Yes, this is an unenthusiastic “woo.” Anthem is on the way, but I can’t seem to be excited or enthusiastic about it. For starters, the game was teased half a decade ago. It was only formally announced at E3 two years ago. Anthem has been in its very own state of development hell for longer than it has actually been marketed. I’m sure it will do fine in its first week of sales (for a lack of February launches alone), but I don’t see this game having any real legs to stand on; and here’s why.
The concept is simple enough. People get inside robotic mech suits and fight/shoot things. Wonderful! This is truly a brand new and fresh concept. You can play online with your friends across the globe. Revolutionary! You can make the mech suit a different color red if you pay 20 actual real-life dollars for it. How fair and exciting! Can’t you just hear that sarcasm sing in prose?
Look, I’m tired of Rock’em Sock’em Robots being sold to me every single year, twice a year with nothing to offer save a new paint job. Titanfall released in 2014 and disappointed me. Titanfall 2 came out in 2016 and is actually pretty good, but no one played it. Why is this? It’s because people have moved on from this “fresh” concept. Mech suits have been a staple in gaming for so long that they are nothing more than cliché to the initiated. I mean honestly, Call of Duty has done it. The well is dry here. Good mech games don’t even get the attention they deserve because of the flooded market. I’m still out in the streets trying to get people to recognize the original Lost Planet (2007) for its fantastic mech suit gameplay.
What kind of feature can we expect from Anthem to bring some originality? You can team up with your friends to fight giant monsters for new gear or weapons. That sounds like it could be pretty fun, but I have to remain cautious. Primarily because games that take this long to actually come out usually don’t often live up to the hype. Duke Nukem Forever comes to mind (and hopefully it never does again). That game spent years being teased, getting canceled, and suffering delays until what was released to the public was a mess merely duck taped into a short and painful . . . story, I guess?
One should try to remain hopeful of course. Maybe Anthem will pull a last minute Final Fantasy XV. Although upon hearing early public demo reactions, I’m not very hopeful. I haven’t had the chance to get into the demo yet, but I’ll leave you with a final statement from a friend who did: “After the first 2 hours of disappointment, I’m calling it stillborn.”