Should you buy Anthem?


Should you buy Anthem?

Best answer: Anthem has addictive loot gameplay, wonderfully satisfying combat, and gorgeous visuals. Up to a point, that is. Anthem's end game is very short-lived, with maximum repetition, and Bioware hasn't been diligent when it comes to fixing some of the game's biggest issues. Your best bet is to skip for now. (Updated: April 23, 2019)Amazon: Anthem ($60)

Wasted potential

Anthem is a tale of two games, as detailed in our full review. The addictive Diablo-style loot 'em up gameplay is well-executed, giving you a steady stream of powerful loot in exchange for tackling the game's most difficult content. However, the loot starts to dry up as you get deeper into the end-game, which right now consists of very little content.

Undoubtedly one of the best-looking games on Xbox and PC today.

Although there's some debate in the community about whether the loot drop rates are high enough, I've found them to be pretty forgiving compared to some similar games out there initially. Grabbing a Masterwork-level weapon after a difficult battle is incredibly satisfying, and it comes with powerful affixes that help you further tailor your playstyle. However, after completing the same few missions over and over and over and over, ad nauseum, there's very little to keep you coming back.

Alongside the loot gameplay, Anthem's combat is well-refined and infectious, taking the best of Mass Effect's third-person shooting and combining it with some impressive and intuitive flight mechanics, making you feel like Iron Man. The game's four archetype classes offer hugely divergent playstyles, and within each class, you can customize your skills even further, with an array of unique weapons and other abilities. Working with your teammates in squads up of up to four players, you can pull off explosive combos which lay waste to large areas of enemies, crucial for overcoming some of the game's more difficult content. The game is also absolutely stunning and is undoubtedly one of the best-looking games on Xbox and PC today.

But is Anthem as bad as people say?

Anthem is still a bit of a mess. Various bugs plague the game, from basic things like broken weapon stats to the utterly frustrating, like client crashing and audio failure. There's also a ton of quality-of-life issues with the game's UI and systems, missing basic things like map markers and non-verbal communication systems for playing over matchmaking.

BioWare has signaled that it intends to fix the game as fast as possible, already issuing a couple of large patches since launch. The company has also published a roadmap of 2019 content it intends to add to the game, all for free, to keep the title fresh in the many months to come. For those who want that polish today, though, you may want to wait a couple of months for BioWare to fix the most egregious issues. BioWare has also been very quiet with its fanbase, failing to address any of the issues the game is struggling with.

As a fan of similar service-type loot-'em-ups like Monster Hunter: World and Diablo, I have found a ton of reasons to enjoy Anthem, regardless of the rough edges and relatively weak story. Playing the game through with friends is a blast, particularly on the harder difficulties, and feeling your character power swell as you get better loot remains as fun and addictive as ever. If you're a fan of third-person sci-fi shooting with loot-heavy gameplay, you'll enjoy the game regardless of the issues. But do not expect it to hold your attention as you get deeper into the non-existent "end game." Anthem's future isn't looking too great right now.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!