The Average Gamer

Anomaly 2 Review (PC)

Anomaly 2 - 3
Being a turtle strategist by nature, I love tower defence games. You formulate your plan and wait for the foolish enemy to rush heedlessly on to your defences. Anomaly 2 from 11bit Studios is not a tower defence game, it’s all about the mad Soviet-style offence. The storyline leads you through a few training missions as you would expect, and then out you go into the cold, hard world to face the machines standing in the path of your convoy.

You play Lieutenant Lynx, running around on the ground, hurling repair fields and other toys from a range that grows steadily as you work your way through the story. These are vital, not just occasionally, but constantly. Your various vehicles take a hell of a beating, and your devoted attention is necessary to get them any distance at all.

In addition to the repair fields you get a targeting indicator to ensure your men aim at the necessary turrets of a cluster, a distracter field which pull the turrets away from your chaps until it’s destroyed, and a very localised field that turns turrets off until they’re fired at, and all these field generators drop from dead turrets, so have to be collected. This, along with the equivalent of Jamiroquai’s garage with a vehicle for every occasion, are the tools you use to work your way through the storyline version of single player.

The graphic design is simple and effective, the route map is useful and quite good for strategising the best way through the field. Many routes are just dead ends, literally, and careful switching of junctions and convoy sequence is necessary. This game cannot be saved at will, but there are checkpoints that can be revisited to save the game which is a nice feature. All the vehicles have two modes, one generally for short range high damage fire and one for more specific use. Ordering these vehicles in sequence is one of the two main tactics you will need to master to reach the nirvana of the next world screen.

Anomaly 2 - Map viewAnd here’s where my problems lie with this game; the second tactic, the actions of Lieutenant Lynx. On the whole Anomaly 2 is quite fun, and very furious, but with your commander having to actually be in place to lay a field token, distract turrets to pointing the wrong way, pick up the necessary dropped tokens and also scouting to identify the best route through what possible clashes are coming up, I found myself sprinting madly from one section of the map to the other to perform the above tasks. And then I found myself sprinting back to watch my units die in unexpected hot spots or because the ambush turrets were attacking the rear of the convoy.

After the tenth attempt to get past the same point, you can forgive yourself for wishing to get to the end of this map even more than the story characters do. I think a huge improvement would be the ability to pause the game in recon mode, so you can peruse the immediate path ahead to work out moves, but this is only really possible in the overhead map, which lacks a certain amount of detail to plan with.

In summary, this game is the illegitimate child of a tower defence game and an FPS. You need quick reactions and fast planning to beat this one, and the patience of a saint to reload your save over and over and over again while you try to find the tactic to beat some hellish corner.

Anomaly 2 is out now for Windows, Mac and Linux.

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