Well… we finally got our answer with the fate of Anthem, and it’s dead. There won’t be some coming back story like there was (and continues to be) for No Man’s Sky. Hoping that would be the case felt a bit dour since No Man’s Sky seems inherently built for iteration. Bioware and EA have confirmed that their planned overhaul with Anthem Next has officially stopped production of the title update.
I played Anthem for about 10-15 hours or so and, for the most part, enjoyed what I had played. However, it had the same problem that Destiny initially had when it came out: there was just an absolute dearth of content. But, where Bungie was able to wrestle Destiny from the ashes with terrific post launch DLCs and develop such a following to create a sequel, Anthem had no such luck. From weapons, to missions, to playstyles, there was clearly something missing. That binding agent never pulled the pieces of Anthem into a coherent title.
The biggest shame is that I actually thought it felt great to play. It still features some of the better flying sequences, but it just didn’t capitalize on those one bit. It’s like building a car and it looks fast and sleek, but when you hop in the driver’s seat, it’s just a ho-hum experience. The combo system between Javelin’s was also neat, yet explained so poorly in-game that you had to run to a forum or just let things happen by accident. I also quite enjoyed the bits of the story; although, it was sparse and sporadically laid out, it didn’t do the player any favors in getting attached to any single aspect. And to the biggest issue with Anthem? Attempting to navigate through the hub, Fort Tsarsis. You cannot have a hub world that isn’t even slightly interesting and have walking speed at a snail’s pace. Destiny largely avoided this issue because you could run and hover around, although I never thought their hubs were all that interesting either. I think, while possibly “immersion breaking,” a strong menu system could have easily taken the place of Fort Tsarsis, or at least allowing better traversal across the hub.
If Anthem will be known for anything, it will be the fact that it is nearly impossible to overcome a game that has little content and focus. A few games have done it, most notably Destiny and No Man’s Sky, but the battle is often lost. My fear is that Marvel’s Avengers is following right in this path, and they only have the power of the Marvel brand as their life preserver at this point.