Ever since we first saw Anthem’s freelancers rocketing across the alien landscape of its Avatar-looking planet, the scale of BioWare’s latest title has been a point of curiosity.
After all, any game that allows players to fly across its expanse at high speed simply has to be large by design, otherwise, it’s going to feel restrictive and cramped. But large scale often means a lower graphical fidelity and Anthem looked utterly gorgeous. So how were current generation consoles and anything but a supercomputer ever going to run the game? How big is this game, really?
That’s a question we’ve set out to try and answer during our first week with the game. But even with the game in our hands, it’s not necessarily easy to quantify how large Anthem is as we’ve done for our other games on our list of the biggest open worlds games this console generation.
That’s because Anthem doesn’t actually give players a waypoint system that records distance, as you’d have in an Assassin’s Creed or Fallout game. That makes it tough to estimate distance relying on any sort of math formula.
Instead, we’re having to quite literally fly by the seat of our pants and time the journey from end-to-end. Specifically, from the very bottom corner of Anthem’s map to the furthest point of Ruins of Shadowmark right at the top.
In total, the journey took us 5 minutes and 25 seconds. It should be noted that we weren’t able to keep our line straight the whole time.
So not actually all that long, especially considering that although zooming across the map aboard Javelin looks spectacular, you’re not actually traveling all that fast as you do so. One thing we’ve noticed is that the terrain doesn’t actually speed past anywhere near as quickly as the various visual and sound effects make it seem. It’s really no faster than sprinting speed without using the boost function.
Unfortunately, we can’t really say how quickly players are traveling with any certainty, so we’ll do just do our best guess. Let’s say that Anthem’s Javelin’s fly at 27mph, which is the sprint speed of Usain Bolt, they would travel about 2.42 miles in 5.25 minutes.
Of course, Anthem’s map isn’t just a flat pancake, so it would be wrong to suggest that 2.42-mile distance, which is small for a modern open world game (Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was over 9.63 miles across), is representative of the map’s actual size.
There are 10 sub-regions to the main continent of Mirrus in Anthem: High Road, Fortress of Dawn, Emerald Abyss, Academy Ruins, Great Falls Canyon, Valley of Tarsis, Fort Tarsis, Eastern Reach, and East Gate. With the exception of Fort Tarsis, all of these incorporate a lot of verticality to their level design. There are enormous mountains to scale and underground caverns to explore beyond just the 2D expanse of its map.
That all being said, Anthem definitely isn’t on the mind-blowing scale of some other open world games we’ve played in recent years. But then again, that’s not really the point of the game; Anthem isn’t an open world experience that tries to impress with detailed urban environments and dense flora –it’s a sandbox that facilitates the shooting gameplay that comprises 99% of the experience.
Although ironically, flying is definitely the activity we’re enjoying most in our time with Anthem. Speaking of which, time to get back to playing out our Iron-Man fantasy!