|a game by||BioWare|
|Platforms:||XBox One, PC, Playstation 4|
|Editor Rating:||6.5/10, based on 2 reviews, 1 review is shown|
|User Rating:||9.5/10 - 4 votes|
|Rate this game:|
|See also:||RPGs, Third-Person Shooter Games, Origin Games, Looter Shooter, Games Like the Division|
Starting development in 2013, BioWare set out to create an online-multiplayer co-op action RPG experience to compete with similar games in the industry such as Destiny (Activision 2014). The studio had dabbled with online-multiplayer within their games in the past, but never to the extent they had planned for with Anthem. The entire multiplayer experience would be accompanied by BioWare’s famed storytelling, memorable characters, and third-person action. When Anthem launched in 2019 on the PC, PS4, and Xbox One; the world quickly realized that this endeavor to create the perfect online-multiplayer co-op action RPG experience may have been more difficult than originally imagined.
Anthem of Creation
When you start your journey, you’re introduced into a beautiful, dangerous world. Humanity has been surviving in small cities, but not thriving. Luckily, these survivors have been protected by freelancers who can pilot metal suits called Javelins.
You play as one of the rookie freelancers who joins a team of veteran freelancers. As you play through the story missions, you’ll learn that your main antagonists are the Dominion, an authoritarian faction that is seeking Shaper relics. These advanced technological relics are what hold the power of the Anthem of Creation, which is this magical energy that humanity understands very little of.
Now that we have a good understanding of the setting, we can dive into the story - or lack thereof. For a game designed by a legendary studio known for their epic tales, Anthem will fall short of capturing your mind and heart. Part of this is due to the fact that there is a lack of choices that alter the course of the narrative. Choices are what make you invest into BioWare stories so deeply, but Anthem doesn’t go down that route. Along the way, you’ll meet charismatic characters such as the veteran freelancer Haluk or Faye. Their performances are quite compelling, but the story that surrounds them is unfortunately cookie-cutter. It’s a been-told tale of an evil faction that wants control of an energy source that has untold amounts of power. Once again, this harks back to the aforementioned comparison of another online-multiplayer action-RPG – Destiny. We’ve been here before and it’s nothing new.
Kick the Tires and Light the Fires
Luckily, you’re in for a treat at first with the gameplay of Anthem. If you’ve ever dreamed of flying around an open world as Ironman, this is most likely the best version of that. Even compared to recently released The Avengers (Square Enix, 2020), the experience of launching off the ground and firing into the air takes a while to get old. While flying, you’ll need to maintain your Javelin’s temperature by flying near water and taking breaks, but it doesn’t take away from the unique experience of living life as a flying metal warrior.
Tied to the flying is the combat, which is equally rewarding – at first. Equipped with two primary weapons and three primary skills, you’ll sometimes feel like an unstoppable flying, war machine. You’ll be learning new skills and looting new equipment as you play through the game, with some of that equipment adding various boosts to your stats such as damage, shields, or pickup range. The skills you learn depend on the Javelin you choose. Those skills might be a new bubble shield to protect teammates or a new missile barrage that does extra damage if you’ve frozen the enemy. In regards to the Javelin suits, you have the nimble, melee focused Interceptor; the hulking Colossus that eats damage for a living; and the all-around Ranger that is focused on all areas of combat. Each of these Javelins offers a unique playstyle, giving the game a bit of replay-ability, which is something this game needs badly.
Built to Impress, Not Last
This brings me to the root issue of Anthem – content. The game is built to be a live-service game with continuous content updates for players so they can feel rewards for their investment in the game. However, this just never came to fruition. Since the game’s release, there has been a slow drip of content and patches, but BioWare has yet to add any brand new, major content to the game outside of the game’s first Cataclysm (new dungeon).
If you’re looking to live out your dream of flying in a mech suit, shooting napalm missiles and slamming into the ground, this just might be the game for you. However without new content to look forward to, the game just isn’t worth playing once finishing the surprisingly shallow BioWare-told story.
- The most fun you’ll have pretending to be Iron Man in a video game
- Great performances by the cast, shadowed by a shallow story
- Addictive combat at first, although it does get repetitive quickly
- The story is forgettable and is told through mostly boring and repetitive missions
- The world feels empty when flying around as there simply isn’t much activities outside of the story missions
- Long loading screens and connection issues still plague this game years later