We all know what a fickle company EA is when it comes to any non-sports game. Despite this, they have launched a lot of ideas especially through the BioWare brand. Known for top RPGs over decades, the question really is how much of the BioWare-of-old remains?
Enter Anthem, the mech suit RPG which combines some of the best elements of Monster Hunter, Destiny, and Fallout. Anthem has been shown with mixed reviews from critics, but with a ton of marketing power from EA. This week they released the full game play demo from E3 and here is what we think.
Anthem hosts a single-player narrative campaign within a fortress city. Here you can pick up quests, learn about the world you will explore, and build out your character. Once you go through the gate, however, you enter into the open and other people will be around to join you. This game acts very similar to an MMO on a smaller scale. Just like Destiny did, and the upcoming Fallout 76 which is looking to be Anthem’s biggest competition in the space.
The sci-fi tech in the game design is something to be admired. In Anthem you get a Javelin which can be fitted for various RPG roles. You have tank builds, ranged builds etc. You can switch them out which means you will be having the ability to switch classes essentially. That feature alone could bring a lot to players. The team at BioWare has stated that you can play any way you like, but the trinity of classes is encouraged to complete dungeon runs specifically.
Random group matching is also important. You can play with your friends of course. However, a lot of players will get online and go it alone. There are dungeons and areas which you will have to group up for. Being the best narrative game company in the world, you have to wonder how much solo content Anthem will give you. How long will trips to the city last in comparison to, for instance, all of the activities you participate in during the more open world exploration times?
Anthem does have a lot of very slick mechanics. The interactive world is a subtle part of the demo but something that reacts extremely well. One example shown in the demo is flying through the waterfall to cool your Javelin’s jets. In classic BioWare style working through the bases and fighting the enemy known as the Scar unlock the deeper game story. The Shapers are the ones who left the planet long ago and that is the sort of spiritual tech you are after.
Again, high quality visuals and classic BioWare narrative are what make this game look appealing. The question is how long is the game play? In games like Star Wars: The Old Republic the quests and stories were massive taking into account the older MMO model when players spent hours on their computers. Anthem is in a new era of gaming when people may not spend as much time on the game as before. Does the game adjust for this shift in shorter play sessions?
Overall, Anthem does look good, but demos always look good. The question here is can EA win over the hardcore BioWare audience with this MMO. Yes, we are calling it that here. They also have to compete with a market that hosts top established brands. Credit to BioWare for introducing something new, but consider us only cautiously optimistic as the game also needs to have enough differences to get it ahead of the competition.