Anthem fails to live up to all its own fanfare
Anthem (PC/Xbox One/PS4), 4/10
Anthem truly feels like a game that was conceived in a boardroom. The old "by gamers, for gamers" chestnut is nowhere to be found here, as Anthem bears all the hallmarks of being seen as a cash cow first, and a game after.
Before delving further into why Anthem just doesn't hit the mark in a variety of aspects, something needs to be said on the issue of EA and Bioware. For a studio that produced some of the greatest games of our generation such as the Mass Effect series, Dragon Age and Knights of the Old Republic, it just seems such a shame that an outfit of such obvious regard has been so utterly gutted and spoiled by EA's involvement. The things that Bioware should be at least good at, such as world building and lore, are completely absent in Anthem. Upon their introduction, many of
Anthem's characters are initially quite charismatic and inviting, but it doesn't take long before they are ruined by Hollywood blockbuster-esque overacting and one-note performances. Anthem's gameplay - or, more specifically, gunplay - is actually quite solid for the most part. The javelin suits are easy to fly and the gunplay is snappy and vicious enough to warrant praise, but the whole ordeal crumbles when you are exposed to Anthem's world and progression systems. Credit must go to the developers in that they somehow managed to create a world that is simultaneously as dull and uninteresting as it is lush and beautiful.
The sprawling sci-fi expanse of Bastion never truly invites you to explore it's vast landscape as the only real incentive to do so is by completing hair-pullingly tedious quests doled out to you by the residents of Fort Tarsis - the jarringly dead walled city that serves as your character's main hub.
For a game so reliant on its roots in the looter-shooter genre, the actual loot in Anthem is certainly nothing to write home about. The distinct lack of Javelin suits present in the Day 1 release will surely leave a bad taste in the mouth of many who have eagerly awaited the long-anticipated release of this game. Another disappointing note is the lack of variety in weapon designs, with many - if not most - being simple reskins and recolours in lieu of novel meshes.
Anthem is an unmitigated disappointment, particularly due to the amount of fanfare generated in the years leading to its release. Sure, Bioware and EA are scrambling to right their wrongs with talks of "90 day roadmaps" and the like, but one can't help but feel that the damage is already done.