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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