I must say, ever since my PC died and I got a really good laptop, all I have been playing is classic oldies - Go Figure! I finally completed PS:T, but that is not what I am here to talk about - though I could at length. My most recent conquest was Ion Storm's classic Anachronox. Anachronox has appeared on my radar a number of times through the ages, about 6 years ago I bought a disc version and I'd ignored it ever since. Most of the times you will find someone talk about Anachronox it will be in lists such as "The 10 Greatest Games You Never Played!" and it has featured in the PC Gamer (UK) top 100 games consistently for a decade and I will spend the rest of the review telling you why without Spoiling anything (I hope). Background Anachronox is best described as a Cyberpunk east-meets-west RPG. Anachronox is set on a shifting artificial planetoid inside of what is best described as a Dyson's Sphere. After a brief cinematic you will find yourself in the role of the down on his luck Private Detective Sylvester "Sly Boots" Bucelli. The initial plot of the game seems rather mundane, but the way you interact with the world and the way things are not too serious (initially) make it fun. In the course of the game you will explore different planets, with a lot of unique and very funny settings. The game has three difficulty settings. The Easiest setting allows you to save at any time and lets you do more damage and take less damage from enemies. The Normal setting only allows you to save at time minders (which are basically checkpoints) and you and enemies do normal damage to each other. The Hardest Setting is purely for masochists as you will constantly get your ass handed to you in the early stages of the game and the limited number of saves at checkpoints, some will find contemptible after a while. Gameplay Anachronox uses a mixture of real-time exploration and turn-based combat. Navigation is by keyboard in a similar way to most 3D games and the game uses an over the shoulder type camera. You interact with the world using your Life Cursor, which rather uniquely is also your secretary. One of Anachronox's main issues is the lack of a proper journal system. Only main quest objectives have a written reminder. There are a lot of side quests and it is often best that you do them as soon as you can as some are content/time sensitive and for others you may forget who you were doing the quest for. Sometimes it can be unclear also, what exactly the objective was and in order to find out - you will have to go back and talk to them again. There is little-to-no inventory management in the game and each character will have unique weapons and upgrades related to them. On level up you do not choose new skills and all your attributes level automatically. How good a skill/stat is shown on the character page with a progress bar and the different stats relate to: Beat: How much damage you dish out Beat Block: How much damage you can absorb or avoid Bouge: This is for how quickly your special attacks will charge and the chance of an enemy avoiding them. Speed: How much time you wait between turns. The turn based combat can be pretty slow going at the start of the game, but as you progress, new attack options and more challenging enemies make it very tactical. Later in the game a magic system emerges with the possibility of creating more powerful abilities and this is a very enjoyably aspect of the game. One of the major negatives is that you will have to revisit areas you have been to before and will have to fight your way through the standard monsters each and every time, which is nice a low levels to milk XP, but later can be a little bit frustrating. Boss battles are one off encounters that require special tactics and produce some of the best moments in the game. There are also some excellent quest related mini-games that only enhance the enjoyment of the game - which is refreshing considering how many modern games handle mini-games in a rather ham-fisted way. It is also quite refreshing that there are long swathes of the game where there is little to no combat and the game feels more like a point and click adventure game, with some genuinely fun puzzles. It is a game that rewards you for exploring and talking to everyone. You will often have to talk to people more than once to get good information out of them or get a quest from them and if you return later, they may reward you for things. Party Anachronox has a party based system, over the course of the game you will control 7 characters and you will find them by progressing through the main quest. For exploration and battles you will have to control a party of 3 at a time and it can be important as to who you take with you as there are character specific plot points or different situations that require different character skills. Each character has unique World Skill which will be required at various times for rare items or to progress the main plot. When you use a world skill it takes you to a unique mini-game for each character and for the most part these are fun. By far the most annoying is the lock-pick mini-game for the main character, but that is mostly because you will use it most often. Graphics Okay by the standards of today, Anachronox is pretty ugly - but in the same way that Deus Ex and Thief are ugly. But the graphics and lack of character models etc are very easy to overlook. Sound There are fully voiced cutscenes and the voice acting is very good and the dialogue sparkles with wit and humor. The musical score really holds the game together, blending seamlessly into the background and never becoming annoying. Conclusion In many ways I want to tell you more about it. I want to tell you all about the parts that made me laugh, I want to tell you about the times I cried out in frustration, I want to tell you about the wonderful grand scale of the plot or the fantastic twists it takes. I want to go in depth at the satirical pot-shots it takes at popular Science Fiction, Comic Books and Politics. I want to tell you that the longer you play the game and the more the game absorbs you, the prettier everything in it becomes. I want to tell you, it will invade your dreams. I want to tell you that there are consequences to seemingly minor things. I want to tell you that the companions are amongst the best I have ever come across ever in an RPG - they pull right away from the typical 'Bioware' henchman formula that is so common. I guess I have told you a whole bunch of reasons to play the game and I will leave you with some advice... you need to play it for at least two hours to be hooked. Some negative points I need to mention: As a Private Detective a number of side quests involve taking photographs - there is a bug, where sometimes you will lose your pictures when you reload the game. This can be very frustrating on the Normal or Hardest Setting. There is a bug right at the start of the game that can be fixed by exiting the game and reloading your last save and trying again. Finally This game stands up there with BG series, PS:T, KOTOR etc as one of the definitive games of the genre. Anachronox holds a very unique place as there are few other games like it and once it has drawn you in you will want to play more games like it - of which there are none. Anachronox never fails to impress you and has one of the best climaxes ever - and after you play it you will think "Shit! Ion Storm did this better 12 years ago than most developers have since!"