Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Anthem Game Poster Image
Fantastic but flawed foundation of sci-fi fantasy action.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 7 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Anthem's gameplay features strong themes of teamwork and cooperation as players work together to accomplish goals. The story has a focus on helping others, working together, and creating a strong community.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Freelancers follow a specific code of honor, putting others' needs above their own. They also have a sense of camaraderie and brotherhood with fellow Freelancers; their motto is "Strong alone, stronger together." Other characters, particularly the citizens of Fort Tarsis, have a solid sense of community, working together to improve their settlement and help others in need.

Ease of Play

The gameplay controls work great, with the commands for weapons and abilities defined in the main onscreen user interface. The game also features additional tutorial information collected in text form in the same Codex menu as bits of game lore. But there's still a fair amount that players will tend to learn more through gameplay vs. through in-game instructions.


Players regularly fight using sci-fi themed weapons and abilities, as well as melee attacks. Enemies are usually alien animals or human/humanoid soldiers. Combat features all kinds of explosions, elemental attacks (fire, ice, electricity), etc.; little blood shown onscreen. Defeated enemies vanish from the screen, and player characters, when defeated, kneel while waiting for "repairs" from a teammate or respawn into the game from a nearby checkpoint.


Occasional profanity, such as "s--t," in the dialogue. Focuses heavily on online multiplayer matchmaking with friends or strangers, which could lead to potential offensive language when interacting with others online.


Offers players various cosmetic options to customize their Javelin suits. Many of these are available for purchase through in-game stores, using either coins earned through regular gameplay or with tokens purchased with real-world money.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Dialogue makes occasional references to alcohol, with some characters shown drinking or appearing drunk during player interactions or in background conversations. Scenes show characters in a bar smoking something from a pipe.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Anthem is a sci-fi based online action role-playing game available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows-based PCs. Players pilot flying exosuits and team up to complete a variety of mission-based quests, earning reputation while helping to rebuild their outpost community after a major cataclysm. The game has a heavy focus on teamwork, encouraging players to work as a squad with friends (or with strangers via online matchmaking). Violence is standard fare here, but even with all the explosions, fighting, shooting, etc. going on, there's very little blood -- and no gore. You can expect to hear some profanity (including "s--t") in the dialogue, as well as references to and visuals of characters drinking and smoking. Due to the game's online nature and matchmaking with strangers, there's a risk of kids being exposed to offensive language and conversations via voice chat.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written bynuenjins April 25, 2019

Worth a purchase, just not right now.

Unparalleled freedom of movement, solid combat and a whole lot of technical issues.I moderate a group of 90 players for this game, but cannot defend it's g... Continue reading
Adult Written byJaguario July 24, 2019

Amazing and educational

This game has a bit of minor Sci fi violence but any mature child of around 12 and over can understand that it is all in a game. This game also has very good ed... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old January 7, 2021

Awesome game, but Common sense media missed some things.

This is an awesome game, But wait for a sale. When it is on sale, it goes from 60 dollars to 5. Five dollars is way underpriced and a great deal.

Violence: 5/1... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byR8OR May 2, 2020

Very Entertaining and not graphic

The game is not what you'd expect from a 16 (In the UK) as far as I've seen its soldiers in Special suits fighting giant titans and aliens and in my o... Continue reading

What's it about?

The world of ANTHEM is one in chaos. Thousands of years ago, the planet was brought into existence by the Shapers, beings able to harness a primal power known as the Anthem of Creation. But before they completed their task, the Shapers disappeared, leaving behind an unfinished world ravaged by cataclysms caused by the Anthem-fueled technology they left running rampant. As humanity grew and adapted, it fell to a brave group of warriors known as Freelancers to explore this ever-changing environment. Piloting powered exosuits called Javelins, it's the duty of all Freelancers to recover and silence the remaining Shaper relics while protecting the people from those who would try to use the Anthem to their own end. As a Freelancer in the walled settlement of Fort Tarsis, you're at the edge of civilization when you discover that an old enemy has returned with a new plot to seize control of the Anthem. Now the fate of the world lies with you and your fellow Freelancers to put a stop to their scheme and keep the world from unmaking itself in the process. It's time to prove your mettle, Freelancer. And never forget, "Strong alone, stronger together."

Is it any good?

What do you get when you cross the flight and firepower of Marvel's Iron Man suit with the sci-fi shooting splendor of Bungie's Destiny games? The answer is Anthem, the highly anticipated premiere of a brand-new franchise from BioWare and EA. Right off the bat, it's got to be said that Anthem is visually stunning. It's easy to get lost taking in the sights as you soar over mountains, through forests, and even deep underwater. It's a living, breathing world that's absolutely breathtaking. The action is fantastic, too. You can customize your javelin suit to, well, "suit" your personal style ... both in fashion and gameplay. Whether you want to charge headlong into the fray as a battle-worn battering ram of destruction or float on the sidelines dropping a storm of ice and lightning on your foes from a distance, the game has you covered. And when you team up with others, bolstering one another's strengths and shoring up weaknesses, your one-man army suddenly becomes an epic force to be reckoned with -- which is what you'll need to survive the challenge that the endgame content serves up.

Anthem may be a great game when it's running on all its sci-fi cylinders, but it's hard to ignore that it had a rough start. The game has suffered from stability issues, making it difficult to play at times. Plus, disconnects and crashes plagued the launch, making it unplayable at certain times, and other glitches (such as missing gear or bogus server warnings) were minor frustrations. Matchmaking can be a bit awkward, too, with players sometimes joining key missions mid-progress. Many of these kinks in the gameplay have been addressed since launch, and the game continues to get better as more content is added. Much like Fort Tarsis, the story's main hub of operation, Anthem has its share of growing pains but is constantly building to its full potential, establishing a solid framework for the future of the franchise.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about safely gaming online. What are some things that young gamers should look out for when gaming with others online? What are some ways to game safely, and how should they deal with "toxic" or otherwise offensive behavior online?

  • What helps build teamwork? What are some positive ways to work together as a team? How can working together on smaller tasks benefit the greater community as a whole?

  • Is the impact of the violence in Anthem affected by the lack of blood and gore shown during battle, even though fighting frequently occurs? Would the impact be intensified if the violence was more realistic or graphic? Does it seem somewhat lessened because many of the enemies that you fight in the game are aliens instead of people?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sci-fi action

Themes & Topics

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