I guess I missed the initial hate boat, but must say I’m happy I did as I’m finding the ride quite pleasant.
So after my awesome wife decided to spoil me with Anthem I was eager to get stuck into it, noting that this was quite a few months after the initial launch date and the little I followed from launch reviews etc, people really seemed disappointed. But not really listening to this I wanted to make my own opinion on the game as this was something that I was really amped to play as the concept behind it all just looked so awesome, and I must say from the 70+ hours and counting I’m putting into it is keeping me entertained enough to carry on(even though finished the main story)
Again I find myself teaming up with my cousin whom i normally end up playing and discussing these random “hated” games with, we both seem to be enjoying it right off the bat. This somewhat feels like when “The Division” was launched and received the same amount of hate/negative reviews, and actually ended up being quite an awesome game(after some tweaks granted) that is providing quite a lot of hours worth of entertainment. I can honestly say I will spend a good amount more time playing Anthem trying my skills in the crazy difficulty modes on offer after completed the game because enjoy the challenge and what the game can throw at you, keeping in mind the game also rewards you for the grind too. But also I did not mind starting the game over with my cousin, where some games after you play it you can’t wait to see the tail end of them, where with Anthem I can say I’m having a lot – if not more fun now that have another Javelin in the group that makes life easier, and allows you to explore a bit more and not miss as many things when fly solo (that might be one of my few gripes I will get to later in the review and yes sadly there were some).
The Main Protagonist and the NPC’s
My love for character development and forming that bond with characters was luckily satisfied with Anthem to an extent, starting off as a rookie but being thrust in a battle where you are set up to lose, with losses left, right and centre you get that shock to the system of what will wait for you at the end of your journey before even started. That at least helped in your preparation and upgrades in the Javelin you will end up choosing to pilot at the end of the day that suits your play-style, I stuck with the Ranger as i felt it was a good balance between being able to take a few hits and also delivering some heavy punches when required. But in the end you will find one that will suit your style, they made the Javelins varied enough in order to suit a lot of different players and styles, but when you have the privilege or option to team up with someone sporting a different Javelin it is amazing how they all compliment each other in the various conflicts you will engage in.
Gameplay and Map
So down the nuts and bolts of my experience, the combat and response of the Javelin is quite smooth and you sometimes have a bit of a “clover+leaf+period” manoeuvre going on with one hand as you try and trigger combos, but whatever command you trigger with your Javelin it will deliver in a smooth way and that aspect I loved. Combat is quite intense especially when you are flying solo so those elements could possibly annoy some people, but if you keep grinding and learn to pilot your Javelin even better you will be able to handle whatever situation you run into. The game does not hold your hand a lot when it comes to teaching you how to pilot and use your Javelin, it will give you the basics and you have to grow into your Javelin, something that I appreciated funny enough as you stumble through a lot of things in the beginning and then figure out what works better and what not and thus you really become so intertwined with your Javelin. The map was not massive but it was big enough to keep you circulating and exploring the vast amount of interactions at your disposal on the map, also sadly your Javelin is not the best long distance flyer so in that respect I appreciated the map not being overly big for a change, knowing in Rage it was a big complaint for me. It all boils down to the quality over quantity to which some games sadly can’t strike that balance. But keeping with Anthem I feel they definitely struck that balance, some complaints I might have would be that I wish they gave you the option to either take a leisurely stroll in Fort Tarsis or at least allow me to sprint from one point to the other, that could get on your nerves a bit as you feel like it takes you longer to travel in the fort than it does flying from one point of the map to the other, and with the amount of conversations one has to have at one point and them being scattered all over the fort that got a smidge annoying. Then the load times for public events, this one is a bit of a grey area complaint though, as I think that is sadly due to the lack of players on any server at any given time, and the time you spend waiting feels like it never ends until the game finally decides okay no one is going to join the public or Cataclysm event so let me just chuck you in solo anyway, but like I said I think if the player base was bigger it might be a different experience.
The story was quite well thought out, although also sadly a bit rushed, but at least it allows you enough time to get into it but does leave you wanting a bit more once finished the game, which was a bit sad especially after it was Bioware to name a few that had a hand in creating this game, and they have made some real gems in the past with stories that could and still blows my mind. So there they might have missed the mark for me just a bit, but not enough to make me uninstall the game and never look back, just leaves you with a yearning feeling like you have some unfinished business that needed to take care of. Other than that the characters were also quite well thought out and you get that sense of connection from interacting with them and learning more about them (also very limited sadly) which at least means you feel like you are fighting for a purpose and that you want to make a contribution to the improvement of the Fort in general. I would have loved if you could get more in depth with the relationships you could form with NPC’s but then I am just a sucker for those elements in general so think that will also be a want no matter what game I play. But they did at least give you enough to wet your lips.
It’s a fun game, one I will definitely lose a lot more hours in for sure, the concept is great and I am keen to see what they do to improve the experience in the future. Although as i’m typing this i am watching a review on the studio planning to hold all future updates and just have a skeleton crew working on the game with no real concrete information on what plans they have for future development. If you have a few mates who enjoy getting lost in a game and spending a day grinding in a different way (not the normal building an apocalypse friendly base while scavenging for resources) this is definitely a fun game to do it in. But again this is my 2 cents worth on it, there seems to be a lot of negative everything around this game so if you are still unsure do as much research as you can, maybe rather watch “Let’s Play” videos so you have running commentary on the game while the person plays instead of watching a review where they just show the bad, or on the flip side the good. I sometimes find “Let’s Play” videos more effective in selling a game than actual reviews which I have voiced my dislike for in my introduction.