EA’s next big game (that’s already out, will be out, or is due at some point in the future depending on the version you are buying) which could make or break the company is released on February 22nd along with many other games in this crazy month. We are just a few days removed from 2 weekends of beta playing, testing or whatever you would like to call it. Anthem, for anyone who doesn’t know what it is, is a multiplayer third person action role playing game set in an open world environment. You play as a pilot and your vehicle of choose is an exosuit called a Javelin… so think of Destiny meets Iron Man with a slash of Monster Hunter. As you play Anthem you are with 3 other players and your task it to complete certain missions in various areas.
I managed to put a fair amount of time into the beta weekends and had chance to pull some thoughts together, so let’s get into it. It started off off with you being a pilot and having to wander around the home hub talking to people and getting a sense of the game and the setting. There were some NPC’s who you couldn’t talk to and they just gave you a standard response, though this was better than the area being barren. The hub (or whatever Anthem are calling it) felt lived in, but at the same time you can’t help feel it’s a lot like Destiny’s social area and I guess there isn’t a lot you can do about that when you want a social area and it’s a futuristic game.
The combat it’s self is really good. Once you go out and about you are in teams of 4 to tackle various objectives and you also have the option to free roam in some of the areas too. The controls are surprisingly easy to get on with: pressing jump and dash you start to fly just like Iron Man, and there’s no denying it, it’s exactly how it feels. Just like the E3 demo, you can dive straight into water and carry on your momentum and it also acts as a mechanic for cooling down your Javelin too. The initial one you’re piloting is an all-rounder with a decent machine gun and rockets. With the main weapon and then a secondary weapon set as the guns, you then have a direct rocket which is a little like a grenade, and then you have a special one which is all kinds of awesome. You need to kill enemies for this to charge up over time in order to send out a barrage of missiles. It’s so satisfying and so much fun when you do.
The missions are pretty much the as you’d expect – head out into the world to discover what you can and deal with the bad guys who are trying to defend their territory. The initial mission you are on a fetch quest to get some items and investigate. The combat is pretty frantic and loads of fun, with the whole team taking on hordes of enemies to gather the data needed. There’s an occasional drop of items too as well as the usual ammo to keep everyone stocked up. After a mission has finished all the team receive rewards such as new weapons, credits and upgrades to the Javelin.
There are 4 different classes of Javelins in the game that you can pick from once they open up:
- The Ranger which is the first Javelin that you get to use before you get the opportunity to change. This Javelin is a great starting all-rounder, but once you start to upgrade they can be great for specific scenarios.
- The Colossus which is your tank class; this Javelin has a shield built into it’s arm to deflect incoming fire and you can also bring this up when flying and dive at enemies with it. They also hold the larger weaponry to really devastate the enemies around you.
- The Storm is the Javelin that uses elemental attacks and can hover for the longest in the air. They also tend to hang back for all the action and do a lot of damage from afar rather than getting in close and dirty. Class these are more of your casters who hang back while the guys with the big swords beat stuff up.
- The Interceptor is the final Javelin for now which is the smallest and quickest out of them all, though there isn’t a lot we know about it. They seem the kind of class that will be attacking things from behind and darting all over the place, doing damage then getting out of dodge before they get hit with anything too hard.
To be honest, I am really looking forward to getting my hands on Anthem and playing it with a group of friends and seeing where this takes us, the only reservation I have just now is end game. With these kind of games you tend to up a fair amount of hours in and end up getting to the level cap, then have very little to do. I really hope Bioware have thought about this. Luckily EA may have learnt a lesson and so far there isn’t been anything to indicate any microtransactions or pay to win, though I’m sure you’ll be able to buy cosmetics… and everyone loves a good cosmetic, don’t they?
Anthem is officially out on the 22nd February 2019 on PS4, Xbox One and PC, but it’s available for playing right now on Origin Access (inc. Premier) and EA Access on Xbox if you can’t wait a couple more days.