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Anthem: Unhealthy Grinding Vortex

Like there’s no reason not to wait for the release, this might be the right sentence to explain Anthem – an action RPG game fusing loot shooter born from the cold hands of Bioware and EA. He won the most anticipated action game at a number of giant gaming events during 2018. He was also handled by Bioware Edmonton – developer of the Mass Effect trilogy series instead of Montreal Bioware which has now broken and merged after the Andromeda Mass Effect case. It is also built with the Frostbite Engine, one of the most charming and visually optimal engines, especially on PCs. With all the combinations he injected, it was impossible not to wait for Anthem’s presence and what he wanted to offer.

 

Plot

Anthem will ask you to take the role of being a Javelin pilot in the middle of the world whose lore is formulated with a technology called Anthem of Creation. But the race of “Shapers” peracik suddenly disappeared before finishing.

Anthem takes place in a mysterious world where a race named Shapers took it. This super mysterious race has one powerful technology called the Anthem of Creation that has so much power that it’s hard to imagine. Through it, Shapers shape the world they want, create plants, animals, determine the weather, and mix portals. But unfortunately, the Shapers disappeared before they “completed” the world of Anthem while leaving behind their qualified technology which over time grew into artifacts.

Trying to penetrate the “Heart of Rage” and turn off Cenotaph in it is now the focus of the Javelins who managed to survive after what happened at Freemark. As can be predicted, you are one of the Javelin pilots with Owen who acts as a companion to your mission, a Cypher who translates data through their closeness to the Anthem of Creation itself. But as can be predicted, the trip is not easy. Dominion continued to show interest in Cenotaph, while surviving under the new leadership of The Monitor, a Javelin pilot and a Cypher. The battle was inevitable.

Frostbite Engine in the Open-World Game

Which gamers have never heard the name of the Frostbite Engine before? The DICE concoction engine is now the basis for almost all games formulated by EA, regardless of which genre they stretch. We talked from Battlefield V to FIFA 19. But for the first time the Frostbite Engine was used as the basis for building open-world games, a game with an unusually wide area that must be acknowledged, indeed EA had never been focused on. And now, Edmonton Bioware has the responsibility to prove that the flexibility of Frostbite does not need to be doubted anymore.

So like other Frostbite based games, Anthem in detail looks beautiful. Seeing the Javelins, whatever you use, getting wet from the rainstorm at some point or just flying towards the light source for the dramatic effect that exists still results in a pampering experience, especially if you have a PC that is capable enough to play in the most visualized maximum. Seeing how super destructive explosion effects occur when you use the ultimate Ranger or Storm attack, for example, still feels visually satisfying regardless of how often you use it. But unfortunately, despite the quality of the Frostbite that is qualified, the Anthem world is counted boring.

 

But at the very least, you will be a little relieved by the designs they show for each Javelin that you can use or various enemy races that you will fight. Whether you use Ranger, Interceptor, Storm or Colossus (whose role we will discuss later), they each have unique animations and designs that support their role in the fight. Interceptor, for example, regardless of whether you use male or female characters, it is always positioned as a Javelin with a sleek form that rationally supports its nature that focuses on agility. Proportional form of armor, elegant head design, with the opportunity for cosmetic modification based on material and color make us fall in love. Thumbs up are also appropriate to be directed at enemy races that have enough variants, including some types of Elite, one of which is even a Javelin / Lancer pilot himself. One enemy race that is quite disappointing is the insects that look so ordinary and less threatening.

While from audio design, all of them are fantastic. The sound of firing from each of your weapons to just the Iron Man jetpack sound that you trigger to fly fast across the open world will end with a fantastic audio experience. Especially if you use a variety of elemental attacks from Storm, for example, from fire to electricity, which is also dazzling. The same thing is also appropriate to be directed at the music side which is also no less qualified to build the mood and atmosphere that exists, even from the first time you see the title screen though. Unfortunately, this audio side does not provide much clue and information about gameplay or situations when you are busy fighting. There is no significant sound effect, for example, to just warn you about the presence of a specific type of enemy that is dangerous in battle or when your friend needs help to be revived.

Unfortunately, Anthem also veiled several other problems in terms of design and presentation that were quite confusing. One of the most severe is of course the loading screen. That when many open-world games have implemented a seamless system to move in and out of the area or access existing menus, Anthem requires a lot of slow but surely annoying loading processes. We are not just talking about the number of loading screens that you face, but about their lack of creativity to make it not boring. It is no secret how some games usually get around loading time by simply adding extra animations that are not important to them (such as animated world moves with Bifrosft in God of War) or use them to share artwork or wallpapers with important information on it. Pinning just the transfer of images like of course, feels lazy.

So from all sides of the presentation offered by EA and Bioware in Anthem, not all of them can be considered successful. Moreover, there is speculation that various technical problems faced by Anthem at this time, especially in terms of framerate and crashes occur because Frosbite is not optimal for this type of game with genres. But of course, given our limited technical knowledge, there is no way to prove this one statement.

Typical Bioware Story

One of the hardest aspects of building a quality multiplayer shooter game is to present an interesting and evocative story at the same time. Reflecting on what Bungie has to offer with Destiny or Ubisoft with The Division, the present plot is nothing more than a reason why you are enriched with more main missions and side missions which ultimately – end up with more activities that keep you busy. The story never plays a really important role and is even handled half-heartedly. The Destiny 1 case, for example, where lore is offered more via Grimoire cards instead of being presented in the style of cut-scenes as Destiny 2 is an example. Even in Destiny 2, the side of the story doesn’t feel how charming even though it has a clearer structure.

The story may be one of the few reasons we fell in love with Anthem. He may not offer the typical formula of classic Bioware action RPG games in the past with options and consequences that determine the side of the story, but at least, they still pay great attention to him. In fact, we dare to claim that of all cooperative multiplayer games with a loot-based so far, Anthem is the only one that comes with a single-player game style approach. Believe it or not, this system works well.

4 Javelins

If there is one thing that is fantastic and worthy of praise from Anthem is the overall gameplay design that Bioware offers in it. One of the most important elements, of course, is Javelin – the extraordinary armor that had saved humanity from racial slavery stronger in the past. Bioware succeeded in carrying out this concept to not only make this Javelin an “Iron Man Simulator”, but it reflected the class system that you seem to find in many MMORPG games. That it is not just different from the cosmetic side, they have different roles and their respective effectiveness.

There are 4 types of Javelins that you can use at Anthem: Ranger, Colossus, Storm, and Interceptor. Ranger acts as a balanced character on the side of attack and defense, Colossus is a tanker, Storm has similarities with Mage which has Glass Canon properties, and Interceptor seems like Monk / Assassin in MMORPG games is a class that relies on melee attacks at high speed. Each Javelin class will not only carry different skills, but also some of them, weapons. Colossus class for example, is the only Javelin that can use auto cannon type weapons. Each Javelin also has a different flying ability, especially from how fast their Javelin ends hot and takes time to cool down before flying again. The Interceptor doesn’t need to think much about it, for example, because he has a far more effective running and jumping speed than using a jet.

The cool thing is, Bioware handles 4 Javelin systems with mature equipment systems. Instead of like loot or MMO-based games in general that usually require you to do the grinding process for each Javelin you use, Anthem treats it better. That for whatever Javelin you use, you always have the chance to get another Javelin class loot. He is also treated like armor that you can mutually change in one character instead of being seen as the character itself, so that all the Javelins you use are ultimately tied to the level of your character. The result? Regardless of whether you use it or not, the least favorite Javelin class will still “grow” and be ready for you to use whenever you want.

 

***

 

Believe it or not, Anthem’s biggest problem is not a series of technical and QOL weaknesses that are still counted badly or even so many bugs that occur. It’s not just an old problem and lots of loading screens that you have to go through, not on bug problems that sometimes make you unable to access certain missions or how you can be locked behind certain doors because of joining in the middle of someone else’s mission, or how bugs now allow one class Javelins use other Javelin skills and equipment. Not also because the story pacing problem is a little hurt in a mission that asks you to collect and complete a small objective in the middle of the story. Anthem’s biggest problem in our eyes is the weak loot he offers for a game that dares to claim itself as a loot-based shooter.

Anthem is a game without PVP. Anthem only offers a PVE mode, where cooperation against AI enemies is key. With a format like, unlike Destiny for example, Bioware actually has the potential to mix and introduce so many unique cool weapons in Anthem. They do not need to eliminate the balancing process if these unique weapons are carried into competitive mode, which so far does not prevent Destiny for example from continuing to offer several weapons variants that feel unique in the hand. Bioware has the freedom to maximize their creativity in Anthem, especially with the world theme that is so obvious in its sci-fi taste. But what do they end up offering? More disappointment.

Whatever mission you play, whatever level of difficulty you subdue, no matter how difficult your struggle to do it, the chance to drop the loot is insignificant. Legendary is as difficult to get at GM3, even in the Stronghold. Everything now falls on the uncertain RNG concept. The result? Gamers who are interested in hunting a loot will certainly not be interested in trying out high-risk missions. Killing many enemies in quantity is a more rational guarantee to get a loot than trying to complete a super difficult and more complex mission. For a loot-based shooter game, this is a disappointing concept of disability. That the time you invest is not directly proportional to strengthening your own character.

When this review was written, Anthem’s condition was in a position that did not feel satisfying. The time you invest is not directly proportional to the reward you get.

So slowly but surely, gamers Anthem fell into an unhealthy “grinding” vortex. Where they continue to repeat the same mission, the simplest of the simplest, to get a rare loot on behalf of a small opportunity. Or worse, ignore all missions that should be the core end-game and actually try Freeplay which is actually a free exploration process while killing any enemies they find in the hope of finding Masterworks and Legendary items faster. This system backfires Anthem. All end-game content offered is irrelevant and unattractive. Why do you strengthen yourself in the name of completing the GM3 mission if GM3 doesn’t give you anything in return?

Conclusion

So what can be inferred from Anthem? That for now, he looks like a magnificent sand castle built on the beach. He looks so beautiful and charming with details that are ready to make you fall in love from the first sight, but in the end, he is built with cracked sand that is caught in the waves. Its shape and appeal are unable to wrap up many of its weaknesses, even at the foundation level. Slow but sure, as you spend more time with him, you begin to understand that its magnificent shape is not a mirror of its true quality. That with a little shock, water, and encouragement, it easily collapses. Bioware – the compounder of the sand castle is now at a crossroads.

Based on that analogy, is Anthem currently interesting to spend your time and money? If you can get it via Origin Access, the price is much cheaper than buying it in units, of course. But on the other hand you still have to be patient and swallow all the disappointments that can occur. But if you don’t have access to that, we ourselves advise you to wait. Waiting for Bioware to solve existing technical problems, waiting for Bioware to overcome the problem of unsatisfactory reward, waiting for Bioware to provide a more consistent content roadmap, and waiting for Bioware to ensure that they are ready to do anything to make the Anthem community not just sink.

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