Many people were very excited for Anthem. Brought to us from storytelling masters Bioware, the downloadable game Anthem was going to be EA’s answer to Destiny. Bioware making a game like this was something many people thought was rather strange. However, Bioware and their storytelling abilities could be just what a “game as a service” like Anthem needs.
Have you ever played a game that right off the bat you really, really want to like and want it to be great? Well, that is the experience I have had with Anthem. There is so much potential here and quite a bit of good that you can see shine. The problem is this shine is coming through some pretty big cracks in the gameplay and overall design that make Anthem a little hard to enjoy.
While this is from the people at Bioware it is not as story driven as you would think. The story is about these people called Freelancers. A Freelancer is a guardian on this planet that was abandoned by the gods and as a result, is in a state of turmoil with monsters popping up all over the place. Freelancers are there to fight and defeat these monsters. The story is not all that interesting and the people you talk to most of the time are salty jerks and very unlikeable.
The core gameplay of Anthem is best described as a 3rd person shooter and it is actually very fun. You can run around the map blasting anything that gets in your way. The gunplay actually feels really solid and it is one of the better parts of the game. However, Anthem has one big hook when it comes to the gameplay and that is the Javelins. Think of these as like an Iron Man suit that you can wear,
are four different Javelins and each one has its own style. You have The Ranger which is kind of like an Iron Man suit. The Colossus which is the tank, Interceptor which is the more nimble one and then Storm which is like the game’s version of a Mage. Each one can have up to three special moves which you can upgrade and change.
The Javelins are an absolute blast to use and each one has their own “thing”. I loved Storm as using lighting to take down enemies was awesome. One other thing that is awesome is the way you can fly around the map in these things. It feels great, is easy to do and is one of the major highlights of the game if you ask me.
So what do you actually do in Anthem? Well, this is a loot fest kind of game. You go on a mission after mission, kill wave after wave of enemies, kill bosses and you do all of this to get loot. The loot is not all that interesting and you do not even find out what it is until you go back to the hub city after a mission! This is a very strange thing to make you do and it gets rather annoying after a while.
The missions are what you would expect in a game like this. You kill wave after wave of enemies before taking on a larger boss. There is nothing all that exciting to it and the little things like having to go back to the hub city and the insane loading times can make it a real chore to play sometimes.
Anthem is a game that is designed to be played with three other players, but you can just play on your own. The matchmaking is kind of odd and the game wants you to play with strangers it feels like. The problem with this is that while you can do some cool team moves. Most multiplayer encounters can be frustrating as the “leader” tends to rush ahead.
Other things like the cutscenes making the rest of your team disappear make the multiplayer aspect of the game feel rather odd. If you get paired with someone who is trying to speed run a mission, but you want to explore….. well good luck! This is one of the most frustrating things that can happen and I happened to me on more occasions that I would like to say.
Anthem is not a bad game and there is some good here. I really love the Javelins and as far as the Microtransactions go, I do feel that the game is fair with how it gives you coins so you do not have to spend real money. The game though just feels kind of flat, boring and unfinished. Yes, this is an ongoing game, but the launch product could have been more exciting than what we got.
- Graphics are fantastic
- The Javelins are really cool and look great
- Some of the best flying in a game
- Gunplay is far better than people are giving it credit for
- It probably is going to get much better
- Missions are rather bland and boring (as is the loot you get)
- Loading times are absolutely horrendous!