Anthem Demo dropped for VIPs around the world this past weekend, and thanks to an Origin Access Premier membership, yours truly was able to get his hands on it. And as I do with anything I get my hands on, I dove in deep, finishing the demo in a couple of sittings. So here’s a list of things that made me love it, and things that annoyed me.

Since I like to end on a sweet note, let’s start with the bitter stuff.

Things That Annoyed Me.

Courtesy – Electronic Arts

Loading Screen – Infinity And Beyond

The first thing I ran into was the all too popular error of infinite loading screen. I know a lot of people had trouble connecting, but I simply gave it 12 hours or so before jumping in and not once did I disconnect over the weekend. The loading screen bug, however, was persistent and affected me in every session. But a neat feature, that allowed you to pick up where you left off by putting you right back into the mission you were loading to right from the main menu, was admirable. I’m sure the loading screen issue won’t happen in the full game (the demo itself may get it patched out before the worldwide release, to be honest) so this isn’t an issue that’ll affect the game on release day.

Running Speed At Base – Forest Did Not Want To Run.

The base of operations in the game, Fort Tarsis, is a vibrant place, it has colourful characters (even in the demo) and a bartender that has become popular for sounding like Kenneth (Jack McBrayer) from 30 Rock, although it is yet to be confirmed by the actor or the studio behind the game. The issue with said base of operations though, is that you CANNOT run. We’ll, technically your character is running if you look down, but it’s an extremely slow walking speed.

Fort Tarsis acts as a base of
Courtesy – Electronic Arts

This issue has also been confirmed and is only a problem in the demo as they had turned off the sprint in the Demo, and in the full game, you’ll be able to sprint around to your heart’s content!

Solo Isn’t An Option.

I get that Anthem is a game that’s ‘meant’ to be played with others, and it is truly best when played with FRIENDS. You see that word, BioWare? That’s the key. Friends. Not random strangers, not all the time.

The game pretty much forces you to team up if you happen to go to a dungeon. You can either go in with 3 other friends or the game will fill any empty slots with random people. This WILL be part of the full game, and sadly, I believe if you want to subject yourself to the pseudo-masochistic act of hitting up a dungeon alone, it should let you! This is an issue in the free roam mode ‘Freeplay’ in the demo, but in the full game, it’s said that the free roam will be a public session, but won’t shove you with random players’ parties or vice versa.

Courtesy – Electronic Arts

Now there are some bugs in the demo, like enemies just disappearing while you’re shooting them and so on, but it shouldn’t be issues that’s left in the full game.

Now let’s get to the rosy part, the stuff I love. There’s a LOT to love in Anthem, even in the Demo. I’ll break it down below, but if you wan’t a TL;DR, everything else other than the annoyances – I loved!

Stuff I loved (A LOT!)

Courtesy – Electronic Arts

Anthem Gameplay!

How can you not love a game that puts you in without a single tutorial screen and you just… get it. The flying may take a little bit to get used to (it’s shift while jumping + falling, in case you want to know for the global demo), but it’s so awesome to jet around this beautiful map, even swim as you plummet into the pond, only to shoot out of a waterfall. Everything makes you feel like a total badass.

The gunplay is smooth, headshots are not insta kills but extremely important (and rewarding) when you get to harder enemies. Guns are varied with some variety even in the same type of weapons, and the game has a system called challenges, similar to the Badass Token system in the Borderlands franchise. It rewards you for using the same weapon type (a marksman rifle called Anvil, for example) and as you kill more and more enemies with it, you earn more rewards by beating challenges named accordingly like Anvil V, etc.

The Difficulty.

Courtesy – Electronic Arts

Oh man, what can I say! The difficulty in this game is awesome. Do yourself and your friends a favour and play in the Hard difficulty. It’s chaotic, it’s crazy, it’s an absolute blast. Especially the dungeons. What I’ve understood and heard is that the difficulty in the current build of the game is higher than the difficulty is in the demo. Hard is Harder in the finished game! That is absolutely awesome and I can’t wait to get swarmed by enemy AI.

AI in Anthem.

The AI are actually smart, the sniper enemies that use shields run and hide when they lose their shield to regenerate. They get progressively smarter and there’s enough variety in the type of enemies and the ‘kind’ of enemies that you don’t know what you’re going to get till you get it. Maybe you’ll get a Titan that uses the elements against you, maybe you’ll get a brute that’s been modified by the dominion or you may even get dominion ‘headhunters’. This makes entering every fight unpredictable and makes you strategize as you go.

Javelin Types.

Courtesy – Electronic Arts

The javelin types are varied and make a pretty good team. The Ranger, which is the default one and my favourite one BECAUSE IT’S THE BEST (#TeamRanger ftw!) is a pretty good mix of things while Colossus has a Tank Build, Interceptor is what you’d describe as quick but a glass cannon and Storm which seems to be similar to the mage archetype. Playing to each of their strengths and playing WITH the strengths of others makes a massive difference in the hard difficulty, if you’re going about doing your own thing, most probably you’ll end up needing to be ‘repaired’ (aka revived).

The way to win is simple, play your role, a Colosssus belongs at the front lines, the Ranger is versatile enough to do both, but I enjoy it more on the front lines. Storm and Interceptor are more susceptible to damage, so movement will be key. What’s awesome though, is that the game lets you have 4 builds within a ranger, so I can have a solo build when I’m free roaming, a support build to be the support class or even an all out assault build if I am going to be the tank.

Modifications And Load Outs.

As mentioned, you can have multiple loadouts each with its own set of weapons, components, and other mods. This enables specialized loadouts, you can even paint them differently so that you know which is which at a glance! It’s not a big thing, but I thoroughly enjoyed the customization in the game and spent a lot of time, uhm… dolling up my ranger.

THE WORLD OF ANTHEM! The Graphics, The Setting – Everything!

Courtesy – Electronic Arts

It is absolutely breathtaking, be it the scenic vista, the sprawling world or the fact that you can fly way up high and plummet down to the depths of unexplored oceans, it is a world you’ll want to explore and make sure you search out every single crevice, valley and waterfall. I hope BioWare throws in some ‘hidden’ treasures and such that you can find by exploring, but the experience itself is quite rewarding.

Cosmetic Microtransactions ONLY.

No P2W, fuck yeah! EA is definitely making an effort to negate the Battlefront II debacle, and say what you want about them, the fact that they are in fact trying is a good thing in my books. Anthem, like Battlefield V, will not have any paid unlocks that give you an advantage over another player. All microtransactions will be cosmetic. It may be EA learning from their mistakes or learning from Fortnite’s success, but either way I’m happy I don’t have to pay to win!

BioWare Storyline – Not Too Serious, Not Too Over The Top.

Courtesy – Electronic Arts

BioWare are known to do one thing more than anything else – make amazing stories, and this one seems to have all the ingredients to be just that. At the start of the demo I found myself ignoring the story, because if at all I’m going to pay attention to it, I’ll do it in the full game, but by the end of it, I was kinda interested in the characters. They were all pretty vibrant, such as Amal the bartender, who constantly has lady troubles, was a nice comic relief. Even the fact you have a very simple ‘chilled out answer/cynical answer’ in convos just added to the fun.

I had gotten used to protagonists not having a voice, or not enjoying the ones they do have, like our friend Alexios from Odyssey, but I enjoyed the voice that Anthem brought, and can’t wait to hear what it has to say!

Anthem Is Available Through Origin Access Premier.

This is the best part of the game for me. If you subscribe to the premier tier of Origin Access like little old me, you have access to the complete game. Not the trial, not the standard edition, the complete deluxe edition – the full game. And that too, a full week before anyone else (Feb 15th for Premier Members, 22nd for rest of the world).

Courtesy – Electronic Arts

This freelancer will be in his kitted out Ranger suit on February 15th, rocking out his air guitar. Will you? You should!

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