[Review] Anomaly Warzone Earth (PS3)
While developer 11 Bit Studios has not been around for a long time, their repertoire of games is pretty impressive. Known for their mobile and PC games, they have been able to get their flagship game Anomaly Warzone Earth onto pretty much every major system available. With its most recent iteration on the PlayStation 3, is this a game that can truly hold its own even though it’s been out for over a year now, or is this just a way for the game to see some extra cash?
Set in the not-too-far-off future, Anomaly Warzone Earth is about three things: Getting from point A to B, killing aliens, and keeping your allies intact. You start each level by buying what vehicles or mechs you want to have with you. Some are heavily-armored while dealing little damage while others are light and fragile, but put out huge damage output. As you gather more money throughout your playthrough, you have the option to upgrade and buy up to five additional units, which will really become useful as you reach the end of the game. Another helpful option is to determine the order of your units. This comes in handy if you want your armored units on the outside and your more vulnerable teammates on the inside and less exposed to enemy fire. As you move forward in the stage, overhead planes will drop supplies to you, such as health packs, smoke bombs, decoys, etc. This makes for a true strategy game that compliments the tower defense genre flawlessly.
While this sounds like a simple, pick-up-and-play sort of game, you soon find out that is not the case at all. In fact, some of the levels are absolutely grueling to complete. Some take up to fifteen to twenty minutes, maybe even more, to complete as you navigate your squad around the map, taking out enemies, and collecting all the money you can along the way. With each new level, the difficulty scales nicely as you find yourself in near-impossible situations. The game does its best to scare you into thinking there is no way you can make it to the end, but with a few smartly planned map routes, you will feel the success that comes from moving out of that hell hole into a new, even worse area that beckons you to give up. The payoff is definitely worth the brain-wreckage.
Exclusive to the PS3 is local co-op mode where you and another person of your choosing get to enter certain drop zones and strategically kill aliens together. Since the co-op mode is local only, it does not take much away from the experience as a whole if you don’t have a friend interested in strategy games, or if you simply do not have a second controller. Sure, online multiplayer would have worked out fine, but seeing as how it is separate from the campaign, it’s forgivable and a very nice addition to those who are playing Anomaly Warzone Earth on PS3.
With the exception of co-op mode, there is not much that separates this from the other releases on, say, Xbox 360 or PC, which is a great thing. That means there is actually a reason to pick this up now if you have not done so yet. Framerate is consistently silky smooth and the detail in the environment is some of the best work I’ve seen in a strategy game. It feels and plays like a triple-A “tower offense” game would, which is pleasing to say the least.
As far as audio is concerned, it’s good, not amazing, but you will hear the same noises frequent through over the levels. However, I did enjoy the moments where what sounded like Bear Grylls broke up the incessant gun fire and extra terrestrial noises. Trust me, if you imagine Bear Grylls chewing on a piece of spider larvae as he breaks down the gist of the territory you will be shooting things in, you will have a laugh or two.
Outside of the campaign and cooperative gameplay, you can go for gold medals in any of the levels you had completed. There are a couple extra modes and trophies as well, which round out the extras. For a more-than-reasonable price tag of $10 U.S., you are getting a great game, and extras that will keep you coming back for hours. I could see myself playing this even after completing it 100%.
What is there to say about a great game that hasn’t been said already? Sure, it has its flaws, but show me a game that doesn’t. I’m not a big tower defense player, but I had more fun with this game than I did with games in genres I do like. This is definitely worth the price, and if you have it, the time. Those who are fans of tower defense/ strategy games, take everything I said into consideration, then magnify that by about 10 times. Sure, the story in a game like this is simple and without much substance, but that does not stop it from shining admirably in its gameplay. Silly and the new standard for tower defense games from this point on, Anomaly Warzone Earth is a damn good game and I strongly suggest anyone interested to shell out the money for this game. You won’t be disappointed.