Anomaly 2 (PS4) Review
I've been around strategy games long enough to have dreamed of a game similar to Anomaly. Tower defense games have often disappointed me: in the end, you're fortifying yourself in one spot to hope that nobody can get through your defenses. 11 bit studio's change up to a "Tower Offense" has taken the genre by storm, and now Anomaly 2 makes it's way onto the PlayStation 4.
During tower defense games, most of the time you are building up your firepower in order to eliminate enemies in the quickest way possible. For Anomaly, you are tasked with making it through a warzone in one piece. You are the commander of a line of transforming battle machines. It's up to you to command them to excel in speed or defense, depending on which is the smartest way to get through the course. You are instructed to simply get from Point A to Point B. Any of the branching paths will lead you to victory, but you want to find the one that will get you there unscathed. You will have access to power ups that either heal your allies or create distractions, keeping the enemy fire off of your tail whilst you whittle down their impressive life bars.
The game by and large isn't the longest, but the strategy is deep. After the first couple levels, your path through the playing field becomes paramount to success. Finding the perfect place to lay down healing buffs becomes more important, especially at the harder difficulty levels. If the action gets too chaotic, you can pause and continue pushing out commands and orders, so any losses are the result of your faulty planning. Also, certain troop powers are unique, such as the unit whose firepower gets stronger the longer it goes, increasing from bee stings to cannonballs, if you can get a straight line of fire on a group of enemies. Strategy fans will have fun with these tweaks, replaying levels to find the ultimate path through the level. Anomaly 2 also adds multi-player ability, giving someone the traditional Tower Defense setup that you attempt to blast through. This adds a little more game play time to the life of the title.
If you are a modern, AAA title style gamer, this title may put you off. The graphics don't scream "PS4" and could probably be pulled off on the previous generation, short of the cut-scenes. Game play is from a top-down perspective, zoomed out enough to see the battlefield, which doesn't lend itself to extreme graphics. Also, if you're a "one and done" kind of gamer, who never returns to a level after completing it, you may be disappointed by the brevity. But, if you are the gamer who can wring every bit of enjoyment out of a level by replaying it to mastery, Anomaly 2 will be a title that will provide you hours of enjoyment, restarting levels to find the best way through.
Anomaly 2 may have been out since last year on the PC, so if you've already been here there's not much new to see short of a full TV/gamepad experience that most hardcore PC gamers probably already have set up. But it's a great first step into the genre. I hope to go back to the XBLA release of the first title soon to catch up on the storyline. With the current rumblings of Anomaly 3 turning the story on it's head as humans attack the alien homeworld, I'm curious to see how this trilogy wraps up.
I give Anomaly 2 a 4 out of 5. Quality game, plenty of bang for your downloadable buck.
A review code of the game for PlayStation 4 was provided by the developers.