One of the most highly anticipated releases so far this year, Anthem is a visually stunning third-person shooter which finds you in a world that was left unfinished by the gods who created it. You can team with up to three other players as Freelancers, the only thing standing between innocent humans and a shadowy band of enemies.
Donning incredible suits – known as Javelins – which lend you an array of powers, you and your comrades are pitted against the enemy in a game that blends cooperation, strategy, shooting and an insane landscape in which devastating weather occurrences regularly alter the entire terrain.
Obviously, Anthem sounds like all kinds of fun. However, it’s not out yet, and pre-fans are being driven slowly insane by previews and trailers. If that’s you, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ve selected ten games like Anthem to quell your nerves and make that waiting period easier. While none are exactly like Anthem, we feel each is similar enough in at least one way to help the time go by in a blur of gaming fun instead of nail-biting anticipation.
We only ranked this one so low because it’s been out for many years and already has a massive following, so most of you may have already played it. However, we’re not writing this for you – unless you played it when it first came out and think you might be ready for round two!
In general, we’re writing this for the gamer who somehow skipped over Destiny. We know a few people who found it to be too popular and – being game snobs – passed it over in favor of less-well-known titles. We now urge those snobs (we’re not judging!) to go back and give it a chance.
Destiny is a first-person shooter set in an online-only multiplayer environment. From the developers who brought you Halo (it was their first game since the Halo series), Destiny’s gameplay is split between fighting the environment/world/game itself and other players. Both allow you to play solo or through teaming with other players. As the recipient of both GamesRadar’s and BAFTA’s Game of the Year awards, this is one you shouldn’t have passed up. Luckily, it’s never too late!
9. Dark Souls
Widely hailed as one of the greatest games of all time, this is another one we ranked low simply because it’s already hugely popular. However, not everybody has tried a cronut, so we know there are some of you who’ve never given Dark Souls a try. Guess what – now’s the time!
This third-person action role-play game leaves a lot to the imagination – a great deal of the backstory is left up to your mind to create. Which, as you’ll see when you give it a go, is part of the appeal. You’re given an opening cut-scene which establishes a rough backdrop, and from there you play as a cursed undead seeking the ultimate fate of the world. No pressure, right?
Giving you your sci-fi fix in an open-world shooter, Defiance allows you to compete against loads of other players for a piece of the alien pie. Originally released as a traditional game but now free to play, Defiance is set in San Francisco fifteen year after the Votanis Collective came to town.
This conglomeration of alien forces wreaked the expected havoc in a battle royale now known as the Pale Wars. You will play as one of four types of character. Veterans have survived the Pale Wars; Outlaws are pillaging criminals; Machinists scavenge and look abandoned alien technology; Survivalists can be humans or aliens, but share the dismal goal of scratching an existence out of the currently hostile world environment.
7. Mass Effect: Andromeda
We’re sticking with sci-fi games here, and if the name wasn’t a tip-off, this game is no exception. In a world where we’re planning on colonizing the Andromeda Galaxy, you’ll play as either Scott or Sara Ryder. Your character is young and inexperienced, having joined up with the Andromeda Initiative (the force behind the colonization) and wakes up after over 600 years of travel.
You will become the advance scout for all of humanity, navigating a galaxy populated by the Kett, a less-than-friendly alien race, as well as the Remnant, a strange non-organic race.
6. Immortal: Unchained
In a world which borrows heavily from Norse mythology, Immortal: Unchained features weapons you definitely won’t see in a Viking history book. The entire game is loosely based on Ragnarok, the fabled apocalyptic event which is said to include a battle, the death of many important figures, severe natural disasters and the world’s ultimate drowning.
Sounds fun, right? Not to worry, after the submersion, a refreshed earth will emerge, surviving gods will take tea on the veranda and two humans will be tasked with populating the earth. In the game, you play as an unnamed captive of Aras, caretaker of a large carved stone known as the Monolith.
As things progress, mind-fucks abound, the best of which is saved for last. We won’t ruin anything for you – just remember that this is no History Channel series.
With an incredibly fun-to-watch stylized cell-shaded graphics style and all the badass-ery you’d expect from a game in which you’re essentially pillaging aliens, Borderlands is tons of fun and a great game to play with friends.
Four Vault Hunters travel to Pandora – back before it was a music service. This Pandora is a distant planet, where a vault is rumored to exist containing all manner of alien technology ripe for the looting. You will battle various enemies along the way, but the big showdown comes as you attempt to thwart an evil CEO from reaching the tech first.
Another free to play game which far exceeds the expectations of that particular field, Warframe is a trip in the very best sense of the word. You will play as the Tenno, a warrior race which has been cryogenically (frozen) sleeping for hundreds of years. With elements of parkour, melee, role-play and MMORPG, this one has something for everybody to love.
Although all elements of this game can be acquired through playing, you also have the option to trade or buy currency in order to enhance your characters, weapons and other assorted factors. You have powers, but you’re too cool – come on, ancient warriors frozen for centuries? – to fight yourself. Instead, you use remotely operated suits – Warframes – to do your bidding as you fight against a race of mechanized clones.
3. Tom Clancy’s The Division
We know, we know. This one’s less sci-fi than the rest of the bunch. However, we feel that the backstory – a smallpox pandemic which has wiped out a great deal of the population – gives it enough of a post-apocalyptic feel to appeal to many Anthem pre-fans. Set in good old New York City, the game centers on your role as an agent of “The Division,” specifically the Strategic Homeland Division.
You’re tasked with investigating the outbreak while dealing with criminal shenanigans and starting the rebuilding process. Although it’s classed differently by different reviewers, we call it a solid sci-fi role player with awesome PvP (player versus player) enhancements.
2. Monster Hunter: World
Yup, we’re back in science fiction-land, where you – well, you hunt monsters. That much was obvious, right? We hope so. You play as a Hunter, given various assignments involving killing or trapping various eye-popping monsters in worlds that feel and look real. You can interact with the worlds, adding a new dimension to this series.
The monsters are also bigger and badder, showcasing advanced artificial intelligence and game physics which make them much more difficult – but so much more satisfying – to capture or slaughter.
1. The Black Death
Still being developed but available for play, Black Death is one badass history lesson. We adore this game and, although it’s definitely not science fiction, we feel that it will appeal to Anthem pre-fans due to the open-world setting, the variety of side journeys and activities and the Black Death itself, which is presented in such a realistic and horrific manner that it takes on the feel of some of the most legendary gaming creatures, monsters and evil corporations.
Black Death is very realistic, with players taking on the plague itself as well as all the various ways to die which existed in 14th-century Europe. You will have the chance to make a name for yourself – or at least a living – by taking up very realistic livelihoods.
Peasant farmer, thieving bandit and blacksmith are just a few of the many options. Trade, hunt, create weapons and live the life of a Medieval European. The plague is still everywhere, and uber-creepy in its realistic contagiousness. Will you succumb or survive?
Best games like Anthem?
We hope that we’ve either rekindled an old favorite or spurred you to seek out new obsessions. Sure, Anthem is the end game here – quite literally – but who says you have to be miserable while you wait? Take our advice and immerse yourself in one or more of these Anthem alternatives!
Do your friend a favor and invite them along – you’ll be saving them from countless hours spent watching trailers and checking Reddit for any news. Game on!
This article reflects the opinion of the freelancer.