Written by  :  Scott Monster (1014)
Written on  :  Mar 08, 2007
Rating  :  4.83 Stars4.83 Stars4.83 Stars4.83 Stars4.83 Stars

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Remember When Games Were Fun?

The Good

This game is utterly amazing. IonStorm took the Quake II engine and modified so much that it looks nothing like its predecessor. The particle system, the plasma effects, the increased palette of colors. Its all so cool!

The designers took great care to design elaborate levels, with deft architecture and remarkable detail. The twisted levels on Anachronox alone were a tribute to Escher. I especially liked the interiors of several buildings such as the hotel on Sender One.

Sound and dialogue were well done and perfectly fit the loopy attitude of the game. The music was slightly repetitive but otherwise effectively contributed to the game play by setting the mood.

Game play took a little to get use to. Ananchronox isn't a FPS, its an adventure game with upgradable weapons. Main quests are either fairly easy to complete or have an alternate methods if one way is too difficult. The side quests aren't required, but completing them enhances your party by providing skills, supplies or upgrades. You can easily play this game a couple times and not complete all the quests.

Combat involves a little puzzle solving and strategy. Encounters are done in turns, with each character having a cycle of time between each action. You can set up a que of actions in your party so you can watch it unfold. The variety of moves add a measure of challenge. You can move, heal yourself or another party member, invoke a defensive tactic, chose a special attack, or stick with a standard attack.

One of the major aspects of the game is the weapons and attacks. Arms can be swapped, sold, upgraded or replaced. The attacks can be based on the Mystech thats collected. Each character has an affinity for certain Mystech and the effects of the attack generated by the rocks. During fight encounters, mystech plays a major part in fighting off adversaries as they engage in more powerful attacks in return.

The story is the heart of the game. There is a compelling mixture of loopiness and drama, adding the sense of moving forward in the game. You're not just wandering around another dungeon, fighting off generic monsters. You're accomplishing goals and unlocking chapters that make you want to play for just "10 more minutes." Interaction with NPCs is always interesting and quite funny. NPC interaction is also necessary for accomplishing most main quests and all sub quests.

The quality of the body models vary. The IonStorm team took great pains to include textures that bring 'character' the the models. Some models are overly repeated, but once in a while you'll catch an elaborate alien model that was carefully constructed.

The Bad

Even with the unofficial 1.02 patch, the game is slightly buggy. There are movement issues, especially when you gather a party. Stuttering game play, having to move your players around to position them to solve puzzles.

There are a couple arcade games built in to the game that can't be avoided, and are somewhat difficult.

Since the game wasn't totally completed by Ionstorm before they shut down, there are some broken aspects of the game. So saving often is required to complete it.

The Bottom Line

If you are a PC gamer only, this will prove to be a very new experience for you. Try it out and be converted.