Anthem Continues EA’s Streak of Disappointment

Reader Rating1 Vote
Fly By
It's a pretty world with interesting mythos
Real potential for an improved game
Crash & Burn
Not a game that can truly be appreciated on the PC
Despite new features, it still feels "same ol' Bioware"

Hype is entertainment cancer. And Anthem, like just about all of EA’s products, had hype in droves.

Anticipated for its enhanced graphics and expansive explorable terrain, Anthem was purported to be the next stage of story-telling and world building for the video game platform. Maximising cinematic camera work with their trademark character interactions, EA’s promise for Anthem to be something unprecedented was always a tad too good to be true.

And when pit against EA’s recent history–between Battlefront, loot boxes, Origin as a platform, their insistence on using DICE for every game–cancerous hype just seems to be setting the game up for a fall.

Unfortunately, the cynics may be right about this one.

Disclaimer: The review for Anthem was done on a PC and not on a console, which may improve the overall experience of gameplay.

But, for a PC, the cathartic experience of flight was little more than a novelty that was accompanied by far too much of navigational control needed. Which is a pity, because Anthem’s flight mechanics seem to otherwise be pretty interesting. Decades of superhero video games, and yet none have offered half as much as Anthem has had in the area of flight.

Sadly it still doesn’t do enough for the game—and further takes the concept for a drive by adding limitations to the flight.

Anthem carries with it the mandatory, arcane-flavoured world-building mythology which certainly creates the potential for an interesting adventure. Unfortunately slow-burn isn’t the greatest speed for video games that insist on expeditionary narrations at the start only to be followed by the world-building coming to a screeching halt so that you can learn how to shoot and jump.

Seriously, given EA’s efforts to establish the world of Anthem with a firkin’ trailer-styled short film by Neill Blomkamp, you’d think they’d build the game to as content driven as it is gameplay driven.

Recent games like God of War: Old Man Kratos, have achieved a balance in story-telling and gameplay focus by featuring elements built around character interaction and relationships. Ironically, this has long been a feature in Bioware games that has been given the boot for Anthem.

Ultimately, Anthem’s biggest failing may lie in its presumed strength: the multiplayer function. While much of its early hype and promise was about featuring intense multiplayer action.

This may have (inadvertently) led to designing very repetitive missions that were assumed to have been a unique experience when in the company of friends and fellow players. Unfortunately, not many games are interested in providing each other with diverse experiences, and the repetitiveness of the missions end up feeling like something to be dreaded.

Had Bioware chosen to first focus on the single-player RPG aspect, perhaps Anthem may be an actual standalone experience worth playing. But, for now, it feels like Anthem may need to pledge more resources to making this worth your time.

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