Mass Effect boffins Bioware unload their latest jump-in-a-metal-suit jobbie, complete with requisite planet-full-of-mystery storyline.

What’s going on? Well on some colourful planet somewhere, an ancient tech-savvy-but-now-conspicuous-by-their-absence people have left their old bits lying around. Bits which they used to deal with Anthem, another oh-so-perplexing ‘thing’ which controls the planet and sends creatures forth to irritate and slaughter the general populace.

First line of defence are the Freelancers, stuffed into their mech suits, javelins. They used to be revered but, following a particularly nasty Anthemic event, people are a bit sniffy about them/you. But things are getting serious and Anthem is flexing its whatever. Freelancers are needed now more than ever (cue tear-filled sideways look at a flag, loved-one or soft dessert) and their reputation – and the lives of innocents (cue slow-motion children playing with flags and soft desserts) – depends on you and your Freelancer chums.

Anthem’s storyline, such as it is, has fallen straight from the top of the tallest cliché tree and smashed its face on every plot branch on the way down, but that’s not to say it’s not a fine romp.

Off you pop in your presumably smelly suit, accompanied by some online chums randomly assigned or carefully selected by your good self, blast the living plop out of the tastefully arranged adversaries, learn a little more about the planet’s hilariously convoluted history, run home, upgrade your suit and city, and off you pop again.

Flying about is one of Anthem’s high points, and soaring through the beautifully rendered scenery at speed is a blast. Until your suit overheats and you have to stop. Again. I can understand why you might put a limit on flight time, but it’s initially so ridiculously short that those first few missions, when you’re supposed to be hooked right in, become frustratingly disjointed. And don’t get me started on the disconnections. A few times, while on a rampant killing spree with online strangers, the server connection dropped out, leaving my suit staring at the carnage like a plumb while I jabbed at the button to reconnect. No it’s okay, you guys do all the hard work, I’m just going to stand here and watch for a bit. Kinda tired, you know?

Further ironing out the load times would also have been lovely.

So for all its unfathomable plot, Anthem is reasonably standard fare for mech-suit-multiplayer-slaughter, and it’s good fun if you can forgive some small-to-medium-sized issues.