I sat down with Anthem for the first time last week, the late 2018 turned 2019 punching bag from Bioware. I wanted to see if it was indeed everything everyone had said about it, and with it on sale for $12 it was an easy time to give it a try. I downloaded the game for my Xbox one, sat back and gave it a try.
First thing I should note is that Anthem is beautiful, everything has amazing attention to detail and the rendering is top notch. The colour palette is broad and you’ll find the lush world a true pleasure to just look at, a truely living world filled with an amazing amount of flora and fauna. The town you explore is full of life, buildings, and accessories; giving you that feeling that you are in a world that doesn’t need you to exist. You are a tiny part of the world not the center of it.
Next thing is that the controls feel good, it’s fairly easy to move around on the ground and in the air. There wasn’t a time when I felt like my character wasn’t moving how I wanted and even swapping between flying and hovering was pretty simple and intuitive. The weapons are easy to pick up and there are many unique variations that were fun to try.
From what I’ve experienced of the story and world everything is extremely deep and well fleshed out, the Javelins all feel like they belong in the universe. I chose the Colossus which felt great to play, the tank archetype of the game, all big explosions and power while the standard lacking of speed and reflexes. It had an appropriate weight to it’s actions; I really felt like I was a big bruiser as I tore through the enemy ranks. The world has all the hallmarks of being lived in for eons and there are lots of little things that they included which makes you want to learn more.
Unfortunately that’s something that’s come to be expected from a tripple-A studio using the latest technology, as jaded as that might sound. We’ve seen Bioware’s best and this just isn’t it. The game was riddled with bugs when dealing with AI, user interface, and there were some design decisions that made me wonder about why it was done the way it was. Even a year out I have to wonder how and why there are game breaking bugs in the tutorial. More than once there were issues with following the path indicators caused the game to tell me I was out of bounds and take me back to where I was, forcing me to repeat chunks of missions.
In the end it’s an ambitious game and I can definitely see what they were hoping to achieve even if they fell short of that goal. I’m looking forward to the reworking that was announced; I’d love to see this game when all of this is fixed and the experience matches that ambition.