Anthem is one hell of a game. So far, anyway.
Yes, I know, there were endless problems, and I experienced nearly all of them: including freezing load screens, getting kicked out of the Stronghold mission half way through the boss battle every time I tried, and sometimes even having connection errors on the title screen forbidding me from entering the game at all; with all of that said, I am on board with buying this game and doing so on release day, one-hundred percent.
I went into both the VIP and Open demo weekends with the expectation of troubles due to the amount of people that would want to jump in as well. My expectations were correct and even with all the issues, I was able to get in enough time to find that I love this world Bioware has built. Most of the story elements were kept under wraps for obvious reasons, but there were unique teases at the level 10 point where the demo starts at that have piqued my interest. One of the characters in the hub world of Tarsis asks you to go out into the world for a lost piece for a device he is trying to put together. After I recovered that piece and returned it to him, he turned on the device and a wave of light emanated and caused the NPC to split into three clones of himself, but in a very unnatural way that puts his existence at risk.
For all the reputation developer Bioware has, many are still questioning how they can deliver a deep and emotionally impactful story like their past work in a world that is supposed to evolve moment to moment and randomly generate encounters like Destiny. They continue to claim that the base game is rife with lore, world building, and a full narrative worthy of comparison, in terms of scope, to their other marquee games. All of that is still left to be seen, but from what I have seen so far, Bioware is poised to deliver once again.
Now to the part that makes this game feel special; gameplay. Flying around in your Javelin, whatever class, coming into land or hovering and splashing enemies with either gunfire or special abilities made me feel more like a badass than any other video game I have ever played. I could have enough fun just flying around, dropping in quick on some easy enemies, then rinse and repeat for an entire evening of play because it feels that good. The “it feels like I’m Iron Man” description is not a cliché or a joke, it is REAL.
I had the chance to play three out of the four Javelin classes, the one I missed being the big tank Colossus class. Out of the three I played though, my favourite must be the Storm Javelin. Exploring the gear and ability customization for the Storm class felt the most robust in my eyes. Essentially you can unlock the four major elements, earth, wind, fire, or water, as abilities in either your short cooldown or longer cooldown slots. Each of the four elements act differently in combat, they all don’t solely enact damage and I found it took some mixing and matching to find a combination that worked well in tandem together. As well, because this was the demo, I never felt like my combos were perfect, there is a lot left out of the game to discover and I’m excited to see all the customization options I will have available to me at launch.
For transparency, I do still have to concede that, because of the issues that the demo is faced on two consecutive weekends, I am a little concerned about Bioware and EA’s ability to get this game fully ready for launch two weeks away now.
At the time of the demo, Anthem had already gone gold for distribution, so any fixes implemented here on out will be included on the day one patch. This is standard protocol for such an online heavy experience, but I’m worried that the demo/beta was not held soon enough in order to iron out everything in time.
That said, I’m still picking up the game on day one. The quality I felt in the gameplay is worth the price of enduring a few performance hiccups and I think whether you gave it a try on either of the demo weekends or chose to pass up the opportunity once you heard how bad things were, you need to give it another chance and allow Bioware the time to iron these issues out, I’d bet you won’t be disappointed.