Anthem's launch isn't what BioWare was hoping for, to say the least. Even publisher EA practically ignored it during a recent investors call, and many who picked it up hopeful sought refunds after its release. Since then, however, a lot has changed, and many may be wondering whether or not they should pick it back up, especially with the release of the new Cataclysm event.
Anthem's cataclysm event has breathed new life into the game, but only a little. At the time of this writing, the viewership for the game on Twitch is only 235 people, so it seems safe to say many are still wary about BioWare's latest debacle. We're not here to say whether someone should return to Anthem or not, but we have outlined some of the major changes since players dropped like flies at launch up until the latest Cataclysm update.
Change Gear on the Fly
One of the chief complaints when the game launched, aside from various loot nerfs and patches, was how many hoops Anthem players how to jump through to change gear. They couldn't swap guns or try out new gear until they returned to Fort Tarsis, which was a pain to travel around, and accessed the gear menu for the Javelins from there. Other looter shoots let players change weapons on the fly, so many considered this a glaring omission.
Now, however, Anthem players can change gear the usual way by simply accessing the menu. This accompanied many other QOL changes in the same update, but this change cannot be understated. Being able to change gear on the fly and access missions while openly playing means less back-and-forth to Fort Tarsis, which means less loading screen time.
No Luck Stat
When Anthem's luck stat was in the game, it caused more confusion than anything else. It seemed tied to loot drop rates, but whether it affected quality or quantity was never explained. Having it tied to gear seemed out of place, and so after many complaints about the stat, Anthem just removed it from gear. That's not to say that the luck mechanic was completely removed from the game, though, as all players have luck when it comes to playing now. In other words, it's a backend mechanic that many can put out of their mind, as every player has the same amount of luck, whatever it exactly does, when it comes to loot now.
Improved Loot...Kind Of.
Although many will still agree that the loot system needs a ton of improvements, there are reports of better loot rates in Anthem as of the Cataclysm update. The formula for loot drops seems geared for more frequent drops, however, which explains the variance in the quality of loot. There's still a lot of variety to the grind, as well. There are reports of 5-6 drops in a Cataclysm run that lasts an hour and a half, but contradicting reports of one a night. Then, there is still sizeable conflict over the rate of drops vs. the quality of drops. In other words, the loot situation in Anthem has taken a few steps forward but still has quite a ways to go—that is, as long as it doesn't backpedal again.
New Cataclysm Content
The most recent and biggest change is the latest content update which introduces a new Cataclysm into Anthem. This event, however late, is set to run for 8 weeks, introducing tons of new content and more over the course of the next few weeks. Already, there are new story missions to complete, new currencies and war chests to check out, a new antagonist seeking to succeed where the Monitor failed, strange anomalies known as Storm Gates, and a new gameplay mechanic called arenas.
Completing every Anthem arena is a task unto itself, as there are now seven scattered across Bastion, namely the Eye of Magnus, the Britaheim Event, Casja's Forge, Castle Kelrik, Diana's Landing, Sea of Takaro, and the Crucible of Astrid. Each has its own unique set-up and puzzles for players to solve, granting players a nice break from the standard grind of the game.
With these changes, it seems safe to say Anthem is a better game now than it was at launch. Many may even consider it worthy of its low, commonly $20 price tag now, but it is still on rocky ground. Cataclysm is a lot better than most people were expecting, as Anthem hopefuls were disappointed when Cataclysm was first revealed, but it's not certain if it's enough to save the game from itself. Everyone knew Anthem would be hardpressed to perform a miraculous turn around following its launch, and while this Cataclysm isn't the end-all-be-all of what is reportedly planned, it's unclear if it's enough to keep the game afloat.
Anthem is available now on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.