Best answer: Yes, Anthem is playable as an exclusively single-player online experience. While designed for four players, BioWare has accounted for those playing solo too.
Amazon: Anthem Standard Edition ($60)
Anthem is designed for cooperative multiplayer
Electronic Arts will soon debut Anthem, its anticipated shared-world shooter for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows PCs. The new property shows promise, building on a common core to games like Destiny and Tom Clancy's The Division, injected with BioWare's role-playing legacy.
Anthem is built primarily as an online multiplayer experience which remains core to many of the game's mechanics. It falls under the growing trend of service-based games, backed by the promise of regular free content and cooperative replayability for coming years. However, the game is playable for those who play solo, with the studio specifically accounting for these players. It's just not the "ideal" experience the studio initially envisioned.
Anthem's multiplayer focus also pairs with an always-online requirement, forcing players to connect to game servers at all times. This also means an active Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus subscription is mandatory on their respective console platforms.
Anthem is built for solo players too
BioWare has designed Anthem to accommodate all types of players, including those entering its world alone. Integrated matchmaking allows solo players to experience its four-player combat in full, prompting strangers to band together for missions. While avoidable, it's an ideal chance for a taste of what Anthem can offer.
Every mission in the game can be experienced standalone, with specific gameplay adjustments made to improve gameplay for solo freelancers. Speaking to Windows Central, Anthem lead producer, Ben Irving, expanded on its dynamic scaling systems:
We believe the game is best played with a group of four, I say that sentence a lot. But we understand if people want to play it solo, so we've done a bunch of things to make that a fun experience.
[...] So we do things like, if you have two players, there are less creatures, [while] if there are three or four players, there are more creatures. And then we scale creature health based on one, two, three, or four players.
With an illustrious history in narrative-driven games, BioWare also pitches this as core to Anthem. Most of Anthem's storyline is delivered exclusively through a single-player hub dubbed "Fort Tarsis," home to the game's key personas. It forces players into a solo experience packed with cinematic cutscenes and tailored story events, even breaking cooperative players away from their team.
Missing Anthem's class gameplay
Anthem is structured around its four "Javelin" exosuits, each assigned unique attributes and combat roles. This is the foundation of class-based gameplay, with its cooperative play formulated to encourage synergies between playstyles.
Each Javelin bears class traits with class-exclusive weapons and abilities. Backed by a deep combo system that rewards those merging different classes, it makes cooperative strategy key to building a strong freelancer team. Those playing solo won't experience the full depth of Anthem's encounters as a result.
Should I buy Anthem?
While primarily a multiplayer game, with mechanics rewarding cooperative play, Anthem still accounts for those gaming alone. Either solo or with help from matchmaking, you don't need a full team of friends to have fun. And who knows; you might meet some new freelancer friends along the way!
Anthem is now available for preorder on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows PCs. The game is currently slated for February 22, 2019, starting at $60.
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