Anthem Review Roundup: Here's What Critics Think
Reviews take flight.
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]
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