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The Cataclysm Event In ‘Anthem’ is Unsatisfying

  • A set of new, yet familiar story missions start off the event.
  • The mode is called Echoes of Reality.
  • The mode gives 15 minutes to complete three objectives and a boss battle.

Anthem has been referred to as a lot of things: a car that can only roll downhill because it has no engine, an airplane that’s lost power and is slowly gliding into the ocean, a raft without any means to stay afloat. In short, Anthem has been a poorly received disaster, and the Cataclysm is no different. The Cataclysm arrived in Anthem yesterday with little to no fanfare from EA and BioWare. After having spent time with it, fans are unimpressed. The new event, Echoes of Reality, offers next to no time for players to explore the new area, with a 15 minute timer. Even if you ignore the objectives to explore the lovely landscapes, it is all obstructed by violent rain and the continual sensors warning you that the storm will kill you sooner than later. 

The event itself was started off by a set of story missions that revolve around capturing a Dominion Scientist to help prevent their new leader, Vara Brom, from awakening Shaper relics to assert the Dominion’s power. Of course, they don’t tell you this until you’re part-way through the missions for some bizarre reason. And the constant returns to Fort Tarsis that you need to progress don’t feel worth it. As some people have put it, the lead up to Echoes of Reality feels like the main game all over again. There’s even a Strider mission that feels like the countless other ones from the main Anthem game.

Once players actually got into Echoes of Reality, it was not much better. Fans agree that nothing aside from the environment feels new. You have 15 minutes to complete three objectives: fight some Dominion soldiers, fight some more Dominion soldiers in a different arena, this time while collecting echoes, and fight even more Dominion soldiers, now in a cave while trying to collect a shattered artifact. Once you’ve done all that, then you can fight Vara Brom. Vara is a lumbering boss with some dangerous fire attacks, but is otherwise an easy kill.

So, why? Echoes of Reality isn’t particularly interesting from a narrative standpoint, the fight does not feel like it has the weight it apparently does, and the gameplay aspect is about as stellar as the rest of Anthem, so why should people care? Well, if you like collecting things, being hyper-efficient, and can tolerate Anthem’s historically unpopular gameplay, you’re just about the only person this event could have been designed for. The event is designed to be completed again and again, with each time being faster than the last. There are mini bosses that can spawn if you complete side-objectives, which will increase your score further. And a better score means a better reward.

Speaking of rewards, on top of treasure chests full of rare gear, the event also provides two new currencies: Major Crystals and Minor Crystals. These crystals are spent at a new vendor for special cosmetics, where you buy cosmetics or open a loot box style chest to get a random piece of gear. This week, you can get melee weapons, but new gear will cycle through in the following weeks.

Ultimately, the Cataclysm update, the Echoes of Reality event, it would all be great if the game it was attached to had systems and mechanics that people enjoyed and a solid playerbase. The event would fit right in if it was in a game like Destiny 2 as a fun seasonal addition that players could work through, but here fans say it feels unfun and unsatisfying, kind of like all of Anthem.