A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
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.
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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?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Electronic Arts
- Release date: February 22, 2019
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs, Science and Nature, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: T for Alcohol Reference, Language, Mild Blood, Use of Tobacco, Violence
- Last updated: April 02, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.