Anthem demo

The good, the bad and the possibly worrying.

So to get it out of the way, the gameplay loop is indeed very fun and positively hard to abandon once you start. Much as I speculated, the Colossus is the most fun of the 4 basic Javelins available in the demo, though how much that will carry over is debatable. It’s the only suit without recharging shields, so it might suffer through attrition in later stages of the game where enemies deal a lot more damage. Still, there’s always going to be something compelling about the symphony of explosions you can unleash (don’t let anybody convince you that canons are not an instrument).

There’s a LOT of loot in Anthem. Like oh my God, so much loot. Way too much loot than is reasonable. Which is objectively, the best amount of loot (it’s not a worthy successor to Borderlands if you start feeling anxiety at the sheer quantity of loot). Though admittedly, quality may leave something to be desired. My luck with RNG has historically been pretty poor, but you’d think BioWare would tweak those drop-rates a bit higher for the demo.

The demo was of course not without hiccups on the technical side with people reporting connectivity issues, crashing and bugs. Personally I didn’t encounter those and given the concentrated effort of some areas of the interwebs to bury Anthem, I don’t exactly know how seriously to take it, but it still should be mentioned. But then again this is to be expected.

A bit more worrying though are micro-transactions. While not inherently a bad thing, usually prices become inflated with the transition from beta to full release (I do not know why we don’t call it ‘gamma’), but Anthem sports cosmetic options that can cost potentially up to 20$ per individual purchase. If the trend of price inflation takes place here, that would cause cosmetic items to cost more than a DLC. That’s… insane.

None of this was shown in the demo of course, this is all unconfirmed information deduced from leaked pictures, which may or may not be photoshoped, but BioWare themselves may have played their hand by engaging with an already gathering Reddit storm of backlash in earnest. Their response seemed to suggest that while this is a subject to possible change, the leaked images were real.

You may also notice that I neglected to talk about the story, the character, the setting. And that’s because… well, what is there really to talk about? It’s all perfectly serviceable, but I quickly lost any semblance of interest. Everything has this feeling of a generic record playing on a loop. The gameplay is super fun, but the narrative glue holding it together seems to be missing.

So that’s Anthem. Spirits are high… Hopes are getting lower.