Anthem is getting a lot of hate right now. There's just no denying it. The game is getting some pretty low scores, and people are once again pointing the finger at BioWare, the company behind the ill-fated Mass Effect: Andromeda. This game was their chance to set the record straight - to redeem themselves to millions of gamers around the world. But the general consensus is that Anthem just didn't do enough to really make an impact. Some players and critic take this one step further, saying the game is much worse than just mediocre. These gamers are actually disappointed and, in some cases, infuriated by Anthem, saying it didn't live up to the expectations at all.
In many ways, gamers these days have a habit of setting their expectations too high. We can't expect a groundbreaking, state-of-the-art video game every single time a new title is released. The bar has been set incredibly high, and some games just aren't meant to be "games of the year." Maybe people just got way too hyped up about Anthem. Maybe these gamers are still bitter after Andromeda, and they're just looking for an excuse to criticize BioWare. But at the end of the day, this game does have serious flaws. Here are some of the most pressing issues in this game, along with a couple silver linings that might just save Anthem from complete failure.
20 WORST: The Open World Feels Empty
Veteran gamers know that while open worlds might be fun and interesting to explore, they're only good if they're actually filled with interesting things. You can have a massive open world, but it quickly becomes meaningless to explore if there's nothing to really find, see or do within that word. Unfortunately, Anthem suffers from this problem, at least to some degree.
The world is beautiful, and it's tempting to just stop and stare at the incredible attention to detail. Each plant, rock, and running river seems to breath with genuine life, and it's something that really drew a lot of people to this game. But many players have complained that this open world seems to be incredibly empty. Even though it's beautiful, it doesn't really offer the player much.
19 WORST: The Game Relies Too Much On Its Graphics
This is probably one of the biggest issues people have with Anthem. The game is beautiful. There's just no getting around that. Right when the trailer was released, it was obvious that Anthem was going to be a visual masterpiece. It's a joy to play for this very reason, and if you're looking for an amazing demonstration of what's possible with today's gaming technology, then you'll probably love Anthem.
But the real question that everyone was asking themselves when they saw the first glimpses of this game was whether there was anything beyond that. Was this game just a pretty graphics demonstration? Or was there real, interesting gameplay to back it up. We don't know whether BioWare consciously made the decision to rely on great graphics to sell this game. Maybe they worked hard on every aspect of Anthem. But at the end of the day, good graphics just aren't enough to get people interested.
18 WORST: BioWare Released An Unfinished Game
We previously mentioned the fact that Anthem has a ton of bugs and glitches. We also talked about the fact that the game world feels empty and uninspiring. And we touched on the slow loading times that many players have complained about. All of these points (and more) point to one simple truth: This was basically an unfinished game when it was released.
To be fair, this is hardly anything new in the gaming world. Many games are released with tons of bugs and issues, and sometimes these games are still fun and interesting to play. Time constraints and deadlines force many developers to push onwards with unfinished games. They simply try to fix things with patches later. But so many of Anthem's problems could have been easily fixed prior to release. The most positive reviews of Anthem say that the game has laid a good foundation that the developers can "build upon." But whatever happened to releasing a finished product?
17 WORST: The Writing Is Terrible
At first glance, it seemed like Anthem was going to have a seriously epic story, filled with cool NPCs and awesome, rich dialogue. But once again, players are expressing their disappointment when it comes to this vital part of the game. People have described Anthem's writing as "terrible," "cringeworthy," and "lifeless." It seems as though almost all the characters serve only to offer up exposition, and nothing more. The rest of their lines are just random one-liners that serve no real purpose.
It's even more disappointing when you consider the fact that this is supposed to be one of BioWare's strengths. These are the guys who made Mass Effect, after all. The complexity and rich narrative of that writing was like a science fiction novel unfolding before your eyes. Now, in Anthem, you can't even really contribute in a meaningful way. In most cases, you have only two dialogue options, which basically result in the same thing anyway.
16 WORST: There Are Way Too Many Bugs
Bugs pop up in every game. For the most part, it's an inevitable part of every title— especially close to release. But there seems to be a lot of bugginess going on in Anthem, so much so that players are becoming visibly frustrated. Javelins are getting stuck in foliage and rocks. Some Xbox users are unable to resume their game after hitting the pause button.
The game sometimes crashes, or takes an infinite amount of time to load. And in the story, there are once again facial animation glitches, some of which popped up in the demo of the game. This doesn't bode well for BioWare, who already have something of a reputation for releasing buggy games. Most players are simply going to have to wait for patches to fix these issues.
15 WORST: The Gameplay Is Too Repetitive
There's no denying that it's fun to fly around in your Javelin, zipping around the skies and slamming down on the surface like Iron Man. But while it's fun to control your Javelin, the way the gameplay is actually structured feels a little stale, especially when you're a few hours into the game. Some players have complained that the game just feels way too repetitive.
Sometimes, your actions can be summed up into the following tasks: Go to point A and defeat enemies. Go to point B and defeat enemies. Finally, go to point C and defeat the boss. Rinse and repeat. With a lackluster story, the structure of the missions really had to step up to the plate, and make this game interesting. But once again, Anthem doesn't really go the extra mile.
14 WORST: Loading Times Are Way Too Long
Even people who love Anthem can't deny that this game has one massive flaw. The loading times are unbearably long. In many ways, the loading screens are so long that it doesn't even make sense. Even on PC, where you expect the game to run the smoothest, players are forced to stare at a loading screen for minutes before they can continue the game. Often, these players have modern PCs with the state of the art gaming components.
And on console, the problem is much, much worse. Xbox and PS4 gamers have to wait for insanely long times while Anthem loads. Yes, the game has some seriously detailed and advanced graphics. But even then, there's no reason why this game is taking so long to load. Sometimes, the game even gets stuck on load screens. This is officially recognized as a bug, and players have been told to just be patient and wait. Maybe the patch will fix this issue...
13 WORST: The Endgame Is Way Too Unbalanced
The endgame is one of Anthem's highlights. This part of the game is tons of fun, and has some of the best content in the entire game. Players and critics often say that they wished the whole game was like the endgame. But on that same note, even the endgame has its flaws. For one, the endgame is pretty unbalanced. Parts of the endgame are way easier than others, and it's tough to know whether you're high enough level to even tackle this part of the game.
There are certain enemies which pretty much cripple you with one bullet, while other enemies seem to do relatively no damage at all. Also, the loot in the endgame is sometimes unbalanced and impossible to farm in a good way. Once again, players are waiting for a patch to fix these issues before jumping headfirst into the endgame.
12 WORST: It Has A Seriously Low Metacritic Score
Currently, the game's Metacritic score sits at a rather unimpressive 60%— give or take a few percentages. This definitely isn't a good score by any stretch of the imagination, and it's actually the lowest score BioWare has ever received on the Metacritic platform. Metacritic is a platform worth attention, because it includes not just critic reviews, but also user reviews— those who aren't professional critics.
A lot of interesting points have been made by regular gamers who have written reviews on Metacritic, and people are obviously not happy with the title. While there are plenty of critics who gave the game relatively positive reviews, there are also critics who scored the game very low. People really pay attention to Metacritic, so having such a low score will dissuade future buyers.
11 WORST: It's Not Another Mass Effect
When this game was first announced, a lot of BioWare fans had mixed opinions, right from the get go. Let's face it, the game that really put this developer on the map was Mass Effect. This amazing science fiction adventure was a game like no other, and its rich universe captured the imaginations of millions of gamers. When Anthem was announced, there were those who were hoping it would be another Mass Effect experience.
As more information started to come out, it became obvious that this was a very different game. With a focus on multiplayer gameplay, Anthem was not going to feature the same RPG style adventure that Mass Effect was known for. And people wanted another Mass Effect, especially after the disappointment that was Andromeda. And Anthem was not even close to Mass Effect. This disappointment was compounded when players realized that Anthem had effectively pushed the release date of the next Mass Effect title back even further.
10 WORST: It's Too Much Like Destiny (And Other Loot And Shoot RPGs)
At first glance, this game does have some very obvious similarities to games like Destiny. Even the art style and the character models might be confused for one another, and the gameplay mechanic is essentially the same— Shoot and Loot. Destiny itself had its own fair share of critics, and players still love to hate on that game. Did the world really need another game in the same vein as Destiny? As time goes on, it's becoming clear that Anthem is definitely one of those games.
While there are some neat touches like flying and very interesting classes, Anthem at its core does not do enough to set itself apart from Destiny. It's not ever very different when compared to other Shoot And Loot games, like Borderlands for example. But in many cases, other Shoot and Loot games are actually superior to Anthem. So where does that leave BioWare's newest title?
9 WORST: The Story Is Dull
Another common complaint about Anthem is that the story is pretty dull. Some would even call it boring. Right from the get go, we knew that the story wasn't going to be as huge as it was in Mass Effect, for example. It's just not that same kind of player driven, single player experience. In most multiplayer games of this type, the story does take a bit of a hit. But did Anthem's story have to be this uninspiring?
It's probably most frustrating because of the massive potential this game had for an amazing visual storytelling experience. The facial animations are, for the most part, spectacular and graphically spellbinding. The team obviously went to huge lengths to make these faces and NPCs appear beautiful and extremely realistic. But they couldn't truly bring these characters to life with a gripping story.
8 WORST: Enemy AI Is Terrible
Reading the Metacritic reviews from players, we notice that another common complaint revolved around the enemy AI. As one player stated, the enemies either rush at you mindlessly or just stand there doing nothing. Judging by this experience, it seems like the enemies don't really engage in any tactics, and they merely exist as "bullet sponges."
Enemy AI is actually a pretty important factor, especially in a game like this, where players are going to be battling horde after horde of these enemies with their friends. It's another frustrating issue, because clearly the developers put so much time into other things, like the environments themselves and the controls. Enemy AI really adds so much to the game. Good enemy AI has existed in games ten, even 15 years ago. There's really no excuse to skimp on this feature.
7 BEST: The Graphics Are Spectacular
We've already mentioned this multiple times, but one of the best parts of Anthem is the graphics. This game looks amazing, there's no doubt about it. Just flying through the sky and watching the trees rush by is enough to make you fall in love with this game... Or at least TRY to fall in love with it. There are certain animations and cinematic elements which you just won't find anywhere else in the gaming industry today. It's a serious achievement, and it shouldn't be completely dismissed.
For some people, this one benefit might be enough to make them love the game. And if you're all about graphics, then Anthem will probably give you tons of satisfaction. But we're not sure if this is enough to save the game from its criticism.
6 WORST: There's Only A Few Skins - You Have To Pay To Unlock The Rest
These days, players are extremely wary of games which charge real money for added features. Since a number of fiascoes involving EA and other publishers, game developers have started to back away from aggressive monetization strategies, and give players more of the game for free. It's worth pointing out that Anthem will feature free DLC for all players in the future. When they build upon this game and make it better, everyone gets to see what happens.
But there are parts of this game that cost money, and these are mostly cosmetic skins and other customization options for the character. This isn't a huge deal, and for the most part it's pretty standard procedure with games these days. But the most frustrating thing is the fact that there are so few free skins and customization options to choose from in Anthem. If you really want to stand out, you're going to have to pay for it.
5 WORST: It's Made By BioWare
Perhaps one of the most negative aspects of Anthem is something it has absolutely no control over— it's made by BioWare. We're not saying BioWare is a bad company. They've created masterpieces like Mass Effect 2 in the past. But there's no denying that the developer now has something of a sullied reputation among the gaming community. Mass Effect: Andromeda certainly didn't do it any favors.
In fact, their last showing was so bad that many people will stay far away from Anthem— simply because they don't want another Andromeda type experience. In many ways, these thoughts are completely justified. Why should gamers spend their hard earned cash on a title made by those who have a questionable track record? BioWare isn't a bad developer. But attaching their name to Anthem really held the game back.
4 WORST: There's Only One Biome - With The Same Plants And Trees Everywhere
While Anthem's game world is definitely wonderful and pleasing to the eye, it's not all it's cracked up to be. We've already mentioned the fact that the game world feels empty at times, but this isn't the only problem associated with the expanse you spend most of your time in. Just like the gameplay itself, the game world feels repetitive at times.
Many players commented on the fact that this entire planet seems to be one large jungle with little variety in plant life or different biomes. To put it simply, it all looks the same. Why couldn't this planet include an icy region? What about a desert plateau? Just... something different. Maybe this will be added in with later DLC. But right now, the game world can feel pretty repetitive.
3 WORST: The Loot Isn't Anything Special
With a game like this, there's going to be a huge amount of emphasis on loot. The game does have a strong Loot and Shoot structure, and this is what should keep players coming back. When we look at the type of loot in Anthem, we're inevitably going to be comparing it to similar games, such as Destiny and Borderlands. So how does this game stack up to the competition?
Well, many players aren't exactly impressed. Some have admitted that when you find a new piece of loot, it never feels exciting. It never feels like a big deal. Weapons generally behave the same way and have the same general statistics. It's not like Borderlands, which had an amazing loot system that gave us all kinds of insanely cool weapons and items.
2 WORST: It Didn't Live Up To The Hype Or Trailers
This is a huge complaint when it comes to Anthem. Back in 2017, the game released its first trailer, and people were blown away. The hype was real back then, and people couldn't wait to see more of this game. But now that we're in 2019, the dust has settled. Now we can look back on this trailer and actually compare the hype and excitement to the game we actually received.
It's clear that Anthem did not live up to the hype of its first trailer and the later buzz. But going one step further, many players are saying that the trailer actually promised things which never came to fruition. Fort Tarsis, the main settlement in the game, was shown as being a crowded marketplace, full of commotion and interest. The trailer also showed a player instantly equipping a weapon they had found on the battlefield, which is impossible in the actual game. Did the game live up to the hype? Not really.
1 BEST: The Controls Feel Fun When Playing
Many people have also commented on how fun it feels to play the game. The controls are tight, and flying especially is seriously enjoyable and interesting. Even this benefit is somewhat dampened by the fact that you can only fly for so long, and that can be frustrating at times. But there are little moments during this game when you feel like you're playing something totally unique and interesting, and it usually comes down to the controls and the way it feels to pilot a javelin.
But at the end of the day, tight and satisfying controls do not necessarily equate to fun gameplay as a whole. Graphics and good controls are great, and they might be enough for some to enjoy this game. But when you look at this game as a whole, these two benefits are heavily outweighed by the negative aspects of Anthem.