Anthem is an online multiplayer title based on adventure packed sci-fi, exclusively crafted by Bioware and published by Electronic Arts. Having delivered popular projects in the past that cinched gamer’s fancy, this latest endeavor is an impressive RPG, which will be available for enthusiasts across the globe this month. I have always admired the sincere effort Bioware puts into their video game design & development.
Having said that, I must say this time I was expecting something excitingly different and ingenious. After seeing the amazing trailer and demos, I was eagerly waiting for its release. Bioware provided VIP-demo on 25th January to gamers who registered for the VIP access and open-demo for everyone on 1st of February and that is how I got hold of Anthem.
With the release of the Anthem trailer, gamers started making comparisons with other top RPG classics like Ashen and Destiny series from Bungie. As soon as I got the VIP version to try, I dug in without another thought to experience the much-hyped multiplayer saga for myself. I was instantly hit by the unique gameplay dynamics and creative flair of the designers as soon as the opening sequence rolled in.
As I started playing, I noticed hardly any similarities with other RPGs. For one, the developers created graphics and visual effects using innovative technology, blending well with powerful gaming engine. With impressive features like great character customization, exciting powerups, snazzy graphics, intriguing action sequences, and engaging gameplay, Anthem puts all those speculations at rest that hinted at it being a rip-off of similar games released earlier.
You will notice a difference from the other online shooter games from Bioware itself when you play Anthem. The gripping plot adds new elements to the contemporary action RPG and makes it an entirely new experience for you. The never-before-seen gritty action sequences and immersive gameplay are a reflection of the ingenuity & diligence put in by Bioware.
There are plenty of thrilling nerve-jolting moments in the storyline. These will give you adrenaline-pumping fluxes, as you move up higher levels. Anthem gives you the flexibility to play with your friends in teams. Called Freelancers, they are all set on a mission to slay evil. It is an interesting plot where you as part of the Freelancer community leave your own world. You travel all the way over to this intriguing game world to participate in various quests. You also explore the hidden mysteries within.
In this shared-world shooter title, expect out of the box gameplay for a unique playing experience. This is exactly where Bioware made it right. With real-life in-game objects & entities including characters that remind you of real-world people, this saga takes you into an entirely new universe as if you are a part of it. The developers have optimized the character customization with facial features, avatar attributes, and even dialogues to uplift the gameplay and infuse a more realistic feel while playing. While I noticed simplicity and less abstraction or subtle storyline features, the attention-grabbing sequences that allow you to combat evil with your friends in a shared-domain instantly offset the low points & flaws in Anthem.
Aside from less complexity, the game requires frequent updates. You will have to upgrade Anthem a lot if you are looking for nice collectibles, special ammo, and power-ups. To sum up, this fantastic multiplayer shooter epic offers high-quality graphics & action that draws you in for an unforgettable experience. It kept me hooked onto the screen for hours.
GamePlay & Storyline
Bioware has come up with a recognized plot with more simplistic in-game features & sequences. These will appeal to gamers of all levels; does not matter if you an amateur or an expert. The storyline involves a Fort Tarsis background engulfed by a universe sieged by a powerful magical faction known as Anthem. The game world is glum, dark and mysterious yet vibrant and dominated by evil monsters, large spooky spiders and ferocious beasts lurking around ready to attack you.
You are essentially a part of the elite, cohesive warrior community called Freelancers. These were once renowned for their valor, combat prowess, and warship. They lost the honor over the years and each group of freelancers is now doing its part, participating in quests and fighting evil to regain their ancestor’s lost repute and glory while earning their bread & butter. While you are slaying monsters and completing complex missions as part of a freelancer squad, you will also come across a slew of other in-game entities and objects like NPCs, helpers, evil beasts, opponents, units, structures, and collectibles.
With each passing level, the story unfolds piece-by-piece unraveling new elements at various points that keep you glued to your screen. To keep your character alive & powerful, you must stick together with your faction, fight Anthem monsters & other squads and stack up resources to maintain a competitive edge.
The Anthem World
I was rather taken by the sheer brilliance and picturesque charm of the in-game world. I found it to be a bustling marketplace stalked by beasts and aliens masked by fantasy & dark mystery. The place is, in fact, the core base of the Freelancer community, just outside Fort Tarsis. The marketplace offers a plethora of opportunities to make money, exchange collectibles and trade with the merchants around. If you are looking for nice weapon upgrades like swapping your bow & arrow for a shotgun, then this is your go-to point.
You will notice the bout of stalls & vendor spots dominating the in-game world. These make up the trader’s hub and a large portion of Fort Tarsis. The place also consists of several meetup areas like rooms. Here you can sit and discuss with your friends and other characters. It feels very homely and cozy to have people going on about their routine in the buzzing marketplace. It includes hangout spots where you can make new friends, choose your special monthly, daily or weekly available challenges and share ideas with other peers.
The area outside the home base is lined with twenty-four regional units grouped in close proximity to each other. While it is not a very huge area, it is more of an open world where you can explore, fly around without interruption, and discover new stuff.
Character Customization & Graphics
The highlight of the character customization is the combat suit. Known as the Javelin, you must wear it throughout the game. There are four different options available. The Interceptor is a quick paced with light armor and powerful attacks. The slow-paced Colossus has high damage tolerance. The Storm allows you to attack using snow sprays & lightening bouts while hovering over for quite some time.
Finally, the Ranger is a strong javelin with the ability to offer your teammates support during combat. Your playing experience just jacks up big time with the Ranger. Although you see these options available, I had to start with the Ranger in the VIP demo version and unlock the others after several levels.
Additional character customization includes choosing fabric type to style your javelin, the hue for the armor plate and the wear state of the apparel. For example, you can go from freshly designed to worn out. You also have the option of enhancing your character by using impressive landing and victory pose animation and three customized emotes. Gender and facial characteristics including other emotes & cosmetics are available as well. However, you will have to buy them at the in-game shop. You can either use micro transactions through Shards or the Anthem currency of coins.
Graphics and visual effects, as I highlighted earlier, are noteworthy features of this highly engaging action RPG title by Bioware. Aside from the real-life character attributes, the standout points where graphics shine include the Anthem marketplace, the lush green terrain of the in-game world with complementing hues, eye-catching architectural elements, beautiful waterfall spots, and vegetation. While there is a dark mysterious vibe, the Anthem world is, in fact, more lively and vibrant that gives you an instant freshening boost.
Final Arena & Battling Challenges
With squads of four freelancers, each with the varying skillset, taking on action-packed missions, playing Anthem becomes even more exciting. I found the entire gaming aspect quite pleasing and addictive. You have the flexibility to not battle against powerful squads with high-difficulty levels or enemies with high rankings. This aspect is called level scaling for each player’s specific level. However, you can take collectibles or loot resources from enemies at your own skill level only.
You can use your Javelin to battle ferocious opponents and easily fly through territories to unravel secrets. However, if you are not comfortable using the javelin for flying sprees, then a good option is to use waterfalls and fly through them. Stay vigilant of any projectiles thrown at you while flying, so you do not come crashing down and use your weapon to shoot at the enemy while maintaining your balance. The more practice you have with hovering & flying attacks, the stronger your character becomes.
Playing Anthem is like going through an unforgettable adventure-seeking rollercoaster ride that is just too fabulous to resist. As I started with the primary end-game challenges in one of the major campaigns, I was thrilled to notice a stint of impressive collectibles that made the play even more fascinating. Shoot at your foes with the left trigger and throw explosives or fire away with the shoulder bumpers using the right on your controls.
You can also use the right stick to hover and shoot at your foes or the left stick to start flying. These controls are easy to use, allowing firing off special artillery and ammo. These include pulse blast, frost grenades and a rocket salvo that slay your enemy with a profound deadly attack.
You will get to feel the poignant significance of your Javelin’s worth and impact once you step into the more excitingly challenging parts of the campaign. With an amazing array of features, flawless controls & their abilities, flying capabilities turning fights into earth-shattering do-or-die combats, the flexibility to launch melee-attacks in mid-air, and unleash a plethora of dangerous weapons at your foes, Anthem gives you an instant sense of your presence in the gaming world.
Much like Destiny, the epic shooter saga gives the word ‘combat’ a completely new meaning with ferocious antagonists. These include a grouchy boss, flanks of angry arachnids, armed scavengers, snipers, artillery units guarded by regular ground troops, snobbish rogues, and spider lairs amongst others. There are areas like cliffs tops and shacks within woods where you could pit stop to discuss battling tactics with your team and identify weak points or loopholes to gain an edge.
You can use the combo system to your advantage that works great with teamwork. You can inflict extra damage on your enemies by attacking them through a frost grenade powered melee-ambush or a pulse shot. If you prefer, you have the option of using various customized combinations called combos. You trigger them as per your liking, even in single player mode.
The final arena is a place to look out for where the real action and fun begins. Dominated by large scorpions, creatures and wild hounds, defensive energy shield, a hovering leader with magical skills and various high weaponry bases, this is where you must fight it to prove your prowess. While you have the option of hitting it straight into the battle, I took a few minutes to plan my moves and defense tactics.
You will need high tolerance from your javelin, strong ammo like shotguns & machine guns as well as high stats to overpower the foot soldiers and get to the intimidating leader. Keep a check on your health & vitality bar as you are fighting to keep up your strength. You can collect and unlock lethal weapons, as you move on in the combat. You have the option of recycling your existing weapons to construct your own unique defensive tools using minerals collected on the way. You can throw mortar, grenades, and arrows at the enemy.
At each class, you will be able to use a special weapon. That will also give you complete immunity from death while the weapon is in use and earn XPs. It will come in handy during heavy combats where you can support your team with better skills and the weapon’s high damage ability.
Overall, Bioware’s Anthem is a highly entertaining and impressive multiplayer RPG. It packs a solid punch when it comes to gripping action sequences, fabulous visual effects, awesome character customization, and thrilling missions. I feel it is a brilliant take on the shared-world shooter genre with its own set of distinct in-game features. It will keep you glued to your screen, pining for more replays.