A seemingly disastrous early access, with infinite loading screens and lag galore, Anthem is a game that overcame almost everybody’s early expectations.
The game is set in Bastion, a land inhabited by the omnipresent ‘Anthem of Creation’, and you are a Freelancer, a member of a highly regarded mercenary group that battle Cataclysms (which bring forth masses of enemies). There are four ‘javelins’ to choose from which are essentially highly personalisable mech suits that serve as the games’ classes.
These are: the tanky Colossus, the assassin Interceptor, the soldier Ranger and the devastating Storm. Each javelin is incredibly different in combat and design with different abilities and ultimates as well as completely different playstyles. In missions, you are plunged into teams of four and you must coordinate and cooperate to complete objectives.
The cooperative PvE nature of the game is different and the absence of any form of Battle Royale is refreshing.
As for visuals, the game is pretty much perfect. Both the landscape and the javelins themselves are stunning, with underground caves, waterfalls and even the ability to fly underwater. The main story can be seen as lacking, but I didn’t feel this as I tried to complete as many side quests as possible. Through the impeccable voice acting and compelling storylines, the majority of side quests did not feel like a waste of time and I even felt extremely connected to a particular story involving bread. The combat system is unbelievably fluid and the ability to reach high combos is very useful.
Additionally, the characters of Anthem are incredibly diverse, a word which I feel is becoming synonymous with the EA and BioWare brand. There are microtransactions for in-game currency called shards which are used to buy purely cosmetic items but you can accumulate a lot of shards through completing daily and weekly challenges.
The main story can be seen as lacking, but I didn’t feel this as I tried to complete as many side quests as possible.
On the other hand, Anthem’s end game content is a bit of a grind. After completing the story, you can carry out Strongholds at higher difficulties to acquire masterwork components which buff either your javelin, your weapons or your abilities. This grind of strongholds can potentially ruin the experience of the game as the strongholds themselves become repetitive, and fighting the same enemies/bosses over and over again can end up being boring. There are of course still bugs but there are a few upcoming patches to hopefully fix these. One note I will make is that the UI looks incredibly similar to Destiny 2 which is something that bugged me a lot.
So overall I would say that Anthem is a fantastic game. It may not have lived up to every one of my expectations, and the awful early release did not help with my anxieties at shelling out £60, but all in all, I think it is worth the price. The cooperative PvE nature of the game is different and the absence of any form of Battle Royale is refreshing. The fact that there is no sense of ‘pay to win’, but rather ‘pay to look really cool’ is another smart move on EA/BioWare’s part.
Whether Anthem will be a game remembered in a years time, is a question that only time will tell.