Anthem has been out for a hot minute and reception has been… mixed, to say the least. Developer BioWare has been quick to respond many of the game’s glitches and bugs. But there are a number of much more fundamental problems holding the game back.
That’s not to say Anthem is beyond saving, of course. Games like Destiny 2 and No Man’s Sky have proven that time and TLC can turn a bad launch around. So, given enough support, Anthem could absolutely become one of the greats. But what exactly does the game need to get better? Well, we’ve compiled a list of some features and changes we’d like to see make their way into the game. Let’s take a look!
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1. Better Onboarding (Tutorials)
Anthem has finally reached the point where most of its fans know how the game works. Combos — that absolutely vital combat mechanic that lets players string abilities together to devastating effect — are common knowledge. And nowadays people are more concerned with Masterwork gear than tutorials. We get it!
But Anthem still needs better onboarding. Even now, not everyone playing the game is going to know what’s what at a glance. If the game ever does manage to turn things around — either with fastidious patches or one massive overhaul — any influx of curious players will be lost. The game still doesn’t explain some of its most basic concepts, after all. And a lot of the fun is in playing the game to its fullest potential.
2. More Loot Drops
Check out the Anthem subreddit. Read any article about the game’s latest patches. Hell, ask anyone who’s played even a little bit of the endgame content. You’ll hear pretty much the same thing from everyone: players want more loot. And, despite a couple of bugs that temporarily raised drop rates, they’re not getting it.
It’s not even that folks want more variety in their loot. Anthem uses a system of drop-specific bonuses called “Inscriptions” to make each named piece of gear unique. So, even though there’s a limited number of named drops in the game, you can still get nearly infinite better and worse versions of the existing gear. Although this also means you need tons and tons of drops to get that specific “god roll” you’re looking for. Which is why the community wants more frequent drop chances.
That’s probably no easy feat. Sure, BioWare might be able to flip a switch and turn on the loot hose. That way everyone can get everything they need faster than ever. But Anthem currently lacks a real endgame goal to use those weapons and skills on. Once players got the weapons, they’d probably just bounce to one of the other hundred loot shooters out there today.
3. More Strongholds
But before we get to endgame goals, Anthem could really use some meaningful content in the middle. And right now, the most interesting side stuff amounts to Strongholds: special missions similar to Strikes in Destiny or dungeons in traditional MMOs. They’re pretty much the only levels that push you to use combos and other combat strategies (unless you play on the hardest difficulties). Which makes them the most interesting content in Anthem by default.
Sadly, however, there are only three Strongholds in the game. And one is just a rehash of the final story mission. Not to mention only one unlocks before you beat the game, so you rarely see much level variety in Anthem. Adding more Strongholds (or some equivalent) would do wonders for alleviating the day-to-day grind.
4. More Enemy Variety
Missions aren’t the only things lacking variety. The current crop of bad guys is pretty underwhelming. Currently, the major factions of Anthem are lumped into Scars (monsters with guns), Outlaws (humans with guns), Chimera (monsters without guns), and Titans (enormous pains in the ass). What each of these factions have in common is numbers without much variety. So the name of the game is nearly always crowd control — sans the few times you also have to dodge Titan shockwaves. More interesting enemies with more interesting abilities would shake things up.
5. More Options During Death
BioWare has already made some important changes to the Anthem death system. Specifically, you can now respawn manually after a certain period of time — in all activities. It’s a big change and a huge relief overall.
Even so, laying on the ground for half a minute, hoping your allies will revive you, isn’t very fun. It’d be nice to be able to do something during that downtime. Destiny 2 allows players to manage their inventory while downed. Apex Legends (an admittedly very different game, but one that came out pretty close to Anthem) lets waiting players ping bad guys for tactical data. Something similar would be a nice addition to Anthem.
6. More Freedom of Movement
Anthem players can probably guess what this means. The game is incredibly restrictive when it comes to how far away teammates can be from each other. “Out of mission area” pop-ups threaten to teleport you to allies almost constantly. This forced teleport makes stopping to explore or enjoy the great movement system in Anthem nearly impossible. Combine that with some heinous load times whenever you get transported, and you sometimes wind up staring at a blank screen more than actually playing a mission. This still needs a serious adjustment.
7. UI Changes
Speaking of which, the “out of mission area” message blocks key elements of the screen. Namely: you can’t see your jetpack’s heat gauge. Ironically, this makes it even harder to reach your allies quickly. It’s awfully easy to overheat and get stuck on the ground if you can’t tell what your engine says. Some slight adjustments to the user interface could fix that particular problem.
8. Work the Lore Into the Plot
Anthem is like a lot like other loot shooters in one way. That is to say, its most interesting background details (i.e. its lore) exists in text logs. The vast majority of its world-building and character development never plays into the main campaign at all. Instead, the main story deals with a big bad whose name, face, and motivations are completely hidden from the player — and detached from the setting itself.
More free content is supposedly on its way to Anthem in the coming weeks. And the campaign’s conclusion certainly hints at big things for the future of the plot. Here’s hoping BioWare makes good on that by making its mountain of “Cortex” lore integral to the main plot.
9. Re-Rolls, Infusion, and Transmog
These suggestions don’t exactly feel urgent compared to some of the others on this list. That’s because major changes to the loot system — like re-rolling inscriptions, infusing gear stats into other items, and transmogrifying gear to look like other gear — usually come later in a loot game life cycle. You don’t often need to level up a gun when there aren’t any new ones to compare to, after all.
Even so, these systems should come. Eventually! Maybe, if Anthem can finally get its feet firmly planted with free updates, these would be good additions for a paid expansion. We’ll see how things go!