I told myself that I would come back to Anthem a bit after release. I guess part of me really wanted the game to succeed. As I stated in my initial review, the game had so many things going for it. I loved the combat mechanics and the way you traversed the world. There was just a gaping hole when it came to content. Additionally, the loot system was, for lack of a better word, trash. With six months of work, could the team at BioWare improve Anthem and finally shape the game into something that could compete with other games in the genre?
Before I begin, I would be remiss to not mention the Kotaku article that delved into the development of Anthem. Touching on everything from the developers not being familiar with the Frostbite engine to “stress casualties”, it seemed like it was a less than conducive workplace environment. Combine all of that with a far from stellar release and you have a recipe for a serious lack of motivation. Bear in mind that I’m not calling these devs lazy, far from it. I think anyone would find it difficult to find that spark given that series of events and environmental conditions. And now, after seeing the result of the first six months of post release work, I’m worried that the game is on Death’s door.
So what’s new? Between release and current state there have been several quality of life improvements. As an example, players now have the ability to swap equipment during missions. Yeah, that had to be patched in and that is a small part of the bigger picture. Things like that simply have to be there at launch. Another example would be being able to launch a mission from anywhere in Fort Tarsis. This is huge because you still can’t sprint there which means you spend more time walking around that could be spent in the action. Alright, now I’m getting mad.
Let’s change gears for a second. So what about the loot? Well, it’s still not great. It’s been overhauled a few times since release, occasionally making it worse. I think it’s in a better place now but I still seem to repeatedly receive duplicates. And sadly, there still isn’t a large variety and many of the stat bonuses still seem a bit underwhelming. Maybe it’s just bad luck on my part. I doubt it, but it’s possible.
Now to the meat and potatoes, the endgame content. A new raid was added post-launch but it wasn’t much different than the old raids honestly. More recently, the Cataclysm event has taken over the game and aimed to be the first major step in the right direction. It added a new, albeit short, story line that can be completed in a few hours along with new freeplay events and a new currency. It also added a new raid and raid boss which essentially acts as the final boss of the new story line. While I was able to play by myself throughout the story, once I made it to the last mission/raid, I was forced to team up with some random people. With zero communication and no idea what was actually happening, it looked more like four small children lost in a mall running into walls and other objects. It was time sensitive so when we finally found our way to the raid boss, we had a whopping three minutes to defeat it. We didn’t. It was at that moment I could see my time with Anthem slowly and painfully torn to shreds by a giant swarm of angry grabbits. I was finished. It was embarrassing.
This is an industry where you have to strike when the iron is hot. You have to. More and more, you see these types of games released incomplete. Sometimes they claw and scratch their way to relevancy, sometimes they fade away like a fart in the wind. Anthem, I’m afraid, is going to be that fart. I need to step away, maybe forever. It’s not like I’m lacking in games to play. Listen, given the conditions, it’s a small miracle the game even made it out on the scheduled release date. I wish it hadn’t. I wish they could have had more time. I’m sure they do too. While I stand by my original review, I can’t recommend getting back into the game right now. Maybe in another six months, but I’m not holding my breath. And unless something drastically changes, I don’t plan on sticking around to find out.