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Developing a title like Anthem (Check on Amazon.com), means confronting a particularly demanding audience. Bioware gave birth to a product with a strong identity and great growth potential. Sadly, the product is accompanied by a number of defects, that could overshadow the future of this new franchise, that in all honesty, we have a great desire to see grow.
The story of Anthem does not match the developer’s past productions but tries to balance between the structural needs of a shared world shooter and those of a product more in line with the tastes of Bioware fans. It is a hybrid composition, inherently imperfect, but the final result is marked by the thousand stories of an effective and multifaceted tale, whose value exceeds the limits of the main campaign, and is lost in the enveloping echo of all the voices that resonate in the alleys of Tarsis.
Yes, the Anthem hub is not exactly the most navigable among those in the segment and, yes, the gait of the protagonist continues to be phlegmatic at times lethargic, but also perfectly complementary to the frenzy unleashed on the field of battle. The placid everyday life of Fort Tarsis soon ceases to be perceived as a simple interlayer between shootings and becomes an important element for the immersion of the player. It is difficult, at this point, to determine the value of the direction chosen by Bioware, but the potential of Anthem is already more than palpable.
Someone flew over the Dominion’s nest
The beating heart of Anthem’s gameplay, the root of its peculiar “flavor”, is undoubtedly the exciting movement system created by Bioware, which transforms every hike beyond the walls of Tarsis is a sequence of moments of pure enjoyment. Although shooting is certainly not one of the brightest in the segment, the functional integration of this component into the fights infuriates the efficacy of adrenaline.
Each battle in the game is a continuous succession of rocket dodging, cataclysmic explosions, and hasty escapes towards the relative safety of the clouds, all in the face of enemy fire. Not surprisingly, proper positioning management, and good spatial awareness, are the two key elements for the survival of the entire team.
Each of the exoskeletons is a reinterpretation of the classic war mechanics. If the mighty Colossus is, therefore, a sort of union between a tank and a self-propelled ram, unable to dodge but equipped with a practically impenetrable “physical” shield, the agile Interceptor is a kind of hyper-technological “hack and slash”, pirouetting between enemies like a sharp whirlwind. On the other hand, similar to the classic “caster”, the Storm is at its best when it comes to incinerating enemies from distance, thanks to a range of powerful elemental abilities, matched with a dramatically reduced resilience. The Guardian, the most balanced of the four, is an excellent all-rounder, and the ideal suit to maximize the effects of the combo system.
It is worth saying that the game is never generous when it comes to explaining the least obvious game dynamics, a lack that goes hand in hand with the shortcomings of an interface often unclear and somewhat confusing.
Bringing your avatar to level 30 means unlocking the three “Grand Master” challenge levels, which increase both the virulence of enemies (sometimes really excessive) and the likelihood of getting your hands on the rarest and most precious drops.
Endgame and other disasters
Except for the three Fortresses (instances comparable to dungeons with a lot of final bosses) included in the launch pack, the number of activities is not one of the Anthem weaknesses, especially considering the abundance of public events available during the exploration of its magnificent open world.
Whether it is collecting and reassembling the various parts of an artifact of the Creators, or defending a position for a variable period of time, the range of proposed tasks soon appears dramatically limited.
Bioware has already anticipated the arrival of full-bodied changes to fill the gaps in the endgame and, more generally, in Anthem’s content offer, while the first official expansion is already in the home stretch.
Anthem (Check on Amazon.com) is the imperfect result of a creative birth that has put in the hands of the audience one of the most promising shared-world shooters in recent years. A rich, multifaceted and enveloping narrative composition, frames frantic and fun gameplay, which draws strength from a surprisingly effective movement system, that offers a unique flavor both to fighting and exploration. The strengths of the product stand out thanks to a technical and artistic sector of great effect but above all thanks to a role component that marks a well-calibrated and fulfilling progression, supported by a loot and loadout system that adds a clear strategic note to the cooperative game. However, the formula has to deal with an overly marked repetitiveness of the same play routines that, combined with the long series of design errors, ends in a rather weak endgame. Defects that are not linked to the structural components of production, and therefore leave ample room for maneuver for substantial and necessary improvements, especially from the point of view of a variety of content. This path of improvement, in our opinion, deserves to be supported with a show of confidence, even if only to give a chance to a title with indisputable potential, which could lead Anthem to have a prominent place in the segment.