After downloading the Anthem Demo, I decided to try and dive into the story with an unbiased opinion and no unrealistic expectations.
The reason I had to try so hard to take this angle is (prepare yourself for a long winded backstory), Anthem kind-of had a ‘Destiny-like’ look and feel to the game. And this is the one thing that made me a touch hesitant. Well, you see I was a pre-launch Destiny fangirl who fell in love with the Beta so much that I pre-ordered the game on PS4. I spent hours upon hours of my time dedicated to playing Destiny with friends… until the first DLC arrived.
This is where I began to feel robbed and cheated by Activision and Bungie. Between the constant currency changes, alternative weapon upgrade materials and the big one, being locked out of game content that was previously available to me all because I didn’t purchase the DLC.
These so called ‘improvements’ in my opinion, are all changes that penalised the player and I will not be held to ransom by a game developer/distributor where I am forced to buy their extra content just so I can access the standard content I had already paid for. Enough said, lets move on to Anthem.
I casually strolled through the NPC interactions and dialogue whilst getting to know my surroundings. I moved my character around to get a feel for it’s speed, agility etc and liked the responsive character movement. I however was immediately drawn to the architecture and labrynth like layout of Fort Tarsis, where two of my favourite genres (medieval fantasy and science fiction) were merged into one. Once I discovered there were many nooks and crannies to explore, I was instantly intrigued to search every corner. Since I am a sucker for hidden objects and easter eggs, I searched the place upside down and clicked on everything I could see in the hopes of finding something of interest.
Moving on to setting up my exo-suit called a Javelin (default class initially was the Ranger only), I found myself in Skyrim mode where customising my character became a very long, intense process. Don’t get me wrong, I actually love when games provide indepth character customisation options, so this was fun. Although, since I had waited to download the Demo on the second day, I really shouldn’t have spent that amount of time on my character’s appearance.
So after jumping into my Javelin, I selected matchmaking mode to get started. Unfortunately, since I was playing at an ungodly hour in the middle of the night, no matches were found for me to join. I tried changing my mission settings to Solo and surprisingly it let me initiate the mission as a single player. Out into the wild I went. As I wandered around this new and uncharted world, I was impressed. The environment and strange alien flora and fauna were fun to explore and interact with. When I was testing the flying, jumping and manouverability of the Javelin, I happened upon some unfriendly critters which instantly put me into fight or flight mode. Dragons! Well, flying beasts that didn’t like me entering their airspace. The combat controls were easy enough to remember and a lot of fun. I did however, have to get used the cool down times and ammo consumption of some features which will become familiar with time.
I constantly found myself wandering off the beaten path to explore the boundaries and more of the games’ scenery and secrets. Since I was in solo mode, I didn’t mind spending the time to look around and wasn’t holding anybody up. I was really enjoying the environment. I was definately impressed with the beautiful skyboxes in Anthem, they were absolutely stunning. After completing the first mission solo, I had a much better idea of the combat system and flight controls of my Javelin. I really enjoyed the grind of combat and mixture of enemy classes like snipers, stationary guns, assault troops etc. I completed the mission successfully with a few steep learning curves and a much better feel for my character and their skills.
On the last day of the Demo, I teamed up with friends which greatly enhanced my experience. A glitch prevented us from completing one of the missions but we happily replayed it and had a lot of fun in finally succeeding. After playing all of the standard missions available, we attempted the Stronghold. My friends and I made up a squad of three and through matchmaking we entered the Stronghold with a random player to complete our team. This was a long battle where we had to take down a boss and all of its minions. This was a fun grind, but Strongholds may become tiresome after a while. When playing Anthem and reflecting on the Demo afterwards, I found that there were so many similarities to Destiny. The environment, the combat strategies, boss fights and characters all reminded me of Destiny, however it didn’t spoil my experience in the Anthem Demo at all.
In my opinion, Anthem may end up a very grindy game and will eventually lose it’s shiney and new status, but if the content is continually added to and remains interesting and fresh, I’m definately interested in the full release which drops in Australia today 22 February.