Anthem (PS4)

Anthem, a game from Bioware, has had an immense amount of pressure put on it to be a successful title. Bioware are known for creating memorable games and after the success of both their Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises, their new IP, Anthem has had gamers hopeful for something just as good.

That hope however was quelled somewhat after a dismal beta period shortly before launch. Thankfully though, the final game resolved some of the beta issues and what we currently have is a work in progress affair that isn’t a massive train-smash. Anthem is a pretty fun game right now but it could be great a few months down the line. This begs the question though, should gamers opt in to playing the game now or should they wait until all the problems are finally ironed out? The answer will depend on your level of patience and what you’re willing to invest in right now.

In Anthem, players will take on the role of a “freelancer”. Freelancers are pilots that make use of “Javelin” exoskeleton suits to defeat enemies and earn rewards in the process. The storyline in Anthem is sci-fi based and monsters and humanoid creatures alike feature throughout. The main story will take you around 15 to 20 hours to complete and is quite enjoyable.

Players familiar with Bioware titles will be slightly disappointed with regards to the story. Bioware have attempted to craft a fictional tale with some form of choice woven into it as with their previous games but ultimately, many of these choices made by players will still boil down to the same linear events. The choices you make therefore don’t hold that much value and feels rather superficial to say the least. This may be a case of the game focusing too much on its MMO-esque aspects and less on its core single player elements but it would have been better to see more substance given to your specific choices.

Gameplay in Anthem is where it excels. Piloting a javelin is an absolute pleasure with the exoskeleton making you feel like a superhero at times. Note that we said “at times”. This is because of the fact that the game’s difficulty can ramp up exponentially at points and crush you in some missions should you not be careful.

Players will be able to run, jump and fly with their javelins as well as shoot a range of weapons and employ special abilities too. There’s are 4 types of javelin available and after selecting one type, you’ll have to level up to unlock the rest. The javelins available are the Ranger, Colossus, Storm and Interceptor. Each of these Javelins looks and plays different to the others. Each having their own unique special abilities and strengths and weaknesses. Bioware nailed this part perfectly since specific javelins will be more suited to specific missions and this encourages teamwork in missions. Additionally, each javelin can be customized quite extensively with everything from weapon loadout to the colouring of specific armour panels being able to be changed.

Bioware’s greatest fallacy in Anthem however lies with the fact that the game suffers from far too many loading screens. While a title such as Destiny 2 has everything accessible from easy to use menus, Anthem confounds matters with far too many loading screens. Going from customizing your javelin to a mission should definitely not take more than 5 minutes and sitting through extensive 2 minute long loading screens will induce fiery rage in gamers that want to get to playing immediately. The mission types available in Anthem are varied and the random events that occur in the open world segment of the game are interesting enough to keep you entertained.

Graphically, the game is absolutely gorgeous with EA’s Frostbite 3 engine delivering a stellar visual experience in all aspects. There is a discrepancy in what was presented by Bioware at the game’s original E3 reveal and what the final product showcases but overall, Anthem still looks beautiful and draws you in with its vibrant colours and luscious game world.

Anthem’s lack of endgame content to keep you around and the current loot and reward system that isn’t exactly optimal is a crippling blight on an otherwise really enjoyable game. The loading screens mar the experience and unless Bioware are able to fix this somehow I don’t see Anthem being as successful as its peers in the genre. The severe game issues where Anthem would literally break PS4 consoles after crashing have been resolved but this is worth mentioning should the problem arise once again in the future.

Currently, Anthem is in limbo, doing some things right while failing miserably at others. Should you have the patience to get through the main campaign and have friends to play the endgame content with, Anthem is definitely worth picking up. Giving it a few months more development time will certainly see the game improve drastically but it’s by no means a bad game. It’s fun, and one day will live up to its high expectations.