Anthem impressions thread

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#1 Posted by paulmako (1958 posts) -

Anthem is now available to play for Origin Access Premier members. I'm not sure exactly who gets what across console and PC versions of the EA subscription but the game is now playable.

I played the weekend demos when they were available and I've now played about 90 minutes of the full game. From my time with it so far, I have been enjoying it a lot. The environments looks really nice, the flying is still really cool and the gear progression looks like it will be fun to work through (though that is more informed from my time with the demo). I guess my concern would be to see if the gameplay holds up over the course of a campaign. Time will tell.

For now I just want to keep playing through the missions, and see what else the game does. It seems pretty solid to me so far. Also the walking speed in the hub area seems improved, thankfully.

Anyone else diving into this today?

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#2 Posted by csl316 (14959 posts) -

Still on the fence, although I want it to be good.

How is the mission design? Is it completely divorced from story moments? Stuff like Mass Effect was cool because every few minutes, combat was broken up with a conversation or cutscene. It almost sounded like the story was completely confined to the home base area.

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#3 Posted by Carryboy (1098 posts) -

played for about 2 hours, absolutely nothing to kill the concerns everyone had pre launch. Combat is ok, mission design dull, story uninteresting and the whole thing feels souless.

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#4 Posted by TheRealTurk (507 posts) -

I still think the voice acting and facial animations are subpar. The faces are OK on important characters, but most of the NPCs are barely above Andromeda level.

I can't tell yet if the voice acting is an issue with talent, direction, or script yet. A ton of characters are putting these odd pauses in their sentences like the script had a bunch of periods that shouldn't be there. It's probably bad that when going through the first cutscene I immediately thought of Family Guy William Shatner.

Loading Video...

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#5 Posted by ChrisOVC (176 posts) -

The game is mostly just fine...Combat is okay tho all the combat encounters and missions just seem to similar to each other...The look of the game and the flying are the best parts tho the world feels empty and is just pretty to look at. So far the story is very uninteresting to me.. Feels like I was just tossed into this world and barely understand any of the terms being said. I really don't care about any of the characters I met. And I really hate the fort you go back to after every mission, its always a bit laggy and you just walk way to slow.

Im glad I tried it, and had a okay time.. But I doubt ill put to much more into it, and to me Destiny 2 is just a more fun one of these type of game even for the combat alone.

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#6 Edited by deckard (354 posts) -

The final game runs a lot better than the demo at least. Otherwise it’s not very exciting. The missions are pretty much just like Destiny 1 (go here, guard a thing for a while, repeat) so I don’t think I’ll be playing it past this weekend.

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#7 Posted by SquirrelGOD (598 posts) -

The parts where I'm fake-ass Iron Man are super fun! Everything else (the story, characters, setting, etc.) kind of sucks.

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#8 Posted by cbk486 (228 posts) -

I played this for about two hours, and honestly this game makes me very anxious for Bioware's future. The flying feels great, but the heat mechanic makes me reluctant to take advantage of it too much. The writing is mediocre, and the gunplay doesn't hold a candle to Destiny 2.

sigh

This ain't it, Chief :(

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#9 Edited by TopCat88 (371 posts) -

These service games live and die by their moment to moment gameplay, and Anthem's is fine but nothing more.

But, everything around the gameplay is really badly done though, and when the action doesn't carry you through, I can see a lot of people dropping off this game quickly.

  • Loot collection isn't exciting
  • You can't change weapons during missions
  • You have to load into a weapon change menu between missions
  • Movement speed in the story area is pitiful
  • The load times are too long
  • There are loading zones within missions!!!!
  • The mission design is terrible so far (2 hours in)
  • The UI is some of the worst I've seen this generation

These issues and more are giving little incentive for me to continue. I'm glad some others are enjoying it though.

The game desperately needs to let you switch weapons during loading screens at least (Like Destiny does).

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#10 Posted by mems1224 (2505 posts) -

It's kinda fun but also it just feels so soulless. It'd be a lot better if there were less loading screens and more enjoyable exploration. I think I'm gonna roll with the division 2 instead because that seems like it's gonna have more of what I want

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#11 Edited by Daibakuha (12 posts) -

I really like it, but i really liked the demo and there was a lot of improvements from the demo to this version.

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#12 Posted by hnke (188 posts) -

Is the story premise really just ancient alien technology left behind by extinct civilization again?

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#13 Edited by Daibakuha (12 posts) -

@hnke: The story is that a foreign country invaded a city and messed with technology they didnt understand and fucked the whole place. When you and your team went to try and stop the storm yall got fucked up.

Now the big bad from that blew up the city is going back and you have to stop him.

That's the plot. What you're describing is the setting.

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#14 Posted by deckard (354 posts) -

@hnke: No this one is ancient alien technology left behind by an extinct civilization that hasn’t been turned off - totally different

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#15 Posted by Sarnecki (1353 posts) -

You think after four games of ancient aliens they would finally move onto another concept.

Nope.

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#16 Posted by nutter (2112 posts) -

I’ve seen comments that the loads are too long.

Could someone confirm if they’re as frequent as in the demo, though?

Playing co-op in the demo;

If I flew too far from a group...load

If I flew too far from some objective (flew off a map maybe?)...load

If any one member of my party entered a cave...load

I have other concerns, to be sure. But loading every 2-3 minutes in a game that feels best when you’re free, flying, and exploring is a technical showstopper.

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#17 Posted by jacksmedulla (377 posts) -

@nutter: It's pretty much exactly like the demo in terms of frequency of load times. Pretty much any major shift in action requires a load. Open game: load into fort tarsis, want to change your loadout: load into the forge, choose mission: load into open world, fly to mission: load into mission area, stray too far from the group or take too long to get to the mission area: load to the other players, finish mission: load into mission summary screen, leave mission summary screen: load into fort tarsis or the forge, repeat. I can only assume that the frequency of loading is a result of the Frostbite engine simply not being conducive to this kind of game.

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#18 Posted by nutter (2112 posts) -

@jacksmedulla: Thanks. I appreciate the heads-up.

It’s a shame about Bioware...

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#19 Posted by jacksmedulla (377 posts) -

@nutter:No problem!

And yeah, it really is. I haven't really enjoyed a bioware game since Dragon Age: Origins, but I know others were very fond of Mass Effect 2 and somewhat fond of Mass effect 3. Up until Dragon Age: Inquisition, I figured they were just making games that weren't for me, but after Inquisition, Andromeda, and now Anthem, it is clear to me that Bioware is a very different developer now. I've given them the benefit of the doubt a number of times now, but it seems pretty certain that Bioware is no longer capable of writing a compelling story with engaging dialogue and well developed characters. It's pretty funny. It seems that there is almost a directly inverse relationship between the quality of the gameplay and the quality of writing in Bioware's games.

Here are my thoughts on the ten-ish hours I've played so far.

Pros (Yes, there are some):

  • Gameplay: This seems to be a pretty common area of praise for Anthem. Once the player realizes they need to utilize their abilities often, and that they should be continuously moving, the moment to moment to action is very entertaining. Shifting from flying to hovering to launching mortars to firing your weapons is fluid and intuitive.
  • Visually: The game just looks pretty. That's not surprising, given the engine it was built on, but it's still worth noting. The javelin designs are cool, and diverse. I personally enjoy the more mechanical, militaristic looks of the Colossus and the Ranger, but others will appreciate the more mystical look of the Warlock or the sleek, Evangelion look of the Interceptor.
  • Customization: Bioware did a damned fine job of giving the player tools to customize the color palette of their suit. If only they had given as much thought to the actual armor pieces.

Cons(Yes, there are many):

  • Gameplay: While the action is fun, it is also unfortunately one-note. Between the encounter design, the enemy A.I., the similarities between the enemies, the rather mediocre feel of the shooting, and the surprisingly narrow range of abilities, the appeal of the gameplay wears thin quickly.The abilities of your Javelin are tied to your loot, so this leads to a lot of loot not actually being worth much if you have found a play style you enjoy,
  • Visually: Gawdamn, I don't what the hell the facial animators at Bioware think Human beings look like when they emote, but all of the human interaction in this game feels like you are talking to a Chuck E Cheese animatronic. It's much better than Andromeda, but it is still laughable for a "AAA" video game in 2019.
  • Performance: My computer is pretty old at this point(i5-2500k and a GTX 970), but I'm still able to run most games at 1080p 60 fps on high-ultra. Obviously this will vary from game to game, but I expect decent performance if I bump the game down to medium settings. During the demo, I experienced frequent framerate issues, evven when bumped down to medium. Fortunately, this has been improved from the demo. I have most of my settings on high, and I seem to fluctuate between 45 and 60fps. Fort Tarsis, as with the demo, is deceptively resource intensive, and I experience much more frequent frame drops while there. Overall, much improved from the demo, but still needs some refinement.
  • Loading(copied and pasted from above): It's pretty much exactly like the demo in terms of frequency of load times. Pretty much any major shift in action requires a load. Open game: load into fort tarsis, want to change your loadout: load into the forge, choose mission: load into open world, fly to mission: load into mission area, stray too far from the group or take too long to get to the mission area: load to the other players, finish mission: load into mission summary screen, leave mission summary screen: load into fort tarsis or the forge, repeat. I can only assume that the frequency of loading is a result of the Frostbite engine simply not being conducive to this kind of game.
  • Loot: This is the most baffling thing for me about Anthem. It's a looter shooter, but the loot is pretty shit, at least in the first 15 levels. It seems that Bioware has reserved most of the armor changes for microtransactions, and as such, one of the biggest draws to loot driven games is hidden behind a paywall. I enjoy pimping out my character in loot games. Cool helmets and pauldrons, unique looking guns, I haven't experienced ANY of that in the 10 hours I've played. It is absolutely baffling. Instead, loot simply provides moderate to negligible stat buffs and debuffs to your abilities. There is no sense of progression. There is no sense of creating a unique character beyond changing the color scheme of your suit. The game needs soooo much more in this regard if it wants to remain relevant for longer than a month.
  • Story: Pretty fucking awful. As I said above, I've lost any faith in Bioware's ability to write an engaging story. Put simply, Anthem's plot feels like Bioware saw Destiny 1's story and said "Lets double down on the generic cliche-fest", and rather than have the player watch the story for 2 minutes between 30 minutes of gameplay, let's have them watch 15 minutes of boring dialogue with uninspired, psuedo-dialogue options, then spend 3 minutes loading into the mission, then let them play for 10-15 minutes interspersed with voice in your ear info dumps. It's actually annoying how much they want you to engage with their bullshit story and dialogue system. I go back to Fort Tarsis and I hammer the B button just to skip through it all.

Sorry if it's a bit of a mess, but that about sums up my thoughts on Anthem at this time. I'm curious to see what the end game is like. If it changes much, I'll be sure to update this post.

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#20 Edited by deckard (354 posts) -

@jacksmedulla: so many baffling, baffling decisions. Fundamentally I still don’t know why they’re STILL trying to wrangle the Frostbite engine to work with these kinds of open-world games. From all the behind-scenes stuff I’ve watched/read regarding DA: Inquisition they really had to cobble together a barely-workable solution with Frostbite. All of the loading screens/ loading bugs etc. clearly show that its just not designed for this.

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#21 Posted by jacksmedulla (377 posts) -

@deckard: Yeah, I think I remember reading a while back that EA made it an initiative to almost exclusively use the Frostbite engine for their games, regardless of whether or not the engine is actually suited for that type of game.

I don't want to be just another voice among many chanting "EA bad", but it is really hard not to just look at what has happened to Bioware, along with many others, and not think that a lot of poor decisions have been made at the behest of EA.

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#22 Edited by briarpack (327 posts) -

I finished the main story a couple of hours ago and hoo boy!

Going into this I was kinda hopeful that they've learned from Bungie's mistakes, but I'm not sure they learned much of anything. Grandmaster difficulties with ridiculously inflated enemy health made me think that maybe they've got some depth to their loot systems, allowing players to come up with OP builds and whatnot. Well, jury's still out on the endgame, but the main story doesn't instill a lot of trust.

Playing through the game I never really felt like any of the loot mattered, because it doesn't, whatever you get will be obsolete in a couple of hours and the story is there just to get you to the endgame. Which is presumably where most of Bioware's efforts went to and where Anthem will shine, because fuck me does it have to.

The gamplay is fine, it feels OK, flying around is fun and doing flips in an Interceptor looks cool...
The mission design is a half step up from Destiny 1
The enemy design isn't great and boss design is uhhh.. more on that below.
The story... well like I said, I don't think even Bioware cared about it. Though there's some good stuff in the optional dialogue at Fort Tarsis if you have the patience to listen to it.

Spoilers in regards to the ending:

Sweet jesus what the fuck, really? The final boss is just a big version of the main bad guy... Like raid bosses in Destiny, one of the aspects it got mocked for. Lord almighty, if this is the quality of endgame bosses we can expect.... You don't even get to kill the guy, the last quarter of his health just vanishes and Haluk rolls over it in a way that makes no fucking sense. And then the game just kinda ends.
AND THEN, HOW MANY MISSIONS? You want me to do 175 fucking missions until presumably things get maybe interesting, perhaps? Though maybe there's nothing at the end of that quest, you just "prove your valor" and then wait for DLC.
Also, the last mission softlocked for me (as the game has a habit of randomly doing that) and my matchmade crew of Interceptors, that was kinda anticlimactic. Nothing that a quick swim in lava won't solve though!

No Caption Provided

"This is fine." - BioWare, 2019

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#23 Posted by deckard (354 posts) -

@briarpack: LOL - I'm beginning to suspect, from the experiences of myself and many others, that Anthem MAY (just MAY) be a game that is not good. I will have to give EA for one thing though - by having Origin Access I got to try it out early and only had to shell out $15 to find out said video game is not great.

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#24 Posted by Barrock (4126 posts) -

How's the music? Something I noticed during the early impressions video is the lack of great music, which Mass Effect was kinda known for. Maybe the audio was just too low on game play?

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#25 Posted by frytup (1287 posts) -

<whisper>
They killed Bioware.

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#26 Posted by TheHT (15839 posts) -

Oof. Making me wanna replay Dragon Age: Origins with all these impressions, just to remember the good ol' days.

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#27 Posted by morningcoffee (51 posts) -

I had my doubts about the writing when I played the first mission in the demo. The guy mentions that he calls it a manifold and then when you bring it back he starts pontificating about the definition of manifold. Like, motherfucker you're the one who named it that!

@theht said:

Oof. Making me wanna replay Dragon Age: Origins with all these impressions, just to remember the good ol' days.

Yea, this game inspired me to reinstall DA:O the other day and play it for a little bit. Bioware's trajectory over the past 10 years has been... interesting.

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#28 Posted by Rawrz (673 posts) -

Game seems alright. Nothing to set the world on fire but its fun. Shooting is alright, flying is fun. Of course its EA so it will be labeled a bad game even though it's totally fine. The story seems stupid but it's a loot shooter so that doesnt bother me all that much. At least it seems to have a story which is more then I could say about Destiny 1.

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#29 Posted by Dr_Fubar (24 posts) -

@therealturk: I agree on 'soulless'. The same word came into my mind during my first 15 minutes, and having played a bit yesterday and today I've decided that it sadly fits.

I think Anthem is a game that checks a lot of boxes, but I can't find a single ounce of soul or heart in it anywhere. Anthem has the Destiny problem of virtually zero self-awareness. It's a super serious game with a super serious McGuffin and literally a Big Bad, whose introduction was so comically villainous that I think it's unfortunately the funniest part of the game so far.

What if Anthem didn't take itself so fucking seriously...

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#30 Posted by devise22 (730 posts) -

@dr_fubar said:

@therealturk: I agree on 'soulless'. The same word came into my mind during my first 15 minutes, and having played a bit yesterday and today I've decided that it sadly fits.

I think Anthem is a game that checks a lot of boxes, but I can't find a single ounce of soul or heart in it anywhere. Anthem has the Destiny problem of virtually zero self-awareness. It's a super serious game with a super serious McGuffin and literally a Big Bad, whose introduction was so comically villainous that I think it's unfortunately the funniest part of the game so far.

What if Anthem didn't take itself so fucking seriously...

Not that I entirely disagree with you regarding comic book style villains and the overall like, "game plot." But to say Anthem only takes itself seriously is pretty, extreme. It's kind of a bummer so many people don't like walking around in Fort Tarsis because honestly most of the good writing/voice acting in my opinion is tucked in there. To such an odd degree even, a high majority of the characters could be labelled as eccentric. But tonally it's far less gruff, save the last colony stuff and more zany stories. You don't get a lot of choice, and the limited dialogue wheel options means you don't really see upfront that this is exactly the type of system it is either. But you can technically make choices with the characters there.

Although I will say in regards to "soul" those characters on Tarsis were really the only part that ticked that box for me.

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#31 Posted by Humanity (18725 posts) -

I find it fascinating how the endgame is locked behind incredible tedium.

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#32 Posted by IzunaDrop (243 posts) -

I'm so conflicted about the game after nearly 20 hours.

I wish it would buy into being the lovechild of PSO and multiplayer Mass Effect more than it does.

I will say that the mid-game tedious challenge gate mentioned by Jeff et al is not that tedious at all, and took maybe 30 minutes extra on top of organically playing and doing side quests to complete the reqs. It is an obvious cop-out, however, and I have no desire to enter the area/missions it unlocks. The story is about as engaging as Destiny's.

It just doesn't gel, and game audio cuts out at random on PC. I love my space ninja and it was a blast for one month of Origin Premium.

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#33 Posted by Dr_Fubar (24 posts) -

@devise22:I have to ask- what parts of the story are you being driven by? Do you feel like the characters belong in this world? I'm really struggling to attach to any of the characters or lore. I hear a lot of buzzwords and tragic backstories and it all feels completely shallow and manufactured to me.

I read VG247's review this morning and it reflects my sentiments as well:

There are flashes of BioWare’s brilliant world-building in there – mostly hidden within codex collectables dotted around a soulless hub area – but you’ll likely be lost in a sea of pretend words if you don’t bother reading them.

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#34 Edited by devise22 (730 posts) -

@dr_fubar: It's not really the story that is driving me in. It's more gameplay. But so many of the characters of Fart Tarsis aren't tragic backstories etc. The bartender Amal, for example? His stories are a series of silly romantic escapades that all involve him getting into trouble. He often asks the player character for tips, advice, and that is where you can make some of the limited dialogue options in the game. Telling him to do one thing or the other, and the next time you come back to Tarsis he'll tell you what happened with your advice.

In general a lot of the busy bodies around Tarsis that have nothing to do with the plot are far more interesting than anyone trying to tell you find to relics or trying to talk about the Dominion. The closet I've come to caring about the lore stuff is from Zoe, your mechanic/engineer at the side of the forge. But it's usually only because she actually puts that stuff in the context of the struggle, family, and gives you some perspective on the Tarsis life.

But I think Bioware made a clear mistake in design. The majority of the mission NPC's or those associated with the story as you guys have said are just throwing down lore names, cyphers, relics, the whole nine. Generally the only characters that have been interesting to talk to out the gate were the ones that were more telling stories and asking advice, and less "hey this is the Campaign Freelancer." But I still do think there are good conversations and NPC's. It's just they remind me of like, Pressley or Joker, aka some of the characters in Mass Effect that you couldn't actually bring on missions. They may be a bit more fleshed out than them, as they aren't just information hubs at that point. But still not as fleshed out the actual crew you were building in those games, and sadly there is nothing remotely like that here.

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#35 Edited by deckard (354 posts) -

@devise22: For me personally- the fact that the story is so abstracted, jargon-heavy, and obtuse, combined with the fact you never actually see your character’s face in dialogue and cutscenes, makes me constantly forget that the Freelancer the NPCs keep talking to over the radio in missions is actually supposed to be MY character.

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#36 Posted by Honkalot (1040 posts) -

The world and exploring around in it is really fabulous so far! I only started playing yesterday, but went around and looked at the scenery in freeplay to areas I probably had no business being in.

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#37 Edited by soulcake (2753 posts) -

Every thing about this game is Mediocre the shooting the subpar story the world exploration this game yell's 7/10. Even the writing is so cliché, can't they just pick a random episode from Star Trek TNG and copy paste the plot into a mission :P.

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#38 Posted by ItsAhMe (110 posts) -

@therealturk: I completely disagree here. I think the facial animations and voice acting are some of the best ive ever seen.

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#39 Edited by jacksmedulla (377 posts) -

@itsahme: Have you played more than 5 games, because the characters barely emote better than decade old animatronics? They all have dead eyes, and their mouths flap around excessively while the rest of the face looks like it’s been shot up with too much botox. In regard to the voice acting, it’s serviceable. Although, every single character seems to have the character trait of sarcasm set to max, which is incredibly grating.

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#40 Posted by ItsAhMe (110 posts) -

@jacksmedulla: im playing on PC and it looks phenomenal. ive only ever played 3 games tho.

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#41 Posted by jacksmedulla (377 posts) -

@itsahme: I'm also playing on PC, and while the environments and animations of the Javelins are fantastic, the facial animations are just not on the same level.

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#42 Posted by briarpack (327 posts) -

Hey, I got those 175 missions done. Here's what's next:

Goddamnit
Goddamnit

I'm actually enjoying the endgame quite a bit, but my view might be skewed because I got a piece of gear that completely changed my playstyle and it just feels fresh right now.

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#43 Posted by glots (4295 posts) -

Guess The Outer Worlds will be my sci-fi game to play this year then. Not that I was ever hyped up on Anthem, but none of the impressions I’ve read around the web so far have made me want to check it out.

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#44 Posted by soulcake (2753 posts) -

People who made this game know the story is bad right? This games focus on the MMO aspect is interesting but badly implemented. I would have first written a decent story. Second focused on a 16+ hours satisfying solo story experience. (with a bit of exploration like a ME game) And then after the credits role the world opens up and you get all the MMO stuff. Have some weird zone like RIFT where units keeps spawning and talking over zones, have a Kharazan raid ready quest collect 5 meguffins to enter the raid. Have some rep vendors, o yeah and have a social zone like a Orgrimar or a Stormwind. How hard can it be :P.

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#45 Posted by SquirrelGOD (598 posts) -

This game's dialogue might be some of the worst I've ever heard. Is there a term for the type of writing that we're seeing so much of in games these days where every single character has to be a sarcastic quip machine who makes weird, cutesy comments all the time? I mean, BioWare used to have the best characters and story in the industry, but now they have these obnoxious shitheads who, when getting fired upon just say things like "Oh, man! They're so mean!" instead of something like, I dunno "I'm being shot at! I need backup!"

I miss BioWare giving me the choice of my character either being kind of lighthearted or being sort of a stoic hardass. I don't want my character making obnoxious jokes about sandwiches the entire game. Honestly, I'd have loved the Freelancer to have just been a silent protagonist.

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#46 Posted by Phos (75 posts) -

I've seen a lot about this game's flying and heat mechanic and I'm surprised I haven't seen anyone say the obvious: The heat mechanic is to prevent you from flying out of the world. They seem to have made it more intrusive to get you to fly low (Video I've seen makes it look like just flying anywhere near water cools you), possibly so the world artists get to show off their environments, and so it's not quite so nakedly obvious by having it limit you in ways other than altitude.

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#47 Posted by nateandrews (71 posts) -

@squirrelgod: That type of dialog is waaaay too prevalent. I feel like Assassin’s Creed II was patient zero for it.

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#48 Posted by gunflame88 (382 posts) -

@squirrelgod: I totally get what you're saying, it's incredibly grating.

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#49 Posted by pompouspizza (1563 posts) -

Is the game even remotely fun solo, or should I not even think about getting it if I’m not going to play with people?

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#50 Posted by jacksmedulla (377 posts) -

@pompouspizza: I played entirely solo, and absolutely would not recommend buying this game full price. You are always matchmade with other players, so you'll never actually be alone, but it'll still feel like you're basically playing solo. The fact of the matter is, even with friends, I still wouldn't recommend paying full price for this game. If you are playing on PC, and if you are still set on playing Anthem, then I would recommend subscribing for a month of Origin Premier for $15. This will give you more than enough time to see all of what Anthem has to offer.

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