What Anthem Is – What Anthem Isn’t

After much hype and many millions of dollars in marketing, BioWare’s Anthem is here. Well, sort of. It’s technically “been” here for every Origin Access subscriber, but the day-one patch finally makes it feel playable.

For those of you that may have been watching from the sidelines, Anthem has made somewhat of a mixed first impression across players thus far. As fate would have it, the undoubtedly beautiful looter-shooter has some issues that need working out under its shiny and slick exterior.

And it is slick. There’s no shortage of places that you can look to see a painstaking amount of attention paid to detail – when it comes to the visuals, facial capture, and most (but not all) of the voice-overs. It’s with this in mind, then, that we can’t help but feel baffled at some of the decisions that BioWare has elected to include in Anthem.

Right out of the gate, the game thrusts you into an apocalyptic scenario that fails in conveying just why what’s happening is of significance other than “people are dying”.

It’s only until hours later that the importance of the event starts to come into the picture. And that’s not the only aspect that floats about in uninspired obscurity for the first little while.

True to the RPG genre conventions, many of the weapons and Javelin upgrades are downright unexciting. Being given an “LMG” that has the fire rate of a single-shot rifle with a caffeine high not only doesn’t feel good to use, it’s hardly effective out in the field.

Now, we fully understand that this is most likely merely a symptom of the genre and what occurs when we’re relegated to the lowest quality tier of weapons in the beginning – but it doesn’t help make it feel any less displeasing.

Anthem, thankfully, does hold a lot against that displeasure in the form of what it offers currently and the sheer potential that the game has.

Each of the four Javelin’s feels distinctly unique when compared to the others, and the world offers up plenty of opportunities for exploration and utilization of the Javelins – not to mention that every romp out in the world is dripping with a cinematic veneer that rivals most modern big-budget flicks.

If you though we’d spend the rest of this article praising Anthem, you’re in for a dour surprise. It’s frustrating, it’s disjointed, and it’s a sensation that happens far to often in a game created by seasoned industry veterans.

There is an entire laundry list of problems and potential fixes that we want to see implemented in Anthem, but some the ones that deserve to be highlighted and discussed strike as so mind-numbingly blatant that it’s truly baffling to see them included in a “finished” game that has been under development for years.

Loading screens that occur every 10-15 minutes of gameplay – and even more when you’re transitioning zones – are just a gross oversight. Coupled with the fact that once you’re in the game you’ve got the same repetitive mission structure to undertake over and over and over and… you get the picture. Suddenly, that sexy exterior begins to depreciate rather quickly.

If Anthem is the new sexy sports car out in the window, then buying it is the equivalent of the feeling you get when you drive your new Roadster off the lot and instantly feel it depreciate.

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