As someone who has literally poured days into Destiny, Anthem is a game I see myself going through a divorce over…
Oh, and what timing by EA! Right when Destiny 2 is on its last legs – I believe this game will be the final nail in the coffin for Destiny.
The demo has its flaws (as most do), mainly around server availability. Day one I played for about five hours, but in that time I only squeezed in 30 minutes of actual gameplay.
Nothing would load and I was constantly booted from sessions. Chad Robertson, Head of Live Services at Bioware, released this statement on the issues that the VIP Demo faced, admitting it was a ‘rocky’ start, “We’ve been testing the entire game and platform for several months, but there were a few things we missed; real-world play frequently leads to unexpected issues.”
For those who are familiar with the looter-shooter games, I think this sits right in the middle between Destiny and Mass Effect. This is a third-person shooter but the social areas are first-person, making it the exact opposite of Destiny.
We’ve all seen the amazing alpha gameplay footage of Anthem where you’re flying around the world, in the demo I have to admit it didn’t blow my skirt up… There’s an element of overheating in your suit – so you can’t fly forever. Also, there is an invisible vertical ceiling that you can’t get past and some things are just impossible to fly over.
Flight is mostly utilised and designed to make your way around the world, but it’s also very useful in intense combat, quickly changing angles or to as a last resort to escape.
The combat is a little clunky and will take time getting used to. It’s nowhere near the smoothness of Destiny and doesn’t have the cover system that Mass Effect has, but its something to work on.
Anthem’s strength is in its movement, your Javelin is not only super quick but can dodge, fly, hover and double jump all over the map. This means you can always get out of a sticky situation, quickly re position and attack the enemy from another angle.
Most of the enemies are unique, but they tend to just be bullet sponges – I’m not saying that’s a bad thing – remembering that I’m a Destiny fan. But when you crank up the difficulty, they just soak up more bullets.
One thing that I love about the combat is the cool down of your special abilities, it almost doesn’t exist. Your special abilities are without doubt the best thing about the combat, use them as much as possible. Weapon cool down is also super fast, throw one grenade and only wait seconds to chuck another.
Anthem has been specifically designed to be played with your mates, you can find a special synergy when spamming abilities to kill a boss. It’s very satisfying.
What this demo doesn’t show, and what I think is the most important part of these types of games, is the endgame.
I personally don’t really care much for story missions, its all about the weekly reset.
It’s all about the grind!
I will always remember Destiny 1 for the Gjallarhorn. An exotic weapon that was OP in PvE. I like to think I was unlucky, but I grinded for over a year to get that weapon. Every Tuesday night when the weekly reset hit, I would straight away be online with my buddy and we would do the weekly missions, the nightfall, all of the bounties just in the hope that the Gjallarhorn would drop. It’s a moment in my video game life that I will never forget, with two of my best friends, finishing the nightfall mission and see the reward drop was a Gjallarhorn. All those hours, all that hard work.
It was one of the most special moments of my video game life.
So much so that when I got married sometime later my wife put in her vows “I hope that I can be your Gjallarhorn”. Sure, only two people at the wedding knew what the hell she was talking about. But she knew it was special to me. That’s where Anthem really needs to shine. Once the story missions are done you need a reason to keep coming back. You need something to chase. Otherwise there really isn’t any point in repeating what you’ve already done over and over again.
Anthem is scheduled to be released on PS4 on the 22nd of February.