I read over at Inventory Full about Bhagpuss’ reasons for not trying Anthem, Bioware’s answer to the MMOFPS sub-genre. In Anthem you play a battle-suit wearing hero flying and diving around zones to complete missions, mostly in a small team. Sound familiar? It should do, Destiny (1 & 2) and Warframe both have already popularised this gameplay style over the last few years – story light missions that have you slaying hordes of enemies with guns, grenades and flashy ‘ultimate’ powers.
For a few weeks now I’ve been playing trio sessions of Destiny 2, we got the game for free as a give-away via Battle.Net a while back and have enjoyed it enough to buy the Forsaken DLC to unlock all the expansions thus far released. The game is very slick, although it’s not by Blizzard, the stellar graphics and slick gun and run gameplay make me think it is a Blizzard game. I played Warframe last Autumn for a few weeks and that game may have deeper customisation but I found the control scheme much harder to get into.
So unlike Bhagpuss, if I read his post correctly, my mostly positive history of playing multiplayer FPS games should place me closer to the ideal target audience for Bioware’s game. Yet I do not find myself at all interested in Anthem. Regardless of the varied reactions and frenzied attention its receiving in the blogosphere and streaming community, I’ll pass on it. We have a lot of content to play in Destiny 2, so I’m not in the market for starting yet another shooter game.
I add my own concerns to the trend Bhagpuss’ post also addresses – if games like Anthem do really well, then maybe attention and money will be further diverted away from MMORPGs. I’m not enough of an industry pundit to offer a particularly informed view, but I would be greatly saddened if story-rich MMORPGs dwindle because of the rise of Anthem and similar games (or equally other sub-genres like Age of Conan or Fortnite).
The story in Destiny 2 is well told, and quite entertaining, but it really hasn’t taken us long to reach the first expansion, and that seems even shallower story-wise. For a game built around repeatable daily quest style content and a lot of gear grind I guess this is fair enough. I find myself harking back to story-rich worlds to explore with characters that I can create with a rich palette of choices and that I can customise as they grow in experience. I will play Destiny 2 through as it’s an easy jump in game for our trio, but for my own gaming time I’ll continue to spend it in more expansive worlds. Long may they continue!