After a week of is-it-or-isn't-it-actually-out debating across various social media platforms, and early-impression summaries that weren't totally painting the game in a positive light, Anthem is finally, absolutely, 100% released today. In shops and everything. It has become a real bo... xed release.
And, usually, such an event would be cause for celebration. We're sure it is, for a lot of people on the teams at BioWare and EA, who've put in the hours to bring the multiplayer loot-shooter to life. But those review-in-progress write-ups haven't really changed their directions - and now that scores have been slapped on Anthem, even the very best environment art in the world can't save it from looking like an ugly mess.
Let's have a look at who's saying and awarding what, now that anyone can pick up what was one of the most-hyped releases of 2019. (Please note that critics have only had the PC version to work with, so far, which was released to the press late last week.)
PC Gamer's Steven Messner, awarding Anthem a 5.5/10 score, says that its "gear has boring, aimless stats that are often incomprehensible," and that he was "34 hours into the game before I found a piece of loot that actually excited me". He concludes that "it's reasonable to expect Anthem will change a great deal," due to its game-as-a-service structure, "but I'm not going to hold my breath".
Writing for The Guardian, Rick Lane says that Anthem "rarely stretches beyond the derivative," adding that its story "veers between inconsequential and downright irritating," and concluding that the game, asit stands, is "a tedious and conservative dirge". He scores it 2 out of 5.
Aiming slightly higher with their score, awarding Anthem a 6.5 out of 10, IGN's James Duggan calls it "the same old song and dance", with playing through its story a "tedious and repetitive grind". Gamespot's grade comes in at a 6 (out of 10), with reviewer Kallie Plagge praising the flight and options to experiment with your character's equipment, but criticising how the game often forces you to the ground, its confusing story, and underwhelming boss fights.
Here at GAMINGbible, we've been playing Anthem since the very first opportunity - the private alpha - and while we've found plenty to like about the game, we can't unreservedly recommend it, right now. Watch our summary video below.
Looking on Metacritic, Anthem currently has a Metascore of 62/100 - based, again, exclusively on (39 reviews of) its PC version, as code for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 was not made available to the media ahead of launch. Perhaps more worryingly for the game, at this stage of its lifespan, it has a Metacritic User Score of only 2.6 out of 10. Wild differences between critic and player reactions are common - but it's not too often that we see the User Score coming in a lot lower than the media's verdict.
So, is this game over for Anthem? Obviously not. EA will roll out a lot more content for the game over the coming months, and other titles of its GaaS ilk have released in a fairly disappointing manner only to be vastly improved later down the line: see Destiny and The Division as two examples. But there's no denying that this is quite the blow to the game's early chances of selling the units EA are expecting from it - more sevens and eights, and the story would be different, but that Meta-Yellow is pretty off-putting to a lot of people paying their money.
Will you be picking up Anthem in spite of its mixed critical reception? One person's trash is another's treasure, and all of that? Hell, sometimes not-so-amazing games can still be a lot of fun, even if they leave no lasting impression, right? Let us know - we're on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured Image Credit: EA/BioWare