I have some issues with always-online shooters that I really hope BioWare deviates from with Anthem.
Lack of Story
If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about a handful of the latest co-op focused, always-online shooters, it’s they’re often missing an intriguing dialogue. The Division for example — the game offers a beautifully realized world with so much detail in the environments, and even the initial premise of the game was enthralling. However, after they plopped you into the large open world, the storyline and character development came to a grinding halt. In other words, all the focus then shifted to the co-op and gameplay elements. Don’t get me wrong, gameplay should always be a focus — but when it comes to incredibly realized video game worlds like The Division and (vanilla) Destiny, I want more in terms of storytelling.
It’s been confirmed that beloved Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, and Knights of the Old Republic writer Drew Karpyshyn is working on Anthem — so that gives me hope that we’re in for something special. I’m curious how much the game will dive into character relationships and character building. Being that has been BioWare’s m.o. Since conception.
No Single-player in Mind | Always-online Annoyances
I’m going to use The Division as another example; sorry, it’s probably the game I’ve played the most in the co-op shooter genre. Another issue I hope BioWare avoids is making the game difficult to enjoy for fans who like to play alone, or just only like to play only single-player games in general. A lot of the BioWare’s fans are upset with them because it’s moving away from the single-player, story-focused, narrative choice genre, in favor of the always online co-op shooter genre. Do I have a problem with it? I’m not sure yet, I think it’s possible for BioWare to succeed in catering to both types of gamers.
Assuming the storyline and characters is a focus of BioWare’s with Anthem (if not, that’s a whole other issue), as long as I can pause my game (in some fashion) at any time, not lose progress mid-way through a mission because of internet connection issues, and don’t have my odds stacked against me while playing alone, I can see it working as a fantastic, and traditional BioWare experience. Those three issues are what I experienced while playing The Division. As someone who primarily plays single-player games, I found Ubisoft’s always-online shooter to be extremely hard to enjoy because of those minor annoyances.
I know it sounds kinda petty, but with my lifestyle, it’s hard to have a dedicated 45 min to an hour of uninterrupted play time. Whether it’s my kids or other adult duties, I just couldn’t enjoy it no matter how hard I tried.
Well, that’s some of the things I hope BioWare will avoid with Anthem. The game is due out sometime next year. In case you missed it, check out the gameplay unveiling shown a Microsoft’s Xbox One X showcase.
Brett Medlock is one of our leads on video production here at Enthusiast Gaming. He’s obsessed with action-adventure games, platinum trophies, and K-pop. To hear more about how lame he is, follow him on Twitter @brettnll