BioWare's Anthem Catch-All

I'd be hard-pressed to describe Anthem as "toxic." Yes, this is a game where I spent 20 minutes fighting endless waves of enemies because of a bugged mission, but it's also a game where I realized I was in a bugged combat arena and stuck around for 10 more minutes because I was having fun.

I'll be controversial and say what the game needs is a good old-fashioned currency grind that encourages people to engage with the fun parts of the game. It works for MTG Arena. On days when I log in out of a sense of obligation to grind my gold quests, I end up walking away happy that I played some Magic. If Anthem got me to log in and do something for 10 minutes or so then I'd probably come away happy that I flew around and shot things for a bit.

On the subrebbit, they did post that the rework has been misconstrued by the gaming news outlets (admittedly by their own bad wording). They've been working on this rework for months. Lemme see if I can find the quote....

The Anthem community at this point is pretty chill as mentioned above. If anyone wants to give it a shot, DM me. I'll gladly boot it up again.

This is simply not the case and I agree that's on us for not clarifying that this work has been happening for quite some time already before we even announced the news that we'd be reworking the game back in February.

In reality we've been working on this since last year.

I had a blast with playing through the "story" as it was. I admit, compared to what we have come to expect from BioWare, it was pretty thin, but as a long-time Destiny player, it was pretty comparable to Vanilla D1. To me, the gameplay and mechanics of the suits were far more fun and interesting than Destiny has ever been, but the loot was boring and the endgame was obviously nil.

So, I did (I think it was) $15 for one month of the game pass when it launched, played what there was - and it was definitely worth the $15 - and then canceled my pass and moved on. I think the potential is still there; so I really hope they get it all ironed out and give me a reason to return.

The technical problems I ran into at launch were a big issue for me. Often times couldn’t play, got stuck on a infinite loading screen, or had a 3/4 party boss wipe but the 4th wouldn’t revive us and there’s no way to quit the game. Just stuck for 30 minutes watching this dude slowly kite a boss.

It looked and felt so good. There just was t really anything strong beyond that.

I think I might technically like the structure of Anthem better than Destiny, to be honest.

The biggest issue I have with Destiny is time spent in loading screens (and given a rant in another thread where I praised Bungie's lack of loading screens versus my eternal bias against Unreal Engine, I'm realizing how silly a person I truly am). Time taken to load the character select screen? Too much. Time taken to get into orbit? Too much. Time taken to land on any planet for necessary bounties or missions to collect? It can take upwards of fifteen minutes before you're actually playing the game.

Anthem takes time to connect to servers as well, but once you're in, you're mostly in. The advantage of Destiny is a lack of load times once you're on a planet. Anthem loads whenever you jump into a dungeon of sorts, though the screens aren't really all that long (basically about the same time spent in a corridor hiding the loading screen in Destiny). Do a mission, and once completed you can jump right into another mission, or go to Fort Tarsis to collect another mission. What's that? No picking up loot during the mission? You have to wait until it's over? Well... I... actually kind of like that choice.

When Destiny came out 7 years ago, the big gripe was how rare loot was and boy wasn't Borderlands better. I was never a fan of Borderlands' copious amount of loot. In hindsight, it feels like people throwing confetti in the face of a child that is clearly not amused and why is color supposed to be entertaining, anyway. But because nine out of ten children clap and laugh because look at the pretty colors ha ha what fun, Borderlands' copious amount of loot was, at the time, viewed as better.

Similarly, once upon a time ago, I played Dead Space 3 with a buddy of mine, and there was nothing more momentum killing than reaching a work bench and basically having to wait ten minutes for him to reinvent his gun every stinking time. Fortunately Destiny never gets that bad, but you really do kill a mission's momentum when someone says "Stop, hold on, gotta check my gear" and spends the next three or four minutes fussing about with their inventory (and I am, admittedly, guilty of this).

Basically, the more of these games I play the more obvious it is that Diablo never infected me with its Loot-based STD because I'm pretty sure loot is just bad game design at this point but it's easy to sucker someone in with it. Like gambling machines.

Is it any wonder it would become an actual problem in this industry?

All that aside, saving the loot for the end of the mission does away with this sudden break in momentum. During the mission, you're focused on the mission and combat and that's it. Once the mission is done, then you can focus on your inventory and all that other crap.

Theoretically, it results in a better game flow. The problem is, once you return to Fort Tarsis, BioWare forgets they're making a co-op game (that even reminds you it's a co-op game if you set it to private) and treats it like it's a single-player game with lengthy dialogues with NPC's and copious amounts of codex entries and good God why do you walk so slowly in Fort Tarsis. You can easily spend thirty or more minutes between missions walking around, and even if you aren't the sort to be interested in talking to NPC's, the game encourages you to do so by tying dialogue options to faction reputation, the completion of which will net you better gear. This itself is a questionable decision because it changes the dynamic of a dialogue choice from paladin/rogue to straight up right/wrong because one of these choices will net you a bonus reward, the other may just get you an angry rant from an NPC for no reason.

It's funny how this game actually does some stuff in a way I prefer, but then is a complete mess in how it handles other decisions.

Vector wrote:

It looked and felt so good. There just was t really anything strong beyond that.

This times a 1000. Still one of the best feeling games that I've played in years, it's just that besides non-existent endgame, the community very quickly figured out that gear basically didn't do anything, so you couldn't even pretend to min/max.

If they give the game real progression systems, real stats that players can grind for and actual endgame activities I'll gladly jump back in.

PaladinTom wrote:

Anthem Next Cancelled

Shame.. it was a cool concept.

Not even vaguely shocked; Anthem is one of the biggest train wrecks in gaming history, and every good idea they had felt completely wasted on the extended tech demo I wasted $60 on.

Too bad they didn't Kickstart it, or they could have pulled a Star Citizen and kept it could forever.

Or they could have done a No Man's Sky and made right by everyone but it's hard for a small developer like Bioware with only a mid-level publisher like EA to fund that kind of proj...oh.

Nuts.

Curiosity and a $15 price tag has tempted me in the past to give Anthem a shot, knowing that a big refresh was being worked on. Welp, I can save some dollars now.

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

Not even vaguely shocked; Anthem is one of the biggest train wrecks in gaming history, and every good idea they had felt completely wasted on the extended tech demo I wasted $60 on

Train wreck? Anthem lacked end game depth, was a bit buggy, had long load times, but it’s far from one of the biggest train wrecks ever. At least it didn’t get delisted from storefronts *eyes CP77*. Over promised and under delivered but I don’t feel I wasted my money on it compared to a lot of other half baked products I’ve spend $60 on.

Kind of bittersweet news. On the one hand, glad I didn't spend $60 for a flawed game, but at the same time sad to see so many hours and sweat going into a Bioware product that ultimately got shut down relatively quickly.

Well that sucks. I was looking forward to going back at some point. I guess on the plus side this frees up more resources for Dragon Age 4 and the next Mass Effect. (I hope).

jdzappa wrote:

Well that sucks. I was looking forward to going back at some point. I guess on the plus side this frees up more resources for Dragon Age 4 and the next Mass Effect. (I hope).

You'd hope that's a primary reason why it's been cancelled - that Bioware/EA are more prepared to sink additional resource into those projects.

Well dang. The core gameplay of Anthem was super fun and enjoyable, I was really looking forward to them adding an actual game to that. Thanks, Obama.

Sorbicol wrote:
jdzappa wrote:

Well that sucks. I was looking forward to going back at some point. I guess on the plus side this frees up more resources for Dragon Age 4 and the next Mass Effect. (I hope).

You'd hope that's a primary reason why it's been cancelled - that Bioware/EA are more prepared to sink additional resource into those projects.

Sadly with EA it could mean the opposite..

ruhk wrote:

Well dang. The core gameplay of Anthem was super fun and enjoyable, I was really looking forward to them adding an actual game to that. Thanks, Obama.

Same, I was initially so smitten with Anthem, that I overlooked the warts for a solid month. The gameplay just felt so good. But the complete and utter absence of an end game, or even an understanding of what progression means was the game's doom.

Here's hoping someone hires the coders that made the flight/combat parts and reworks them into a small mech or armor wars game.

jdzappa wrote:
Sorbicol wrote:
jdzappa wrote:

Well that sucks. I was looking forward to going back at some point. I guess on the plus side this frees up more resources for Dragon Age 4 and the next Mass Effect. (I hope).

You'd hope that's a primary reason why it's been cancelled - that Bioware/EA are more prepared to sink additional resource into those projects.

Sadly with EA it could mean the opposite..

Looks like for once it might not be

I loved Anthem! It was my GOTY that year, though it certainly helps that with these live service games I love to play the full campaign, get to "end game" and stop. I'm always intrigued about the prospect of having some reason to keep playing, but I'm never especially disappointed when I got "only" 30-40 hours of fun. The idea of them turning this around always seemed a bit far-fetched, but I'm sad it didn't work out, because blasting off and taking flight in Anthem was truly one of the most unforgettable mechanical moments in games. Launching in Anthem, active reload in Gears...the list of mechanics that feel so purely, viscerally good to me every time is pretty slim. That said, if Bioware is working in earnest on making good Mass Effect and Dragon Age games, I get that it doesn't make a ton of sense to devote resources to resuscitating Anthem, and its lore never really did anything for me at all, even if I thought the characters were pretty solid. Oh well. RIP to a real one.

Maybe they can find a way to bring the Javelin mechs into the Mass Effect franchise.

Anyone still playing? Or recently pick it up? I just installed today thanks to game pass and I’m REALLY enjoying it.

Well your comment got me to queue it up for download as I have never played it before.

We should team up!

Anthem was a hell of a lot of fun in its core gameplay. It was also broken and lacked any sort of compelling end-game progression.

Once I did the “join a mission in progress” queue and landed in a bugged scenario that wouldn’t advance. And I kept blasting the never-ending waves for about 20 minutes after they stopped dropping loot because it was more fun to line up the next shot than it was to find the “leave mission” entry in the menu.

Is there a campaign to work through? Do you always play with people?

I played through the tutorial and, I believe, the first mission. I looked at the Forge options and it sure make me long for the no micro transaction days.

Pretty good game. I’m always down to join any GWJ’ers for a MP session on any Xbox game. Feel free to add me and shoot me an invite if I’m online. It’s hard to plan meet-ups with my work and a teenage daughter in the house.

Chad

ccesarano wrote:

I think I might technically like the structure of Anthem better than Destiny, to be honest.

The biggest issue I have with Destiny is time spent in loading screens (and given a rant in another thread where I praised Bungie's lack of loading screens versus my eternal bias against Unreal Engine, I'm realizing how silly a person I truly am). Time taken to load the character select screen? Too much. Time taken to get into orbit? Too much. Time taken to land on any planet for necessary bounties or missions to collect? It can take upwards of fifteen minutes before you're actually playing the game.

Anthem takes time to connect to servers as well, but once you're in, you're mostly in. The advantage of Destiny is a lack of load times once you're on a planet. Anthem loads whenever you jump into a dungeon of sorts, though the screens aren't really all that long (basically about the same time spent in a corridor hiding the loading screen in Destiny). Do a mission, and once completed you can jump right into another mission, or go to Fort Tarsis to collect another mission. What's that? No picking up loot during the mission? You have to wait until it's over? Well... I... actually kind of like that choice.

When Destiny came out 7 years ago, the big gripe was how rare loot was and boy wasn't Borderlands better. I was never a fan of Borderlands' copious amount of loot. In hindsight, it feels like people throwing confetti in the face of a child that is clearly not amused and why is color supposed to be entertaining, anyway. But because nine out of ten children clap and laugh because look at the pretty colors ha ha what fun, Borderlands' copious amount of loot was, at the time, viewed as better.

Similarly, once upon a time ago, I played Dead Space 3 with a buddy of mine, and there was nothing more momentum killing than reaching a work bench and basically having to wait ten minutes for him to reinvent his gun every stinking time. Fortunately Destiny never gets that bad, but you really do kill a mission's momentum when someone says "Stop, hold on, gotta check my gear" and spends the next three or four minutes fussing about with their inventory (and I am, admittedly, guilty of this).

Basically, the more of these games I play the more obvious it is that Diablo never infected me with its Loot-based STD because I'm pretty sure loot is just bad game design at this point but it's easy to sucker someone in with it. Like gambling machines.

Is it any wonder it would become an actual problem in this industry?

All that aside, saving the loot for the end of the mission does away with this sudden break in momentum. During the mission, you're focused on the mission and combat and that's it. Once the mission is done, then you can focus on your inventory and all that other crap.

Theoretically, it results in a better game flow. The problem is, once you return to Fort Tarsis, BioWare forgets they're making a co-op game (that even reminds you it's a co-op game if you set it to private) and treats it like it's a single-player game with lengthy dialogues with NPC's and copious amounts of codex entries and good God why do you walk so slowly in Fort Tarsis. You can easily spend thirty or more minutes between missions walking around, and even if you aren't the sort to be interested in talking to NPC's, the game encourages you to do so by tying dialogue options to faction reputation, the completion of which will net you better gear. This itself is a questionable decision because it changes the dynamic of a dialogue choice from paladin/rogue to straight up right/wrong because one of these choices will net you a bonus reward, the other may just get you an angry rant from an NPC for no reason.

It's funny how this game actually does some stuff in a way I prefer, but then is a complete mess in how it handles other decisions.

Terrific post. I agree that it is a momentum killer when playing a game and someone wants to stop to check out their loot. I’m not sure if Anthem has patched the Taris walk speed or experience to make it a shorter detour between missions.

While I am a big Borderlands fan, I do like your comparison to loot being confetti and comparing weapons is my least favorite part of the game. Heck, just give me a cool weapon to “quest” for and earning that one weapon is enough for me. My desire does not align with current game design though.

Chad[/quote]

chooka1 wrote:

Is there a campaign to work through? Do you always play with people?

I played through the tutorial and, I believe, the first mission. I looked at the Forge options and it sure make me long for the no micro transaction days.

Pretty good game. I’m always down to join any GWJ’ers for a MP session on any Xbox game. Feel free to add me and shoot me an invite if I’m online. It’s hard to plan meet-ups with my work and a teenage daughter in the house.

Chad

Oh I play on PC…. I assume it isn’t cross platform? Dang it.

There’s a story. It’s okay, not great. I’ve been playing some single and some rando multiplayer. Don’t know anyone whose actively playing it to group with.