I had a brief hands-on with the Anthem Open Demo this weekend and I wanted to share my thoughts on the game. In short it was a lot of fun – I’ve genuinely not smiled as much while playing a game from sheer enjoyment!
Waiting for that ultimate ability is sooooo worth it!
The gameplay was a lot of fun and, for the most part, fairly intuitive. After a mission briefing I hopped into my Ranger Javelin and was out in the world. On the fly pop up messages got me throwing grenades and unleashing special attacks amid the variety of enemies available to fight.
The one control I struggled with, at first, was flying. The only control guide that was available took me out of the game and opened up a web browser, which was confusing. So I went back into the game and tried various combinations but ended up just double-jumping assuming I hadn’t unlocked flight yet!
Eventually I figured it out (press/hold left stick) and the game became incredibly fun. Flying is seamless and while I did crash into things…a lot, it was definitely because of me rather than the controls and within a few minutes I had the hang of basic flying.
I was prepared for an engaging story from Bioware but what I wasn’t prepared for was just how bonkers the world and story would be!! The mission has you retrieve an artifact for Matthias who turns it on and is immediately split into three versions of himself each with a distinct element of his persona!!
The short time I had with the game managed to take me by surprise in a lot of ways with unexpected moments happening organically as I played.
As much as I was awed by the crazy happenings in cutscenes I was itching to hop back into my Javelin and get back into the world, which is so rich. It’s hard not to compare Anthem to Destiny or to want to be ‘better’. I won’t weigh in on that debate as I enjoy both but Anthem is definitely not the same as Destiny.
For one thing there are more human factions. Freelancers are not the only ones with access to Javelins and powers. One mission got my squad into a rumble with the Dominion, the enemy human faction who want to control the Anthem of Creation. Another sent us to reinforce some Sentinels, the peacekeeping force in Anthem.
What also makes the world great are all the creatures. They add not only danger but a sense of the unexpected. My first mission I was looking all around to see what enemy was attacking me – I eventually looked up to see three Wyverns (dragons) hovering above me. Later I did my usual practice of throwing a grenade out at random (oh come on, you know you do it too!) and awoke a pack of Anrisaurs (giant crab thingies – see below) who attacked me squad.
My only complaint was that it was hard to visually distinguish a lot of the enemies who seemed to blend into the background and you had to get suicidally close to get a proper look at anything or see what they were called.
That said Anthem seems to be set up with an excellent lore system, which is BioWare’s forte and I’m sure we’ll get some hi-res shots of all the enemies after launch.
Like I said nothing has genuinely made me smile like the fun, crazy dangerous world of Anthem and I can’t wait to get back into my Javelin for the full game