Opinion: Politics in Video Games

Politics in video games: an aberration, or inevitability?

First and foremost, the following text (and rant) is strictly my opinion and doesn’t represent the stance of Silver Soul Gaming.

I think that most people nowadays agree that now video games have become a form of art. Not only that, but they also became a widespread and influential media resource. And as it happens, both of those areas are rife with the political content of various forms and shapes. Sadly, that trend also hit video games and video game journalism. 

Why would I say “sadly”, you may ask? Let me explain. Thing is when politics come into play (in any media, not just in video games), then rationality and objectivity come out of the window. It stops being about the fun and the quality of the content, and it starts being about the message it presents. Combine it with the gaming journalists with a political agenda, and things will get really ugly really fast. In fact, that combination led to the situation when gaming resources refuse to have anything to do with a game just because it doesn’t pander to their political views. That frustrates me to no end.

Of course, there is such a thing called “freedom of expression” which means that the creator can choose whatever theme he wants. Not to mention that there is such a thing as political art. Honestly, I totally agree with that, and political games, while not my cup of tea, have a right to exist. In fact, I respect political artists for their expression of their beliefs, even if I personally disagree with them. 

What I don’t respect. however, is pandering. Political art is well and good when it is stated that it was created to convey a message. But if the game was not advertised as such, and it was never stated that it has such a purpose, and it is clear that this message was pushed in without a care for the content’s quality – this is where I draw a line.

And not just me, apparently, as many such games, as well as companies creating and selling them, have faced a pushback from the community. I hope that this trend will die out sooner rather than later, along with its many propagators. I want high-quality content in my games, not a half-baked pandering for this or that agenda.

Once again, I’m not against politics in the art and video games, just make it mesh with the game and setting, make an effort in creating a good game. And, better yet, advertise it as a part of your message. 

And get off my gaming journalism lawn with your political bias, ya darn kids!

Your resident Russian and a concerned gamer Darth NYUTON, signing out.

Destiny 2 Year 3 First Impressions

As of this writing, I’ve been playing Destiny 2 Year 3 for 12 hours. There are very good things, and some not so good things. Grab your ship, we’re going for a ride.

The Moon

How are things now on the moon? Well, in short, it’s hell. The geography has gotten even worse with giant fissures where cracks in the ground were once seen. The Hive are even more prevalent then back in Destiny, and they’re more powerful now. Needless to say, they’ve been up to no good up here. I won’t say any more than that because of spoilers. But, it’s a fun challenge.

Eris is still up here, brooding (and so can you if you got that pre-order exotic emote). She’s created a Sanctuary up there, or about as good as you can get on the Hive-infested Moon. Here you can watch her brood, pick up bounties, and some other cool stuff that you’ll discover as you progress through the missions of Shadowkeep.

Brood with me, Guardian, and face fear.

Power Resets

So everyone, whether you’re a new player with New Light, or a veteran who had already reached power cap in Year 2, starts at the new lowest light of 750. This is both good and bad. Good because if you’re like me and haven’t done a bunch of adventures, you can now go do them and get decent rewards for it. Bad for new players because they don’t get the experience of leveling from zero, which to me is essential, but maybe not to others.

Season Pass

Okay, so there has been some controversy over Bungie including a season pass in to the game. Most battle royale style games have season passes which require you to play an absurd amount of games just to get anything good out of it. This one, however, seems to be rewarding both free players and those who purchase it the same at the start. You gain experience here just by doing your normal stuff- campaign, quests, strikes, PvP. It doesn’t take long to gain levels either. In my 12 hours logged (about 2 of those were idle and in menus and such) I’ve gained 8 tiers, almost to the 9th. If you hard push you can gain even faster too.

Free tier on top, Paid tier on the bottom (not my screenshot)

There are two tiers: free and paid. Free season pass is included for everyone and this is where the Season Artifact resides, and it seems pretty well balanced, at the start. There are some tiers where free players get nothing, but up until rank 35 (where you would get Eliana’s Vow) there aren’t many of these. After this, however there are more blank spots, especially as you get above rank 60. Plus, most of the free rewards in the higher tiers are the Nostalgic Engrams from Eververse, so is this really a reward for all the time spent playing?

The paid season pass (included if you bought the deluxe edition of Shadowkeep) is where most of the good rewards lie. Glimmer and XP boosts for you and your fireteam, awesome weapons, and ornaments, as well as more frequent Upgrade Modules are here. Also, if you get the season pass, at rank 1 you get a crate that has Eliana’s Vow and a set of seasonal armor for your class.

Each season can be purchased as a whole set, or individually. The current season is Season of the Undying, which features Vex events and the seasonal artifact- Eye of the Gate Lord- which can be upgraded to give you armor mods and other effects.

Weasels and Squirrels and bugs, oh my!

Squirrels are not good, in this sense, or in legacy Magic The Gathering. If you need context on the latter, Google it. Personal qualms aside, Weasel and Squirrel are error codes dealing with connection issues in Destiny 2. They took down their servers shortly after launch on October 1st because people could not log in. Shut down at 4 pm EST and back up at 9 pm EST, I’d say that’s a decent turnaround for login issues on the first day with new servers on a different service. Bugs are still being found and fixed, including where The Scarlet Keep strike on PC wasn’t performing matchmaking. I ended up beating that strike solo, in just under 40 minutes, and it was actually pretty fun!

Review ongoing

Overall, I’m having a blast with this new year and new expansion. I hope that sometime down the line that Bungie adds more free tier rewards and doesn’t just focus on the paid season pass. I’m wishing them luck that their bugs get fixed quickly, and I hope that those who are playing New Light are enjoying their time in the universe. Eyes up Guardian, we’re just getting started.

Vlast plays Destiny 2 on PC and streams on our Twitch channel! Give us a follow and see him live Friday mornings at 10 am EST.

How an Event Pulled Me Back Into Destiny 2, Again

So as of this writing, it’s update day! I figured that while I’ve got some time, I’ll write up something about Destiny 2.

I’ve been a Destiny player since the first game came out, and I’ve had a blast during this whole journey in that game and the sequel. However, I haven’t done much PvP at all because I’m not really a PvP player, so most of my experience in this game has been PvE. I’m usually an on-and-off player, but that changed with this event, the Solstice of Heroes.

With this event which runs until 8/27, a repeat of the event around the winter solstice, you get a suit of armor with specific objectives attached to it. First, Eva gives you a helmet. Then she sends you to a new area called the EAZ- European Aerial Zone.

New Area- European Aerial Zone

The EAZ is a floating island above the EDZ. According to the lore, it is made out of the memories of the triumphs that Guardians have faced. Essentially, it’s a ruined area of the EDZ that is floating in the air, so be careful not to jump off the edge.

Each time you come, you and two other Guardians face a new type of enemy- Fallen, Hive, or Cabal. I haven’t seen Vex here, maybe it’s because not many Guardians in the lore have survived the Vex? Anyways, a new enemy type comes up each time.

Bosses Galore

When you arrive, you have 5 minutes to defeat minibosses all over the map. As you do, orbs will drop according to what element you kill them with. If you match the element of the day with your subclass and pick up 30 orbs, you’ll get empowerment. Each element gives a different state of empowerment- arc gives absurd speed, solar gives a destructive nova, void lets you turn invisible when you crouch, along with other effects.

After defeating the minibosses, the final boss, or sometimes bosses, show up. Some of them are tougher than others, like fighting all three Cabal bosses by yourself while the other two just go AFK… That was an experience, but I did it.

Anyways, during the boss fight, some Taken will show up. Called the Prismatic Taken, once you defeat them, you’ll receive a Prismatic Orb, which instantly gives you empowerment when picked up.

Hunt for Your Loot

After defeating the final boss, a single chest shows up. Open it, and each player receives a Solstice Package, full of goodies like items and currency. But you can’t open it just yet. You need 15 Solar Key Fragments to open it. Depending on how many minibosses you defeated, you’ll have that many chests to find all over the map that contain these fragments, or more packages. Some are easier to find than others, but you have 2 minutes to find them. Good luck, and have fun!

Meanwhile, Back at the Tower

After completing your first round of EAZ, head back to Eva. She asks you to meditate at the statue, which gives the rest of the armor pieces, the Drained armor. Each of these also have objectives, ranging from Crucible and Gambit matches to Strikes in the playlist, to collecting elemental orbs. This took me a couple hours to do, most of it being the strikes playlist and Gambit. I learned that Gambit is actually pretty fun, but that I still don’t really care for Crucible.

While completing these objectives, you can pick up bounties from Eva to earn more Solar Key Fragments, as well as earning them via Strikes, Crucible, Gambit, and Public Events. So honestly, it’s not hard to earn the fragments.

After completing the first set of armor objectives, meditate at the statue again, and you’ll get a Renewed set of armor, and a new set of objectives, this time longer. I’m still working through these, but they’re not too bad, especially if you’re doing it with a friend.

Once more, after this set, return to the tower and meditate. You’ll recieve the final set, the Majestic set. If you complete these final objectives, the armor is Masterworked. I don’t think I’ll be able to do this, but there is good news. Once you hit Majestic level, you get this armor in the new expansion Shadowmoon, and there is a set bonus for it as well.

Overall, this event is really fun, for me. It got me into Gambit, and I’m having fun just running around working towards a new set of armor that I can get in the new expansion.

I’ll be playing this live on the SSG Twitch channel on Friday 8/16 at 10 am EST, so come on by and hang out! You can also find me playing on my personal channel from time to time.

First impressions of Monster Jam: Steel Titans — What the truck happened?

Like the other members of SSG, it’s my job to be fair when writing about the games that are on my mind. And I feel like I’ve been following that rule with ease in every article I’ve written so far. No matter how upset I seem when talking about a game’s flaws, I’m still able to detect its positives and complement them without any reluctance. The reason I say all of this is because I bought Monster Jam: Steel Titans on day 1 (June 25, 2019), and it’s been kind of a shaky launch week for THQ Nordic’s first stab at the Monster Jam license. So while we wait for the game’s first patch (I’m gonna wait until that drops before writing a full review), I’ll briefly discuss where Steel Titans nails its backflips and where its engine sputters.

I’ll start with the good — You’ve got officially licensed Monster Jam trucks, which is a big plus right off the bat (Even though you have to unlock them one by one). There is no difference between each truck in terms of how they drive, but the driving physics are easy to get the hang of and allow you to perform all the tricks these trucks are famous for. The team at Rainbow Studios has also been kind enough to provide you with a hefty number of stadiums, arenas, and cross-country tracks to tear up the dirt on. There’s no online multiplayer to share said tracks with, but you have the option to race against a friend via split-screen. Combine all that with several types of events to put on, and you have a meaty monster truck package under the hood.

I know it sounds like Steel Titans has already been a success in the short time that’s passed since its release, but now we get to the part where the game starts to bust a flat. Although the driving itself is solid, it can more often than not be hindered by the graphics. I don’t know whether or not this is just a case of bad console optimization, but this game (On my PS4 Pro, at least) has a a stressful amount of frame drops and pop-in. I know PC versions will almost always have the best textures, resolution, and framerate (I tested the PC version at PAX East 2019 and was very impressed), but the console versions still shouldn’t be this bad of a downgrade in comparison. Whether or not Rainbow Studios will re-optimize said graphics in patches remains to be seen. In terms of other issues, I can accept the AI being somewhat slow or robotic, but what really made me mad was that a few races started me in reverse gear for some strange reason. That’s not exactly gonna help you rake in the in-game credits, now will it?

What really blows my tires about all this is that this is yet another Rainbow Studios racing game that doesn’t quite live up to the hype. This developer has many years of racing experience with games/series like MX vs. ATV, Star Wars Racer: Revenge, Pixar’s Cars, and Splashdown, and yet they’re continuing to go downhill. How they didn’t learn their lesson from the unpolished-on-day-1 mess that was MX vs. ATV: All Out is a mystery I’ll probably never understand. It could be budget cuts, it could be laziness, it could be rushed development, or it could even be all of the above. It’s anyone’s guess at this point.

I understand that it sounds like I absolutely loathe this game, but I don’t. In fact, I want to highly enjoy it, but I’m not enjoying it at the moment. I’m really hoping the PC version is at least a little better than its console counterpart, and if it is, I can at least recommend it to adamant Monster Jam fans. If you’re not, just leave Steel Titans in the garage for now. Sorry Rainbow Studios, but you’ve got to go back to the drawing board and fix these problems quickly if you want this Monster Jam partnership to work.

Preston’s View on the Ups and Downs of Each E3 2019 Press Conference

Another Gaming Christmas (a.k.a. E3) has come and gone, and a hefty number of new games and expansions were shown off to the numerous attendees. Out of all the companies that showed up to the party, only seven of the biggest publishers hosted press conferences to announce their lineups. Now that the convention has concluded, the time has come for me to tell you my opinion on the pros and cons of each individual conference. You are more than welcome to tell me your own views, whether they compare to or contrast with mine.

I’ve been a longtime fan of Electronic Arts’ catalog, but I found this to be a slightly underwhelming edition of EA Play. The star of the show, in my book, was the demonstration of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. So far, I really like the combat and parkour-like platforming. And from what I’ve seen in the cutscenes, the plot will not disappoint. EA is really trying to prove that you don’t need the Battlefront name just to be a good Star Wars game. The new editions of FIFA and Madden NFL were displayed, the former of which has a mode that is akin to FIFA Street. Everything else about EA Play was simply updates/expansions for Battlefield V, The Sims 4, and Apex Legends. It wasn’t a terrible conference by any means, but I feel like EA could’ve brought more things to the table, like the latest game in the Need for Speed franchise.

Microsoft’s press conference was well above average this year, with the star of their show being the Project Scarlett console. This mean piece of machinery promises super-short load times, 8K resolution, and 120 frames per second. The first confirmed launch title for this new console is none other than Halo Infinite, which isn’t really a surprise to me. Microsoft’s current console, the Xbox One, is receiving a new remote play functionality similar to that of the PlayStation family. There’s even a new controller coming called the Elite Series 2, which has a 40-hour battery life, a charging dock, and Bluetooth compatibility. PC gamers will be happy to know that the Xbox Game Pass will soon finally be arriving to Windows computers. To close this paragraph, I’ll list all of the other games and updates that were displayed at this conference:

  • The Lego Speed Champions pack for Forza Horizon 4
  • Cyberpunk 2077, starring Keanu Reeves
  • Gears 5
  • Elden Ring
  • Phantasy Star Online 2
  • Psychonauts 2, developed by the newly-acquired Double Fine
  • The Battletoads reboot
  • The Outerworlds
  • A reboot of Microsoft Flight Simulator
  • Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot
  • Bleeding Edge
  • Minecraft Dungeons
  • A game based on The Blair Witch Project
  • Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
  • Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition
  • Tales of Arise
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps
  • Borderlands 3
  • State of Decay 2: Heartland
  • Spiritfare
  • Wasteland 3
  • Dying Light 2
  • Way to the Woods
  • Gears Pop
  • The Legend of Wright
  • 12 Minutes
  • Crossfire X

As you can see, Microsoft had an absolute butt-ton of games on display this year. I applaud them for their lineup, and I can’t wait to hear more about Scarlett.

Bethesda didn’t have anything mind-blowing to share, but they had a truckload of updates for their current games and trailers for their upcoming titles. We even witnessed announcements for the beginnings of new IP’s — An action game called Ghostwire: Tokyo, and a firearm-filled game called Deathloop. And finally, Bethesda announced their streaming service called Orion, which sounds like a competitor to Google’s Stadia. All aboard the streaming bandwagon! The remainder of Bethesda’s presentation included…

  • Doom Eternal
  • Fallout 76, which is soon getting NPC’s and a 52-player battle royale mode
  • The Nintendo Switch port of Elder Scrolls: Blades
  • Wolfenstein: Youngblood
  • The Elder Scrolls VI
  • Commander Keen mobile game
  • “Rise of the Ghosts” expansion for Rage 2
  • Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot VR game
  • “Scalebreaker” DLC for The Elder Scrolls Online
  • “Moons of Elsweyr” expansion for The Elder Scrolls Legends

I’m not an enormous Bethesda fan, but I can’t complain about their conference this year, even if they didn’t announce any new IP’s. As long as the games are good, it’s a win-win for everybody.

Indie game giant Devolver Digital had a thin catalog to show off (Kind of like EA), but that doesn’t mean their conference was bad. Before I list the individual pieces of software they showed off, I should mention they now have an 8-in-1 self-rip-off compilation called Devolver Bootleg. Never thought such a collection would be a thing, but Devolver’s proved me wrong. Now that that’s out of the way, here are the other titles and expansions they displayed:

  • Fall Guys Ultimate Knockout
  • An arcade light-gun game called Enter the Gungeon: House of the Undead
  • Carrion
  • “Picnic Panic” DLC for The Messenger
  • My Friend Pedro

I never delved into Devolver Digital’s catalog, but there’s always the chance I’ll give one of their games a shot. Hopefully some of you readers are happy with their lineup.

Next up to the plate was Ubisoft, and their flagship announcement was that of Uplay Plus, which costs $14.99 per month and rivals subscription services like Xbox Game Pass and Google Stadia Pro. If I had a shot of Pepsi for each company that’s jumping on the streaming bandwagon…Anyway, here are the games and expansions that the French publisher had at their show:

  • Watch Dogs Legion, which takes place in London and allows you to recruit and take control of nearby players
  • Upcoming episodes for The Division 2, along with the announcement of The Division on Netflix
  • A zombie-filled shooter game called Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Quarantine
  • Roller Champions, a game that depicts a futuristic version of roller derby (I’m actually really intrigued about this one)
  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint (Did I mention a cute doggo appeared on stage?)
  • An action game called Gods & Monsters

Ubisoft doesn’t need Assassin’s Creed or FarCry in order to have a good E3 conference, and they proved that this year with ease.

The RPG-loving folks at Square Enix took their turn next, and delivered a pretty stellar press conference this year. It may have been mostly about Final Fantasy, but there was nothing wrong with that and they had a fine amount of other software to talk about. I’m definitely curious about the racing game they’re publishing (No surprise considering how many racing games I’ve reviewed here, right?), Circuit Superstars. I’ve written an entire article recapping this conference, so feel free to read that one for my full analysis on it. https://silversoulgaming.com/2019/06/11/squaring-off-a-recap-of-square-enixs-e3-2019-press-conference/

Last but the furthest thing from least, Nintendo stepped onto the stage and put on what was probably the best conference of E3 2019. There were no 3DS games to be found, but plenty of games for the Switch. The Big N’s lineup at this presentation included…

  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which has been delayed to March 2020
  • Hero from Dragon Quest and Banjo-Kazooie coming to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  • Sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in development
  • Dragon Quest XI: Definitive Edition
  • Luigi’s Mansion 3 (Which I am absolutely amped up for)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, which has a dungeon-maker mode
  • Resident Evil 5 and 6
  • No More Heroes 3
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses
  • Panzer Dragoon remake
  • Contra Rogue Corps
  • Contra Anniversary Collection
  • Spyro Reignited Trilogy
  • Alien: Isolation
  • Astral Chain
  • Pokemon Sword and Shield, which work with the Poke Ball Plus
  • Daemon x Machina
  • Trials of Mana, which is a Seiken Denetsu 3 remake
  • Cadence of Hyrule
  • Mario & Sonic at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (So pumped this series is coming to Switch!)

With an incredible press conference like this, I can see why a blue puppet named Arlo claimed that Nintendo is back. They are indeed back to being relevant again, and they ain’t budging!

It wasn’t quite perfect, but I really didn’t have much to criticize about this year’s E3. The remainder of 2019 and the beginning of 2020 are going to be packed to the grim with some enthralling games and services, even if it seems like the whole streaming-subscription thing is going to be a rapidly-spreading infection (Not that game-streaming is stupid or anything like that). This is probably the most challenging article I’ve written, but all’s well that ends well (No smoke from my keyboard, don’t worry about it). Hope y’all enjoyed E3 2019 as much as I did!

Article 13 of EU Copyright Laws: what is it and how will it affect creators?

As most of our readers probably know, governing bodies of EU recently finalized the wording of Articles 11 and 13 of copyright laws. Those are articles are extremely controversial and unpopular among creators and web platforms they are based on. Why is that? Let’s take a look.

What those articles imply?

First of all, what those articles regulate, and why people that do not live in Europe should worry about them? Basically, Article 11 and Article 13 tighten the noose around creators’ neck, as they make copyright infringement more imposing and costly.

Article 11 will introduce a tax on hyperlink posting. This tax will be put on all resources that could post hyperlinks preemptively. Article 13, in turn, will require an AI to filter any copyrighted materials to stop them being posted on the Internet. As both of those articles will demand preemptive actions from websites, you can see how that would hinder any web source, whether it shares copyright materials or not. Not to mention possible infringement on a free speech.

Why should non-EU residents care?

This is a fair question. After all, those laws don’t concern you if you live in USA or Russia. At least, not directly. However, most of the platforms will need to follow those rules. Unless they want to lose the access to their EU audience.

As such, YouTube, Twitter, Twitch and etc., will change their content policy. To the worse. Furthermore, let’s be honest, most of their content policies were not very good before. After all, free speech infringement is not a new accusation against them. But do we need it to worsen even more?

Of course, it is not certain that those articles will come to pass. They were declined by governing bodies before, and there is still a big push against them. Still, it is better to prepare for the worst, I believe.

So, what could we do to make sure it will not pass? If you are a EU resident, then you should organize and make enough fuss to catch more attention about those laws that could destroy content creation as we know it. Talk to authorities, make groups, prepare petitions – whatever you can think about. However, if you are not based in EU, you can only raise awareness and hope for the best.

That’s what I’m doing.

Anthem First Impressions

Anthem is the latest game developed by Bioware and published by EA games. It is an open world, always online shooter in the same veins as Destiny or The Division. If you have been to any site this week that deals with video games you have probably seen an inordinate amount of criticism and hate for a game that is still not released. A small caveat there of course, not fully released UNLESS you are an Origin Basic or Premier member on PC or have a subscription to EA Access on Xbox.

Origin Basic and EA Access both had limited ten-hour trials and Origin Premier had full unrestricted access to the game starting last Friday. I spent 10 hours with the game on Xbox One and will talk about that in a moment. While the game is in a playable state, it still has not had a hard release, there is a significant Day one patch, but every early review of the game I have read is based on an “almost” released game. Not to say that the early demos and even the early access didn’t have their problems. They did. But reviewers are treating this game like it kicked their dog while shoving their grandmother down the stairs.

Why do people hate a game that isn’t out yet?

I can only speculate dear reader, but here are my opinions:

  1. The game is published by EA and EA is not particularly loved, for a long list of reasons. They buy studios, drive away creative talent with corporate malaise, and then shutter said studios. Micro-transactions. Abominable customer service. Find an article about EA or its games and you will find a long list of people who are unhappy. There is one addendum to be had here, EA also published Apex Legends which is getting near universal praise and acclaim.
  2. Bioware. Responsible for developing amazing games like Mass Effect and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (Dragon Age, Jade Empire, Baldurs Gate etc.) Bioware has had some mixed success for the past few years. Mass Effect:Andromeda was released with quite a bit of criticism for wonky animations that were eventually ironed out. Dragon Age: Inquisition, while popular and profitable, was quite unfavorably compared with The Witcher 3 and found to be lacking. Find an article about Bioware and you will see a long list of people lamenting that the company should be shuttered and that they are past their prime. And in my opinion, MOST of this hate stems from the ending of Mass Effect 3, which will be an article for another time.
  3. People who make their impressions on early betas. It is true that the early betas had problems, the first VIP beta was virtually inaccessible for the first day. Glitches and dropouts and long loading screens were reported with a high amount of frequency. And while I do not criticize those who formed their impression on an early beta, it was STILL a beta. They are supposed to have these kind of issues. It’s tests like those that help a game get better before release.
  4. People who dislike the “games as service” model. Games as service refers to games like Destiny or The Division that are always online. Publishers love this model of gameplay because it involves reduced development cost after launch and brings profit in the form of season passes and micro-transactions. Destiny and The Division both had issues with keeping enough content in their endgame to keep players coming back. An issue that both games resolved… eventually.
  5. I don’t know…maybe Bioware or EA kicked their dog while pushing their grandmother down the stairs.

Regardless of the hate it has received, I have throughly enjoyed my time with it. I only  have had ten hours in the game and will be able to access the full game later tonight, but what little I have played has me hooked.

save_1

So pretty.

Anthem is set on a world that is unfinished, mythic creator beings known as the Shapers left the planet unfinished using a semi mystical power known as the Anthem. The Shapers left a long time ago and their creation has been swallowed by entropy and chaos and humans have been left to survive in a world that can suddenly and terrifyingly change at a moments notice. To deal with this series of challenges, humanity created the Javelin, a mech warrior suit that allows freelancers to face nature or monsters behind a steel shell enhanced by an array of abilities and firepower.

Our sites full review will be forthcoming once the game is fully released and we have had time to break it down and explore some of the end game content. For now, I will do what the title says, give you my impressions.

Gameplay in your javelin is a visceral joy. Flying around blasting beasties and bad guys is very well delivered. There is a weight to your javelin and you feel like a badass. I have played with three of the four types of javelins and each has their own strengths and weaknesses. I main a Storm which is the MMO equivalent of a mage, you hover on the battlefield and blast enemies with elemental attacks.save_0

Kept my Javelin simple due to my ten hour limit, but there are many customization options available.

The other part of the game deals with Fort Tarsis, where you role-play your character and accept missions. This showcases the strength of Bioware which almost always has excellent writing and well performed roles. They have gone with some amazing comedians to fill out their cast including Joe Lo Truglio (The State and Brooklyn 99), Kristen Schaal (Bob’s Burgers and 30 Rock) and Jack McBrayer (30 Rock and Forgetting Sarah Marshall). The concept behind the game is that the world is open and influences everyone, whereas Fort Tarsis is suited and molded by each individual player. You can guide and direct the way that the Fort grows by conversation.

I had directed this character to leave the fort to fulfill her dream in petting a baby korox. I am unsure where such choices will lead but I am looking forward to finding out.

 

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the negatives I experienced. The loading screens are very long. When you are in a party of four in a mission, if your group gets too far ahead of you, you are given just a little time to catch up or you face another loading screen that will eventually have you rejoin the group.

I did get kicked out of the game anytime I did something that made me leave the main game. I checked to see if the shards had been introduced in the Xbox store and that hard crashed the game. When you first load in there are a few banners you can select that open an internet browser, made the game crash.

I am also one of those weird souls that prefers inverted look for my camera. Anytime I started the game fresh I had to turn those settings back on.

Following the main developer on Twitter, it seems that most of this will be fixed in the day one patch. I do know others who frame rate drops and loss of gear, but I did not experience those during my trial.

Bioware has a lot to prove to the naysayers, but it is my belief that Anthem will provide an engaging and entertaining experience. Look for our review after Anthem has been out for some time.