Anthem – Review

Name: Anthem
Developer: Bioware
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC
Reviewed on: PC
Release date: 22.02.2019 (PC)
Acquired: A copy of this game was provided from a publisher for review purpose

After playing the demo I found myself curious to where this game was heading and how it would actually turn out, so when the news came in that we’d be doing a review of the finished product there was only one thing to do; Yell “shotgun” as fast and loud as possible so I’d get this opportunity!

Story

Let’s get one thing out of the way right now. There is a story here, but you won’t be spoon fed. If you follow all the dialogue in the missions, you’ll get informed about current events and why you’re doing what you’re doing right now. It usually involves flying around slaughtering waves of enemies to capture something, fix a relic or just you know, some good old fashioned cleaning. By talking to everyone back in Tarsis (your main hub/ town) you’ll also get info about everything going down now, some future plans and hopes, as well as a bunch of good and funny background story. If you skip all of this, or just don’t see the point of it at all, you’ll miss out on the whole story and it’ll end up as a basic slasher game with levels, as most missions are just a rinse and repeat. If you do sit through all the dialogue and take the time to chat with the citizens of Tarsis though, you’ll realize that the game is packed with humor, at least it hit my funny bone a lot. Without spoiling too much, I’ll just say that the questline from the demo where Mattias got split into three with getting apart each of his personality, well, they keep on messing about. A LOT.
6/10

Graphics

The graphics of the game is good. Your characters, your equipment, and your enemies are detailed and the area you fly/walk/fight through is beautiful (unless of course you’re in a burnt out area of the map). The visuals are definitely there, and they are good. I’ve even caught myself standing at the top of a mountain just looking at the view while my friends have been busy dying down below somewhere.

The sound, however. Well, when it works, it’s really good. The dialogue is funny and the voice actors have done a good job making the reactions sound real. There’s fighting music to keep you on your toes, the sound of firing different guns are all great. The environmental soundtracks, whether it’s bats in a little cave screeching at your ears while you’re opening a secret chest, or thunder coming down on top of you, waterfalls, birds and so on, are all really good (the bats are really loud tho!). There’s only one problem with the sound at the moment though. Both for me and everyone I’ve played with, the sound can suddenly disappear, and the only way to get it back is to restart the game. Not the funniest when that happens in a stronghold. This will most likely get fixed in a future patch though, so here’s hoping.
6/10

Gameplay

As stated earlier, there’s a lot of rinses and repeat in this game. Even though that’s the case i thoroughly enjoy the gameplay. Even though you get sent out to constantly fight the Scar, Dominion or Outlaw forces, every mission got it’s own little special something, In the form of either some humoristic banter from one of the NPC’s you have over your radio, or maybe there’s a legendary fury, Titan or other sick enemies in a new area where you get to test out all of your Javelin and skills in an attempt to get him down. There’s also a big plus to play this with some friends, as the whole experience is built up against teamwork. You can always team up with random people, but we all know how most games end up being, playing hard content with strangers. Sometimes you meet people you work perfectly with, other times you can meet the most toxic of players. This game is no exception.

As you level up, you get to unlock different Javelins, ending up with all four of them at level 24. You got:

  • Ranger (my favorite at the moment). Basically, your standard military brute, having an arsenal of grenades and rocket launchers as gear, as well as some poison darts and so on. He packs a good punch and with the right components, can even take a punch or two.
  • Storm. This one could also be called the Mage or Elementalist. He’s a master at hovering above ground (you even do more damage and your shield is stronger while doing this) and your gear gives you the opportunity to freeze, stun, and put enemies ablaze having a lot of frosts, fire, and electric abilities.
  • Interceptor. The rogue of the team. It’s the strongest melee javelin, and even most of the gear is set up to be deadly punches and such. It’s the only Javelin with no cooldown on the melee ability, giving you the option to thoroughly kick some arse. Be aware though, once they start firing back, you should consider running, as you can’t soak too much damage. Luckily, it’s also the most nimble javelin, and jumping away from danger is almost as fun as jumping into it with this one.
  • Colossus. The tank. This BIG javelin is there to keep the rest safe. You don’t have an energy shield but can wield an actual shield in front of yourself. You can equip a taunt ability, or go all in with a rocket launcher, flame thrower, acid spitter and so on to keep the enemies at bay. The fun part of this one is your ability to withstand most damage with your shield (and it regains fast if you tuck it away for a second) and the fact that you can charge enemies with your shield, knocking them down and hopefully kill them in the process. This action is part of the melee damage, so you COULD say, that this Javelin is actually the best melee, not the interceptor.

Basically, the game truly starts once you hit the max level, level 30. At this point, you start getting that sweet masterwork grade gear, and if you’re lucky enough, some legendaries. This is also when you should be close to done with the missions and agent missions, ready to go into the strongholds, do daily, weekly and monthly missions, and them legendary contracts. At this point, you’ve unlocked Grandmaster 1, 2 and 3. The new difficulties, with improved drop chances for Masterwork gear and enemies that actually kick back.

As you pump up the difficulty you’ll find the need to use tactics to get further. Using gear with combo possibilities gives you and your friends a chance to work together to quickly disperse of enemies through combos. Say for instance you play something with a freeze ability with a combo starter. When you freeze them, you or someone else can use a combo breaker to do extra damage on the enemies, and as I quickly figured out on my Storm, I could freeze them all, then use my fireball to do insane damage, and the freeze would spread to even more enemies, giving you a nice advantage as frozen enemies don’t fight back.

Personally, I leveled up playing the hard difficulty, and when I got to the max and went grandmaster 1, even though getting some good gear the last couple levels on hard, i got my arse handed to me. Soon enough though you start getting some gear, and the new difficulty start feeling like hard was. Time to go to the next one, and you’re back to getting that sweet kick to the face.

Freeplay is hugely a part of the end game, as you fly around to gather up materials and such, as well as doing events and “secret entrances” for loot crates with the possibility of good loot. It also gives you the possibility to just roam around and enjoy the scenery of the area, or as my mate used it, a chance to fly around and hit creatures in the face.

Now, one last thing I do want to mention. I am not sure if this is actually planned from Bioware or not, but when I got my first Javelin geared up good, and while helping other friends get through their levels, I started using the other Javelins, and I got them geared up super fast, going from power level 300-350 to 450+ in just a couple missions. This, I like. When you play a Javelin, you mainly get gear for that one specifically, and some components that are universal. So getting gear faster for your other ones, is a sweet relief. Again as mention, not sure if that is intentional, but it’s happened to both me and others I’ve played with.
9/10

Controls

There’s not much to say is there? The controls are all where they should be in my opinion. All abilities in close proximity to where you have your hands to control your character (WASD + Mouse). If there is something you don’t like from the standard setup though, it’s easily fixed through the settings menu. The response time from click to action is fairly instant (other than the response time of your hardware of course) and you can control your character pretty good. In the heat of the moment though, you might miss clicking something, making you an easy target instead of actually diving into safety, but in that case, your fingers are to blame. The mechanism of flying your Javelin have had it’s a boost since the demo, now being pretty controllable. While diving underwater you might get a bit annoyed with the camera angle though, as that’s not perfect yet, but it’s still manageable. The only annoying thing I’ve really noticed so far, not sure if it’s a control problem or not, is when your standing close to an edge, you might get stuck falling down/crawling back up, doing this 4-5 times before you manage to jump out of it. This has actually been the difference between killing a legendary titan, and a squad wipes on a couple of occasions.
8/10

Replay Value

This game is all about that replay value. As of right now, there’s not much to do at max level, other than getting gear to get further in the difficulty settings, and completing your legendary contracts and daily/weekly/monthly missions. The word from the developers is that this will change though, so, if you get bored, be sure to check back in later, as there might be some more content later on. As the game is now, there’s a lot of rinses and repeat just to get your stuff done, as there are three strongholds and three legendary missions (even though the latter usually change up a bit). Of course, you always have freeplay if you just want to fly around, find materials and chests, and get some events done, getting a loot chest for each event you’ve done.
8/10

Overall
7.6/10
7.6/10
  • Story - 6/10
    6/10
  • Graphics - 6/10
    6/10
  • Gameplay - 9/10
    9/10
  • Controls - 9/10
    9/10
  • Replay Value - 8/10
    8/10
Sending
User Review
0 (0 votes)

Verdict

The game is well worth a try if you like third person shooters and some good old grinding. The game have lived up to my expectations and surpassed them. There was some bugs at the initial pre-release, but mostly it’s been fixed within a timely manner as the developers are very active in keeping their newest addition clean and healthy. Hopefully it will continue like this. The rinse and repeat might get a bit tedious, but if you have somebody to play with, or maybe you’ll find some randoms that you enjoy playing with and can add to friends list, this game is really enjoyable.

Pros

  • Good graphics and soundtrack.
  • Fun gameplay.
  • Can be a great challenge.
  • A feel of accomplishment.

Cons

  • Soundbug cutting all ingame sound.
  • The constant similarity to fights might get tedious.
  • Not enough end game content at this time.

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