Anthem has only been out for a short period of time. It is a game that took years to craft and was developed by what many believe to be a great AAA Studio, BioWare. Previously, I wrote a review for the game about the pros and cons, but after playing more of the game, I can’t help but focus on the staggering number of cons. I personally wish there weren’t so many of them but the more I play, the more I notice the issues with this game. I originally had a long list of complaints but felt it was grossly over-encumbering and that most of them would be addressed via quick patches that have passed or from the large patch we got on March 9, 2019, so I ultimately made the list more restrictive. However, even with these minor and major patches, issues that should’ve been addressed, still persist. For example, being dropped from missions and quickly being locked out from joining, the tether system sporadically working at times, not being able to interact with objectives in missions, and many more that would make this list unnecessarily long.
However, smaller in stature, I still feel these need to be corrected, so that a game that I’m planning to play for a minimum of the next year is still fun. As well as me wanting to see this game mature into the great game I was sold back in 2017 at E3, come to fruition. Here are some of the biggest issues that still persist despite all of the patches we have seen:
Enemy Shield Refresh Rates
The first issue I have with Anthem would be enemy shield refresh rates. They’re really high honestly and when playing on Grandmaster difficulty, they can be a pain to knock off, just for them to get full shields, even amidst gunfire, only to have them back to full again. This “micro-grind,” as I call it, is very unappealing to not just me, but to other players, I’ve encountered while playing. The fix I propose would be to lengthen the time it takes for shielded enemies to regain their shields by even just two seconds or allow them to be effected properly by statuses so that way teams have to coordinate attacks to break the shield and combo the enemies down.
Escari Homing Rockets
Escaris are rare beasts for me to encounter as I’ve only seen them in certain missions and once in free-play during the VIP Demo. These Scar baddies are slow, limited in mobility, but pack a serious amount of firepower. This all seems to sound balanced, but when you’re hit with an Escari’s volleys of homing rockets, you’ll understand the amount of rage that can quickly build up in a player as they can be taken out by them. The homing rockets have some of the hardest stagger in the game, literally locking on your Javelin for almost a full two seconds and in Grandmaster difficulties, that is death 90% of the time.
To address this issue, BioWare should simply reduce the stagger of the rockets. I understand being punished for a failed dodge, but the fact that these things can even hit you around rocks like they’re bullets out of the movie Wanted is absurd. However, if the stagger is intended to be this strong either limit the volley size from five rockets to maybe three, thus allowing for the damage output to be reduced slightly, giving players a chance to keep in the fight and not be on the ground every time an Escari launches their rockets.
Colossus Can’t Taunt Bosses
If you have ever played any type of RPG you know certain classes come equipped with taunts. These are used to help divert attention away from your weaker teammates and allow them to reposition, heal, or get some good damage in on the vital target. However, in Anthem the Colossus, who is deemed the “Tank” has a skill called “Battle Cry” which is a taunt but it works on all enemies except for bosses. Why that skill in my kit rendered useless when fighting a boss enemy, is beyond me. The Interceptor’s “Target Beacon” which increases a target’s damage received works without issue on bosses, so why can’t a taunt? The Colossus is the biggest class, has the most health, and a shield for a reason, which is to be on the front lines of battle soaking up damage. So let them do their job when it comes to fighting bosses.
Problems Reviving Allies
Going down is part of any gaming experience. However, you expect to get back up and continuing the fight, but sadly in Anthem, instead you’re almost instantly back down because your ally brought the whole enemy army to your position and have been utterly raining animosity on the both of you.
One of these two scenarios will happen, they will be successful in the revive but you’ll go back down within two seconds of revival, or you’ll both be downed and have to await someone else to save you. If you respawn safe zone, this isn’t an issue, but for those no-respawn zones, this is a major issue.
BioWare needs to allow both the player downed and the player revived to gain a slight bump to their shields on top of their health. This will incentivize players to revive their teammates more often than not, as well allow both players some wiggle room to get out the hostile area and recuperate, especially the player who just risked their own Javelin to save their ally who gets pushed to full health. A great example of this in action would be in Destiny 2, when you revive an ally, both you and the ally get an over-shield allowing for either a quick escape or the ability to stand and fight.
The Affix System
Sad to say this but the affix system, which are the bonus stats added to an item that you equip to your Javelin, in Anthem is downright atrocious. It has gotten a lot better since the last patch, but it’s still in some need of work. I personally feel that the affix system can be put in a good place with some more redirection.
In contrast, one of the best features in Diablo III, another loot based game, is the ability to re-roll stats. Though it is random and does cost gold and materials, the re-rolls are a great way to allow players to try and obtain that “perfect” roll on a “god roll” piece of gear. For example, imagine getting a Legendary Thunderbolt of Yvenia but you rolled something like “gear bonus-reload speed” if you could pay some embers and maybe a bit of coin, say about 30-50 per re-roll, to get a better affix like “gear bonus- Mks rifle dmg +30%,” I’m more than sure players would risk their hard-earned coin for that ability.
Party Hosting Complications
For a game that models itself on being a game to play with friends, it makes it very hard at times to do just that. If you happen to be in a party and want to run someone else’s missions but you’re party leader, you have to quit the squad, hope they get to lead and rejoin. If that doesn’t happen, everyone has to leave and you have to remake a party all over again. The fix says it all this should’ve been something already added in the game, but it hasn’t.
The experience you gain from doing missions post Level 30 is ultimately meaningless. Aside from the Alliance experience for some coin, you gain nothing from the tons of experience points you earn while you grind away in missions and free-play. Anthem could take a page out of Tom Clancy’s The Division book and give us some type of cache when we cap out the experience bar threshold. It doesn’t have to be much, it could be a small chest that could give us various weapons, components, coins, or anything really. Just give us something to earn when we hit level 30+.
Lifeless Fort Tarsis
Honestly, when you first play Anthem and get into Fort Tarsis you can slightly forgive the game for being a bit lifeless because well there’s something really bad going down and the Fort hasn’t recovered from the last attack. I understand that, but why is that when you finish saving the world the Fort still feels like it is lacking in liveliness? It is soul crushing to go out risk life and limb and come back to people “praising” you achievements, but honestly, it seems like nothing has changed since you first started some odd months prior.
NPCs should be roaming. Having the NPCs you speak with such as Faye, Haluk, Matti, Sumner, Brinn, Yarrow, and the others actually move around the Fort like actual people living and breathing in the world. Faye has been leaning against the wall for the last 20 hours I’ve put into this game and I’m more than sure she has the impression on her back to prove it. Just give them simple walking animations, even if it’s on a loop. It would greatly help with making the Fort feel more “alive.”
Some of these issues could be “small” annoyances that many people may have overlooked, but they are things that I have talked about with friends and others. Though BioWare is doing a great job at fixing issues and patching the game to make it better, it still needs some extra features added into the game. And to be honest, this is just a small list of them. We shall see in the future if Anthem will shape up to be a great game or if it will be swallowed up by the Anthem of Creation.
Do you have any other major issues with Anthem? Are you still playing the game? Or do you think this list of grievances is just way too nitpicky? Tell me in the comments below.