Anthem: How To Review A Preview Demo The Half Fast Way
You'll have to excuse the brevity of this "review preview." I'm not a big time game reviewer nor do I normally get involved in the specific nuances of a specific game. Anthem was different for me, and I'm going to tell you why.
VIP access for PreOrderers
I can say I'm not a huge fan of the VIP demo weekend "carrot" but I managed to nab a code from a proper chap named MOOSE78 (you should give his channel and Twitter a look-see!) who sent me a code to check it out. After downloading through the Origin software, I was off to the races. Or so I thought.
The head of BioWare had to apologize for the connectivity issues throughout the weekend, but luckily I had a good one and a half hours on Sunday to play a few expeditions. I have thoughts about game releases as of late, but I'll save them for another time (there's a preview on my Twitter feed @halffastgaming).
Getting Stuck In
I'm going to skip all of Saturday, and move right to Sunday so you can hear about the positives of this game, and not the connectivity problems, because they soured an excellent overall experience.
It took me, a game player of close to 35 years (40 y/o this year), about 30-45 mins to get the gameplay strategy down. You start on the Ranger Javelin, which is considered the most balanced of the 4 Javelin options. You have 3 ability attacks, an ultimate, physical guns, and a melee skill. Not to mention the upgrades on your Javelin itself (and the Javelin customization, whoboy!). The Forge is the place to go to upgrade and check out your load out before you run off to the wilds.
To say the game is challenging, is quite an understatement. From the fact you need to kill enemies to stay alive, to environmental hazards, to making sure your Javelin doesn't overheat while flying about, there is a lot to think about. It doesn't mean, however, that it's not just plain fun shooting up the baddies. There's just a few more pieces to the puzzle. Since it's labeled a looter shooter, I like to harken it to the Diablo 3's of the world. You just get the loot after you complete the "mission" at hand instead of during the gameplay.
The strat is as such, ability, shoot, jump, fly, ability, shoot, jump, fly, ultimate, hope everything is dead. If not, rinse and repeat. This is not a game where you hunker down and fortify behind a wall. It's a true 3 dimensional feel, where you can fly to a new vantage point and mount another attack. Sure there are abilities that require you stick in one spot for a while, but it's not the whole battle. Rearranging the battlefield every once in a while gives you a breath as well (which as an old guy, I need).
For the second expedition, the end boss is pretty serious, especially for being so early in the demo. A lot of disabling of abilities, and heavy damage, plus mobs. It was a good challenge and one really needs to move around to keep everything managed!
Since this is a BioWare game, and single player (technically) you have to expect a good story and some good dialogue. For the time that I played, I definitely didn't feel the need to "skip" any of the text.
There were some laughs for sure, and definitely with the protagonist dialogue felt you were in the game. Fort Tarsis felt alive with the characters there and all of the vendors looking to sell you their wears.
I would say that probably after the first few times in the fort, walking got old. I realize that they are thinking that you are only fast in your suit, and without it you can only walk. But I think it may be something they need to address before release.
The configuration of your Javelin may be an hours labor. The sheer amount of colors and textures available will not leave you wanting for more. There are 6 or 7 points of interest on every piece of armor and you can change the texture and color of each piece, in addition to getting new pieces of armor during gameplay and in the vanity store surely.
It really is involved and one could spend a long time getting in depth on changing each part of the Javelin. Then unlock more vanity items and do it all over again!
My own brother has been talking about this game for the better part of a year, and still I managed to get a hold of it before him! I'm glad I did, as I feel like it is going to be a solid game, and one from a Triple-A publisher. The combination of the vanity items and the different style of play makes it a fantastic experience. The gunplay, the abilities and the ultimates all make for fast paced action, just the Javelins make it more or less so. Interceptor is the fastest and the Colossus is the slowest. It really does encompass a slew of play styles as all the Javelins perform differently, and have different abilities. And above all, your character is the same the whole way. You can play any of the Javelins once you unlock them, there is no playing through the game on 4 different characters to change your build. Just jump in another Javelin and have a go!
If you haven't had a look at the game, you really need to, it's a bit different than most, but it takes great features of other games and seems to be able to incorporate them together with surprising fluidity.