Anthem – First Look, Great Fun and Bugs that ANNOY

So I’ve been hotly anticipating Anthem since it was announced at E3 2017. A Bioware, looter shooter?! Sign me up. One of my favorite story driven game developers, with by far my favorite genre, it was like a dream come true.

Then EA started to be even more of a dick than usual (they have long been not only one of, if not THE worst publishers, but they consistently land in the top worst companies period, finishing number one in 2012 and 2013, and 5th in 20181), and fears came, but hope remained. Turns out the EA fears were, at least as near as can be seen so far, unfounded. No loot boxes, no pay to win. Cosmetics only in the store. Some of the cosmetics are a bit expensive, but cosmetics are fairly low on my priority list. It’s not clear yet if this is just Bioware flexing its muscle, or if EA might be learning their lessons.

That said, the cosmetics in the store at the moment, are far from being worth it. The only thing that might be worth it could be the emotes, once they start adding more variety.

First Impressions Are Good

I’m only 14 or so hours into it (figure an hour or so of that may have been doing nothing but taking calls, or otherwise occupied away from the keyboard and just at the menu, but never away from keyboard on a mission with other players), and my pilot level is only level 14, but I’m having a great time. It fulfils the promise of being a great looter shooter, with perhaps 80% of Bioware’s usual story flair… there are no romance options, at least that I’ve seen yet. Dialog choices are limited to just two choices, rather than their usual several. Still, it helps keep stuff going, and there’s enough lore in the Cortex for lore hounds.

Flight Time Greatly Improved

The flight and swim controls are much improved since the Open Demo. I didn’t even adjust them, and everything is well controllable with a keyboard and mouse.

Minor Annoyances

There are some minor annoyances, such as clipping errors.

I’m seeing things too dude, like your arm…

But then there are more substantial annoyances, such as the fact it isn’t recording feats, as seen below it thinks I haven’t done a mission yet, or a world event (I’ve done many).

But I’ve done missions, I’ve done World Events..

Those are fairly minor though, and perhaps the feats aren’t showing as the game isn’t officially out until the 22nd. Origin Access members just have access to it early.

Bigger Bugs and Annoyances

There are however, a few major bugs and annoyances, and I sure hope these are resolved with a day one patch.

Loading Times

Pick a mission, start the mission, wait for the load. Get into the mission and be greeted right away with the message you are out of the mission area and will be teleported. So you miss a portion of the story, dialog and the like. You also miss a chance to help contribute to the groups efforts, and this likely reflects on your feats score everyone sees after the mission is over.

Voice Over Loss

Think a mission is over because the dialog stopped? Oh, wait, the subtitles are still going. Then the voices come back. Sort of pulls one out of the story.

Full Audio Loss

Several times the game will mysteriously just lose all audio. The only way to fix it it is to finish the mission, a bit harder without audio clues. Then exit the game.

No Way to Properly Communicate

No text chat or anything in the game. I get there’s a desire to minimize toxicity, and that is applaudable, but if you don’t have chat, at least one should have an Apex style wheel to point things out. A quick wheel of a few key phrases. Something.

Occasionally Unable to Salvage

Most notably after a mission or expedition, if you go right to the Forge rather than the Fort or the Launch Bay, it sometimes won’t let you salvage items. Sometimes it doesn’t matter, it just won’t let you salvage. I right click and hold, but it stops. I do like the hold to salvage so one doesn’t accidentally delete something, especially as there’s no undo action, but when it doesn’t properly detect you are still holding the right mouse button, it gets into major annoyance.

EDIT: This turned out to be my mouse.

Unable to See Your Own Contributions to Alliance

I appreciate getting to see the top 5 contributors, but I’d like to see what I’m doing to help my Alliance.

Lack of Variety in World Events

It’s just like 4 or 5 events that recycle over and over.

Overall Good with a Potential to be Great

So far I have to say I’m really enjoying it. In terms of the big looter shooters, I’ll probably put it above the Destiny series, but below Warframe. We’ll have to see how Division 2 shakes out to see where it ends up on the list. My problem with the first Division was the shear amount of griefing in the Zone, which made it not worth going there, though the one survival mode was sort of fun.