‘Anima: Gate of Memories is a third person RPG that tells the story of two beings bound by an unwilling pact, a legendary monster and a girl who lost her past. Forced to stay together, all take a dark turn as they both discover that both have been involved in a war in the shadows in which they will have an involuntary role.’
Anima takes us to a world known as Gaia, a place where medieval and magical fantasy elements come together which is reflected in the characters and the game’s world. The two main characters who we play as are The Bearer of Calamities, a girl who works for a holy order and Ergo, an ancient demon sealed away in a book who is linked to and must serve The Bearer. The majority of the game however takes place in a dreamlike tower known as Arcane in which areas of the tower change depending on who inhabits it. In our case, we have to deal with the tower changing to suite the environments of memories from creatures known as The Messengers.
Each area we visit directly reflects the memories of the Messenger we have to face within said area. This is also shown through the enemies as well which makes for some interesting gameplay, it allows you to have an understanding of the Messenger you are going to face without having to actually find anything out about them through notes. Despite this though finding notes written by the Messengers, or Memories within their areas must be done to allow access to the Messenger’s room itself. It also adds a bit of a puzzle element to the game with Memories often giving clues to the player for secrets and other things. An example of this is in one area you must match the names of key characters in a Messenger’s Memories to their respective paintings to gain access to new areas and even items.
There is a heavy focus on story within Anima. It isn’t intrusive with the main gameplay and is done really well with how it fits in with progressing through the game and rewards players who are willing to sit and pay attention to story elements since various notes and dialogue often give hints about the environment and how to pass certain obstacles. Players are rewarded for observation and general exploration anyway by often finding new gear or even characters which can help on the player’s journey. Each character is also done well with everyone having a story which is developed as you play. The Messenger’s stories are developed the more Memories you find and other characters are developed the more you speak to them and as the story progresses, especially The Bearer and Ergo.
The Bearer and Ergo, being our main characters do a lot of the talking and interacting since their stories are the main one’s being told. Each character has interesting stories but when it comes to their personality in game you really tend to not care about The Bearer too much. While the limited information on her and all mystery surrounding her is interesting she doesn’t really interact too much with Ergo, at least in the beginning which doesn’t really make it feel like these two characters are joined by a pact and support each other especially when a lot of the time she is telling Ergo ‘shut up!’ Ergo is the joker of the two and the more outgoing one. A lot of the conversations he’ll jump in and make comments but it very rarely gets annoying since a lot of his dialogue is well done and fits in with the cocky, immensely powerful monster personality that he should have. Also, the voice acting is decent in the game but once again, when it comes to The Bearer she seems like she doesn’t care. It feels like she just lacks overall with her presence in the game despite the important role she plays she was just ‘that second character’ to me.
Anima’s combat is done rather well; the use of two characters which can be swapped between at will offers multiple different options in battle but the main thing that really stood out was the ability to build Ergo and The Bearer separately. With a large skill tree for each character and all kinds of gear to equip, players can make multiple different play styles to suit their own. For example, I built Ergo as a melee focused character while The Bearer used more magic for applying buffs and hitting from a distance. All the different options available though allow players to make all kinds of combinations for character builds and skills which is great. The enemies are also challenging and each have their own weaknesses and strengths, well balanced and rewarding.