EA and BioWare's big multiplayer shooter of the year, Anthem, was released to reviewers last week, albeit only in its PC guise. And, over the weekend, plenty of critics have been digging in, seeing what it has to offer, ahead of its full rollout, also covering Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions, on 22 February.
And so far, the "review in progress" response has been... very, very mixed. Veering towards the side of slightly negative, to be honest. Nobody's rushed and whacked a score on their write-ups yet, but the sentiments expressed aren't exactly indicative of it receiving many seals of approval.
At PC Gamer, writer Steven Messner comments that "Anthem is a bog-standard multiplayer loot shooter," adding that it's also let down by "a forgettable story and repetitive missions." The verdict, thus far, isn't any better on Gamespot, where Kallie Plagge observes: "There's just nothing here, so far, that's driving me forward... So far, it's too generic to get its hooks in me."
Metro also criticises the repetitive missions and "unremarkable loot", concluding that, as it stands, "Anthem feels like less than the sum of its parts". US Gamer's Mike Williams is even less moved by what he's played, writing that "BioWare's shot at the shared-world shooter genre doesn't make a strong case for its existence." Yikes.
Eurogamer is slightly more upbeat, calling it "fascinating and flawed", writer Martin Robinson remarking that for all of its surface-layer shine, Anthem plays in "the unmistakable shadow of another game" and that it "can't shake off comparisons to Destiny".
Outlets like PCGamesN - "it's already how impressive how engaging Anthem has been" - and Destructoid - "Anthem ticks all of the right boxes" - are a little more positive about the game. But such a lukewarm overall reaction to its early stages doesn't bode too well for a release that EA expects to sell six million copies in six weeks.
Will the critical consensus massively impact sales? I don't know. Personally, I've always thought that the true test of Anthem's success will be measured over months, not its first few weeks. Can it hold its own as a 'game-as-a-service' title, and against strong competition from not only free-to-play multiplayer titles like Fortnite and Apex Legends, but also Destiny, obviously, and The Division 2 and Overwatch? That is a real challenge - and going on what people who've put several hours into the game are saying, it could prove insurmountable.
But what do you think? Will a bad review put you off picking up Anthem? We'll certainly have plenty more up on Anthem, soon. But let us know what you make of it, so far - we're on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured Image Credit: BioWare/EA