[How To is a recurring feature in which we demonstrate techniques designed to improve your game, and make your skill set more than a bit awesome. This time out, we’ll help you kick ass in Anarchy Reigns' Death Ball multiplayer mode.]
I have a new favorite sports game. It’s called Death Ball.
Never heard of it? Not surprising. Death Ball isn’t an annual, big budget licensed release that aims to be the digital representation of a real life competition. No, Death Ball is the very opposite of that. It’s one of Anarchy Reigns‘ many multiplayer modes and a decidedly “Platinum Games” spin on hockey and American football.
And it’s grand.
There are no skates, pads, fouls, or penalties for that matter, but Death Ball ranks up there with the likes of NBA Jam and Tecmo Super Bowl as an incredibly awesome arcade sports game. In Death Ball, two teams of four — Red Team, Blue Team — compete to see which faction can score the most goals in a 10 minute time frame. Matches start with a glowing, neon-green ball at the center of the playfield. The teams rush in to scoop it up so that they may place the ball in the opponent’s goal –either by running in with it or hurling it in — to score a point.
Both goals start off closed at the beginning of each round. A gauge at the top of the screen indicates how long each team has held the ball. When the gauge has filled beyond a specific indicator (about 3/4 of the way along the bar), the goal will open and allow players to score. Allowing the gauge to fill to 100% will allow the player carrying the ball to use their “Superstar Shot” – a powerful, damaging and difficult to intercept shot unique to every character.
The in-game athletes are cyborgs, freaks, and enhanced humans who make up Anarchy Reigns’ more traditional multiplayer modes, so carnage quickly ensues in a Mutant League Football-like way. Every move that your character has in the normal brawling modes is available in Death Ball, so you can chainsaw, shoot, and pummel opponents to death. Unlike Mutant League Football, death here isn’t permanent; if you die, you respawn 10 seconds later. 10 agonizing seconds later.
If you want to spend less time on the sidelines and more time destroying opponents, learn how to dominate in Anarchy Reign’s Death Ball.
1. Keep Your Eyes On The Prize
This is vital. Death Ball has a lot going on — a bouncing ball, sprinting characters, fights — so don’t get distracted. A big part of this is simply not allowing yourself to be goaded into unnecessary fisticuffing. Features Editor Gabriel Zamora and I watched in horror as a big-bodied team featuring Big Bull and Douglas attempt to pummel us into a loss by playing “jail ball.” The first minute or so, we were absolutely hammered at the “line of scrimmage,” but once we broke away from the pack and focused on scoring (unlike our opponents) we coasted to a 10+ point victory. Several times. Also, the mini-map on the bottom right corner of the screen is your friend. Use it to point yourself toward the ball and keep an eye on encroaching players.
2. A Worm Needs To Get Dirty
At least one teammate needs to play the goon. While it’s incredibly enticing to be your team’s Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman-like players are equally valuable. If you can thwart those who would bulldoze your squad’s ball handler, you are a vital asset to the team (although the game doesn’t track defensive stops). Tailing the ball holder allows you to do that as you can put yourself between a teammate and the opposition, and impede an opponent with an attack, combo, or throw. Staying close to the carrier also makes you an eligible receiver should your teammate feel the need to pass the rock.
3. Don’t Waste Rampage
Rampage Mode is particularly useful in Death Ball — it allows you run across the stadium virtually uninterrupted. This is true for the opposition as well, so save Rampage Mode for pinches, like when you’re overwhelmed by opponents, need to score that last-second goal, or want to stop another rampaging player. It’s important to note that Rampage Mode is not required to intercept a Superstar Shot, so don’t waste it for that purpose. Superstar Shots can be seized by opposing players who stand in front of and block the shot. Doing so will trigger a button-mashing event that, if successfully completed, will stop the shot and award that player the ball. You can see an example of catching a Superstar Shot at the 6:25 mark in the video above. Zamora catches the ball and proceeds to take it from coast to coast for an incredibly easy score.
4. Knock ‘em Back
If opposing players attempt to knock the ball out of your hand, a quick 360 attack (executed by pressing the light and heavy attack buttons simultaneously) will blow them off of you. Well-timed 360 attacks are key to helping you maintain ball position, particularly when you’re closing in on the goal.