STAFF REVIEW of Masters of Anima (Xbox One)

Tuesday, May 15, 2018.
by Kirsten Naughton

Masters of Anima Box art Have you ever wanted to take control of an army and make them do whatever you want? Look no further than Masters of Anima. Created by Passtech Games, Masters of Anima is an action real-time strategy game, where you play as the main character, Otto. Otto is a Shaper Apprentice and he wants nothing more than to marry Ana, the most powerful Anima Master of Spark. However, as per tradition, Otto and Ana cannot marry until he passes the trial to become a Master of Anima, so Otto must complete the trial of Shaping a Guardian Protector.

So, how does he do this you ask? Good question. Well, he must go to the Hall of Tribulations and meet with Master Jaku. While on the way to the Hall of Tribulations, you'll pick up some anima flames on the way. These anima flames are little green glowing circles that grant you the ability to summon guardians. Who are guardians? Another great question indeed, as these are the minions you will control. As for the scenery, the path you walk through makes it look like a forest-type area. Also, you have no map, which isn't a huge problem because the gameplay gives you generally a clear path to follow.

Ok, back to that "guardians" question. They are Protector Guardians (the first guardians you'll learn to use) that are armed with an axe, stellar blocking and resistance, and are top notch defenders in combat. They follow Otto everywhere he goes, kind of like a toddler or a puppy but a hoard of them. You can tell them to go to a location away from you or you can send a recall order to make them stop their current task and return. Isn't that cool? It's like your own small army of minions, and who doesn't like minions?

Some of the tasks that you can ask your guardians to do is move heavy statues, break through a rock barrier on the ground or attack an enemy, to name a few. Guess what though? All of that hard work defeating enemies and bosses is rewarded with, you guessed it, more anima flames. Anima is the fuel that the guardian summoning magic relies on, much like mana, so you'll need to keep collecting it throughout your adventure. No anima means no more summoning guardians. That means trouble if you run out, as all your guardians can die while you still have enemy guardians attacking you. You can have an army up to 100 guardians at a time, which if you ask me, is one heck of an army.

This next bit of the game is purely based on my personal preference, as I didn't enjoy the art style or enemies. The only reason for this is because both were slightly repetitive. You constantly walk into similar environments without much variety, and I'm someone that loves different scenery. Varying environments keeps me focused on the game and entertained without making the game feel repetitive by simply walking to room after room that just happen to have enemies that look like previous ones. I'm a gamer who is drawn to environments and graphics, so the more variety the better, and I am sure that I am not the only one who just may think like this.

As you play this game, you'll be given main story quests alongside some side quests. The side quests are simple, such as collecting flowers and destroying corrupt crystals. I mean, to each their own, and who doesn't love an easy side quest to gain some experience to level up? However, I found the side quests to be slightly bland, but that's just a minor nit pick. It's nothing that's going to ruin the game. Something I'd like also mention is that when you defeat enemies, you simply walk through to the next area. There was quite a bit of empty space in certain spots that left me feeling like there could have been something in the area to keep you engaged and focused.

So, what's the verdict? While Masters of Anima has a couple flaws, I believe this game is worth trying. It may not be my kind of game per se, but I know there are gamers out there that like DOTA-like games, and this has a similar feel to it. If you like strategy based games I would give this one a try. The story is good to follow and I didn't mind the the overall concept of Masters of Anima at all, even though it wasn't my cup of tea.

Overall: 7.0 / 10
Gameplay: 6.0 / 10
Visuals: 5.5 / 10
Sound: 6.0 / 10


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