It’s no secret that the Anthem VIP Demo was plagued with connectivity issues, ranging from infinite loading screens, codes not working and even, not being able to enter into the demo itself.
Personally, I wasn’t able to enter the demo, though not for lack of trying, until about three hours before it ended. But, in those three hours, I put in some work, trying out my two most anticipated Javelins, the Storm and Interceptor.
Before I get deeper into my experience with the Anthem demo, I want to commend the Bioware team for their translucency and dedication to getting the issues resolved, so that we could all play together. Despite some of the negativity going around in relation to the issues, Bioware and everyone else working on delivering a great experience for the game, went above and beyond. Thank you.
Now, let’s get real about the world of Anthem. Stepping into Fort Tarsis is utterly delightful, with the detail and colour almost embracing a welcome-home mentality, even as you walk through it for the first time. It is bright, almost dynamic and holds many secrets, secrets that players will be able to uncover as we delve into the story.
But what I was really interested in, what most players were truly interested in, was the actual combat. Oh, and we cannot forget the customisation. After locating Matthias and walking (slowly) towards the Forge, I climbed into my Javelin and was ready to go slay some Scars and Dominion…after I changed my colour scheme to entirely metallic, of course. It didn’t look the best, but it was shiny.
Since I couldn’t locate any form of tutorial about the basic controls, I spent a good portion of five minutes leaping around majestically, trying numerous button combinations to get my lovely exosuit of destruction airborne. Then it happened, a push of the joystick sent me careening into the sky and it was amazing. The height element that Anthem offers is utterly captivating and had me giggling.
Then, came my inevitable crash because my suit overheated. Followed by a second and a third, until I learned the finesse of flying and briefly running across extant items in the world before leaping gracefully with the Interceptor and jetting off once again. It is almost seamless how the transition from running to flying functions, and the smooth animation reminds me of the rolling and manoeuvring that is present in Warframe.
I chose the Interceptor first, despite my strong inclinations towards the elemental Storm because I viewed Anthem as a way to get out of my comfort zone; get up close and personal in combat. And it was incredible.
The combat is glorious and fast-paced, especially with the aerial element factored in. Diving in, blasting apart hostiles, then leaping away with a controlled dynamism is almost surreal. You aren’t just walking into combat, hiding behind cover and taking out enemies progressively; you are dropping in like the ODST from Halo, superhero landing and blitzing your foes.
Then in the blink of an eye, you have taken to the skies again, either to give your shields and health a break, or to give yourself a tactical view. Combat was a dream for me, and not including one moment, when I woefully misjudged how much damage my Interceptor could take, I was relatively good at it.
That was when it was time to take the Storm for a spin, with the incredible Banshee armour variant. As soon as I took to the sky with Storm outside the walls of Fort Tarsis, everything about stepping out of my comfort zone was forgotten. Hovering almost infinitely above the battlefield of Scars, I dished elemental death in the form of vicious lightning blasts.
While playing the Interceptor, I was more focused on just getting close to things and meleeing them to death, using the Javelins unsurpassed speed. With the Storm, however, my abilities were of a higher priority. The joy it gave me to freeze enemies into ice statues only to blast them apart a second later, cannot be articulated into words. And the sheer elemental devastation of Storm’s Ultimate ability was awe-inspiring but was almost muted next to the Colossus aggressively blasting apart everything in sight.
Due to the connection issues, I didn’t get to play through every quest that the VIP Demo had waiting for us, but even in the short time, the integration between the first-person story of Fort Tarsis and the third-person missions in the world was wonderful. With enough humour, urgency and drive behind character exchanges, the quests didn’t feel like simple busywork, they felt meaningful.
While I haven’t talked about everything that Anthem has to offer, the time I spent playing the game leaves me incredibly optimistic and excited to see, play, and do, more.
With the open demo coming up this weekend, and the issues that plagued the VIP being thoroughly examined and worked on, Anthem promises to be a highlight of my week.