Thursday, May 23, 2013

Anomaly 2

Like predecessors Anomaly: Warzone Earth and Anomaly Korea, 11 Bit Studios’ Anomaly 2 turns classic tower defense upside down. Instead of fortifying a base with turrets, cannons, and soldiers, Anomaly 2 places you in command of the incoming horde. Armed with a combat suit capable of setting up decoys, detonating EMP pulses, and healing units, you'll be tasked with leading a convoy of tanks, armored mechs, drones, and mobile labs through hostile territory, blasting through metallic alien defenses to clear roads or liberate important objectives.

As the third entry in the series, Anomaly 2 has firm command of the game’s basic conceits: Missions, friendly units, and enemy types are varied and work well together, and the large maps are flexible enough to support multiple play styles. For example, enemy Chargers are vulnerable to missile attacks, and if your squad isn't equipped to handle them, you can call in new units on the fly or avoid the fight altogether by changing the convoy's route.
With new waves of enemies spawning and objectives changing mid-battle, playing Anomaly 2 often feels like putting out multiple fires at once. Quick hands and good timing are often as important as critical thinking and sound tactics, and Anomaly 2 addresses our biggest gripe about its forebears: Lieutenant Simon Lynx has never been easier to control. Getting through Anomaly’s long, arduous missions is satisfying, but suffering a loss – or worse, a game crash – after 20 minutes of chipping away is frustrating, especially since the difficulty ramps up significantly toward the end of the campaign.

Anomaly 2’s story mode is a prelude to its new, intricate multiplayer mode, which pits a convoy (a "Squad") against a player-controlled alien installation (the "Towers"). The defense-oriented aliens play more like traditional tower defense or real-time strategy games, as you must gather resources, create chokepoints, and unlock new towers to succeed. While multiplayer matches can be difficult to find, dedicated players will find a fast-paced affair with the nuances expected from the genre. The campaign mode is great training for Squad players, however the complex Tower mechanics suffer from a lack of tutorials or a single-player component.

The bottom line
. Anomaly 2 improves on earlier games in the series and puts enough spin on the tower defense genre to attract new players and veterans alike.

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