The Anima series has produced a plethora of games and other media that has a strong fanbase and a pretty cool backstory. NIS America and BadLand Games released the latest installment, Gate Of Memories, last summer to some mixed reviews by critics, but fans seemed to enjoy the game much more than reviewers. In appreciation, NIS released a deluxe edition of the game this week called the Beyond Fantasy Edition. We got our hands on one and decided to break the box down and see what cool stuff was inside.
First off, you get the game. Our copy was a PS4 version, which came with a nice instructional booklet. Companies don't do booklets as well as they could anymore, and yeah, I get that it's a total cost-saving measure to put the instructions to the game inside the game and not give out any relevant information these days, but it's a nice touch that the nostalgia lover in me likes going back to. The game itself is the complete version and still supports remote play for those of you with a Vita.
Next, we have the soundtrack. A complete 25 tracks of music you hear throughout the game. More often than we like to think about, soundtracks are usually a miss for a game unless someone went to painstaking efforts to make it the finest it could be. I kinda enjoyed this one as it felt like a big production opera that had moments of tension and tranquility. I'm not sure about the jewel case, though—in an era where we're phasing out physical releases over digital, and where CDs aren't exactly prized possessions these days, a digital copy would have been fine.
Next, we have the tarot cards. You get a pack of 3" x 5.5" cards, 22 in all, featuring characters from the game along with a tarot-like rendition of what they would symbolize. I get the symbolism, I love the artwork, and I enjoy the fact that this was a nice little bonus added to the collection. However, these aren't shaped like your standard deck of tarot cards would be (especially with the sharp edges instead of rounded) and it's only 22 cards. A standard tarot deck has 78, 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana. Here you have the Major ones, but nothing else. They're nifty, but not really useful.
The next item is a framed piece of artwork. The one we received is of Bearer as she is bathed in gold light from the power in her hand, with a cool purple and back setting behind her. This one is pretty okay, as you can do whatever you'd like to display the art somewhere in your home. The downside is that it really isn't an interactive element, it's more decorative. But it's still cool.
The final piece of the puzzle is the Concept Artbook. This is a 52-page handbook that has stunning visuals of the characters and landscapes, including test art and diagrams of people to show how they came about and were eventually constructed. It's really cool from an artistic standpoint to see the evolution of a character like Bearer and see where she got her start, all through the changes and down tot the final product. Even seeing what appears to be rejected models. Art books are always cool add-ons for special editions, and this one is no exception.
In the end, this is a pretty decent edition. It may not be 100% perfect, there's some stuff in here that's way cool and other stuff that doesn't make sense to have, but I think it works overall. But, this is the kind of set you get for the fan who fell in love with the game with their whole heart. I could see casual fans looking at the box and holding back for a bit. I recommend it if you're obsessed with the series and this title in particular.