Anthem VIP Demo

In Fort Tarsis Anthem is single player 1st person

You’re probably going to be reading a lot of blog posts and seeing a lot of YouTube videos about technical issues with the Anthem Demo. That’s not what this post is. I generally had a good experience (a few glitches here and there) and I was playing the demo more to get a feel of what the gameplay loop would feel like. I’m also going to assume you know what Anthem is since it’s hard to avoid seeing articles about it these days.

All I’ll say about the technical stuff is, Bioware seems to be owning it and is communicating about it while fixing things. I’m glad these issues are being uncovered now instead of at launch.

Personally, I’m having a blast with the demo and I can’t wait to get my hands on the full game. I’m not sure how ‘hardcore’ Anthem is going to be but I’m not hardcore. A casual-friendly game where I can fly around in an exo-suit and explore and harvest and fight is just fine with me. In fact it is ideal.

The Bioward Codex returns only this time it’s called the Cortex

I’ve been jumping between Xbox One X and PC, and on PC between mouse and keyboard and controller. For me, controller is the way to play. Flying with the controller feels intuitive and fun while I keep flying into walls using the keyboard. Probably just takes practice. If you play I would urge you to wear headphones because the soundscape in this game is amazing. The “whomf!’ of your suit’s jets when you dash really adds to the experience and headphones convey it best.

So far I think my favorite way to play is on PC with controller but streamed to the Shield and the 60″ TV, though that only works for solo/PUG stuff since I don’t have a voice channel playing like that.

There are a few interesting design decisions that Bioware made that I wanted to highlight. First, while you’re out in the world, you don’t see the experience you’ve acquired and when you get loot all you can see is what rarity it is. It is only when you get back to base that you’ll find out what you’ve earned in that mission. Bioware made this decision to help with the pacing of MP; basically they wanted to help the ‘flow’ of the mission by removing a reason for players to stop and rummage through their inventory every time they got a drop. I’m fine with this decision but have seen some folks who are frustrated by it.

Sweet, sweet loot

The second decision I’m less sure about. You don’t get experience from randomly killing stuff. You get experience from accomplishing goals and earning Feats. Feats can and often are connected to combat — stuff like “Shoot 20 enemies in their Weak Spot” — but you can only earn a Feat once per “Expedition” (which is a catch-all phrase for any thing that takes you out into the world).

I’m unsure about this system because Bioware has built this huge world that is positively crawling with dangerous enemies, but there’s no real reason to fight them (remember, you can fly away from anything). The ‘smart’ way to play is to just fly past everything to your objective and fight only what you need to fight. There’s nothing wrong with this; it’s just not my personal ideal way to play a game. I love roaming around ‘grinding’ experience by fighting random things. So we’ll see.

I know Bioware is most known for its single player game and the company has said that Anthem can be completed solo. I did try this out. It’s a little weird because you have to set your session to Private in order to solo a mission, but when you do the game scolds you, telling you Anthem is best played Multiplayer. After you insist that yes, you really DO want to play Solo you can. I personally found Normal difficulty tough but do-able Solo (the Demo is fairly early in the game, I should point out, you start at level 10) and am happy to report Easy difficulty is, well, Easy to solo.

Anyway I’ve been looking forward to Anthem for a long time and I’m happy to say the demo just has me even more excited. I feel like this is going to be one those games that I play a bunch at launch, then return to whenever a big content update drops. That’s kind of my pattern with Destiny and The Division and I feel like Anthem is going to go into the same ‘bucket’ as those games. Can’t wait for launch!

7 thoughts on “Anthem VIP Demo

  1. I also had few problems with the demo.

    I also played probably a dozen hours this weekend and could have played more if there was any progression left. It was hard to grind when there is nothing to gain.

    my only semi negative view is that some simple things aren’t in game yet and judging by its gold status I’m not sure if they will be or not. things like sortable loot at the end of a mission. It should be sorted by rarity or level or type but there is nothing right. And it seems like a huge simple oversight on something very convenient and exciting judging and looking at your loot in a looter shooter.

    Looking forward to next weekend but more so to live launch.

  2. @Isey — Yeah I’m hoping (and expecting, really) a number of little changes like that soon after launch because I’m sure the community will be asking for them. My pet wish is a Privacy option between Private and Public. I’d like an option where friends can join without an invite but strangers cannot. It seems overly difficult to get a group of friends together now. Having a way you can start a mission with say 2 of you, and then have others “drop in” when they come online, would be welcome.

  3. I tried to mostly come off as positive in my post in spite of all of the issues I had trying to play it. I still think it has to have something to do with region or connection. Regardless what was there was enjoyable enough that I am looking forward to the next test/launch.

    Good post! šŸ™‚

  4. Iā€™d like to be able to run and jump on Tarsis lol. That whole first person movement slowing to a crawl thing just is so counter to the whole idea of a game based flying and fast action combat. Other then that really enjoyed my time in the demo.

  5. Agh! You reminded me, I really should have covered the annoying insistence of the game to make you go public.

    Ok, sure, if I’d had the Private mode set from an earlier play session, maybe, MAYBE, one reminder I could live with.

    But game – you just saw me literally click through and turn it on right now. YES, I’m sure I want to be Private. šŸ˜›

    Overall, loved my time and experience with the game — from all indications so far, the release version is even better. (I wonder whether this has been addressed already even?)

    As long as Anthem does moderately well, I think it will have a bright future ahead of it. Should it fall below the EA-frowny-face threshold… Well… I don’t think it will be keeping multiple concurrent live-dev teams for long. šŸ˜‰

  6. @saltycleric At one point over the weekend, on Twitter, one of the Bioware producers said that for some reason, running was turned off in Fort Tarsis for the demo. In other words we were walking the whole time. Hopefully that will be addressed before next weekend!

    And while they’re at it, how about we spawn in at the forge rather on the other end of the city from it!

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