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Sep 16, 2014

Anomaly 2 (PS4) Review

Lights Off
4 Awesome
Retails for: $14.99
We Recommend: $11.99
  • Developer: 11 bit studios S.A.
  • Publisher: 11 bit studios S.A.
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Strategy, Indie
  • Released: Sep 16, 2014

Originally planned for earlier this year, Anomaly 2 is making its PS4 debut after a slight delay. The result is the same game that released early last year, but for those who missed out, or have been anxiously waiting, are in for some visual splendor and a challenging game of tower offense.

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Tower offense. A backwards term that places you on the ground as the attacking force, in reverse tower defense. In terms of the story, you’re on the path to destroy these defenses because aliens have made themselves all too comfortable on Earth. And now it’s time to take the fight to them and eliminate the anomaly. The short story and forgettable characters are merely there to carry things along from location to location. It’s forgivable because the gameplay is just so rock-solid.

The gameplay is enhanced by use of the controller. While there is nothing specific to Sony’s DualShock 4 being put to use in any meaningful way, directly controlling your commander with the left stick is really satisfying. On PC, you could use the mouse or WASD keys to move around, and while that worked well and was generally smooth, analog controls just make it feel that much better. But like my experiences with the original game on PS3 and Xbox 360, selecting an ability and deploying is still problematic. You press ‘X’ to open up a sub-menu for deployables such as repair, decoy, and others you gain along the way. Hold in the direction of the ability, then press ‘X’ again to use it. All too often, I didn’t hold long enough and the ability would not be activated. And in the case of needing to repair a unit, is too late, and resulted in an unnecessary death. It is something you can learn to deal with, but it never feels right.

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Completing a level awards you with points and medals awarded in proficiency with ruthlessness, efficiency, and swiftness. Each category has a gold medal that can be earned to be enhance your score. These add up to a global score that compares you against your friends, and then the world. Playing each level on a harder difficulty increases the multiplier that’ll increase your score.

Multiplayer was not able to be tested in the pre-release environment, but it looks and acts the same as it did on PC. You’ll have the option to play a proper tower defense match against a real, human player who then plays the more traditional Anomaly by trying to best the defender with a powerful offense. It’s tactical warfare for either side, and a game of trying to stay a step ahead of each other for the victory.

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Anomaly 2 for PS4 is virtually identical to the PC version in almost every way, the only thing noticeably different is the way in which you control your commander. The visual parity is absolutely stunning. If you’ve played this on PC, there’s not a huge incentive to purchase again unless you want the comfortability of your couch and direct control. If you’ve yet to play this series, or want something different for the still, very fresh PlayStation 4, you can’t go wrong with 11 bit studios’ clever twist on the familiar.

A pre-release PS4 code was provided by PR for review purposes