With the examples of direct rivals such as Warframe, The Division, Destiny, BioWare should have avoided Anthem’s fundamental mistakes.
Anthem has officially become the lowest score game of BioWare after 24 years of existence. This looter shooter game (roughly called “clun gun shooting”) has a score of only 60 on Metacritic, “defeats” the old score of Mass Effect: Andromeda is 72 to break up the leading position … backward. After epic marketing campaigns, quality trailers, and two official release dates, gamers saw what the game was all about, and they were disappointed.
“Looter shooter” may sound strange to you, but actually, it has been so familiar to us in recent years. You shoot monsters to pick up guns, armor, money and use them to shoot stronger monsters, picking up new items better. So on. Gearbox launched the genre with Borderlands 1, established in 2009, and later developed into online games with Warframes, Destiny, and The Division.
Anthem’s item system: Why is it criticized, and what could be done better? Anthem’s item system and the mechanism to hunt and upgrade items are too unreasonable, causing gamers to feel inhibited when playing and lose interest.
Of these, Warframes, Destiny 2, and The Division 2 are Anthem’s direct rivals, and the situation doesn’t seem very bright for BioWare’s game. Even if we temporarily put aside these three rivals’ competition, Anthem’s quality itself is still relatively weak and not enough to convince gamers to stick for long. The game has a 15-hour storyline (which must take up to 3 hours to be the speaking segment), with old duplicate missions, three Stronghold (equivalent to the sub-version) for plowing, and a paging system puzzling, full of repetitive items or rare but useless items for gamers. That’s not to mention all sorts of mistakes like shooting down the same monster. Level 1 guns only need four hits, Epic level 36 guns need a magazine, time and loading times, the confusion in the change mechanism equipment, and things that will make gamers uncomfortable in the future.
Saying that Anthem has three direct rivals and a pioneer pioneered in 2009, this also means that BioWare has had four examples that they can refer to develop Anthem over the past six years. On the technical side, BioWare had avoided the traces of Destiny and The Division when these games had serious server problems in the early stages, forcing the developer to spend a lot of time and effort to overcome them. Destiny 2 also suffers from similar server problems, showing that Anthem’s (relatively) smooth release is a commendable effort by BioWare.
But you feel that comparing Anthem’s release time with rivals like Destiny, The Division, or Warframe and saying praise to BioWare for doing a good job preparing Anthem is also lame. Anthem did not release in 2013 as Warframe, nor did it release in 2016 as The Division. It was released in 2019, and when you take on the role of gamer looking for testing, Anthem needs to be compared to a current version of Warframe, with Division 2 coming and with the update. Forsaken’s highly acclaimed Japanese release 2.
And this comparison shows that Anthem is losing “broken tail.”
BioWare did not develop Anthem in a secluded manner but made it when other games of the same genre existed. “Anthem is better than competitors in their early days” is not an excuse for us to play BioWare products. BioWare itself knows this well, and they have repeatedly said they want to make a difference from rivals so that players like Anthem.
Setting high goals is too good, but do not forget the foundation needed to stand firm. Unfortunately, BioWare only looks up, so when Anthem launches, gamers realize that the game misses so many virtual platforms features that every other game of the same genre has.
Let me give you a few examples. You cannot party with friends right in the game. You must turn on the Origin client to send or accept invitations. Bosses have no special rewards that make gamers actively avoid them and abuse the Free Play section’s chests. What do indicators like “Support + xx% Luck” and “Gear xx% Speed” mean? How much is the best for that xx? And the most confusing, the most frustrating is the absence of the interface that assembles all the character indicators. Even though it’s a game built on item stats, the game has nowhere to tell you the character’s total stats!
Moreover, Anthem lacks content too. While Ubisoft promises that it will focus on developing end-game content immediately with The Division 2 (due out on March 15, 2019), the amount of content BioWare has created for Anthem right now. is too little. The game’s missions keep making players go here, shoot the other, pick up something, bring in rewards. The bosses Anthem has are just tough battles between gamers and AI, when you hide behind obstacles as if playing Gears of War, looking for the opportunity to “poke” their weaknesses with combos, and wait for them to collapse. There is nothing dramatic or exciting here because, as said, even the items they fall out are too trivial.
Again, it must be repeated that Anthem cannot be judged solely on its own but needs to be compared to surrounding rivals. In this day and age, gamers still only have 24 hours a day, and the number of games scrambling for that period is almost endless. They always have to choose between many different games with the same gameplay, and the games that are not attractive enough to keep them immediately may be eliminated. Gamers do not have enough money or free time to buy a mid-range game and then wait a few months to the whole year, hoping the game is upgraded?
BioWare is trying to fix the issues pointed out (and criticized), but pessimistically speaking, they can also lead to new jokes. Just March 9, they released a patch to improve the quality and quantity of Masterwork and Legendary items. Still, the funny thing is that the edits to this patch appear on the official server of The game was earlier than BioWare had set it. Gamers said they previously picked up 1-2 genuine items every 10 hours of play. Now they receive a range of a dozen items each at Stronghold. But before laughing, the Anthem gamers had to cry because, by the time BioWare released the patch, the effect of it was to erase all the adjustments on equipment drop rate, making the game Back to the previous state.
BioWare is not Bethesda, and this is probably a rare mistake, but maybe the game will not survive if there are a few more similar mistakes. Although this patch also adds a few new bugs, it is a plus that helps reduce the load times when allowing gamers to open Expedition from anywhere inside Fort Tarsis instead of having to go to Launch Bay. Many other patch changes are encouraging, and we need to give a plus to BioWare when they release new patches at high speed to improve our game.