Anima: Gate of Memories – The Nameless Chronicles isn’t just a mouthful, it’s also the latest release by developer The Anima Project, who previously gave us Anima: Gate of Memories. The game is out now on PS4, Xbox One, Switch and PC – we played it on Xbox One.
As you might have guessed from the title, this game isn’t entirely separate from the previous title, and it’s also not a proper sequel. Instead, it’s an action RPG with a plot that plays out during the events of the original game – yet this time viewed from a different perspective. The game’s protagonist is called Nameless, and if you played the first game you might remember him as one of the adversaries you went up against.
This doesn’t make Nameless a “bad” character, nor does the game give you the “dark” perspective on the first game’s proceedings. Nothing is that black and white in the world of Anima, and Nameless has demons on his own to contend with. An immortal, he is faced with a demon that he locked up a long time ago – and one whose release he must now prevent.
There are various parts where the story of The Nameless Chronicles intersects with the story of the original game, most prominently when you face off against the protagonists of that game – whom you used to defeat Nameless the first time around. The idea is great on paper, but the outcome of the battle doesn’t have a big impact on what goes on in the story. I did notice that The Nameless Chronicles gives more insight into some of the unanswered questions in the first game though, which is great for those who played that game but never read any of the tabletop books the series is based on. People like me.
Having played the first game prior to this one, it’s clear that the game world is supported by a ton of lore – and the story is excellent, even if the quality of the writing that is used to deliver it isn’t always up to that same high level. Part of that is the writing itself, and in other parts it’s because the voice actors aren’t delivering stellar performances.
Combat features heavily in the game, to the point where the game can feel like an action adventure (like Devil May Cry) more than it feels like an action RPG. There’s a good and diverse combat system in place, and upgrading gives you even more versatility later on in the game as well. I like that I didn’t have to switch between characters this time around, but The Nameless Chronicles certainly isn’t easier for it. Many of the enemies you face are tough cookies to beat, and that’s not just true for the boss fights.
It’s not just about combat though, as there is also a wide range of challenges and puzzles to overcome – which can come in different shapes and sizes. In some of them you’ll find yourself deciphering clues, while in others the solution is much more physical in nature. Getting around the game world is also a big part of the campaign, though Anima takes a few shortcuts in letting you warp to remote places rather than have you travel on foot. It’s an “indie” solution we’ve seen elsewhere, and it keeps the developers from having to create certain assets.
Speaking of which, the fact that The Namess Chronicles is an alternate take on the first game does have a big downside: many of the game’s visual assets have been re-used for the game, and with an original game that looked a bit dated back in 2016 that’s not a great sign. There’s a great soundtrack in place though, which music that transitions between soothing and sweeping effortlessly.
Most of my issues with The Nameless Chronicles stem from the fact that the game is pretty much an attempt at a AAA action RPG done by a small indie studio. To their credit, they’ve succeeded in crafting a fun game with an interesting narrative and fun combat, even if it’s a little rough around the edges. If you enjoyed the first game, then you’ll no doubt enjoy a second visit to the world of Anima.