So, Anthem. When it was first announced there was Audible excitement from the team, this was going to be a game that would generate hours of fun. One year later, we all have the game and we have barely played it.
I’ve spent a fair bit of time playing through the game but currently I’ve no real desire to jump back in. It’s a beautiful game and the environment is stunning, whether you are flying your Javelin through the huge waterfalls or exploring your way through mysterious caves you can’t help but appreciate the effort that has gone into the world. It was much bigger than I thought, and there is lots to discover with plenty of collectibles that add to codex entries for further reading.
Despite the beautiful world it’s an absolute pain to navigate, with no way of marking a route getting to locations further afield is a game of trial and error, it’s quite hard to distinguish where gaps in the environment are to fly through and using the map isn’t a lot of help either.
It’s a real shame because Bioware have nailed the flight and movement of the Javelins. It brilliant how well they interact with the environment, flying for too long overheats them but you can counter that by flying through waterfalls, flying low across water or taking huge nose dives which all cool you down allowing you to fly for longer. It can be frustrating that your javelin overheats so quickly but you are able to add components that slow the overheating down.
There are four types of Javelin that you can unlock at different levels in the game, each have their own unique abilities and when teaming up with other players have a mix of classes will help you overcome the enemy more easily. The weapons all feel solid but enemies can be frustrating as even weaker enemies feel like bullet sponges. Destiny is still the level of gunplay I would hope for but this is a way off. The weapons at your disposal don’t feel special and certainly aren’t memorable, I bet you could reel of your favourite loadout from Apex Legends right now, but ask you to do the same with the guns from Anthem and I bet you will struggle.
Each javelin has a few abilities that can be used against opponents and with some experimentation they can form a combo that can disable a stronger enemies shield of destroy a group of opponents. It’s a shame that the game fails to tell you anything about this however. Over time your Javelin will be loading up an Ultimate that can be useful when fighting bigger groups of enemies. The Ranger, for example has a barrage of missiles that lock on to multiple enemies, it’s annoying that if you activate it at the wrong moment (it’s easily done) you can cancel it, instead your chance is wasted and you’ll need to wait for it to reload.
Customising your javelin is pretty simple and this can all be done in the Forge. It’s here you can edit your appearance, customise your loadouts and add components to your javelin that increase garage to grenades or increase the amount of time you can fly before overheating. Of course items can be crafted or bought with in-game coins or real money shards, thankfully Anthem seems to be quite generous when it comes to collecting coins as you explore, if you can’t wait however shards can be purchased through the store.
So what about the rest of the game? Let’s start with the story, it certainly isn’t the worst one if I’ve come across but it follows a very similar path, there is a world changing item that everybody wants but the bad guy has it and you need to find a way to get it back. It was an interesting enough story to keep me interested and it was backed up by some great voice acting, I enjoyed hearing some British actors in the cast and I’m a big fan of the games Music.
Each mission, or expedition you go on can be tackled alone, or with up to three other players, matchmaking is quick and generally you’ll get matched with similar level players. There are daily, weekly and monthly challenges to take part in as well as plenty of side missions too. You can take part in freeplay which lets you explore the world and take part in public events to earn more XP and loot. The trouble with the public events is that they are pretty boring, and you never know when they are going to arrive. It’s clearly something that will get better over time as the world evolves but at the moment it’s a struggle to enjoy. Strongholds are the toughest Expeditions that Bastion has to offer, they are a great challenge, it’s just a shame there aren’t many of them currently. It’s here you’ll start to get access to the some of the games higher level gear. When you reach endgame, you’ll start to get hold of some of the best weapons in the game, but again, to get them you’ll face ever increasing challenges where the variety is minimal.
BioWare have addressed many issues in the game already, but they have plenty of work to do if they want to win their fans back. We all know what Destiny was like when that first came out and it is a much better game now, but this all feels to common for gamers currently. I’d find it it hard to justify paying up to £60 for a game that will eventually get better, I really hope it does.