Anachronox Review

Anachronox is a game released almost 20 years ago now and is a game that many people may not have even heard of. Yet, it is a highly underappreciated title that serves as one of the best roleplaying and cyberpunk games of all time. Read on for our Anachronox review.

Developer: Ion Storm

Publisher: Eidos Interactive

Platform: Microsoft Windows.

What Is Anachronox?

Anachronox - Boots
Anachronox – Boots

Anachronox is a role-playing cyberpunk game that was released in 2001 and gained notoriety for its quirky humor and charming science fiction setting.

The game is set in the eponymous planet of Anachronox, a celestial body that is home to various space-age cities that are built upon artificial tectonic plates. The planet is distinctly divided into two areas – the northern sector is classy and chic, whereas southern Anachronox is ridden with crime and is more uncouth.

The game was well received when it was first released, and the depth and detail of the story led to comparisons with the Final Fantasy series. A sequel has long been touted, but there has not yet been any confirmation of an Anachronox 2 release date. Anachronox also led to a feature-length machinima film called Anochronox – The Movie, which one several awards and is well worth checking out.

The story, the characters, the humor and the setting are all top notch in this game. In this Anachronox review, we will lay out why it is still worth playing almost 20 years after its release.

Anachronox – Story

Anachronox - Story
Anachronox – Story

Anachronox follows the story of protagonist Sylvester Boots” Bucelli, a human who formerly operated as a pirate on Anachronox. After running into some trouble with the law, Boots now runs his detective agency from above a dingy, downtrodden bar in South Anachronox.

Throughout his journey, Boots encounters several allies, one of which is maverick recluse Grumpos Matavastros. Early in the game, Grumpos commissions Boots to locate a piece of MysTech – mysterious pieces of rock believed to have once belonged to an extinct alien race. Boots is then joined by his robot assistant PAL-18 and Dr. Rho Bowman as they have to escape the planet and learn the truth about the MysTech.

The story may sound deeply rooted in sci-fi and futuristic themes, and it is. But the best thing about this cyberpunk game is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. The game is fairly silly, with a huge dose of sarcasm and unconventional humour. This doesn’t detract from the immersion, though. In fact, the light-heartedness and casual manner of the game’s story help the fluidity of the plot and keeps you interested in its progression.

We don’t want to divulge too much of the story in this Anachronox review, as it would be a shame to ruin the enjoyment of what is still one of the best cyberpunk games available right now. What we can say, though, is that Anachronox
ends on a huge cliffhanger that will keep you pondering long after its completion.

If you’re enjoying this Anachronox review, you might also like our System Shock 2 review, another one of the best cyberpunk games available right now.

Anachronox – Gameplay

The Anachronox gameplay is very similar to that of Japanese role-playing games like the Final Fantasy series. You control a part of three different characters as they explore a 3D environment made up of space-age megacities and futuristic outdoor environments. The members of the party can be swapped out for different characters, all of which have unique skills that will come in useful at some point in the game.

Enemies are visible on the map and when players encounter them, the combat mode is triggered. The combat is turn-based and has a system similar to the Active Time Battle in Final Fantasy. Characters have an attack meter that fills over time, they can only attack once the meter is full. When a character or enemy’s hit points are reduced to zero, they have been defeated. Various items, such as MysTech healing rocks, can be used to gain an upper hand in battle.

As with most role-playing games, Anachronox features a level-up system that enables players to upgrade and improve the abilities of their characters. Defeating enemies earns experience points which can be used to augment different stats and attributes of the game’s playable characters.

MysTech plays a big part in this cyberpunk game. After a certain part in the story, the Mysterium Tech system enables the use of these in-game objects which are made up of eight different elemental colours. The MysTech can provide huge advantages in combat, inflicting devastating damage on enemies, healing party members, or removing status-effects.

Anachronox – The Good

Anachronox - Graphics
Anachronox – Graphics
  • Story: This Anachronox review has already mentioned how good the story is, but it’s worth repeating. This cyberpunk game really does have everything – suspense, humour, and hours of thought-provoking dialogue. It is clear that the story is the main focus of the game, whereas combat takes more of a backseat, unlike most role-playing games.
  • Setting: The cyberpunk setting in Anachronox is otherworldly and breath-taking. It is easy to get lost here. Despite being 20 years old, the game does a stellar job of creating futuristic environments and sci-fi settings that easily make Anachronox one of the greatest cyberpunk games of all time. It is a pioneer in the genre.

System Shock 2 – The Bad

Anachronox - Combat
Anachronox – Combat
  • Length: The game has hours of content and proved too long for some disgruntled critics who felt that part of the gameplay ended up becoming monotonous. Without wanting this Anachronox review to be too biased, though, I have to disagree. For me, the 30+ hours of gameplay seemed to fly by, and replaying the game is also an option due to the enormous amount of content. You miss important things the first time around.
  • Bugs: A few gamers have reported issues with bugs that make it unable to enter the final area of the game. It should be noted, though, that reports of these issues are few and far between, and we certainly never encountered any problems of this manner.  

Games Like Anachronox

If you’ve already completed the game and are looking for a something similar, there are plenty of other titles out there to try. Here are some more games like Anachronox:

  • Deus Ex
  • Final Fantasy 7
  • System Shock 2

Blog of Games Rating

Anachronox - Gameplay
Anachronox – Gameplay

You can probably tell from reading this Anachronox review that we are huge fans of this role-playing cyberpunk game. 20 years after its initial release, and this is still one the best cyberpunk games of all time. In this Anachronox review, we award the game an impressive 8.5/10.

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If you enjoyed reading this Anachronox review, you might also like our Resident Evil 2 remake review.

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