Anthem's launch period has been, let's call it, interesting. Like many AAA releases from major developers, there was a tremendous amount of pre-release hype, and once the game came out, opinions were divided.
In the weeks since its release, the game has gone through some very interesting ups and downs. First, the player base was ecstatic with how responsive Bioware seemed to be to player feedback. Then there was the accidental loot bug that gave players a brief glimpse into what higher drop rates could be like.
From there, things have gone downhill. Sure, there was a patch that brought a lot of quality of life changes to Anthem, but with it came another drop rate bug that was quickly reverted without a response from the developers, and that left players in an absolute uproar.
Still, in spite of all the craziness, Anthem is still a solid game at its core and it's still worth playing, even if it might not be the game you end up spending months on.
Do you know what's really, really fun? Flying around like Iron Man. While Anthem is primarily a loot shooter set in a science fiction world, it also feels like it's part Iron Man simulator, and that's just awesome. When it comes to traversing a large open world, you'd be hard-pressed to find another shooter that moves as well as Anthem.
Bioware clearly spent a great deal of time tuning the flight mechanics to make movement in the game feel incredible. Even the mechanic of overheating adds a fun layer to the flight because you have to manage your heat levels and actually think about your route throughout the large world.
The Use of Abilities
Yes, Anthem is a shooter first and foremost, but you can feel the Mass Effect roots in it. There's a far greater reliance on using your Javelin's powers than in games like Destiny where shooting is your primary way of bringing down foes. In fact, there are times in Anthem where you barely even use your gun (try the Colossus Javelin with Flamethrower and Lightning Coil to see what I mean).
The reason I like the reliance on powers so much is that it adds a layer of variety to the game. Sure, shooting bad guys with a gun is fun, but shooting bad guys with a gun while lighting them on fire and shooting missiles at them is even better!
Almost contrary to my last point about using abilities all the time is the fact that gunplay in Anthem is actually solid. Each gun feels different in terms of weight, recoil, and overall handling, just like they would in real life. Bioware, a company known more for their stories than their ability to craft a well-tuned shooter, definitely managed to knock it out of the park when it comes to the feel of pointing a gun at an enemy and pulling the trigger.
I was a bit apprehensive about playing with the Storm Javelin at first, as the idea of aiming while floating sounds quite intimidating, but Bioware even nailed the feel of that. After a while, you'll forget that you're floating around because the core shooting mechanics are so well designed.
Are You Going to Give Anthem a Shot?
Anthem is a deeply flawed game and Bioware seems to find a way to misstep around every possible corner. Yet I keep coming back for more. Even with the loot dropping a bit too sparingly, the core gameplay loop is just downright fun, and getting out there on challenging missions remains enjoyable.
If Bioware sticks with the game (which remains in question since the company completely bailed on its DLC plans for Mass Effect Andromeda after it sold poorly and was bashed by, well, everyone), there's a solid foundation that could easily be right up there with the Destinys and Borderlands of the world.