I know, I know. I said I'd give Anthem a fair chance. I said how much I wanted to love it, and that I'd finish the campaign to give it a chance to prove itself to me, and for me to fall in love with it. I desperately wanted that to happen, I really did - right up to the moment that I uninstalled it.
To be honest though, I couldn't really tolerate any more.
I fired it up on Sunday afternoon. I was at the point of the main quest where you have to open the tombs - I'd opened three of them and had one to go. That one to go was the one that required 15 chests to be opened, among other things - and it was this quest and the one after it that caused my hopes and expectations to collide with the cold hard reality of the experience the game offers. As collisions go, it was brutal. High speed, head on. Windshields shattered, airbags exploded... and ultimately my hopes of finding something in Anthem that I was prepared to tolerate its problems for ended up impaled on a steering column and bleeding to death.
That mission. Man, that mission is hateful. I'd been happily pushing on through the campaign. It was holding my attention if not totally absorbing me; I was having fun with it and meeting new characters and developing an understanding of the world... and then someone dropped a girder in front of the train. Opening 15 chests isn't so bad, right? How hard can it be? Well, it wasn't hard - it just brought into extremely sharp relief the flaws of the game. I headed into the Stronghold to farm chests at first - but after running it 3 or 4 times and experiencing various technical issues (along with the realisation that I wasn't actually having that much fun as I'd already done this Stronghold multiple times during the demo) I decided to head off into freeplay - to rely upon finding chests in the world, and completing world events.
Finding chests isn't easy. Finding world events isn't easy, either. You fly about and basically have to hope you'll stumble across one. Sometimes, it takes an insufferable amount of time to find one. If you're killed while doing a world event, finding your way back to them isn't easy. Sometimes, even if you do manage to make your way back, they've ended by the time you get there. Opening that last couple of chests to allow me to open the tomb felt soul destroying - as though the game was actively going out of its way to obtusely block my progress. I don't mind playing a game to progress. I don't mind grinding to progress. But Anthem makes the process of playing and the process of grinding tediously difficult. Could I learn my way around given enough time? Probably. But frankly, I value my time too highly. Anyway, I finally managed to open the tomb. I was already prepared for the disappointment of the tomb containing a sarcophagus with some more shitty equipment in it, so wasn't surprised or upset with what I got - more white and green junk that was actually of lower values than the shitty green equipment I already had. Still, I could proceed. Yay.
I headed back to Fort Tarsis, selected the mission and launched in - and it was at this point that the straw that broke the camel's back came into view. The mission crashed. Multiple times. First near the start. Then about halfway through. Then again, near the end. Finally, having made it right through the mission (to the point where the achievement popped for having completed it), it crashed AGAIN. No loot, no mission rewards, no cut scene (assuming there was one to watch). Instead, I saw this screen. Over, and over again.
And with that, my patience and goodwill evaporated. I tried, I really did. I've said again and again that I wanted to love Anthem... but it apparently doesn't want to be loved. Not by me, anyway. I still believe that there's a good game somewhere inside Anthem. It's hidden deep beneath some shitty mission design, and some poor implementation of good ideas, and some serious technical issues. I'm gonna sit back for a couple of months and wait for Bioware to dig it out. Until then, there are a million other games out there. I'm sure I'll be able to find fun in at least a couple of them. I just hope that by the time they dig that good game up, I'm still interested enough to give it a try.