Anthem has reaped a bountiful crop of controversial reviews since its first gameplay demo. Before us loomed, albeit a beautiful, but focused on co-op game, which is the last thing you expect from the creators of the legendary RPGs. At the same time, do not forget that after the last games Bioware's reputation is kept in the balance, which is why the unsuccessful launch of "Anthem" may well become the swan song of the once cult developers. In today's Anthem ms demo review, we'll show you what to expect from arguably the most controversial game in Bioware history.
Plot, characters and role-playing elements
Let's start with the traditionally strongest component of Bioware games. In the Anthem advertising campaign, we have heard more than once that we are waiting for an organic synthesis of a story game with the current elements of Destiny. And if the borrowing of elements from competitive cooperative games is more than enough, then they were very stingy with the elaboration of the plot component. There is no storyline in the Anthem beta as such - we have a few small assignments that cannot boast either an impressive production with memorable characters or interestingly written stories.
Interest can only be aroused by the scene with the cloning of the game character due to the error of an ancient artifact, but otherwise the plot aspect of the demo still looks like Mass Effect Andromeda. The RPG elements in Anthem are even more ephemeral than the plot. We play for the prepared extras, which even the appearance cannot be chosen - only gender and the proud title of "freelancer" aka errand boy. But I don't want to talk about the local system of dialogues at all - our character pronounces most of the lines on his own and the rare choice between two answers looks like a ridiculous attempt to give the dialogues "depth".
The situation is much better with the lore and the way the Anthem universe is described in an exquisite and imaginative way. The syllable of the legendary Bioware screenwriter Drew Caprichen is recognized in the first minutes of reading the game analogue of the "code" from Mass Effect.
Open world and hub
The first gameplay of Anthem is best remembered for the impressive scene, as the player, without any downloads, started from the city location into the open world. In the final version of "Anthem" we see a typical example of the Internet meme "expectation versus reality" and there is no question of any seamless world. The open world is represented by ravaged locations, before entering which you will have to constantly meet a loading screen. At the same time, the structure of the world itself is not focused on research and we did not find any secrets at the presented levels in the Anthem beta. It most of all resembles a series of multi-level arenas, where the main goal is many hours of grinding resources and the genocide of local fauna.
A city called Tarkus plays the role of a hub in Anthem. From a visual point of view, it is made beyond praise and is remembered for its unusual mixture of sci-fi style with Arabian architecture, an abundance of ethnic patterns and interiors meticulously flooded with small details.
In Tarkus, you can find a lot of electronic dummies who freely communicate with each other, wander aimlessly and try to imitate living characters with laziness. In theory, many of them can even be interacted with, but in the Anthem demo, any attempt to communicate is interrupted by the notification that the content is only available in the full version of the game.
Anthem's gameplay is expectedly reminiscent of Destiny, adjusted for the combat system familiar from Mass Effect Andromeda and the presence of javelins. Piloted avatars bring significant variety to the gameplay due to the ability to soar over opponents and change their location in a matter of seconds. No one prohibits practically touching the ground to fight and play Tony Stark. Fortunately, the jetpack cools down quickly and allows it to circle non-stop over a horde of creatures of various colors and sizes.
Fantastic creatures have the rudiments of intelligence and are often taken in quantity. There are always a lot of them and since the goal of the game is to collect loot and incessant action, fights often give a generous dose of adrenaline. Not least because of the lack of ammunition and the need to farm ammunition from fallen enemies, which is why during the passage of Anthem, with all the desire, it will not be possible to sit out in shelters.
Traps and dangerous sources of red energy add additional variety, forcing you to move with even greater frenzy, use elevation differences and terrain features. Anthem's gameplay is best proven by the hackneyed adage that "movement is life."
Separately, it should be said about javelins, of which there are 4 types in the game - "Ranger", "Interceptor", "Storm" and "Colossus". Each of them offers different types of gameplay and unique abilities, such as a salvo of missiles or an ultimate nuclear weapon. Anthem encourages team play and the ability to combine the capabilities of multiple javelins to slow down or critically damage an enemy. At the same time, we categorically do not recommend forgetting about a bunch of various combinations, since the balance in the game requires careful polishing and killing even an ordinary boss can take half an hour on an average difficulty level. However, for experienced MMO players, such a time counter for a boss fight is unlikely to seem like anything impressive.
The Interceptor-class javelin, which is capable of disassembling even the most powerful opponents at the speed of light, will also not prevent the Interceptor-class javelin from adjusting the balance. Even bigger questions are raised by Bioware's decision not to show until the end of the mission the item that the player picks up from defeated bosses and creatures of smaller caliber. This approach seems nonsense for a game where the main goal is to endlessly grind items in a 24/7 rhythm.
Graphics and technical features
At the end of the Anthem review, let's move on to the main selling-point of the project and the main reason for downloading Anthem - graphics and design, which in 2017 made tech geeks erupt in rainbows of happiness. As a result, the game looks far from so impressive, and the version of Anthem on PS4 still seems outdated against the background of Red Dead Redemption 2 and Zero Dawn Horizon, and if you add a static world to the general set of loading between locations, then Anthem's graphics on consoles are unlikely will be able to stand out from competitors. At the same time, Anthem looks a few heads better on PC. Of course, if you have a modern computer with an RTX 2080 on board.
An abundance of vegetation and global illumination fills the world with liveliness, but the non-stop parade of special effects regularly turns a standard battle into a nightmare of an epileptic. Is it a minus? The question is debatable, since the rainbow and bright picture will be quite to the taste of most players. I don't want to focus on the design of opponents and javelins, and in general, the local bestiary can be described by the capacious English word generic with a few exceptions.
The technical execution of the Anthem demo is a real disaster. However, this is a standard situation for most beta versions of multiplayer projects. Logging into the game on January 25 was a real feat that deserves a separate game achievement, but if you managed to play an hour without crashing to the desktop ... consider yourself lucky and don't forget to buy a lottery ticket next time, success is guaranteed. On the other days of the closed beta, the servers worked a little more stable and we really want to believe that at the release of the game we will see a minimum of technical errors.
Anthem's patient is more alive than dead. Bioware tried to sit on two chairs and in one project combine both their usual developments in story-driven games and current multiplayer trends. After passing the Anthem beta, it does not seem as if the plot component will be able to attract fans of the cult Bioware games to the game, but for fans of multiplayer fun, a rosy picture emerges.
First of all, thanks to the excellent action and advanced customization of javelins. If Bioware can tweak the balance and technical flaws, then Anthem is able to compete for a multiplayer niche alongside mastodons like Destiny 2 and The Division 2.
We will find out how the game will end up when the game is released on February 22nd. You can learn more about Anthem's gameplay in the 20-minute gameplay video.
The Topic of Article: Anthem Demo Review - Bioware's Last Chance.