“And Don’t Call Me Baby!”: Anima: Gate of Memories (Power Hour Review)
It was 6 years ago when I ran into a big, crude-talking, anthro-pomorphized penis shaped gun (in)appropriately named Johnson in Shadow of the Damned and I thought that video games had reached an all time low with offensive sidekick/weapons in video games…until now. I have to admit that I was excited when the opportunity to review Anima: Gate of Memories came up because it seemed like something that I would want to play. It’s a third person, RPG with an art style that is reminiscent of Fire Emblem Fates (which I enjoy and am currently playing the mobile version, Heroes) and it had a female protagonist.
Before I get started let me say that I fully expected Anima to be over the top with swaying hips and jiggling boobs because it reminded me so much of Fire Emblem, but these hips and boobs were just bad. Not only were they heaving more than jiggling, but it was as if they were using jiggle physics from a decade ago and since the protagonist is female we get to see a lot of these physics at play. (I would guess that the graphics engine feels so dated because the game had been in development since 2014 and originally released in June of 2016).
The narrative of the game is a bit cloudy at best. It seems that we are playing The Bearer of Calamities who has been bonded with a monster fighter, Ergo, who is encased in a magical book, but who will fight alongside her in a party type system where the characters appear (and fight) one at a time. The Bearer and Ergo are a part of a secret society called Nathaniel that is charged with protecting the world and as the game begins they are on a quest to retrieve an artifact, a magical book called the…wait for it…Byblos, that was been stolen by “The Red Lady” who is hellbent on doing evil. On the surface this story is no worse and in many ways no different than most stories of games in the genre, some of lore was actually quite fascinating and this was not especially surprising as the game’s creators were also the authors of a series of novels that take place in this universe. But the delivery left a lot to be desired, the voice acting as absolutely painful. The cadence was stilted and forced. It was if we were getting a first read through from a voice actor who was simultaneously translating to English.
CW: Minor spoilers, rape, and general misogny
Heaving breasts, undulating bodies, and bad voice acting aside, the worst thing in this game was the pure sexism. Ergo is an asshole. He constantly calls The Bearer “baby” in a creepy and completely sexualized way and at one point early in the story when they Ergo and The Bearer awaken after being knocked unconscious he tells her that he has keep the enemy away from her and prevent her assault at their hands and then “jokingly” adds but not at his own. This kind of language from Ergo is not reserved for The Bearer. In the first hour of the game alone we see Ergo sexually harass no fewer than 3 female characters, including the founder of the order that they represent (and coincidentally the woman who banished his ass to the book in the first place) whose “ass” he apparently greatly desires.
The year is now 2017 and rape jokes are not now (nor were the ever, nor will they ever be) funny so why are writers still throwing them in for an attempt at cheap laughs?
So the big question is despite the problem of sexism and dated graphics (we are reviewing the Beyond Fantasy Edition which launched on March 21st of this year). Was the fighting system at least good? I wouldn’t say good, but I would say tolerable. It has potential and it might improve as the game continues and more weapons and skills get upgraded, but I was not holding out any real hope for that to be perfectly honest. In short, Anima is not the game for me, but based on it’s lore (and the fact that some call it the spiritual predecessor to Nier) it may be a good fit for someone else.
NB: We received a free code for a review copy of this game, but it has in no way affected our review of it.