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Anthem Review (demo version only)

EA and Bioware have come together to produce a new title that is set to cause people to take notice. Drawing comparisons with Warframe, Destiny, The Division and Mass Effect, Anthem is EA’s answer to a sci-fi looter shooter. But the big question is, will this world be worth exploring?

Anthem is pretty, very pretty. It feels great to run around, and fly around, movement is very smooth and fun. Gunplay and weapons are on point, very fun and lots of unique abilities from the Javelins, the exoskeleton battle suits our humans equip themselves with, that add variety to the standard point and shoot system. As with other games in this genre, you also want to go around and harvest resources from the world in order to upgrade your gear.

As you start the game, you can choose your gender, and in time you can also choose your Javelins and customise the weapons, gear and appearance to suit your own taste and playstyle. You can then join up to 3 other friends in a party and go on out into the open world to change the status quo in the world. There are plenty of missions to complete, and also some open world areas to explore, if you enjoy some freedom. You and other Freelancers run around the world doing as you please, cleaning up pockets of enemies as you go along.

Fort Tarsis is your main hub, where you can interact with various NPCs all with their own unique offerings. Soon enough this place will feel like your home. Although the story isn’t the main focus, Anthem wants you to feel warm and close with the world and its characters and the environment. The visuals of the world are amazing and many times you will find yourself just walking around admiring it all.

As you and your team of 4 unravel the world’s mysteries, you will be well rewarded for successful missions and exploits. You can craft gear and upgrades along the way and make yourself into an even more fearsome and powerful adversary. There are four Javelins to choose from – Ranger, Storm, Colossus and Interceptor, all with their own unique abilities, strengths and weaknesses. Walk, run, fly, or hover, all feel smooth and it’s fun to move around the map. This is definitely an area Bioware have nailed.

Enemies vary from regular grunts, heavy units, snipers, flying creatures, fire/ice throwing units, turrets and big dogs that will run into your face for some close quarters combat. It will also have your spiders and colossal bosses. Teamwork is going to be important if you want to take on the harder enemies and battles – use your combos to effect and timing your abilities is going to be key to victory.

Unfortunately EA has struggled with some teething issues during its demo weekend, with many people reporting being unable to login to Origin, or launch the game or being stuck in loading screens. They may have called it a demo but it really was a load testing beta in reality. For those that were able to get in and play, many would have thoroughly enjoyed it. Overall the gunplay, movement and graphics are great, the question is whether the game is unique enough to differentiate itself from the status quo, such as Warframe, Destiny and The Division, to justify the high price tag everyone is expecting from this EA title.

Launch date for Anthem will be February 22, and will be available for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Overall Rating 7/10

Written by Luke Smith for Gaming Australia

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