 500.

It doesn't tell you anything about certain map dynamics, for instance. Like that bit 30 seconds into my first round of Team Deathmatch when I ran down a ramp, dukes primed for a pasting, and everything in the vicinity exploded into greasy, billowing flames. Anarchy Reigns doesn't have much in common with Call of Duty, but among the things it does are air strikes. That's right, air strikes in a melee combat game. There's an orbital laser, too. This can be problematic.

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