I have a lot of mixed feelings with Anthem. It’s a game I have so much fun controlling, shooting and just playing. Its gameplay foundation is entertaining and controls feel polished but for just about everything I like about this game, there’s something wrong with it. It’s but another game as a service title that charges full price for admission, adds on microtransactions and arrives lacking stability that matches all these various price tags. Perhaps the weakest part of Anthem is its story and that’s incredibly taboo to say with this being a Bioware game.Bioware, a game studio that for the most part has been well known for its incredible storytelling or at least its ambitious to almost get there. Anthem is the latter. You play as one of these noble warrior heroes, no not Captain Marvel, but instead, Iron Man, wait no, I mean Freelancers. These humans called freelancers that use mech suits called javelines that aren’t iron man but I mean let’s be honest totally feel like iron man, are the guardians of the human world. In this same universe, a group of aliens tries to harness the power of the anthem for their own evil ambitions while the freelancers try to prevent the apocalyptic aftermath from affecting the innocent humans.Your progression throughout the story and connections with people in this world are all established at Fort Tarsis. This is the home base to the freelancers where people go to upgrade their javelins, buy things and just see what’s up with the merchants. It’s filled people to talk to and to Bioware’s credit, some of them are engaging, filled with personality and fun to talk to. It’s always like that though and you end up getting these dialogue choices that feel completely irrelevant to the actual story because no matter what you choose they don’t tend to impact the story. Sure there are moments where characters will give these heartfelt stories or recounts of the events in Anthem but most of the time I just want to get out of Fort Tarsis to get back into the action.The world of Anthem is cool, I want to explore it, I want to hear and learn more about it. However, what’s being shown or rather told through the interactions and cutscenes don’t do a great job at matching up to the action that I’ve fallen in love with. Anthem feels like renting a sports car to go to a McDonalds drive-through or buying a 4k tv to watch 360p content. The foundation is great but the way it’s used in terms of gameplay is incredibly lacking. You start off your journey by selecting one of 4 javeline as your own. Each javeline has a unique play style that’s up to you to find which one suits you.For me, that was the quick interceptor javeline that’s almost like this mech ninja robot that felt so badass to me. Whether I was playing with a controller or on mouse and keyboard, flying through the air, boosting out of the way of mountains and just soaring through the sky felt fantastic. I love it and I just can’t state how great it feels to jump off a cliff, fly through a ravine only to find a group of enemies and start shooting at them. The foundation for Anthem is absolutely marvelous. Each javeline is equipped with a pair of weapons and special abilities and each one is fully customizable or upgradable.This is where Anthem’s action rpg mechanics come into play. You have full reign to customize the cosmetics of your javeline, add new abilities or as you gain loot, upgrade your weapons and said abilities. In the earlier parts of the game, I found it addicting to mix and match different weapons and abilities to find my perfect play style. That early on experimentation of finding a great combo to be a vital part of my squads on missions was fun but that’s the honey moon period of Anthem and sadly it doesn’t last long. After the whole new game feeling wears off, the shine of it all really starts to die down. You see Anthem starts strong with its core foundation but then doesn’t really pick up until the very end of the 15-hour campaign where suddenly the stronghold missions really kick up the adrenaline.These are essentially raids that throw tougher bosses with more complex attack patterns and more rare loot. They’re a joy to play but they’re so far into the game that the whole middle part of the 15 hours is left with nothing but repetitive shallow missions that somehow suck the fun out of flying as a knock-off iron man. Throughout the campaign, I was bombarded with the same missions over and over again. Going on fetch quests, collecting items, take out the same types of enemies in different areas, controlling area of the map and so on. They lack any form of depth and with the gameplay mechanics being so fun, I can’t help but feel they were wasted on such boring missions outside of the initial wow and the end game content. Add on top of that a handful of different bugs and just bad quality of life issues. I’ll be flying over a valley, spot an enemy only to have the enemy either disappear or just straight up turn invisible but still be active. Load times are long ranging from 45 seconds to a minute long and they appear every time you go from fort tartis to your mission or to the javeline customization area.Oddly enough I also noticed that the load times got worse the longer I played into the campaign. Some of the bugs have been fixed with the day 1 patch but things aren’t entirely smoothed just yet. I’ll still have disappearing enemies but at least the audio won’t randomly cut out and I don’t randomly get kicked from the game. The pretty stupid ai that kinda just looks at me sometimes is still here though. In the end, Anthem’s strengths are constantly fighting with the game’s weaknesses. I just want to jump into the world, explore and take on some actual great design missions. Sadly, those great missions are at the end of the game and don’t last very long.The start of the game is fun but it’s constantly boggled down by bugs, loading times and very shallow missions with a weak story where the most fun I’m having is just flying around and that wears down quickly. To be frank, I want to love Anthem and I do love parts but the rest of the game makes it so difficult. When you’re out in the environment, gliding through the sky with your javaline, Anthem looks stunning. The wildlife, patches of foliage and the lighting system, it all looks like a lavish tech demo. If you have a current series of nvidia cards and cpu, this is one of the handfuls of games you can run at 4k 60 fps and the end result looks incredible. Javeines models have this great sense of wear and tear on them that to me make them feel more realistic and part of the environment.Battles in anthem look like beautiful firework shows flashing colorful lights throughout the forest. Sadly things do get drawn back when you get to the fort where you’re taken out of your javeline for a first person view of the npcs in anthem. They’re not the best looking character models, especially for bioware standard or I guess maybe they are on par with those standards if we’re talking about Andromeda. As for performance, this is a game you’ll want to play on PC for sure. Pretty much every console model runs Anthem at 30 fps with frame rate drops across the board with base consoles having the worse performance. Xbox One X runs at 4k while the PS4 Pro runs at 1800p. As for the base consoles, PS4 runs at 1080p while the Xbox One runs at what looks like 900p, certainly something softer than 1080p. On the audio front, Anthem’s environmental design and weaponry sound effects sound fantastic. Jumping from off a cliff and throttling the jets on my javeline feel like I’m in control of a full jet yet in the form factor of a small suit.There’s this big crunch with every weapon that makes them feel like these futuristic nuclear weapons, I mean they technically are but you get my point. When it comes to just general audio effects, I’m very pleased with Bioware work. On the other hand, when talking to npcs it’s kind of hit or miss. Again the great story telling and dialogue you’d expect from bioware is just mixed here. I have some npcs delivering these great retellings of stories while others feel like they just phoned in the conversation. In February 2019, EA decided to release a brand new AAA title that aims to be a big new game as a service title and it was wonderful, that game is called Apex Legends. Anthem, on the other hand, is but another game that just wasn’t finished at launch. It’s a 15-hour campaign where the substance of it lasts about 1-3 hours before it begins to feel like a drag.Design decisions are all over the place and the result is a game that just isn’t fun to play passed the initial wow factor. Sure, like Destiny, this can get more content down the line that completely changes and improves the final game, but the final game is here already and it’s severely lacking. This is a game you either try out through paying $5 on EA’s subscription service or use Redbox to play it for a day. Regardless, it’s something you shouldn’t be paying anywhere near $60 for the current state that it’s in. I give Anthem a 6.5/10. 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