Nostalgia, a psychological construct that holds hostage the emotional state. It seems Anthem’s developers, Bioware, have somehow tapped into this phenomenon and the results is…nostalgic.
Before delving deeper into this chasm of complexity allow me to address the proverbial elephant in the room. EA has become the industry standard of customer estrangement. Blizzard is not far behind with recent events, though I digress. The disaster that was Star Wars Battlefront 2 lingers in the mind. As such every EA release, regardless of the development team (Bioware), is tainted from the onset. EA execs couldn’t sink their profit-driven claws into Anthem’s robust armoured exterior.
Circling back to the emotional response to Anthem’s perfection. There is something about this title that strikes all the right chords on key every moment. I have yet to identify the single spark that distinguishes Anthem above the rest, however I am able to acknowledge all the strengths.
You play as a Freelancer, pilots of Javelins who protect humanity from the calamities of the Anthem and against the Dominion. The Dominion are attempting to control the god-like power of the Anthem through relics so that they themselves become the creators and destroyers of the world. The storyline has so many caveats and pockets of personal stories along with grand narrative. It is engaging in its purest form. Thankfully the plans are to release more stories as time goes on so that game itself does not just end once you complete this ‘Act’.
Gameplay is what you want it to be. If you wish to charge headfirst in the enemy or obliterate from a distance, then not only do the 4 Javelins cater for this but within each Javelin there are certain attributes and components that further define to what extent to want to bash or artillery. The weaponry is also expansive in terms of selection and within each weapon an overall modifier. The point is that there are just enough combinations to make gameplay unique for each style but not too many that it becomes difficult to comprehend.
The only item that you can spend more money on are cosmetics and animations. Ipso facto no pay to win in this game! EA applying learnings from previous hard-to-swallow lessons.
The enormous open-world is littered with side quests, wild animals and all-round beautiful scenery.
In order to illustrate why this is probably going down as the best game I have ever played I need to paint a picture of what a perfect game. This picture was formed as a youth playing the likes of Red Alert, Star Craft, Grand Theft Auto 3, Battlefield 1942 and Counter Strike.
Consider the feeling of overwhelming power and grandiose of Red Alert’s intro experience, hell march blaring in the background coupled with the thought of building an entire army to decimate the enemy. Combine it with Star Crafts epic storytelling that kept me constantly on seats edge actively feeling for each character as if they were my own kin. Bake it within the environment of open-world choices and awesomeness. Glaze it with the comradery that BF1942 instilled and add sprinkles of team strategizing that is essential in Counter Strike or just rush B.
This is what Anthem is for me. It consolidates my favourite aspects of all the titles mentioned and possibly more and in so doing provides a game that I will forever enjoy.
EA well done for letting Bioware do what they are fantastic at and hopefully this will be the first step in gaining the trust of the community that essentially are the reason you still exist.
Anthem Rating: 11/10
Check out the Anthem website: Anthem