Hands On

Anthem – My Impressions

Last week I was lucky enough to receive a code to try out the VIP Demo for Anthem. A game I’ve been quite excited to play and get into. The week leading up to the demo I had downloaded the almost 27 gig (which is a big deal here in South Africa for many still) demo file on my PS4 and had cancelled all my plans for the weekend. Friday the 25th of January arrived and was the first day of the beta. Sadly, here in South Africa it only went live in the evening at 7pm. This didn’t stop me from leaving work early to prepare for the evening, to become a Freelancer and jump into a Javelin.

An exosuit with the ability to equip powerful weapons, fly and protect humans while battling aliens. The Javelins come in four forms. The Ranger, an all round exosuit, with a good balance in speed, defense and attack. The Interceptor, built for speed and close range combat, however it is weak in defense. The Storm, a ranged attacker which uses elemental type attacks as well as has the ability to stay in the air for a longer period of time. And finally the Colossus, a heavily armored Javelin that packs more than just a punch!

In my play-through of the VIP demo, the Ranger and Interceptor both felt vastly different. Where the Ranger was a well balanced Javelin and definitely a good one to start with. The Interceptor was insanely fast and capable of hitting enemies and getting the hell out. Sadly the Interceptors biggest weakness is its poor defense. A few hits and you’re out. As for the remaining two Javelin’s, the Storm and the Colossus, I’m told handle in their own ways as well. This demo only allowed me to unlock one other Javelin beside the Ranger. However, there is an open beta running this weekend which has all the Javelins available. So I guess I’ll be trying out the Colossus and Storm this weekend.

So, there’s a ton more to talk about the Javelins, but what about the world. Well, when you kick of the demo and are actually able to get into the game…if you’re following the trends on social media, you’ll have seen something about the servers reaching their capacity over the demo weekend, but more on that later…you’ll be dropped into the hub area. The town/city that’ll allow players to customize their Javelins in as well as partake in dialogue with the non playable characters. Admittedly I did explore it for a bit and was quite impressed with the small details within this small sanctuary, however, the main pull of Anthem, or at least for me are the Javelins. And this is where the main crux or rather main problem occurred. Over the course of the weekend myself and what seemed to have been the rest of the world either could not get into the game itself or were completely frozen on an infinite loading screen. Tweets were sent out to advise players that they are increasing server capacity. However, throughout the rest of the weekend, it didn’t really feel that way, except for the two or three hours I got to play on Sunday afternoon. I did still have a bit of lag and experienced a few glitches but managed to play two missions.

That of course was the weekend of the VIP demo. This past weekend however, was obviously a completely different story, with the open demo/beta that ran, things were a little different…or rather A LOT different!!

This weekend showed players just what Anthem had to offer. I was able to not only play for longer periods but also tried out the remaining two Javelins. And I must say that the Storm is incredibly well suited for my type of game-play. But lets come back to that. Touching back on the world of Anthem. With the open beta being so accessible, this time I managed to not only play a few more missions, but also had the opportunity to roam around the world in freeplay. Now let me start off by saying that the areas were limited to where you could go to. Fly to close to the sun and you’ll get burned, well in this demo, fly to close to the restricted areas and you’ll be pushed to a loading screen and sent back to the areas that are allowed to roam. Nevertheless the world that we were allowed to roam is absolutely gorgeous. Green lush fields with rushing waterfalls. Where you Javelin can soar through the skies. Deep dark caves, filled with dangerous creatures, where your Javelin can smash evil foes. And underwater canyons where creatures of the deep lurk. Free roam was quite nice actually, to be able to open up the Javelin felt powerful. To have all this power at your finger tips and be able to take off like Iron Man was the highlight of my play through. And then turning off the thrusters and free falling but re-engaging the thruster just before hitting the ground was super fun!

Following off from the World within Anthem, it’s not always a playground for what is quite possibly a ridiculously priced piece of tech, but also a place of danger. The world of Anthem is filled with dangerous creatures and foes. Some may just be the habitat and wildlife of the land, that if interfered with, have a hostile reaction. Other enemies are aliens set out to destroy the humans and are equipped with tech of their own that can be devastating to your Javelin. The best part about Anthem though, is that even though there are many types of enemies within the world, the four different types of Javelins are just as equipped and ready to take them on.

All in all, Anthem was tons of fun. Flying all over the place in the Javelin was most definitely my highlight. Although the enemies felt spongy, and a lot of the mission mechanics felt a little too similar to Destiny. And in the same breath I know that this is not a problem for some. But for others, I have heard that it is a huge problem. My decision however on whether its a day one buy is a NO. I loved the Javelins, especially the Storm. Have mixed feelings about the missions, felt too similar to Destiny and I am looking for something new, which I’m sure the full game will bring. And absolutely hated the server issues, especially after getting kicked out after playing for over an hour and losing all experience and loot I would have gained from it. However, for the sake of those who enjoyed it thoroughly, here’s to the servers and story being fruitful from day one!

  • Zain

Check out a short mission on my Youtube channel in the Storm Javelin.

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