The Theft Protection

Myths and Facts About Identity Theft

(grand music)
– (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.

100 thoughts on “Anthem Review

  1. Man I really appreciate the honesty of this review bc I'm a fan of the game but it's been getting trashed by haters. I'm the first to admit it's got some issues but I'm really hoping to see improvements made and that it doesn't die bc of all the "it's not Destiny" haters.

  2. After the Kotaku report it's weird being here lol this e3 2017 demo was fake as hell lol 😅🤣🤣🤬

  3. This game had 5 years of pre production and only 16 months of actual development… let that sink in

  4. Too bad none of what they showed at E3 is in the game…oh, and it's littered with bugs. Total fail from Bioware.

  5. Now hear me out IGN do a review on anthem when the next content drop comes (this month) and see whats changed

  6. You CAN Get your money back for this title. Just contact EA support and have them send a confirmation email to you saying the game does have known glitches and that they cant process a refund and that is handled by whatever platform marketplace you purchased it on.

  7. I thought this game was the game that I can finally say "THE FUTURE IS GREAT" but after the game releases I say "WHAT? IS EA HIGH?"

  8. I did enjoy the game, it's so beautiful and the combat isn't bad. The probs I have no is the end game isn't there. Just the same thing over and over again isn't my idea of fun.

  9. Well. Then unlike Destiny I'll wait until this hot mess is ordanized and polished up before I even think about dipping my toes in

  10. my like is for the video not the game.
    we need to hack their game again. for people who bought it. it's a waste of money

  11. Hmm…

  12. I love this game. I love building up my fort and the scenery and graphics are amazing. I recommend this game on Xbox one

  13. This game is a total ripoff of Destiny, except it's switched, in that, in social areas you have a 1st-person view and in the playable parts of the game, it's 3rd-person. Otherwise it's the exact same gameplay, surprised Bungie hasn't sued.

    I'm not saying this in defense of Bungie or Destiny, not a fan of either. But I played enough Destiny with friends on their request, to know that that's all this game is.

    Why bother?

  14. I just bought this for £19.99.. now at home watching this review and debating whether I should take it back before I open it or not 😎

  15. Really wanted to try this game. I mean mech suits… where can you go wrong…. please ….plz dont mess this up….oh wait… darn.

  16. It’s you know it’s garbage..and this definitely many problems too many to mention..3/10..Awful gameplay..Server Down regular..long loading screens..enemy appear suddenly on top of you..etc.etc

  17. I bought this game for 75% off but somehow I still feel I got robbed.

    Ridiculous load screens, can't customize advanced settings in the menu unless you start the game, horrible optimization and performance, damn.. the game have so much potential and it's been months since its release but not so much progress. The devs may have given up on it.

  18. I really hope this review is wrong I just started playing it right now as I'm typing this maybe this is one of those games with a low score but actually better then criticized

  19. So much changes happened after the time of release. My friends and I literally have over 200 hours of playtime just for the post-Cataclysm update.

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