Anthem’s Metacritic Score Doesn’t Mean Anything
Whether or not you have played it yet, BioWare’s Anthem has been making headlines across the board for a plethora of reasons. Despite the massive hype behind it, critics have felt the game fell far short of its potential. Yet something rare and unique has come out of the games’ reception. Yes, it’s time we took a good long look at what “critical” really means and how Anthem is one of those games which may just surprise you as one of the best mediocre scoring games out there.
We love to slap a rating on something and claim its value as gospel. Movies, music, books, and games all get a rating, or score, or some form of numerical evaluation to tell us how good it is and if it’s worth our time. As a journalist, our reviews do have scores but in truth, it’s our words that matter the most, the ones that explain how we critically arrived at that number. Maybe this game has poor audio but the rest of it is solid, maybe that game has an epic narrative but its controls are wonky. Whatever the case may be, the truth is we all look to the number before the reason behind it and it is in this that we unjustly determine somethings worth.
At the time of writing this, Anthem is floating around the 57 mark on Metacritic (PS4 version) and there is no shortage of articles, threads, and videos telling you why this game deserves this score or even lower. Whether it be bugs, loading screens, or microtransactions, there will always be someone out there telling you how this game is a critical failure. You’ve probably read it a few dozen times, hell we even scored the game at 60, but Anthem is proving to be one of those particularly rare exceptions that shine a light on a simple flaw in modern reviews: We stopped asking how fun it is.
For every person out there arguing its faults, someone else is posting to social media that despite these technical issues they are having a ridiculous amount of fun playing Anthem. Critics who have looked at the game from a professional angle and scored it at 60 or lower are also commenting on social media that on a personal level they are having a wild amount of fun. Fun, unfortunately, rarely factors into the critical review aspect of a game, and how could it? Fun is subjective, what is fun for one person isn’t fun for another, yet the same can be said for the aspects we criticize as well. Maybe that control scheme that seems off for one person is pristine for another, or a lack of audio in one game makes it atmospheric for a particular player. Critics and journalists have to look at the game as unbiased as possible and in so doing we often overlook the most important part of gaming – is it fun?
Here For a Good Time
Response on social media for Anthem has been a resoundingly positive one. The vast majority of those who are playing the game will admit to being skeptical at first due to ratings and critical response yet once they actually play it they enjoy themselves far beyond their expectations. Anthem is a special case in which its rating may be low, but it is only going to grow over time and while it may not be critically well received now, the fan base is growing exponentially simply based on how exhilarating it is to play.
Maybe Anthem doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, maybe you have been reading reviews and watching critical coverage on YouTube but the truth is this game is a lot more enjoyable than you may expect. In my time with Anthem I found myself loving every single moment of it, blasting through the air at high speeds, dropping incredible heights I had never experienced before in a game, getting into awesome, high-intensity firefights. I was taken aback when I saw the critical reception for Anthem because it didn’t reflect my own experiences with the game, and clearly, it didn’t reflect the experience of so many others like me who saw this as a pure gem.
This is not the first game to do this, to prove more enjoyable personally than rank well professionally, but it is a rather notable instance due to the heavy expectations of Anthem and many feeling they did not deliver on their potential yet. If you are skeptical and have not tried it I greatly suggest reading a few reviews, taking a deep breath, and forming your own opinion of Anthem to see if it is the kind of game you would have fun with. We try to give you every bit of information you need to make a decision, but ultimately what you, the gamer, need to do is simply answer: does this sound fun?