Anthem Has Potential, But is Seriously Lacking at Launch

Jack DeGonia ‘19

EA and Bioware’s newest game, “Anthem”, provides a fun game with very little content. Despite having satisfying and intuitive controls and a decent story, once the story is finished the player has next to nothing to do.  This, accompanied by exceedingly long load times, provides an average experience in a game that could be great.

“Anthem” provides the player with four suits of armor to unlock and fly, each with its own playstyle.  This makes the game feel interesting and fresh throughout the course of the main story, but after each is unlocked, the gameplay becomes very stagnant and repetitive.  While other similar games such as “Destiny 2” and “Warframe” have a multitude of high-level activities to challenge the player after the campaign, “Anthem” has only one that doesn’t even have a higher chance of providing useful items.  Currently the most effective way to receive high level drops is playing, but never finishing, a single mission on the highest difficulty. This mission isn’t supposed to be part of the endgame, but of a character’s story, causing some players to not resolve their interactions with said character.

A poor endgame could be overlooked if the story was outstanding, but it’s only average.  It does have a few twists along the way, but it has an otherwise straightforward plot. The story is tied to the world and the people, but the character interactions don’t carry enough weight to make the player truly care about them.  The main campaign attempts to teach the player to work with others by constantly throwing around the line “Strong alone, Stronger together,” but I found myself only caring about my character and a couple minor characters by the end of the story.  There are options to interact with various characters throughout Fort Tarsis, the game’s central hub, but the player can skip these interactions, allowing them to get back to playing faster at the cost of character development.

“Anthem’s” stunning graphics, courtesy of EA’s Frostbite engine, come at a cost.  The exotic landscape of Bastion (the world “Anthem” takes place in) takes upwards of three minutes to load in with a wired connection.  This problem becomes even more evident while running on wifi with load times over 30 minutes that, more often than not, can not connect to EA’s servers for “Anthem”.  I was able to connect to the servers for another EA game, “Battlefield V”, but was still unable to connect on “Anthem”. The connection problems specifically for EA’s “Anthem” servers don’t bode well for the producer’s track record, or their investment in the game.  Bioware, on the other hand, has already come out with multiple updates to improve quality of life for the players, and balancing loot drop rates with more to come as they find solutions.  

While “Anthem” provides one of the most unique and fun movement systems I’ve experienced, it still needs a lot of work before it can truly begin to compete with other similar games that have been around longer.  But before that can happen, the developers need to fix multiple game-breaking bugs that put a halt to gameplay.

 

Grade: C

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