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Masters of Anima. The game name states itself. You are a Master of Anima, or so you think. Focus Home Interactive published, and Passtech Games developed, Focus Home are known for the Pro Cycling Manager series, Farming Simulator series, and The Surge (2).
Let's get the story out of the way
You are a guy named Otto who sees his fiancée Ana captured by Zahr, shortly before they will be getting married. This would be the celebration of Otto passing his Shaper trials, to also become a Master of Anima.
Ana is the top girl, as she is the Supreme Shaper, ergo she is the best magician... of the entire world! Zahr sunders Ana into 4 pieces; her body, mind, heart, and spark (spark is her magical power). You will be looking to save your girl, and the entire world on the side. Guess you have a nice weight to be carried solely by your shoulders.
Otto needs to save Ana in what will become a point and click/real-time strategy game.
You will summon fighters called Guardians, such as swordsmen and archers, to try and defeat Golems that Zahr puts in your way. You will be guided through levels, in which there are items to collect, Golems to defeat, multiple areas to discover and dialogues to read.
The story is quite lacklustre and based on any other game in a similar world. Save your fiancé by defeating the bad guy. Sounds simple, but it ain't so.
After the 4th or 5th boss, I already had issues defeating Golems especially as the difficulty increases at a staggering rate.
The good stuff
The scenery and animations make me think of the newer version of RuneScape, the gameplay somewhere near League of Legends.
The controls are a handful to learn, but you get used to them and it makes for a fun mix of thinking and sometimes button mashing.
After a while, however, you keep seeing the same scenery over and over, even the combat scenes repeat, so that could use some work. The scenery that is available to you does look great -- I will definitely remember Masters of Anima whenever I will play similar games to this one. The amount of detail that the creators have implemented into the scenery is staggering.
What I expected, in the beginning, would be a great story with a British narrator, got bland a bit, but the voice acting does really save the day for me personally. The first boss battle made a very little impact, being the same as normal battles, but it was followed up with more challenges. The next boss battles require your eyes to be focused on every little detail to ensure that the victory is yours.
It's a great game, which lacks on story
What it lacks in story and scenery variation, is made up for in the variety of mechanics. The high difficult doesn't mean the game isn't fun. It's a tough call to balance your guardians, and you need time to pick up the game mechanics and preserve your anima. The multi-tasking level is real, as you also have to dodge attacks to not get killed yourself.
You will need to go with good grades through the levels, being ranked on the number of guardians that have been destroyed, damage you took, and the time it took to beat the enemy. Do it well and get experience to rise through the levels and gain more skills to make your game easier.
This game will catch you off guard in the beginning, making you think of putting it down and leaving it until there's dust for months on it, but don't!
Yes, the game will give you headaches, but there's room for you to improve your skills as long as you're willing to and see through the repetitive sceneries.
If the creators can patch in more variations of scenery and widen the number of animations, this will be a game you don't want to miss out on.
Masters of Anima is available on PS4, Switch, and PC.
Note: A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for the purposes of this review.
Graphics - 3.5/5
Audio - 4/5
Gameplay - 4.5/5
Replay Value - 2.5/5
Total Score - 3.63/5
This review will be about the Motorsport Manager PC game, which is an expansion on the very popular mobile game, released by Playsport Games, and published by Sega.
I have played the base game for two seasons, then followed up by various mods, including:
ACE, FIRE and ICE mod.
When I bought the game, it had everything the former mobile game had (which I’ve not played) feature-wise, but included more tracks, more options to build out your headquarters and more features during the actual race weekend.
I will take you through my stories, after which I will discuss the gameplay more in-depth.
I wanted to know if this is the game out of all management games, to keep me hooked onto the gameplay, like some haven’t in the past, including Football Manager. They stretch too long and it takes an enormous amount of time to load and advance through the game if you want the full experience. You also get bored from the constant events hurled at your face.
I started off in the normal game, and did two seasons with various teams, like Vélan and Steinmann. After a while, I thought: This is pretty hard, and not as fun as I thought it would be, with fictional drivers and teams. I want a challenge and I want the best drivers in the world to work for me. I want the best possible staff to build that ultimate car and win Championships. As a gamer and a person, you are looking for success.
I started looking for mods that were available, and I found the ICE mod.
The ICE Mod had a list of real world drivers in IndyCar, Formula 3, and Formula E.
That sounded like a challenge and a fun experience to me.
Who wouldn’t like a former F1 driver like Sebastien Buémi to also be as hot-headed as he is in real life, throwing temper tantrums and swear words to his colleagues, his assistant and you? Well, I do!
That is some kind of management you have to deal with in Motorsport Manager, with random events occurring.
I mostly played around with the mods I mentioned earlier, all of those made by the same people.
The ICE mod was a lot of fun, as I played with the Formula E cars.
I created my own team, (which you can create with a free DLC) Blight Racing Team, which struggled in its first season.
Aware as I was, I didn’t spend a lot of money, but I gained a lot from the sponsors. It all paid of in the second season, by expanding the headquarters before the end of season 1.
Every component nearly got the best available part, and that led to a lot of podiums and even victories.
I then moved on to the IndyCar series to manage the team of Chip Ganassi, in which I won the constructors championship, but got fired the following season for poor results.
The cruelty of motorsport in two years time, perfectly shown.
How did that happen?! Well, I won the championship and I decided to upgrade my headquarters, so I would get better components for the next season.
Usually, you save up money during the season to get that money during the pre-season.
Boy, did I forget, I put that level of input down due to the low level of sponsors the team had in the first season.
I got to the selection of components, and we were are able to buy components… the lowest level. I exited the game, counted to 10, rebooted and moved forward. We came last for three consecutive races. I developed parts in-season thanks to new sponsors, but we didn’t get the result that was needed for me to stay hired. Chip came to me and said: “Sorry kiddo, but your time is up. Get your stuff, clean your office and I’ll see you outside in an hour.”
That is how I got hired and fired in the span of two years in-game time.
Now moving on to the newly released endurance racing, a new experience in Motorsport Manager.
The teams in the normal game are very competitive and close in racing. The two classes will compete for an overall victory, but much as in real life, the second tier cars are no match for the speed of the Tier 1 cars.
In the short race option of 90 minutes, expect a weekend to take up from 50 minutes to one and a half hours, depending on how much detail you put into your work. I have not touched the middle or long length races for time reasons.
Then brought in the form of the FIRE mod, showcased the actual World Endurance Championship, with its LMP1 and LMP2 class cars, and the GT series.
With my own team and no resources, I was a backmarker for season 1, and barely got moving to the midfield in season 2, after which I retired with no victories and 1 podium, coming from a string of retirements.
Endurance racing is not for me in the game, nor in real life. I like quick paced action and especially a race where overtaking happens a lot. Endurance racing is for those who like to stay up 6, 12 or 24 hours to watch a parade of cars, and hoping a top car breaks down and underdogs win, seeing some unique crashes and overtakes, or fans of a specific driver, brand or team.
Therefore I was looking for another challenge, and I found one, moving over to a place across the big Atlantic Ocean, to go to the country of dreams, the United States of America… again.
The ACE mod was the third mod released by the same modders for Motorsport Manager, and I’m still playing it to this date. It’s refined in its database, with a vast expanse of real life drivers, teams and leagues, and takes everything on that is mainstream racing in the U.S.A.
Having to start all the way down from the Pro Mazda Championship in open-wheel racing is tough.
All teams have 4 spec parts out of a total 6, meaning parts that all teams have the same and will not be developed. I decided to go with young talented drivers, and hire them for a reasonably low wage, because as mentioned, the first season makes no sense.
I made sure to look at the drivers statistics, and there were some young ones that developed at 300% to 500% of the normal rate, meaning they are wonderkids.
Jordan Cane and Todd Gilliland were excellent choices from season 3 onwards.
Young, low wage and excellent drivers. Currently being in third in the constructors championship, 18 points behind the leader feels good.
The gameplay is all in your hands. You literally take the team by its hands and lead it.
You hire the staff that help in development, you hire the drivers and pit crew.
The financial management as well as headquarter construction is yours.
Once the race weekend comes, you decide which driver gets the better parts fitted to his car, depending on how his/her morale is, compared to the team mate.
The option is also there to change rules via voting in the board, called the General Motorsport Association in-game, for the upcoming season.
Part development is something unique. You get to choose which traits will be added to parts. You can choose to go for performance or for reliability. You can also later update these parts by having the staff work on it during the time you are not racing.
Drivers statistics will level up, based on random aspects, but also based on how good your HQ is. If your HQ has a well developed test track, drivers will be learning quicker how to handle a car. Beneficial, until you have to work on a new contract.
Always keep contracts in mind when you’re looking at your financial management.
Before travelling to the race, you might also have to select a sponsor to showcase, based on the type of sponsor contracts you have signed, either direct money, or a fixed amount and potential bonus per race.
You have a practice session to figure out the right setups, fit the right traits drivers have learned (like less wear on parts during the race, faster in the race etc.).
In qualifying, if you dare, you can set how fast the drivers have to go in their warm up lap, to heat the tires and brakes. You can also set this automatically by the way.
In the race, you manage how much drivers push the tires and the temperatures, as well as the fuel amount they can use. You have a weather radar, so you can predict if rain is coming and thus the right time to make a pit stops.
Deciding how much fuel the car needs and which tires to go on, is a thrill feeling.
If you don’t win by a second, retire the car or crash out, it sucks.
If you win, then there’s this awesome feeling that you made sure this win happened.
The control is in your hands, take it and you shall succeed.
The gameplay in Motorsport Manager is good, but can still be enhanced with new tracks, new sudden events happening and more features to play with.
Throughout the year that I’ve had with this game, endurance racing, GT racing and other free updates and DLC’s have been added, such as pit crews and the option to create your own team.
The developer really tries to keep the fans to keep on playing, possibly looking at a sequel.
The sequel for mobile gaming has already been released, but I think the PC game still has more to offer.
Mods will allow you for a more real life experience, but whatever you choose, you can definitely play the game for a long time, which levels the gameplay time/price relationship to a very good level.
Gameplay rating: 8/10
Graphics rating: 7/10
Gameplay time/Price: 9/10 (€34,99 on Steam, DLC’s: €7,99 per piece)
Total rating: 8.5/10