Ok, cards on the table… Here it comes… Confession time: I like Anthem. I get the criticism, I really do. The lore is opaque, the loot is dull, the systems for tracking quests and equipping gear are clunky at best and the loading screens… oh god, the loading screens are awful.
I also agree that underneath all the rubbish is, potentially, a real gem. A diamond in the rough. Why? Because the actual gameplay is superb. Flying your Javelin (think Iron Man armour) through the world is a thrill, the combat is excellent and the game looks gorgeous. Hovering about the battlefield in my Storm Javelin (Mage), I get a glorious view of the Colossus (Tank) and Interceptor (Rogue) working their way around at ground level, as the Ranger adds support at close quarters or range. Once you get your head around the combat it’s a treat. Each mission lasts around ten or twenty minutes and it’s done. Alternatively you can explore the world at your leisure.
Then it’s back to Fort Tarsis where you switch to first person mode to speak to characters and accept quests. Here it’s a completely different pace. Hectic combat replaced by slow exploration and in depth reading of the lore. It’s the complete opposite of what’s gone before.
And that, for me, is why it works.
I have limited time to game and so I need something that will work with both my time and what I want to play. Some days I’m in the mood for a few short missions, other days I might want to zone out and fly around to explore. There are also days when I want to immerse myself in the world and its characters. Anthem allows me to do it all and as a result we really suit each other.
Despite all that, I’m not going to recommend people jump in and buy it. I just can’t. Yes, it works for me but taking a step back I know it’s not a good game overall. There are so many things that need work, and if you want a mission-upgrade-mission-repeat scenario you’re going to lose your mind over the loading screens and inaccessibility of it all. It’s a game that the majority will lose patience with very quickly unless BioWare and EA address it.
It’s something I take no pleasure in saying either. It feels so much like it wants to be The Division or Destiny and yet hasn’t learned from any of their mistakes.
So, Anthem. Do you love it or hate it?