Anthem Review

(grand music) (explosions) – (James) I’ve played far
too many games like Anthem, an online RPG that only
makes good on its promise of meaningful multiplayer
gameplay and progression after you’ve labored through
it’s long-winded and repetitive story quests. Anthem’s end game is surprisingly fun since it’s already excellent
combat is reinvigorated by interesting loot and
challenging gameplay later on. Unfortunately, there simply isn’t enough of this kind of content
to make it worth the wait, and what’s here, is
inconsistent in terms of polish, clarity, and balance. Anthem, as it stands now,
is an adventure best saved for a later date. Anthem takes place on the
wild frontier of Bastion, a sprawling and colorful sci-fi expanse littered with aggressive wildlife. Encroaching enemy factions
and mysterious shaper relics that end up being little more
than glorified enemy spawners. You play as a Freelancer,
an altruistic mercenary who pilots a mech called
a “javelin” and subsists on the dangerous contracts
divvied out by the denizens of Fort Tarsis. This cast of Bohemian future
folk are generally charming and well-acted, at times
stealing the spotlight to deliver a heartfelt monologue. – (Character) That was
probably hard to say to my face, but I needed it. – (Narrator) I found myself
emotionally invested in a few of the characters, like the
prideful old warrior, Halec. But that said, my desire to
engage with the cast waned after it became clear that
the optional conversations were tonally out of sync with the events of the main storyline. Some characters forgot
that they were supposed to be made at me, while
others were still bitter even though I had smoothed things over in the previous expedition. Most of Anthem’s dialogue
delivered outside of Fort Tarsis seems to exist only to
justify the story pass maddening use of dull quest activities, like depositing shiny orbs
into a pool of ferrofluid, or standing on a capture
point for the hundredth time. (robotic speaking) Too many of the more varied
and interesting elements, like game-changing masterwork
weapons and worthwhile stronghold incentives, are
held back for far too long. The narrative portions of the
approximately 15-hour plot are delivered in lengthy,
barely interactive chunks every time you’re forced
to return to Fort Tarsis between missions. You’ll exit you’re javelin,
mute your voice chat and meander around the
eerily silent walled city at a snail’s pace. Only during two major plot developments does consequence finally affect anything beyond the gates of Fort Tarsis, pairing unique mission
gameplay with story elements in a meaningful way. But these glimpses at the BioWare of old dissipate back into your
regularly scheduled tedium as quickly as they arise. Anthem’s combat is initially
strong, engaging, and unique. Thanks in part to responsive
flight controls that feel good on both controller and mouse and keyboard. You can take off and fly and
will staying aloft longer if you make use of waterfalls,
skim across rivers, or take a nosedive to cool your jets. Its deft aerial maneuvering
transitions seamlessly into punchy third-person
shooting, accented by a suite of mostly fun to use abilities. And the fantasy behind each
of the four javelin archetypes is conveyed well with the help
of phenomenal animation work. Piloting a shield-wielding colossus into a lowly enemy scout, for example, felt like sandwiching a
balloon between and charging V-8 Mustang and a brick wall. There are a lot of spectacular moments, particularly when fighting
larger foes, and at times I found myself in awe of my ability to effortlessly execute
exactly what I had in mind. Of course, then end up feeling vanished in the frequent presence
of bugs and imbalances, like invisible sources of
damage, imprecise telegraphs, lengthy stunt effects and
missing combo triggers or legendary bonuses. The combat also plays its
whole hand within the span of the first few hours and
the proceeds to temporarily lose its appeal as you simply
grind to increase the numbers on your already acquired
gear variance and weapons. You won’t see much in the way
of new and interesting loot or enemies until you approach the endgame. And that’s a very long drought. Rarity means nothing early
on, as the extra stats are far too random and
insignificant to be useful and use annoyingly vague terminology. Weapon and ability balance
is a total crapshoot. The intercepter’s cluster
mine, for example, is inexplicably ineffective
most of the time. At these moments you’re
left with a choice: attempt to finish the
expedition with an apparently useless ability or abandon
it and suffer through an agonizingly long load
screen to change equipment. The inability to change
load outs on the fly is thoroughly felt here
and makes experimentation more of a dangerous deterrent
rather than a fun process of trial and error. The mechanical quality of
Anthem’s enemies is actually quite good. Most of which require a unique
strategy to beat efficiently, and all them send enough
projectiles your way to keep you constantly moving. But their variety in terms of quantity leaves a lot to be desired. You’ll see the vast
majority of unique enemies only hours in. The stronghold bosses and
one or two dominion baddies saved for later. The open world free-play mode is fun if a little light on variety,
but the three strongholds are my favorite content in Anthem due to their teamwork-inducing difficulty and mechanically respectable boss fights. Unfortunately, they too have
their fair share of issues. The boss of the Tyrant Mine can be bested in under a minute on hard difficulty, while the final encounter, in another spoiler-ridden stronghold,
took my party upwards of 30 minutes to defeat
on normal with no wipes. I’m all for marathon boss
encounters, but here the rewards didn’t match the task, and
while I love large bombastic telegraphs, like the
Ash Titan’s flame wave, the hit detection on such abilities is frustratingly imprecise. Whether the result of
an unusually bad latency or some other factor, the
“how did that hit me” effect only gets more punishing as you venture into the grandmaster difficulties, and considering that’s where the majority of the interesting rewards
are, it especially aggravating. Finally, there are are an
absolute enormity of major bugs that still need to be squashed,
including the numerous crashes and disconnects that I experienced during my 40 hours in Anthem. I’ve encountered far more
than BioWare addressed in the first patch, notably,
a bug where the game audio cuts out entirely until you relaunch, and the inability to rejoin
a stronghold in progress after disconnecting because
your spot is immediately filled. Anthem comes closer to
succeeding as a co-op action RPG than it does a story-focused
game, but only does so after a trying grind through its
repetitive main quests, and even at that, its standout elements like the flashy combat and
mechanically rich bosses, still have a long way to go
in terms of polish, variety, and balance. I hope that with time
BioWare can capitalize on its strengths and turn
Anthem into something worth investing all these hours into. But all the indications are
there’s a lot of work to be done to reach that point. If you enjoyed the review,
shoot me a follow on Twitter @ThuggnDuggn, and for more on Anthem, check out Six Changes We Want To See, everything you need to know
about its microtransactions, and 10 minutes of
grandmaster in-game gameplay, and for everything else,
keep it right here on IGN.

25 thoughts on “Anthem Review

  • November 15, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    bought this game for 10$ today

  • November 15, 2019 at 6:48 pm

    Is it still not worth it right now?

  • November 18, 2019 at 1:13 am


  • November 18, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    Anthem got a better score than death stranding so ima get it

  • November 27, 2019 at 6:48 pm

    Does anyone know if the game has improved yet? It's free on EA Access so I kind of want to get it.

  • November 28, 2019 at 2:57 pm

    laughs in warframe and destiny

  • December 3, 2019 at 9:46 pm

    LOL, a few months after launch Anthem is down to 10 bucks ( check unofficial )

  • December 6, 2019 at 11:21 am

    Best ign review I have seen for a long time… Favourite reviewer, wish you had done days gone

  • December 6, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    I got the game for £5 so 🤷🏻‍♂️

  • December 7, 2019 at 12:33 am

    Big disapoint

  • December 10, 2019 at 1:07 pm

    is this game worth the 5 bucks gamestop is selling it at??

  • December 24, 2019 at 4:54 am

    Another pathetically negative review by the IGN meganerd. These reviews are def not for the common folk. The 99% of game buyers.

  • December 26, 2019 at 6:40 am

    Just bought it for $5… keen to get my moneys worth!!

  • December 30, 2019 at 7:46 pm

    Warframe ripoff literally

  • January 4, 2020 at 7:17 pm

    Just play Warframe.

  • January 10, 2020 at 4:22 am

    6.5? More like -6.5

  • January 11, 2020 at 1:28 am

    Just play warframe and for a gift it's FREE

  • January 18, 2020 at 3:27 am

    You guys have to start rating your games with a bit of thought! This game was the worst game of the year by multiple reviewers; yet you gave it a 6.5? Meanwhile a masterpiece like A Plague Tale gets a 7. Do you guys just roll dice or what?

  • January 23, 2020 at 11:56 pm

    This got better than Alien Isolation, by IGN standards. Just goes to show that IGN cannot review games correctly.

  • January 27, 2020 at 9:05 am

    What’s the song in the beginning ?!?!?!?!!?

  • January 31, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    How is the game now? I have Origin Access and I'm considering downloading it

  • February 10, 2020 at 7:52 am

    Am I the only one that really likes this game

  • February 11, 2020 at 4:39 pm

    I knew from the very first gameplay trailer that this game was gonna do horrible. Sorry EA, destiny is still on top

  • February 11, 2020 at 10:41 pm

    Soooooo… Does it have a little something for everyone?

  • February 22, 2020 at 5:15 pm

    12 months later…..its exactly the same

  • February 26, 2020 at 7:39 pm

    Well this is interesting, it says this video came out "12 months ago," not 1 year ago. Is there like a little grace period between "12 months" and "1 year" in YouTube's systems?


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