EA Play 2018 Anthem Gameplay Preview
At EA Play 2018 those in attendance were lucky enough to see the first gameplay of Bioware’s next action RPG title “Anthem”. The gameplay shown was a hands-off demo section of the game played by Bioware and EA staff. The game is still in its early stages and the final product may be changed upon release. Now here is all the info you need from the EA Play Anthem presentation.
Anthem is a social co-op action RPG, which will be familiar to players of Destiny. First, it should be said that the game looks absolutely gorgeous. The facial animations on the characters all look fantastic, a far cry from the meme-worthy faces that plagued Mass Effect: Andromeda. Players will have a base of operations where they can take missions and equip and upgrade their mech suits called “Javelins”, which all look amazing and sport unique designs with influences from everything from Warhammer to anime. So far there are three javelin classes:
– Colossus: A hulking mech that favors firepower over agility.
– Ranger: Fast and precision based unit.
– Storm: Glass cannon with powerful elemental and area of effect abilities.
Players can go on missions with friends on their friend’s list, their fellow guildmates, or solo if they so choose. The world of Anthem is absolutely enormous with lots of vertical landscapes as well as underground and underwater areas. The planet has been abandoned by the Gods of this world called “Shapers”. The team is tasked with finding an ancient Shaper relic that is slowly going out of control that the team has to stabilize before it wreaks havoc across the planet.
The demo begins with a team comprised of a Colossus, Ranger, and another Colossus, but with a different loadout that focuses on close quarters melee combat.
Players are able to fly freely throughout the world of Anthem with the rocket boots on each Javelin. Your jets can overheat, however, but you can cool off your engine by flying through waterfalls or going entirely underwater. The flying looks incredibly fun, and the level of freedom of movement allowed is one of the aspects separating Anthem from the competition.
The main enemies you will face in Anthem are called “Scars”, aliens that have arrived on this abandoned world and are fighting humans for control. But you will encounter other foes as well. Enemies will drop weapons and other loot which can be picked up and swapped on the fly, including Legendary weapons which are very hard to find but have powerful abilities.
During the demo the team comes upon an outpost of Scars. Now the team can tackle this outpost in several ways. They can choose to sneak past the outpost entirely or go in guns blazing and engage. Another Javelin, a Storm unit, joins the team and we are told that friends of any level can join up together, and loot and experience is shared throughout the team so even players of lower levels won’t be discouraged from joining up with friends. Players can work together for combo attacks, which can devastate even the toughest enemies.
The environment also presents challenges for the team, as they encounter a minefield while approaching the outpost. The Colossus unit brings up its shield and barrels through the field allowing his team to pass through. We are then told that the game features a day and night cycle, and the enemies encountered will change when night falls.
The team deals with the scars, having one Javelin divert their sniper fire while the Colossus sneaks up behind the Scars and blows them away. Each weapon has an alternate fire mode, and the Colossus uses its rocket launcher to take out the last of the Scars, showing off the game’s impressive particle effects. After the outpost is dealt with, the team locates several points near the artifact and stabilize it, eliminating the threat. After leaving the area, the team encounters a “Titan”, a giant Kaiju-sized enemy that is way too powerful for them to deal with at their current level, so they choose to make their way around the giant monster.
After avoiding the Titan, the team hears a massive roar nearby and is directed to head underwater to investigate. What could possibly go wrong right? The water effects are spectacular as well, as water drips off of the mechs beautifully as they emerge from the water into an underground cave. While underground we are shown ruins on the walls that, when examined, reveal information on the game’s story. These lore items will be scattered throughout the world.
After this we are told about “Stronghold Missions” where 4 players can take on a tough area together for big rewards, this game’s version of a raid.
The group then heads underground where they encounter bug shaped enemies called the Swarm that look like giant, quadruped face huggers.
Lastly, the demo caps off with the team facing off against a Swarm Tyrant, a giant Swarm bug that attacks the group. Giant webs are placed around the area that prevents escape, and the team is locked into combat. The Tyrant has several sacks on its body that are weak points that can be targeted to severely damage it. After taking heavy damage the Tyrant retreats and a swarm of smaller bugs are sent in. The Tyrant returns after the smaller bugs are taken care of, and we are shown the Javelin’s ultimate attack which deals massive damage to the giant creature.
Although the game can be played solo, it seems like it would be incredibly difficult, if not downright impossible, to play solo. This is just a hunch, but hopefully that doesn’t turn out to be the case.
As pointed out by other players at the presentation, the gameplay is very similar to Destiny, but I feel that Anthem has a lot of unique elements that will prevent it from being too similar, but long-time players of Destiny may feel burned out quicker than most. I can also see grinding becoming an issue for the game in the long term.
Overall I was very impressed with Anthem. Having never played Destiny, and being a big fan of giant mechs, Anthem looks like the game that will finally make me delve into an open world action RPG. Anthem releases next year on February 22, 2019 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. More info can be found here.
Next up we have a transcription of an interview with Casey Hudson, General Manager and Mark Darrah, Executive Producer at Bioware given to the crowd at EA Play.