NeoGAFs Kent Brockman
The game received "average" reviews on both platforms according to the review aggregation website Metacritic. Richard Mitchell of Joystiq praised the Xbox 360 version's good vocal performances, well-designed characters and well-performed story, but criticized the limited combat, irritating matchmaking problem and lack of competitiveness in the multiplayer modes. Mark Walton of GameSpot praised the same console version's satisfying combat, but criticized the story, repetitive single-player missions, lack of fluidity in combat, disappointing visuals, repeated textures and environment, as well as generic character design as he described most characters as "muscular video game guys, or overtly sexualised females". Chris Carter of Destructoid praised the soundtrack as well as the huge variety of playable characters, allowing players to play in every playstyle possible. However, he criticized the lack of split-screen capabilities. He also stated that the combat would be nuanced, and a bit complicated for starters, but brawler fans should find everything they're looking for with Anarchy Reigns. Mitch Dyer of IGN praised the concept of the multiplayer, but criticized the frustrating mission design which leads to repetition, disappointing and weak story, inconsistent tone, empty world, as well as numerous technical issues, such as framerate problems and fuzzy visuals. Rich Stanton of Eurogamer praised the satisfying gameplay and the multiplayer, but criticized the camera and the fighting styles that despite being various share the same visual foundations. Bradly Halestorm of Hardcore Gamer praised the PlayStation 3 version's presentation and soundtrack, stating, "Hip hop inspired tracks play between missions in the open-world where you beat up random baddies to increase an overall score value used to unlock the next story or free mission." In Japan, Famitsu gave it a score of all four nines for a total of 36 out of 40.
Roger Hargreaves of Metro gave the PS3 version a score of nine out of ten and called it "An inspired reinvention of multiplayer brawling, that carves out a whole new action genre for itself and those brave enough to learn its ins and outs." Sean Bell of The Daily Telegraph gave the same console version four stars out of five and called it "an inventive, compelling online brawler, the likes of which you won't have experienced before. It is technical and spectacular enough that it accommodates both skilled players and those who just want to mash some buttons and watch the sparks fly." Todd Ciolek of Anime News Network gave the game a B and said, "If the best side of Anarchy Reigns may be short-lived, that's all the more reason to embrace it now. The mediocre single-player experience lacks the impact of Platinum's [sic] better works, but it's just a long and simple by-product of the richer multi-character clashes that await online. And when Anarchy Reigns hits that frenzied stride, few modern brawlers can compete." Mike Splechta of GameZone gave the Xbox 360 version 7.5 out of 10 and said it was "fun, frantic and filled with ridiculous characters and some awesomely bad dialogue, but this 'spiritual successor' to MadWorld comes up short when compared to other Platinum Games' hits like Bayonetta. Though for the asking price of $29.99, it might just hold you over until the next big rush of triple A games."
Luciano Howard of The Digital Fix gave the PS3 version a score of seven out of ten and said, "The single-player game is entertaining enough and full of replayability but the structure and narrative suggest it was an afterthought when the idea of a multiplayer only title, or the challenge of learning the game in an online arena, was deigned unreasonable." Paul Goodman of The Escapist gave the same console version three-and-a-half stars out of five and said that it "may not have an incredibly in-depth story and also has some nagging flaws that detract from its otherwise entertaining gameplay, but it's enjoyable enough to warrant a playthrough." However, Mark Langshaw of Digital Spy gave it three stars out of five, saying, "Developing a multiplayer-centric title is all well and good, but Anarchy Reigns could have been something more. Playing solo is a necessity for honing your skills and unlocking new options before you take the fight online, but those tight controls and enjoyable combat feel wasted during the hollow and repetitive single-player campaign."