- The first huge new blockbuster game of 2019 is nearly here: „Anthem“ arrives on February 22 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
- A lengthy demo for „Anthem“ was available over the past weekend, and I spent much of that time flying around its lush, alien world.
- Having spent much of the last 72 hours with „Anthem,“ I found a lot to love — and a few concerns.
There’s a lot riding on „Anthem,“ the huge upcoming game from EA’s legendary BioWare studio.
For starters, it’s the first major new franchise from BioWare in years, and it’s an online-only, multiplayer-focused shooter — a major departure from a studio known for single-player role-playing franchises like „Mass Effect“ and „Dragon Age.“ Second of all, BioWare’s last game was a massive flop that damaged one of the studio’s core franchises.
Moreover, it’s a direct competitor with games like „Destiny 2“ and the upcoming „The Division 2,“ both of which have dedicated audiences at this point.
It’s with all this background that I tentatively approached the first public demo of „Anthem,“ which was available through various means this past weekend.
Great news: Based on that demo, „Anthem“ is a promising, fun, gorgeous game.
It’s got all the open-world exploration of the „Destiny“ franchise, but with a heavy sprinkling of BioWare’s signature style. From the time I spent with „Anthem,“ it felt like a fascinating new twist on the burgeoning genre of online-only, persistent world games.
These are highs and lows of my 72 hours with „Anthem“:
First and foremost: What is „Anthem“?
You know „Iron Man“? The guy in the robot suit that flies through the air? Robert Downey Jr. plays him?
„Anthem“ is basically an „Iron Man“ game, albeit one that’s entirely removed from the world of Marvel. You control a human being inside of a robot suit — a „javelin“ in the parlance of „Anthem“ — and you do a lot of shooting.
Sometimes you’re shooting humanoid enemies, sometimes it’s types of animals, and sometimes it’s a massive giant that shoots exploding, heat-seeking fire bombs.
All of which is to say this: „Anthem“ is a third-person shooter that’s set in an online-only, multiplayer-focused open-world. It’s a lot like „Destiny,“ but with jet packs.
What I liked: 1. Flying!
The hook of „Anthem“ — what primarily separates it from other games of its genre — is that you can fly through the air. To that end, it’s more than just a novelty: It’s a core component of movement and combat.
The primary mode of transportation in „Anthem“ is your jet pack, whether you’re on your way to a far flung part of the game’s massive world or simply trying to get away from a bunch of especially vicious enemies. Depending on the moment, you’re more or less able to take to the air whenever you want.
By a few hours in, I was masterfully flying through tiny crevasses and catapulting myself to tiny little spots perched high above the ground.
There’s a sense of weight to the javelin, which is different for each of the different robot suits you can wear, that feels unwieldy at first. That sense of weight quickly turned into a foundation for me. Instead of feeling sluggish, it feels logical after a bit of use.
A massive metal robot suit would be a touch heavy, don’t you think?
2. The world of „Anthem.“
It was tremendously frustrating to explore Fort Tarsis, the single-player portion of „Anthem.“ Not because anything was wrong with it, but because it was intentionally limited for the demo.
Of the dozens of interactive characters I saw in Fort Tarsis, only a small handful were allowed to speak with me — many more issued a prompt telling me that they weren’t available in the demo.
And that is unfortunate, because Fort Tarsis is one of the most promising aspects of „Anthem.“ It’s a bit like the Citadel from the „Mass Effect“ series, offering a means of progressing the game’s story and characters without having to shoot a bunch of bad guys first.
The idea with Fort Tarsis is simple: You can upgrade your javelin, or make cosmetic changes to it, but you can also meet the many characters that make up its society. Through these interactions, you’ll learn more about the planet they live on, and what life is like in the world of „Anthem.“
Frankly speaking, this is the part of „Anthem“ I’m most looking forward to playing.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Source: Business insider