By Petre Motiu
“Anthem” is a game that is hamstrung by not only itself, but by its environment. Starting as “Project Dylan” in its formative years, Bioware, the studio responsible for “Anthem’s” development, wanted to take a shot at the shooter genre of games that have exploded in popularity in the past seven years. “Anthem” is a big step away from its comfort zone of single-player role games. The role-playing game genre has been Bioware’s bread and butter since its inception and has done well from “Baldur’s Gate” all the way up to “Mass Effect 3.”
The retail release of “Anthem” also brings up once again the pertinent point of games as a service. The concept of this term is the ability for game companies to keep the attention of their audience through the rollout of content after the initial release of a game. This industry practice sorely needs to retire. This is because the expectation of this concept has severely warped over the years. No longer will a game come out finished, but in a state where it’s barely playable and still has a long road ahead of it. A higher standard needs to be observed when it comes to the release of AAA games, especially “Anthem”. Good things take time.
The mechanics of the game, however, are rock solid. The job of creating the Iron Man fantasy is deftly accomplished from how every class flies to the impact of the abilities and weapons that are used in gameplay. It is borderline addicting to participate in.
At the same time, the combo system is a cleverly built mechanic that engenders teamwork as well as a spectacle of explosions that never gets old. The main story, while lackluster in its narrative progression and delivery, has characters that feel realistic thanks to improvements in facial capture technology
But, unfortunately, this is where the fun stops. “Anthem” is hamstrung by user interface (UI) elements, connectivity issues as well as overall stability. Recently PlayStation 4 players encountered difficulties signing on to “Anthem” and playing.
Even in the face of all of these problems, Bioware is still staying resolute and committed to improving “Anthem” step by step until it reaches a point where it is stable to play and perform well.
Until then, all players can do is play as the game intended, warts and all, while waiting for Bioware to deliver on its promise and get help from its passionate fanbase to spot out discrepancies and iron out its wrinkles. A tall order and long haul indeed.