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Anthem is an online multiplayer role-playing game developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts. The game was released worldwide on Febuary 22, 2019 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows.
The protagonist, a freelancer, is a member of a group who will leave civilization to explore the landscape surrounding them. This landscape has many technological relics that humanity has little knowledge about scattered throughout. These relics contain an energy source known as The Anthem of Creation. Some of these relics are unstable, and can cause large amounts of destruction known as Cataclysms. The Monitor, one of the leaders of an evil Imperialistic faction known as The Dominion, wants to use the power of The Anthem of Creation to reshape the world in his and The Dominion's image. After their encounter with The Monitor, the Freelancers are tasked to stop him and The Dominion.
Why It Sucks
- It's an Online-Only game which, unless you play on PC, requires a paid subscription just to play the game. Also, if you don't have a solid internet connection, which this game requires a lot of, then you're basically out of luck.
- The game is just an uninspired, generic, and repetitive loot shooter without a lot that stands out besides the Javelin mech-suits, but even then, the novelty of controlling them wears off quickly.
- Like some service-based games, the game launched with barely any content and repetitive shallow missions that get boring very quickly while claiming that "more content will be added later", even though it's already full priced and full of microtransactions.
- A large amount of the promised "new content" was delayed. Reports state that it's unclear if they'll be released at all. Later, the entire roadmap of promised content was deleted. BioWare would later announce that they have discontinued the updates included on the roadmap, confirming that some of the "new content" will never be released. Instead, they will add "seasonal" updates to the game.
- Uninteresting story with a bunch of plot holes. Most of the story and lore comes from characters talking to you while you try to play the game, which can be distracting. The lore is also poorly explained, leaving players confused about what is going on in the story. You will most likely forget almost everything about the story shortly after you have completed it.
- The characters who are talking to the player can become difficult to hear and understand when in combat because of gunfire, explosions, etc.
- When in combat, your screen tends to become filled with explosions and other visual effects, primarily your screen shaking. These effects make it difficult to see anything, and they make you lose track of your surroundings and your health.
- Artificial Difficulty: when playing on a harder difficulty, all that changes is the enemies turning into bullet sponges that deal way too much damage (the game itself says that on the three endgame difficulties, enemy health and damage are increased from 700% to 3100%).
- The main antagonist of the game, The Monitor, not only has a very bland and forgettable name, but also has bland and forgettable goals. He also sounds like a twisted version of Big Brother from 1984.
- Many of the enemies look so generic, you would think that you fought them before in other games.
- The game is riddled with bugs and glitches, such as large types of enemies throwing invisible objects at you and textures loading right in front of the player.
- The enemy AI glitches out sometimes, resulting in them standing still and not attacking the player.
- The game is very boring, for the most part. Most missions are linear point A to B missions, where you fly to your destination (some of which are far away, adding to the boredom), defeat all of the enemies in the area, grab something in that area or fight a boss, and then you're done.
- One of the missions, called "Trial of the Legionaries", is unbelievably tedious to complete. To complete the mission, you have to enter four different tombs. The way you enter these tombs is by completing four challenges for each of them, which adds up to a total of sixteen challenges you have to complete. Most of these challenges require extremely long and boring grinding to complete.
- The worst challenge is where you have to find fifteen treasure chests, which are difficult and tedious to find unless you look up where they are.
- The only way to track how much progression you've made with these challenges is by pulling up the menu to view them.
- It was confirmed during an investigation by Kotaku that the mission was indeed created with the sole purpose of padding out the game's length and in fact, at one point, the mission was even worse, with very restrictive time limits in place that would've ensured the player would take days to complete it.
- The game features a combo system which is fun and extremely useful, but the game poorly explains how it works, resulting in players having to either look up how to use it, or just randomly guess on how it works.
- Similarly to Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), loading screens are too frequent and they are ludicrously long. Some of them take up to five minutes to finish loading, which can be longer than the mission itself!
- Sometimes, the game takes so long to load, it crashes as a result!
- The servers have a bunch of problems, making it rather common to get disconnected.
- The main overworld is big but lacking in variety; most of it is just forest areas and caves without many distinct landmarks.
- The hub is unnecessarily large and has barely anything to do in it. This is another method to pad out the game.
- Mission markers do not appear until the dialogue at the beginning of the missions end.
- This is likely a way to increase the amount of time players will have to spend playing this game (see Point #16).
- Little to no end game content. All that unlocks after you completed the story is two strongholds, one of which is just a repeat of the final boss fight, while the other is a fight with a scar tank that has a shield.
- The user interface is badly designed and confusing at times. The worst part about the UI is the lack of a minimap, so players will have to constantly pull up the map to see where they are, disrupting the flow of the game.
- You are unable to place markers on the map, which is stupid since almost every other game with a map allows you to place markers.
- The level cap is low.
- Most of the rewards you get in missions are just common things you can find anywhere while playing, and if the rewards are unique, most of them are completely worthless.
- While the graphics are for the most part pretty good, there are some areas which look barely any better than what you might have seen in Mass Effect 3.
- Framerate drops are common; this is due to the Frostbite 3 engine not being optimized for a game like Anthem.
- The Xbox One version in particular is prone to a bug that drops performance to unplayable levels, forcing a hard reset of the system to make it go away.
- Low amount of weapon variety, with some guns looking almost identical to others, but with a differently coloured. Meanwhile, other guns perform almost identically to others.
- The loot is awful due to the low weapon variety, giving you even less reasons to continue playing the game.
- Lack of an in-game chat system.
- Facial animations and voice acting can be sub-par at times. To their credit, they are a big improvement over Mass Effect: Andromeda.
- On PC versions, the mouse can become unresponsive. Flying is also somewhat uncomfortable to do with a mouse-and-keyboard setup.
- NPCs have an annoying tendency to repeat things they have already said.
- There's an NPC that outright asks you to spend money on customization.
- Character customization is very limited, even with the special edition, which adds more customization options.
- On that subject, weapon appearance cannot be customized in any way.
- False advertising: The relics are stated to be able to create portals, change the climate, and even manipulate the surrounding atmosphere, but in-game they are only shown spawning enemies.
- In the E3 tech demo, striders, a very large type of vehicle, can be seen moving and can get destroyed, but in the retail version, they're never seen moving nor can they be destroyed.
- The crafting system is horrendous. To unlock certain items to craft, you have to gain faction loyalty, but increasing faction loyalty stats are so slow that you'll most likely be done with the game before these stats are maxed out. Even after you unlock these craft-able items, the materials used to make them cost insane amounts of credits. To top it all off, the stats for these items are completely random, so it is possible to craft worthless items after all the effort put into making them.
- There is no option to swap weapons or abilities in the field. This can only be done in "The Forge", which is also the menu for customizing your Javelins.
- One of the game's patches made the loot drops more generous, and when Bioware patched it back to normal, players were miffed, since they liked it that way, and considering how those kinds of things are common in loot based games, that's quite understandable.
- Because of many of the aforementioned issues, the playerbase is slowly trickling away, making matchmaking for certain missions a pain.
- Adding to WIS #1, not everyone can have a paid subscription to play online or have a stable internet connection so not many players would even get to experience the game, decreasing the playerbase even more.
- Due to Bioware's attempt to resuscitate Anthem, the Star Wars: the Old Republic team have been apparently reduced to a skeleton crew and the game is now slowly dying, lacking any significant updates in the last year.
- Flying is very fun and allows you to get very nice views of the surrounding landscape.
- The combat can be fun, as it is one of the main highlights, especially for boss fights.
- The designs of the Javelin suits do look pretty cool and feel like successors to Marvel's Iron Man designs.
- The designs of the enemies are pretty decent for the most part, despite being repetitive.
- Generally very good graphics and visuals, thanks to using EA DICE's own Frostbite 3 engine.
- The soundtrack is great, being composed by Sarah Schachner, who also composed Assassin's Creed: Origins and 2019's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019).
Anthem was met with mixed reception from critics. On Metacritic, the PC version of the game has a critic rating of 59/100 , while the critic ratings for the PS4 and Xbox One are 54/100 and 65/100 respectively ("mixed or average reviews"). Audience reception for Anthem has been more negative, with a user score of 4.1/10 for the PC version, 3.4/10 for the PS4 version, and 3.9/10 for the Xbox one version. Many gamers believe that, after the negative reception of both this game and Mass Effect: Andromeda, it is now only a matter of time before BioWare is closed down. Angry Joe gave the game a 4/10, during his review he described the game as a "minimal viable product", referring to how the game is the bare minimum to be considered a product. He later listed it at number one on his Top 16 Worst Games of 2019.
The Completionist listed the game as number two in his "Top 10 Worst Video Games of 2019" video, while WatchMojo listed it as number three in their video.
Although Anthem topped the UK game sales chart during its first week of release, the game has sold abysmally. On its first week of release Anthem sold less than half the amount of copies Mass Effect: Andromeda sold on its first week, and only 10% of the amount of copies Destiny sold on its first week.
Before launch, players took issue with EA's decision to stagger the game's launch by favoring EA Origin Access Premier subscribers by allowing them to access the game a week earlier than everyone else (15th February, 2019). Basic subscription and Xbox One users (though EA Access) only got to play the game for 10 hours on the same day, while PS4 users had to wait an extra week. Some believe that this was a shady tactic on EA's part to incentivize their Origins Access Premier subscription.
There were reports of the game crashing PlayStation 4 and Xbox One systems, likely due to an error done during a patch update, in fact several consoles have been actually bricked because of the game. (seems to be occurring more on PS4 than Xbox One). Sony has been offering full refunds because of this.
Because of the many problems that Anthem is going through, many Anthem players as well as potential customers have decided to purchase and play Warframe or Ubisoft/Massive Entertainment's looter-shooter Tom Clancy's The Division 2 (which came out a little less than a month later and has much higher review scores from both critics and players alike).
In early April 2019, Jason Schreier published an article that detailed a massive amount of behind-the-scenes troubles that BioWare faced through out the six years that Anthem spent in development. The article also revealed that actual production of the game started as late as 2017, to the point that the developers didn't even know what type of game Anthem was supposed to be until the E3 2017 presentation, at which point the game still had no real content yet. In the same year, it was announced that the game will be receive a massive overhaul with no release date given. Unfortunately, BioWare announced on the February 24th 2021 that they were discontinuing any future work on Anthem, essentially killing the game entirely.