Anthem Review Roundup: Here's What Critics Think

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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]

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Avatar image for WarFox89

It make you feels good when EA fail

Avatar image for Dragon_Nexus

@WarFox89: Problem is EA won't blame the right people for the failure. The blame will be on the devs, not the foolish execs and management who pushed the game in the wrong direction; pushed the developers to make something they're not accustomed to making in order to chase a trend; and pushed the game out way too early in order to shore up their financial year, rather than create a worth while product.

Avatar image for WarFox89

@Dragon_Nexus: devs are always the scapegoat for executives stupid management and decision making. EA destroyed so much franchises and studios so it’s not surprise.

Avatar image for lostn

@WarFox89: But not for the devs who may lose their jobs. Like Visceral and Bioware Montreal for example.

Avatar image for WarFox89

@lostn: this is true and sad.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

The scary thing is if you look at metacritic, even among all the reviews with no scores, only maybe 1 or 2 was positive about the game. Almost every single review blurb suggests the game is mediocre at best.

Avatar image for Hagan

this game is proof BioWare is just a name now, and no longer the heart and soul that released Baldur's Gate, KOTOR, or Jade Empire.

I like how if you die only your squad can revive you otherwise you need to Alt+F4. Great game design

to anyone looking forward to this game, I hope you eventually get what you are looking for out it, but it seems that the glory days for BioWare are over.

Avatar image for bfeinberg

@Hagan: Um, have you even played the game, because that is not how it works? I was able to revive a random person not in my squad with no issues last night.

Avatar image for CraZkid37

It's Bioware - there is more of a reason to trust going into the future. The game looks huge and it probably will take a lot of time to really explore everything. If not, I'm sure whatever issues will be taken care of. EA seems to make developers release their games regardless at certain points even if they are missing things. But Bioware will make it happen. It's supposed to be a game for the long haul.

Avatar image for Intocable

Are you guys trolling ?? WTF is this article ?

Avatar image for mpl911

Wow, this is useful.

in progress,

in progress,

in progress,

in progress,

in progress,

Very informative

Avatar image for tinyjotun

What's with all these No Scores? Don't want to get blacklisted by EA?

Avatar image for zmanbarzel

@tinyjotun: The two publications with "No Score (In Progress)" don't have scores because, well, they're still in the process of finalizing their reviews.

The other two that say just "No Score" are from publications that don't give scores, instead — correctly — believing that what's in the text is much more important than a numeric grade at the bottom.

Avatar image for dynamotnt

if you absolutely need a loot shooter in your life wait for division 2, they learnt from their mistakes before the final dlc landed, it's being developed by the biggest studio collaboration ever done by Ubisoft, and to be fair ubi tend to stick with their games and try and work them into something better before dropping them completely (points at ea) it might be worth your time wait for a review.

the best you can hope for from ea is generic tripe, if pre orders are good they will pay the devs to continue the game, if pre orders aren't good they will hold off on certain aspects (to be finished later) until a dlc lands presumably in time for their next quarter profit report.

like activision their greed has whittled away their best creative minds, all they can do is rehash the same shit some other team did for them 15 years ago, and when the only people left playing are the most die hard of fans, their rewarded with a milkfest microtransactional rampage.

over the years on sites like here and ign I saw many times writers, directors all leaving studios within ea and activision for places like Rockstar, CDPR etc and who could blame them.

Avatar image for naomha1

@dynamotnt: EA could be an amazing company IF they valued the core beliefs that games should be finished and in working order before shipping. That they should be fun and NOT penalize players that don't want to shell out another $100 for $hit that breaks the game because a few people are so OP that people that only payed the $60 price tag for the game are outgunned, outleveled and out-armored. Rockstar's CEO said it best. I believe it was him. He said something along the lines that players are like trees and every player is a tree waiting to be chopped down and forced into purchasing more crap for their games. It's a forced mentality now and if you don't spend the money for the extra crap then you're not a "good" player. Such bs but they sell this and these kids these days buy into this bs.

Avatar image for cboye18

@dynamotnt: Ubisoft is just as creatively bankrupt and greedy as Activision and EA. The Division 2 looks like the same old crap they always churn out.

Want a good looter shooter? Borderlands 2 or Shadow Warriors 2.

Avatar image for RadioactiveMah

@cboye18: where's Bordelands 3 already?

Avatar image for naomha1

@cboye18: Ubisoft has learned from their mistakes. Believe it. The Division started out rough but right now it is in fantastic shape. The lessons they leared from Division 1 shows and the 2nd is going to be the star of the show. I agree with Borderlands 2. Best looter/shooter ever. Shadow Warrior 2? LOL. I love that game but I'm not sure I'd put it up there with B2.

Avatar image for jumalan75

@naomha1: Ubisoft makes solid games, but gaaaad their writing, creativity, and ingenuity is a joke nowadays. I admittedly harp on them quite a bit only because I feel they have the talent to drive the industry to new places, but instead pump out money grabbing regurgitated and reskinned products... bugs the hell out of me.

Avatar image for xscrapzx

@naomha1: I saw these same statements about bungie before Destiny 2 came out. How did that work out for them? I'll wait.

Avatar image for naomha1

@xscrapzx: What do you mean? Destiny 2 was an amazing step up from Destiny 1. In almost every way.

Avatar image for sparent180

The consensus seems to be that the game has potential but at the moment it has a lot of areas for improvement. It surprises me that Bioware is making similar mistakes with Anthem that Bungie made with Destiny. With games like Destiny and Division being examples of what works and doesn't work for these types of games Bioware should have been ready to hit the ground running with Anthem.

I'm sure this game will improve over time, like other games in this genre, but I wonder if it does enough at the moment to hook fans that are willing to be patient. There's just a lot of content available, some of it free (Fortnite, Apex), for people to wait for a $60 game to improve.

Avatar image for tabyrd32

I dislike EA, they seem to constantly make mistakes and exhibit greedy behavior on top of destroying the battlefield franchise (my opinion) and command and conquer. That being said, this game is good for the game play alone, the story is boring, which is very unlike bioware.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

Whelp Gamespot's score arrived, and it's a 6. Bioware is on death row.....

Avatar image for DARREN636

it's a mediocre game with insane hype

it's not the first , won't be the last.

Avatar image for tabyrd32

@DARREN636: I haven't seen any hype for this game tbh. The story is mediocre, the actual gameplay is good though.

just wondering, have you played anthem or are you just saying it's mediocre without trying it? because it sounds like you're just repeating another's sentiment.

Avatar image for Ohaidere

Strike 2 Bioware

Avatar image for Brettsky128

@Ohaidere: 2? This is 5 for me.

Avatar image for tabyrd32

@Ohaidere: ??? have you even played it?

Avatar image for tabyrd32

@skippert: well someone is a toxic little boy. I actually only played it because it comes with origin access, I had no expectations and this game was never on my radar. I surprisingly enjoyed the gameplay even though the story is boring me to death. But yes keep calling people you don't know stupid over petty things, it's always amusing watching stupid people call others stupid.

Avatar image for Ohaidere

@tabyrd32: I've not, but why would I? I don't spend time and money on something just to see if I like something that in its current state doesn't seem like it brings anything new to the table.

I don't need to watch someone get burned on the stove then try it myself to make sure.

Avatar image for tabyrd32

@Ohaidere: i mean... that analogy would work better if I was "burned", but I'm not. I've had 28 hours of fun with Anthem, which was a surprise to me. It's odd that you would base your opinion solely on other's opinions, but that seems to be the average mentality, sadly.

Avatar image for cejay0813

Critical takeaways for those of you that love to see a number and/or hate to read:

"BioWare will need to build quickly on top of its shimmering jet-fueled foundation to hold people's interest"

"This game is freaking rad at its best, but it's just not done"

"But in order for Anthem to survive, BioWare will need to clarify its identity and prioritize the right elements of it"

"But there's nowhere near enough of the stuff that makes BioWare games distinctly BioWare"

"It feels like the first Destiny: it's an intriguing start, but there are several problems that need to be ironed out."

Avatar image for darkelf83

@cejay0813: So the things that Destiny failed to do?

- Both base games did not have enough content to keep interest before subsequent content came out. Both made major overhauls, with IMHO D1 doing better with Taken King than D2 with Forsaken.

- The shooting was the best, Bungie knows shooting.

- It never really found out what it wanted to be. It was advertised as a shared world shooter with RPG elements, and the first game did deliver on most of that but it felt empty a lot during public events. The second game killed the RPG part.

Anthem has the chance to do what Destiny didn't and find itself. The game at the core is fun. Flying is amazing, the combat is fun. It isn't out on PS4 yet so I cannot speak to the story or anything outside of the demo. I am hopeful and want Bioware to succeed. I don't see this getting great reviews for legitimate reasons.

I think EA should have let this cook a bit longer. Could have been a great late summer, early fall release but I guess we cannot interfere with the yearly CoD release.

Avatar image for Vodoo

@darkelf83: Do you mean EA should've let this cook longer, or are you talking about Activision's Destiny 2?

Avatar image for darkelf83

@Vodoo: Ya, them pre-coffee posts..... I changed it. Though Destiny 2 could have used some more time in the design phase so they could have learned from 1.

Avatar image for mathilda

Click bait. Shame on you Gamespot.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

Metacritic of 70, lot of no scores with text detailing how the game is "dead on arrival" or "not fun". Uh ohs.....

Avatar image for DragonAtma

@Thanatos2k: Metacritic is now 62, not 70, and the fan score on metacritic is 3.7/10.

Sure, metacritic may go back up, but it's just as likely it may continue to go down -- and in either cases the split is "The Last Jedi, but lower".

Avatar image for tabyrd32

@Thanatos2k: It's not "dead on arrival". The story telling is just slow and boring, the actual game play is good.