The Anthem demo happened this Super Bowl weekend, and at least it was better than the most boring Super Bowl in years. However, that is not a yardstick for success, only for mediocrity. I played the three included main missions with random people. Apparently, I had a lot of friends play it too, but we did not play together. Though it is probably a better gauge of the game without friends since they make most experiences better. In the end it was fine. The Anthem Demo was The Division with more story and you can fly.
I believe the demo starts off just a short while in to the game, so you are getting a thing for a guy you don’t know. You get the thing, it does something bad, and then you get some stuff and kill a big thing, and then you chase down a guy and kill several big things. Essentially in Anthem you fly to a spot and then shoot stuff with all your stuff that you got while out shooting stuff. Then fly back and then talk to some people and then attach your new stuff. It is a familiar loop. Not a bad one, but one we are all well used to at this point.
There were a few issues. The framerate is terrible. I don’t have a framerate counter, but it was hitching all over the place. Which for a shooter is problematic. I hope they can figure that out by launch. Even if they have to drop the resolution down a bit it needs to get smoothed out. Also, Anthem crashed on me about 50% of the time while loading during matchmaking. Not a great impression to making on a perspective buyer.
Though it was not all bad. I enjoyed the flying. I liked the mechanic that you need to cool down, so if you fly through waterfalls or skim the water you can fly longer. It forces you to get better at flying. The shooting was satisfying, and the different weapons were cool. I enjoyed all the particle effects while people were doing all their superpowers and grenades and whatnot. It gave the game some visual flare. Speaking of visual flare, Anthem, like most Frostbite Engine games, is gorgeous. The world is lush, and the hub area is cool looking, if too static.
The demo had its high points and its low points, but it didn’t do its job of selling me on the game. Which is what it was intended to do. Anthem’s combat is good, and that is a great start, but we will see if the rest of the game can come together around it, but since it comes out in just eighteen days, that might be a tall order. I will be keeping my eye on it, but for now my wallet is staying in my pocket.
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