Anthem: First Thoughts from the Open Demo

“Games as service.” A sort of middle ground MMO for consoles and PC’s. There is usually no subscription fee but there are many shiny cosmetics you can buy with real money to enhance a game that has an ongoing story. Destiny has been the forerunner for this model for a few years now and they are making some decent money with it. As a matter of fact, many game companies are looking at this model for future titles as it cuts development cost significantly, thus increasing profit.

Bioware, of Mass Effect and Dragon Age fame, is about to enter the field with their take on this model with Anthem, a sci-fi game where the player is a “freelancer.” A sort of mercenary that has an armored suit to fly around and destroy things. This last weekend, Bioware had an open demo to showcase the game.

And while it may not be a Destiny killer, like they are hoping. The game has much promise. The flight controls are very intuitive and give the character a sense of power. One of my personal draws to Destiny is that the movement in that game is very smooth and my Guardian leaps and twirls with a sense of grace and menace. Your “javelin” in Anthem has a bit more weight to it, being powered armor, but the two classes of javelin I played moved through the world very well.

Playing Anthem, it is difficult not to picture yourself as Tony Stark in an alien world, and that is most certainly not a bad fantasy to enact. The starter javelin you play is designated as a “Ranger” class. Versatile, equal on defense and offense. I was a bit bored with it but as jack of all trades class it did fairly well. After a few hours in the demo, I unlocked a “Storm” class. All of these javelins equating to MMO roles: Colossus=tank Interceptor=Rogue and Storm=Mage. I was immediately blown away by the grace and power of the Storm armor. Lightning and fire at my fingertips dealing destruction that had me grinning.

The feel and movement and firepower were very satisfying. There were a number of glitches however, it is to be hoped that they will be ironed out before one of the games many release dates.

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If you need a spreadsheet for releasing a game, you might be making it unecessarily complicated.

There was very little emphasis on story in the demo, but I do trust that Bioware will deliver a world that is intriguing with characters that I will find compelling.

This game is a gamble for Bioware, Mass Effect: Andromeda did not meet sales expectations and a lot is riding on this game performing well. Speaking for myself, I am hopeful that this will be a quality title. Did you play the demo? What were your thoughts?

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