Anthem

Anthem Launch Day – Quick Impressions

GOOD:

  • Logged in at 10:01 AM EST without issue
  • Only one graphical gameplay bug (Forge, Javelin screen)
  • No lags/bugs/disconnects
  • Lots of people to play with
  • Missions are coherent, varied, and fun
  • Backstory cut-scenes exciting. Helps set the stage.
  • Got to meet the big bad guy early on. Good introduction, way stronger than you, something to build towards to beat later.
  • Loot is fun already! (For example, I had two loot pieces with LMG inscriptions. one for +9% damage, one for +3% damage. I did not have a LMG. However, I was able to craft one. Nice damage bonus
  • There have been some fun and impactful inscription bonuses already that has had me change my playstyle. I feel like on the climb to 30 you will always switch along the way with new loot (as the levels climb fast) which is a good experience

BAD / MEH:

  • Lack of response options disappointing in dialogue. You either are “doing it because its my job” or “doing it because its my home” style responses. Paragon, Renegade, or Neutral options is a miss. A big miss. (Responses feel pointless so far).
  • Loot is overwhelmingly difficult to get a feel for. Rarely I say too many options are good, but here if you didn’t play demo weekend you are likely to be a bit lost. A little spoon-feeding through early levels would have been good. I am only comfortable with it because of my prior 30 hours in game
  • Levels are very, very fast. Level 8 in a couple hours of play.
  • At HARD level, things die too quick in a group. Might be scaled a bit on the easy side to start. This and the prior point might be to appease new generation of gamers.
  • I leave Sunday morning for a week, and I know the entire world will be level 30 and in Legendaries by the time I get back.
  • Lack of desire to blog, there is a game to play

I’ll add to this and update as I go….

Anthem Conviction Live Action Short

It’s live, it’s pretty cool, and even for those of us who have been paying some sort of attention to what minimal lore and story that has been released, doesn’t provide much clarity.

Spoiler alert (which is a guess) – I think this is the origin story of The Monitor, the big bad guy in Anthem.

Watch it here:

I’m guessing that because of what we do know about this video. This is an event from 15 years before Anthem. And watching the video a few times you see a woman who was in the forest alone, and rescued by a freelancer. Who then trains and becomes a freelancer herself

That woman is seen interacting with something, and her friend / ally obsessed with the possibility. Cue the connections. Also there is some betrayal for some reason, not entire clear.

That’s a very simplistic take on what is there – it could absolutely be anything, including a separate, side story that has nothing to do with the current day setting of Anthem but it doesn’t make much sense to me to get Neil Blomkamp of Chappie, District 9 fame to put together a 3+ minute short that didn’t have some sort of narrative tie in that people could get excited about.

What did you think about it? Those who haven’t followed Anthem much – does this do anything for you? Those that have – any theories or ideas behind it?

Anthem – Nothing Left but the Launching

I spent an equal amount of time in Anthem Demo weekend as I did in the VIP weekend – which actually surprised me a bit because my pilot and Javelins carried over meaning I only had two events I could do – Freeplay and the Stronghold. Yes, the same stronghold I had done for 12+hours in weekend one.

I still played it a ton.

I finally was able to play with the other two Javelins – the Storm and Interceptor and while both were fun and very different my heart is set on “maining” the Colossus and also keeping tabs on the Ranger. One of the best things about Anthem is that you only have one pilot and can jump into any Javelin suits you own at anytime (and collect loot and components for them during regular play). This is good because I will have an up to date Javelin of any kind, just by playing any kind. This could be frustrating a bit if the better drops occur for the Javelin’s I do not prefer. Still, I like the overall system this way far better than only improving them when I am playing them. This makes it far more likely I try them all in different situations that arise.

I am recommending this as a “buy” based on what I have seen and experienced so far but I am going to be fair and transparent – I don’t think Anthem is going to be a home run with the first pitch. I think the bones and gameplay are phenomenal but the convenience, fleshing out, and sub systems are all going to need work and time to improve and add. If you look at a lot of the dev responses to QOL suggestions, you hear a lot of “not at launch”.

I know the anti-EA camp is going to have a field day at launch with every little issue (perceived or real) and I believe it will be review bombed and have a hard time out of the gate. That being said, those that stick around will form a great community around the game and as they improve it so will the experience. This is just my gut – not wishful thinking – as Battlefield V has had some MAJOR patches since launch (over 700(!) bug fixes and improvements last patch) and I loved it out of the gate too.

Truth is, when it comes to games like this with the long view it’s not going to be perfect at launch. But it will be good, and will get better. I will be along for the start of the journey and will experience how it all plays out. If they are able to follow the same path of content and improvements as BFV they will be fine. If not, well, there’s a ton of other great games out there right now – I feel like we are really spoiled as a gaming community with options.

Anthem Stumbles and Stars

This weekend was the highly touted (and covered) Anthem VIP weekend for people who pre-ordered, their buddies, and anyone lucky enough to win a giveaway.

How most people started their Anthem Journey

Things did not go as planned at first. Well documented server outages, shortages and issues stopped most people from entering the game on time.

I got in about an hour or two after launch (I went and played other things) and put in 13 hours over the weekend maxing out my level and the items I could get for my Javelins (currently locked at Rare, level 19 items and pilot level 15).

I wanted to stop playing, but couldn’t. And that should tell you something. Especially considering the content was around 2 hours of quests (estimate) and then a repeatable “dungeon” (called “Strongholds” in Anthem) which I did over. And Over. And then upped the difficulty and did it over. And over.

The backdrop is incredible. Immersive.

It’s fun. The things you see, do and play in the game is very fun. The shooting feels good, the flying is great, and the kill / loot / equip / kill cycle works well.

I think your perspective going in really shapes your opinion coming out. I have read a LOT of angry people being angry about the game. People who really want EA to fail, and Bioware to fail (because how dare they not include f*ck options for NPCs!) and the whole game to just flop. I have also read undue praise and claims that the game is the second coming of Destiny (or what it should have been).

Then there are measured and fair opinions. Not as many of those I have read.

Vinyls are awesome. With a click you go from THIS …
.. to THIS. Customization is some of the best concepts I have seen in gaming.

Me? Well, mine isn’t outright fan-boyish but definitely excited to see what they do. I do have concerns, of course, and I’m worried they may be more justified than I hope. The big one being that the game doesn’t quite feel done. It’s just not.. intuitive. Best example of that I can give is that after you finish a play event, you go to a screen that gives loot, faction rep, badges, and XP. The loot was VERY generous and varied (which makes it cool) but there is no way to filter or sort the loot. Bare minimum I should be able to sort by Rarity, Level, Type, Javelin Type (etc.). Nope, just a pile of guns, gear, rarities mish-mashed all in one big bucket. That is something very simple to implement but also feels like a glaring, gigantic oversight. Who doesn’t want their loot sorted in a loot based game that gives gaggles of loot?

That’s the type of polish that is very much missing. Three weeks from launch. I doubt many little nice things like that will get into the final game since crunch time will be optimization and bug hunting.

Oscar peeking out of the trash can

I played the Ranger first (like everyone) and secondly the Colossus – which I originally thought would be my main but the Ranger just moves so elegantly and quickly that going to the slower, hunkering Colossus felt slow. Sure, there are amazing things you can do as a Colossus but in a game built on movement limiting it feels self-defeating. We will see. Next weekend I get to play the other two Javelins (you could only unlock one additional this weekend, all 3 next weekend) so plenty to mess around and see.

Loadout screen

My final thought on this is that due to the bad rap EA gets, and knowing the game isn’t perfect (this close to launch) I am actually OUTRAGED (sorry, inside joke) CONFUSED why they did a VIP demo to begin with. They did it with Mass Effect: Andromeda which was a really great game with some issues – and all the early peek did was allow the really negative people to shine a light on the deficiencies and that sunk a major IP. Free weekends are just inviting people who hate you to publicize everything you are doing wrong – justified or not. Some from people who hate EA outright and refuse to play any of their games anyway. Gives them a platform to sink sales. I saw / read a lot of that after the Anthem VIP demo weekend, and expect it just to be worse after next weekend.

Bug hunting. All the devs are doing it.

The middle group, those who want a solid sci-fi looter/shooter experience with a better story will find that in Anthem. But it won’t be perfect at launch, I already know that. Most live games aren’t. Not letting people see/play it first would actually result in better sales I bet, and a better future for Anthem. The state of the game now will not sell the 10M or so rumoured copies EA wants sold on this (their stock badly needs a huge hit) but I believe that it will be a solid game and foundation for years to come – if people give it the time and patience to become what it needs to.

Anthem Hype Level : 11ty Billion

I have two games right now that have me super hyped for gaming. The first up is Anthem – which Leo has spoken about a bit. I have been following all the livestreams, dev blogs, etc. I was in the technical Alpha as well. I ended up buying Origin Premier ($129.99 CAD for a year of ALL new releases (top end collectors editions) as well as a huge back catalog. That purchase is paying off in spades as I have been playing Battlefield V, and will play Anthem, and have downloaded a dozen other titles I was curious about but haven’t played. Everything from Darksiders 3, to This is the Police (1/2), Battlefront 2, and even Peggle. Yes, I admit that. It’s been a bargain for me as a platform.

Here is a video better explaining and demonstrating Anthem. I can’t wait.

BUY ME! BUY ME!

For the record, the other game I am excited for has no release date (Cyberpunk 2077) since I was huge into that PnP platform and it’s yet another, sci-fi shooter / rpg. Since it is so far away we aren’t really talking about it much.

Are you going to buy Anthem? (If yes, do you want to be my friend?) Since I have the top end pre-order I also get a bunch of buddy codes for the VIP weekends – let me know if you want to play it in advance or if you are just going to wait for release (or skip it altogether.)

I was also a huge fan of Andromeda, and as a Bioware “person” have high hopes the team can deliver on this title. Whether their strategy is sound (VIP weekends, free weekends, etc.) or if it backfires will be interesting to see how this game launches.