While BioWare did eventually get around to celebrating the one year anniversary of Anthem, we find ourselves in this really bizarre situation with this game. Say what you will about Fallout 76 and the nonsense that we had to endure with that game, but at least Bethesda was consistent with the game.
Upon reflection, it would be so easy to use this whole time to (rightfully) bash the hell out of Anthem for everything it did and everything it didn’t do. We could also recap everything that went wrong with Anthem or how the game felt like an early beta and far from a $60 title. There was so much negativity against this one game that it is almost hard to believe Anthem just now finally got to celebrate its first anniversary. A game that was being advertised as a live service game no less!
But, (And I’m biting down hard on my tongue on this one…) let’s suppose that BioWare was wanting to ensure that Anthem was going to be the Live Service that they want to succeed. It would be easy to just abandon it and move on, but they do want to see this game succeed. Kudos to you for wanting to fix your mistakes, guys. It would be easy to just focus solely on Dragon Age 4 and leave this project in the dust, but let’s do a “Fun Activity.” Suppose EA broke your door down, held a gun to your head and demanded you to “Fix Anthem.” How would we theoretically accomplish such a feat?
Here’s are a few ideas…
1) Make your loot game even better!
One could make the joke of saying “Make Loot Great Again!” but that would imply that Anthem’s loot game was good, to begin with…
It really baffles the mind why they would take in the mindset of, “Don’t look at Destiny at all! We are doing our own thing!” and turn around and make the same mistakes as Destiny (and in some ways, even worse). Not to mention when you have people saying they are getting more mileage out of their starter gun than they are with their supposed “Legendary weapons,” you have made a serious miscalculation.
One of the biggest problems with Anthem’s loot drop was the lack of getting anything of actual worth. Why did you make a game where the legendary weapons are so few and far between while flooding players with nothing but purple guns? Even Kotaku had a report talking about how some players made a game about avoiding the purple loot.
It isn’t to say they should drop all the time, but when you have so much focus on granting players special abilities with weapons and abilities through the legendary drops and never give them anything after hours of grinding, what’s the point? And what’s worse, it can feel like the weapons you’re aiming for aren’t anything special either. Might do more damage, but it can sometimes go unnoticed.
In short, you need to make those weapons and abilities something special. If you want players to be earning those special goodies, actually give players the chance to get them. You didn’t waste any time fixing that Loot bug (which did resolve that issue), but it felt like you never got around to actually making the drop rates any better.
2) Make the Anthem as Unpredictable as you said it was going to be! (Reworking the supposed “Unknown”)
Imagine if you will. That there are these powerful relics that can essentially warm the fabric of space and time. When unstable, they can spontaneously change the world around them like terraforming the planet, mutate the wildlife, change the climate, and so many other nightmarish things. And then imagine that all it does is create portals and spawns out enemies for you to murder.
Do you see the problem here? You have this great premise that could allow you to literally mess with the world and what it can do to you and everything around you. Make it where there’s a sudden thunderstorm like you did for the only event we saw in-game. Or make it where creatures that have never been seen before suddenly emerge out and try to destroy everything around them. But for whatever reason, the only creative thing that can be done with this concept is to act as an excuse for enemies coming in and starting the “eliminate all enemies” part of your mission.
Not much else to say about this in particular since the lack of creativity can be tied in with the bucket list of features that were promised when this type of event was first shown. But seriously, though. If you give yourself the ability to do whatever random things that can change the world in weird ways, then do it. Drop titans suddenly and force players to fight them off or something.
3) Do half the nonsense you promised back in your fake E3 reveal trailer! (Rebuilding the World)
Oh, the sweet, sweet lies…
A trailer so unrealistic that even those working on the game had no idea what they were looking at (let alone if it was possible). Funny enough, it was thanks to Anthem’s fake trailer that caused people to realize that we can’t ever trust “gameplay reveals” ever again.
“Everything you are about to see was captured in-game running in real-time.” That in itself is enough to make you burst into laughter, but let’s move forward. If you’re showing us that the Fort is a busy place, then let’s see how busy it can be with many more people walking around. If the giant walker things are able to walk around, let’s see them move rather than being frozen in place because “Oh! My battery died!” If there is dynamic weathering that can alter the world, then let’s see it rather than it come in one “Special Event” that came months after the initial launch. And don’t get us started with the “See the look you picked up right as you collect it” since that clearly didn’t make the final cut either.
We could go on forever about the E3 trailer that sold the world on a throne of lies, but let’s turn this into a positive. Or rather, if the concept reflects what the game will be, then let’s see it. It obviously can’t be 1:1, but this overhaul can be the best time if any to not just overhaul the game, but the world itself. Make it feel as immersive as what you were selling the game as. Make the world feel alive and not just an open world where there’s nothing between Point A and Point B.
4) Double down on the Flight!
If you had to point towards anything about Anthem, I would have to say the flying mechanics were quite nice. While many would compare it to a certain Marvel Super Hero (War Machine, right?), the flight mechanics in those games have usually been spotty. In a sense, BioWare should be complimented on being able to make flying feel like you are invincible as you soar through the skies.
Now for this point, it isn’t to say that they need to fix the flight, but rather to say they need to double down on this concept. As fun as it is to fly, it can actually feel like something to keep you busy rather than something to keep you involved in the mission. All you do is just fly from one location to the next, and all the action in itself only happens between one location to the next with nothing in between. Say what you will about Superman 64, but at least the game gave a purpose to when Superman is flying (even if it was flying through rings).
If you are going to have a game where flying is your big selling point, why not give players reasons to fly around? Imagine if while flying, you have enemies that can chase you down, and you have to fight them off in the air. You can have shoulder rockets, use your gun, have abilities, or something to make it seem as though you’re having an intense mid-air fight. You can still have the Javelin overheat, but make it where you can fly twice as long, but the tradeoff is that using weapons or abilities while flying overheats you at the same rate it currently does. Put some time in with the flight, and Anthem might have a huge selling point.
5) Give Players the Ability to Customize their Javelins More!
So what’s better than flying around in your very own Ironman like suit? Being able to customize it to however you want. Because as fun as it would be everyone to have the exact same look, you can make yourself as unique and stand out from the rest of your fellow players. You can change up your color and also the material on your javelin, such as the cape on your Storm.
Here’s the problem with that though: Why give players the option of “customization” when you aren’t going to give players THE ACTUAL COMPONENTS TO CUSTOMIZE THEIR JAVELINS?! They did address this overtime, but that is hardly an excuse for how it feels like their approach to “monetize” this aspect of the game makes Fallout 76’s Atomic Shop look like a Master Class in comparison. It almost feels like an insult of how you are limited to make one set of options for a limited time rather than having several Javelins available so that you can allow players to pick and choose what they think looks the best and go from there.
What makes this even more insulting was how during one Livestream, we saw just how many different kinds of customization options there were for players. Yet, it would be difficult to say if there was even that much in the final product. Why go through the trouble of trying to sell us stuff when you aren’t going to bother having a wide selection to pick from?! Even Mortal Kombat 11 came up with the idea of rotating their store options daily for players that want to buy stuff for their specific mains as opposed to having to wait a week in hopes that maybe something will happen this week.
As if to say “Anthem has too many issues” wasn’t apparent already. If you did play Anthem, you already know the game itself has too many problems to count. Some might have been addressed the last year, but that doesn’t change the fact of how the game was in development hell for many years, and yet it still felt like it was rushed out the door to make its release date.
At the very least you can say BioWare is willing to not abandon Anthem as they did with Andromeda, but the world will be watching closely when that overhaul hits to see what will happen with this game next. The big thing to mention above all else is this: we want to see this game be what it should have been and not be a pile of lies that it became. Even if you are someone who enjoys Anthem,, you can agree that this game can still be much better than it currently is.
Chances are you can name off many other problems with Anthem (such as making the combat more engaging or make the story feel more coherent), but my higher-ups wouldn’t want me to go over 3000 words, so we’ll end it here. ^__^
Is there anything you would want to see Anthem fix in its overhaul? Could they add anything to the gameplay to make it as good as it possibly could be? And do you think Anthem can possibly be saved at this point? Leave your thoughts down below, and be sure to follow us here at Culture of Gaming for more articles this and many other titles in the gaming world.