While it’s true that Bioware is more than familiar with sci-fi tropes – and that Mass Effect’s combat improved significantly as the series evolved – we doubt anybody at the studio predicted they’d one day create a sci-fi loot shooter.
Indeed, Anthem has a stigma attached that’s hard to shake – a feeling that Bioware is being forced to prove their worth here, put to work on something with mass appeal that’ll help recoup losses. This is what happens when a marketing team forces a studio to follow a trend, regardless of genre experience.
Being a slow-burning experience designed for the long haul, reviews of Anthem are yet to surface. Many critics have chalked up impressions from their weekend spend with the alleged Destiny killer though and they’re somewhat predictably mixed.
“After several hours with Anthem, I can’t say I’m particularly interested in it yet. I’ve completed some missions, upgraded my loadout, and gone on some more missions, but I’m not yet invested in anything I’m doing,” said GameSpot.
Games Radar painted an even bleaker picture: “Anthem is designed to grow and evolve over time, but unless that happens sooner rather than later it’ll be dead on arrival.”
The Metro was more concerned about the game’s structure. “[…] at the moment it seems to be an internal struggle between its gameplay, its mission design and structure, and its corporate mission to become an ongoing service.”
But it’s not all bad news – Kotaku found “a lot to love”, even though they had doubts about its staying power. “Of course, the real challenge for a game like Anthem is whether it can still feel almost as exhilarating after 100 hours as it does after six. Even now I have concerns the breadth and diversity of enemy encounters and mission types,” they said.
Finally, God is a Geek found the story and lore to be “better than expected” but complained of stupidly long loading times, some of which seemed completely unnecessary.
It seems very few publishers dare go up against the might of EA’s marketing team – Anthem has one of the largest advertising campaigns we’ve seen in a while – but there is one other big name release out, in the form of DiRT Rally 2.0. We’ve rounded up scores below, along with reviews for visual novel Steins;Gate Elite, JRPG Death end reQuest, and the Switch release of Aragami: Shadow Edition.
New release showcase:
DiRT Rally 2.0
9/10 – Push Square: “Even if the sim label puts you off, we’d encourage you to take this for a test drive; it’s easily one of the most thrilling racing games in recent years”
87% – PC Gamer: “Simply the best rally sim around, building on its predecessor’s already fine foundations”
4/5 – Screen Rant: “Rewarding racers who stick with the difficulty, it’s a title that gives players back as much as they put in – and the end result is a stunning rallying sim at best and a more than solid racer at worst. Casual gamers might find it too extreme to be really enjoyable, but hardcore motorsport fans should definitely check it out”
Aragami: Shadow Edition
8.5 – GameSpace: “You can tell where to hide and where to avoid very easily as you walk through the terrain, or jump around above it. Couple this with the musical score that is present in the game and it is a very well made stealth adventure game where stealth is the keyword”
7/10 – Nintendo Life: “It takes a while to get going and it has its fair share of annoying quirks, but as it progresses Aragami becomes a solid stealth game with a compelling story. The addition of extra DLC chapters gives the game a welcome boost in longevity, and though its temperamental mechanics prevent it becoming an unarguable gem, its stylish look and the range of abilities you acquire by the end mean fans of stealth games (and fans of stealth only) will still have a fun time with it. Eventually”
7/10 – Cubed3: “Those looking for the quintessential stealth experience, will not find it in Aragami: Shadow Edition. That being said, this is definitely an enjoyable, and unique take on the genre, albeit, one that’s a bit light on content and depth”
9/10 – PSU: “Easily one of the best visual novels available, Steins;Gate Elite is a stellar and beautifully framed retelling of its source material and one that is grandly suited to series newcomers and stalwarts alike”
4/5 – Twinfinite: “Whether it’s your first time playing a game in the genre or not, Steins;Gate Elite is definitely one of the best visual novels available today. Just keep in mind that, while it may have taken a bit for the Phonewave (name subject to change) to heat the story up, the payoff is worth the wait”
8/10 – GameSpew: “I wasn’t particularly fond of feeling like I was watching an anime without being able to take a break between each episode, but I’d have to be an idiot to not see that Steins;Gate Elite is still one of the best visual novels out there”
Death end reQuest
8.4 – Video Chums: “It may be a niche JRPG but Death end re;Quest is impressively innovative in both its storytelling and battle system. If you’re even mildly curious about this kind of game, I highly recommend giving it a try”
7/10 – TheSixthAxis: “Edgy writing aside, Death end re;Quest has marvellous gameplay that kept me glued to my controller. It’s a strong package for JRPG fans, but you might end up wanting to use that skip button during cutscenes”
3.5/5 – Attack of the Fanboy: “Battles are dynamic and fun, but get bogged down by ill-conceived mechanics and concepts of difficulty; there’s plenty of detail applied to the characters, but exploration often didn’t receive such treatment; and the Bad Endings, though well-executed, can be off-putting at times”