A start full of misfires
Let’s fire up those boosters and check what Anthem gets right. The open world and the Javelins look fantastic and absolutely gorgeous, even on my standard PS4. The level of detail even surpasses Red Dead Redemption 2, in my opinion.
From small animals flying around, to huge beasts, the rivets on your Javelin and overgrown ruins, the open world part is clearly where the focus was on getting the design just right. In addition, the music is a great composition for every situation and captures the atmosphere of the world and every situation perfectly. Last, but definitely not least, the suits control super smooth and if you ever wanted to feel like Iron Man, then this is the closest you can get without actually having to build a suit.
This is where the positives end and the game is on a steady decline. The question that covers all the issues that Anthem has is “What audience are you trying to cater too?”.
The story is easily predictable and poorly written and dialogues range from fine to this is bad. Which is not helped by poor casting choices, that are too recognisable with characters the actors have played. Most notably Jack McBrayer, Joe Lo Truglio and Kristen Schaal.
These actors make me feel like I am talking to the annoying guy of 30 Rock, the weird side-kick from Brooklyn 99 and the type cast annoying girl and not a character that lives in this world. None of their dialogue is compelling and feels more like a thing to get through, so that you get the few fraction points.
Seriously, a Godfather reference? Does that mean this world is what lies in our future? I am 35 and get the reference, but most Anthems players are in their teens and have never seen that movie.
I also have to mention calling the main shop keeper “Prospero”. Really? Like a shop owner who wants to be prosperous? Was Shoppy McShopface taken?
Some of the clothing design choices also seem to come from “Dude they need to look futuristic and helmets are so sci-fi. “ Clothing still should make sense. Why are characters that are just standing around or do not have jobs that need specific protection wearing helmet where they cannot see, because their eyes are fully blocked? Or am I to assume that the helmets are the Anthem version of Geordie LaForges’ visor?
You clearly want to be a lootshooter, but make me suffer through various loading times after every mission AND I cannot do more than one mission at a time. So once I am finally back in Fort Tarsis and chose another mission, I have to wait again to get back into the open world to do it all over again. Maybe loose Fort Tarsis completely.
Let me have a camp somewhere in the open world and give me an option to have other players join my missions by letting me tag the missions I want to do by giving them a value and then matching me with players who have chosen similar missions and values. Drop-in/Drop-out is the way to go and eliminating load times. Take Dark Souls and its coop-component as your inspiration. The other players would still be able to appear with the emotes you want to sell.
The missions basically come down to fly to an area, kill everything in sight while sometimes guarding a thing. Broken up by having to collect bits or orbs which you have to bring back to specific area. That’s it and that is not enough to keep players engaged, which is the main job of a game like Anthem.
The difficulty settings also are oddly set. On normal it feels like you can solo all missions and hard only really gets hard when doing a stronghold, otherwise it just feels like it makes enemies take more bullets.
Anthem still is fun to play, because of the Iron Man feeling and the way the open world looks and feels, but unless EA/BioWare come up with a way to focus on what Anthem is supposed to be and use that to streamline the game I feel that Anthem will not see the end of 2019.