Anthem Review Roundup: Here's What Critics Think

Reviews take flight.

130 Comments
Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Now Playing: Anthem Late Game Contracts, Farming for Masterworks And More

Anthem is BioWare's latest game, but fans of the studio's massive RPGs like Mass Effect and Dragon Age will find a very different experience waiting for them. Anthem is a loot shooter, more akin to Destiny or The Division, consisting of a campaign followed by an extensive post-game with bigger and better rewards to collect and more difficult bosses to take on.

Anthem differentiates itself from the competition with extensive use of a flying mechanic, letting you zoom above the battlefield like Iron Man. It also lets you swap between classes more easily, as your character is a pilot called a "Freelancer" who can take the controls of the various suit types at will.

After a week-long early access period, Anthem has now released broadly for everyone. The consensus seems to be that while flying through the battlefield is enjoyable, the story is lackluster--especially compared to BioWare's best--and many say the game feels unfinished in its current state. Read on for impressions from around the industry, and check out GameSpot sister site Metacritic for more details.

GameSpot -- 6/10

"Anthem has good ideas, but it struggles significantly with the execution. It's a co-op game that works best with no one talking; it buries genuinely interesting character moments and puts its most incomprehensible story bits at the forefront; its combat is exciting until you get to the boss fights and find your wings have been clipped. Even the simple, exhilarating act of flying is frequently interrupted by the limitations of your javelin, and you never quite shake that feeling of disappointment--of knowing, throughout the good parts of Anthem, that you'll inevitably come crashing back down." -- Kallie Plagge [Full review]

Destructoid -- 7/10

"I wish some things were different but I find myself wanting to play Anthem beyond the scope of this review. It isn't changing the way the genre operates, not by a long shot, and if you've struggled with a few of them before and tossed them in the gutter, you'll probably do the same here. BioWare will need to build quickly on top of its shimmering jet-fueled foundation to hold people's interest, but folks looking for a new neighborhood to move into might want to give Anthem a try--either now or after fixes and updates." -- Chris Carter [Full review]

Ars Technica -- No Score

"This game is freaking rad at its best, but it's just not done. It's not fun to have sessions with friends so constantly interrupted. It's not fun to keep quitting out of the main map just to check my loot and quest beats. It's not fun to fight these boring bad guys in these boring missions, again and again and again. It's not fun to feel confused by a lack of information all over the place. Anthem has flashes of being a really good game, but what's the point if it's not fun?" -- Sam Machkovech [Full review]

Polygon -- No Score

"BioWare has already done a lot of the hard work. A satisfying core gameplay loop is difficult to create, but the studio has managed it. Playing makes me feel like a true sci-fi superhero, 10 seconds at a time. But in order for Anthem to survive, BioWare will need to clarify its identity and prioritize the right elements of it. I’d love for the story, the interface, the experience of playing Anthem to service that loop, rather than fight it. I’d love for unique quests and activities to not just keep me occupied, but give me something to strive for. Playing Anthem, I can sense where this game is going. I just worry about how long it will take to get there." -- Russ Frushtick [Full review]

GamesRadar -- 2.5/5

"But there's nowhere near enough of the stuff that makes BioWare games distinctly BioWare. That's the content that Anthem needs sooner rather than later because, at the moment, it's existing solely in the shadow of Destiny. Not Destiny 2, which has steadily grown and evolved with the community, mind – but the Destiny of five years ago. Anthem is designed to grow and evolve over time, but unless that happens sooner rather than later it'll be dead on arrival." -- Sam Loveridge [Full review]

USGamer -- 2.5/5

"It's a beautiful game where the movement is unique and freeing. The story is throwing a lot at the players and some of the characters feel like living mannequins, but there are standouts as well. And the overall mission loop feels like it has too many operations and too much downtime. It feels like the first Destiny: it's an intriguing start, but there are several problems that need to be ironed out. What's frustrating is that many of these problems have already been solved by other MMOs. It's baffling to me that Anthem seems to be starting from scratch, even if I'm sure BioWare is going to do whatever it takes to improve post-launch." -- Mike Williams [Full review]

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Join the conversation
There are 130 comments about this story
130 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for cejay0813
cejay0813

Preordered and breezed through the 10 hr trial as I do have EA Access. My honest opinion as it stands now is it's a 6/7.

For reference, I like Warframe and I'd give that a 6/7 when it launched as well. I actually uninstalled WF not long after release as I thought it was extremely generic and boring. The gameplay loop is pretty fun but I'm more letdown by how hollow and empty it all feels. I'm hopeful that there's some depth there and maybe I'll get that when I put more hours into it, just like in WF. I'd probably rate that at about an 8.5 now due to the changes that have been implemented post launch and the care the devs have taken to truly make the game better. With that, it now has a permanent place on my hard drive.

Although Anthem is not free, Bioware has been fairly transparent with how they're handling the game going forward and completely free DLC is a good sign as well. With more care taken to polish and add meaningful content to the game, the only way for Anthem to go is up. Considering all that, I'm happy with my 6/7 purchase so far.

Avatar image for Arkhalipso
Arkhalipso

@cejay0813: 6 "out of 7"?

Avatar image for tabyrd32
tabyrd32

@Arkhalipso: I wonder if he means a 6 or a 7 rather than 6 out of 7.... since that's an odd way to rate it.

Avatar image for Arkhalipso
Arkhalipso

@tabyrd32: That's probably it. Nevermind.

Avatar image for Cikatriz_ESP
Cikatriz_ESP

The trial periods and staggered release schedule gave the public time to make up their minds before the game was even properly released (assuming their minds weren’t made up the day it was announced). EA shot themselves in the foot with this one, which would be surprising if they hadn’t already been through this with Andromeda. It’s a flaw in their strategy to be sure, but if I were a shareholder I’d also be questioning if there’s anyone left in EA’s higher ranks capable of judging a game’s quality.

Avatar image for santinegrete
santinegrete

Well it is measured to games like Destiny, and not other Bioware loved sagas, that says a lot of what you can expect. My attention for Destiny 2 dwindled quickly in the intro mission, regardless of great gunplay. All I love in games is just is not present in mmos or look alikes.

Avatar image for cejay0813
cejay0813

@santinegrete: True however, Destiny was never an objectively bad game. Some love it and some hate it so saying "that says a lot of what you can expect" my be a good thing. Since the initial release of Destiny all the way until now some years into Destiny 2's life, Bungie has made many improvements to their game. What rubs a lot of people the wrong way, including me, is paid DLC being woven into the fabric of the content. I was one that was pissed when I found out the pass that I bought with D2 was just for that first slew of content and that new pass would need to be purchased, not much cheaper than the original, to experience the other content. At least with Anthem, Bioware has already stated that all content, outside of some cosmetic items, is completely free. We shall see if they stick to their word.

Avatar image for santinegrete
santinegrete

@cejay0813: Exactly, I wasn't trying to be despective with "you know what you can expect". Anyone liking Destiny or Division should try this out, I'm just trying (and failing) to hide my dissapointment of this game not being a usual Bioware experience.

Maybe Anthem could win over Destiny with a more honest approach to new content.

Avatar image for brad12d3
brad12d3

Well it looks like EA shot themselves in the foot with this stupid staggered launch. Even if the day one patch magically fixes most of the problems, a lot of damage has already been done. EA has completely lost their mind and are so out of touch with the gaming community. I'm not sure if they will ever be a great publisher again.

Avatar image for Decoy77
Decoy77

@brad12d3: I think the staggered launch was mostly for server issues. Or to help there be less server issues. You see it with every large always on game. The first day or 2 are just completely wasted because people can't connects or servers going down, etc, etc. So doing a staggered launch will help spread that out a little bit.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@brad12d3: EA wanted to forge into new scum territory - charging people money for a demo. I am delighted to see their greed has blown up in their face.

Avatar image for Barighm
Barighm

@brad12d3: They were never a great publisher and they were never in touch with the community. There was a brief period of light during the Dead Space era, but it didn't last.

Avatar image for brad12d3
brad12d3

@Barighm: Great was probably too strong of a word but there was a time yeeaaarrs ago that they put out quality stuff and I don't recall having any animosity towards them at that time. However, it definitely seems that in the last 10 - 15 years or so, they have just gotten so much worse. Once they started buying and killing off great developers I really began to realize that they were really harming gaming on a whole. It's really sad that they have developed such a myopic and detached view of the game industry. It wouldn't be so bad if they were smaller and didn't have so many great IPs, including Star Wars, in their control. Unfortunately, the things they do have a pretty big impact on the industry. I do hope that they fail hard, so at the very least they can reevaluate how they treat their audience.

Avatar image for Vodoo
Vodoo

@brad12d3: I was going to say something similar. EA wasn't always the bad guy and used to put out decent stuff. I think the time they really started to rapidly decline was when they stole exclusive rights to the NFL license so they could knock off 2K's better game. Hell, they even published Dante's Inferno on the 360. But now they're just beyond knowing what to do.

Avatar image for pharos_haven
pharos_haven

@brad12d3: So much this, I can for the life of me wonder why they bothered giving out Early Access and not even think that this was going to be reviewed as a released game. I read on GameInformer that EA literally handed out these PC copies for reviewing purposes.

Avatar image for DoctorTanaka
DoctorTanaka

The day 1 patch will include additional voice acting provided by Peter Dinklage

Avatar image for Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@DoctorTanaka: Maybe they'll just take his cut lines from Destiny and randomly insert them all over the game.

Avatar image for sladakrobot
sladakrobot

Review round up: 7/10,no score,no score,no score,no score...

I am confused

Avatar image for cejay0813
cejay0813

@sladakrobot: I know... sucks you have to read instead of just getting the numbers right? lol

Avatar image for phoenix1289
phoenix1289

@sladakrobot: Some reviewers prefer not to give number scores.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@phoenix1289: It's likely there's an embargo on scores until closer to release.

Avatar image for mattcake
mattcake

Thanks, I feel much better informed now.

Avatar image for Hillsy_
Hillsy_

Click fest. Have we really got to that stage gamespot?

Avatar image for attirex
attirex

So many mediocre games these days. Sigh.

Avatar image for cejay0813
cejay0813

@attirex: Subjective McOpinion, how are you good sir!

Avatar image for attirex
attirex

@cejay0813: Doing well, my good chap! How is the kingdom?

Avatar image for BAKGRIND
BAKGRIND

@attirex: That's why I say wait 6 months to a year and that mediocre game becomes a good one. Not just because of bug fixes, it's because the price will drop in the range it was meant to sell in the first place be it ftp or $20.

Avatar image for gotrekfabian
gotrekfabian

@attirex: Without mediocre and bad, good and great (or other preferred synonyms) just don't exist.

Avatar image for attirex
attirex

@gotrekfabian: That's what my wife says about me.

Avatar image for gotrekfabian
gotrekfabian

@attirex: Yeah, she did say that. :P

Avatar image for santinegrete
santinegrete

@gotrekfabian: yeah, but they purpose of existence is too be measured with? that's an underwhelming outcome for a creative project.

Avatar image for gotrekfabian
gotrekfabian

@santinegrete: As much as almost every developer strives for an amazing and universally praised experience in their endeavours, they aren't always going to be able to hit that mark every time. The phrase I used was merely a philosophical rhetoric anyway.

Avatar image for millionsedge
Millionsedge

7.5-8 was my impression after 10 hours. The thing that makes me hopeful is the potential that exists. The core of the game is fun (movement, gunplay, ect).

Avatar image for PETERAKO
PETERAKO

@millionsedge: until you get used to it.

Avatar image for cejay0813
cejay0813

@PETERAKO: Said any person who has played any game past the 20 hour mark. lol I'm used to the gameplay in Diablo, doesn't make it any less fun to play.


I agree @millionsedge, the gameplay is fairly addictive and mixing it up between javelins keeps it fairly fresh as they all have their distinctive feels.

Avatar image for PETERAKO
PETERAKO

@cejay0813: ...until you get used to it and then notice that the environment never meaningfully changes, enemies are stupid, powers can be spammed without thought, There are quite a few bugs, UI is terrible, the story is crap, and that the gameplay loop is effectively unchanged and unvaried regardless your equipment.

That's what I got from the demo. As for the story I watched a walkthrough.

Avatar image for gotrekfabian
gotrekfabian

@PETERAKO: That bad that you just had to see the whole story, every level played and you're also sure that, after the day one patch, the bugs you saw will also remain? Your mind was made up prior to even playing it if you ask me.

Lighten up and let it be for now. We'll see in a few days if it holds up as a 30+ hour or beyond that and into a consistent, go to game.

Avatar image for PETERAKO
PETERAKO

@gotrekfabian: If that's so, what was the point of the demo? Anthem was in development for 6 years, what a few days old patch gonna do? No man's Anthem is another game on the pile of games that got released in a state they shouldn't. Day one patches or "it will get better" are no excuse. End of story.

Avatar image for gotrekfabian
gotrekfabian

@PETERAKO: Im playing it now and having a blast with it. I have encountered refer no bugs, enjoying free roam a lot more than I thought I would and finding the story quite appealing. How Kapoor played for 30 hours and found the story hard to follow I shall never know. This game is great fun and even more when you play with a group of friends, it's a shame that you don't like it but then if it isn't your thing don't just follow the hate train. Anthem is successful IMO and I would ask that you cast your mind back to another 6/10 game around 5 years ago which also suffered hate train status: Destiny.

Avatar image for PETERAKO
PETERAKO

@gotrekfabian: If you like it, more power too you, but don't get too attached.

"cast your mind back to another 6/10 game around 5 years ago which also suffered hate train status: Destiny"

That is the problem though, is it. Warframe was terrible at the beginning and Digital Extremes nearly went bankrupt. They managed to save it when a few big names got onboard. DE was no EA. They lacked the resources and on top of that WF was a F2P game. I give DE a pass for these, but EA and Bungie had way more resources to deserve understanding. In closing I enjoy crap stories too, just not from the ones that I expect to do better than a saturday morning cartoon.

Avatar image for gotrekfabian
gotrekfabian

@PETERAKO: So you don't know the story but it's crap? You only go to prove my point: you are just following the hate train. Having now finished the story (which was a damned sight longer than Vanilla Destiny's was) I would give it a 7.5/10 but I have many hours to go before being able to truly judge it as games such as these only come into their own in the endgame. I'm not entirely sure what you meant by not getting attached but if you meant that it wouldn't last years like Destiny and WarFrame then that is fine, I don't want something I log into day in, day out and become obsolete if I don't do my dailies/weeklies or purchase the latest DLC. Anthem is fine at what it does which is a co-op loot grinder with a few differences to those already established in the market. People want to hate this game rather than hating it due to it deserving so.

Avatar image for PETERAKO
PETERAKO

@gotrekfabian: Anthem is a Minimum viable Product. Look it up

Avatar image for neurogia
Neurogia

@gotrekfabian: The day 1 patch will introduce new bugs and problems.

Anthem is fundamentally flawed. For it to be a universally good game they'll need to change a ton of things. The loading screens, UI, and level structure for starters.

Flying is the only unique aspect of Anthem, and yet they designed the levels to be fought on the floor like a typical squad shooter. They even introduced "no flight" zones, as well as invisible walls everywhere.

This game has an identity crisis. It doesn't know if it's a shooter or a flight-based action game.

Avatar image for gotrekfabian
gotrekfabian

@neurogia: Unique is not always a key factor, if that was the case then we'd be happy that CoD died 7-8 years ago but it hasn't. As for the day one patch, it certainly is t the case as far as I can tell as I suffered no bugs at all. Not something I could say about the VIP Demo/closed beta. Jump in, this game is really good fun IMO.

Avatar image for starjay009
starjay009

What the heck is this article ? Waste of space.

At best, this is a 6/10. Nothing more or less. If you are a fan of the Destiny games, then this one would suit you well.

There is nothing Bioware about this. Thanks to EA, Bioware have jumped on the bandwagon of never ending & boring loot shooters.

I will give this one a pass. Still pretty excited about what Bioware have in store for the next Dragon Age game (The Dread Wolf Returns).

Avatar image for cejay0813
cejay0813

@starjay009: I agree with the statement that there's nothing Bioware about it. I really wish they'd inject more of the ME flair into it.