Anthem VIP Demo Review

For those in the gaming world who have not heard of Anthem its new game from Bioware and published by EA (Electronic Arts). I would best describe Anthem as a FPS open world shooter in type of Iron Man suits called Javelins, in my view its a mix of Warframe and Destiny 2 gameplay.

How to get the demo?

I was lucky enough to be given a friend key for the demo by my son, I claimed the key and installed the demo into PC Origin App. Easy I thought, excluding the 50gb download.

Other options are

  • Buy VIP Demo key from online like CDKeys (now only 99p)
  • Get a friend key from someone who pre-ordered and has 4 free keys to give away
  • Pre-order the game
  • EA Premium Access

Demo Launch Day 1

Day 1 on 25th Jan 2018 the day the VIP demo launched proved to be a no go due to common following reasons, which I gave up trying after 4+ hours of trying:

  • Max Server connections reached, try again later
  • Unfortunately you don’t have access to the demo this weekend, when you do and have the demo installed by a valid key
  • Game disconnects
  • Game continuous cycling loading screen issues
  • Origin itself coming down for other games, including impacting PS4 and Xbox

Demo Day 2 Improved

Day 2 proved a much better experience save the “don’t have access to the demo issue above” which I finally resolved thank to some investigation by my son and I. turned out something went a miss from EA.COM server registering I have the VIP Demo ordered, Origin App on PC registering I also had the VIP Demo, but the main Anthem game servers not getting to memo. Solved this by re-using the friend key link son provided and then game loaded without the “don’t have access splash screen”.. were in!

Entering Fort Tarsis

Game loads up and you enter into the beautiful city of Fort Tarsis with game running on its default setting for my Zotact GTX 1070 Amp Extreme with i7-6700k I was happily getting average 70fps at 2560x1080p 21:9. The game looks gorgeous in the city!

Javelin Customisation

The armour iron-man like suits you wear during battles are known as javelins and similar to games like Warframe can be customised. This ranges from materials (not effect armour strength only cosmetic) like, metal, cloth, rubber, leather and then add primary and secondary colours which take on the base material attributes to affect their lighting. You can also change armour pieces you earn through the game, such as chest, legs, arms, helmet, all of which have own stats and affect you over strength and weaknesses of the valkyrie. Lastly you can build upto 3 loadout of weapons, armour, ability for predefined mission types. Naming these loadout and how you build them is entirely up to you, eg. Support, Defence, Attack. Check out the shout clip below for more

Flight

Flying a Javelin takes a little getting use too, approximately 10-20 minutes and best tip I can give is drop you mouse down to max 1600 sensitivity. I had mine at 2000 and as you see in my first mission footage Im very twitchy flying and hence bounce and hit a lot of rock faces.

First Demo Mission

As expected the outside world looks incredible and being the first time trying to use my javelin I found mouse and keyboard best option. It took little while to get use to but once you are use to the flight model the gameplay mechanics really kick in and become second nature.

You’ll see in the footage my flight skills do get better and in later videos how i’m much improved with reduce mouse sensitivity (see Flight) and using abilities and weapons in the heat of battle.

First Light Boss Fight is fun as hell!

Anthem has a great way to lead you into more challenging fights as you progress through the demos missions. Here you see my son and I having to take on 3 light titans. As you will see, we get use to comboing our abilities to weaken each titan and work together to bring them down one by one. Its a fun and good introduction to the more complex mechanics of fights later down the road.

Manic Boss Fight

Towards the end of demo missions before we can try the first stronghold battle and Freeplay exploring option, you end up working through the final demo mission leading into a nice final boss battle. My son and I was lucky enough to get matched up with two other public players which made for a fun, challenging and sometimes manic battle. You will see in some areas of a mission you are locked into a No Respawn mode until the area or boss is dead. In Anthem when a player goes down they have to wait for another player to repair them and allow them to re-enter the battle. As you see in the video this can be challenging at times when hordes of mobs are chasing you and the boss also takes a liking to you.

The Storm Javelin

After you hit level 12 in the demo, you unlock your next javelin and a neat feature is you get to choose which one you want to unlock next, I chose the Storm and boy am I glad I did. This javelin is the damage dealing glass cannon without the glass apparently. First off I needed to customise the javelin and make its loadout as each loading is specific to each javelin and doesn’t carry over from my Ranger javelin. However, your inventory, is global as a player and can have items such as weapons used by any javelins. Armour items however are specific to each javelin or you craft new armours for your specific javelin if you have the materials (which can aquire by salvaging old gear or Freeplay gathering).

Once I made my loadout, the son and I headed into Freeplay mode and boy is that fun. This is one of the best ways to gather materials for crafting and also allows you to help out any other public players, as well as complete world challenges against bosses you come across. In the video you see we enter an entrance in some underground base that lead us into a base battle and assist another public player. Here I begin to see the power of the Storm javelin and my decision upheld this will be my main javelin at launch (see Final Thoughts).

The last piece of the footage we come across is an open world boss who’s a little challenging and also where we come across the boundary system (see Cons).

Final Thoughts

The Pros

  • Beautiful level of graphic fidelity incorporating materials such as metal, leather, rubber, cloth to your javelin armour allowing for another level of detail
  • Large amount of javelin customisation available
  • Good frame rate of average 60-70fps on high, even on older graphics card such as my Zotac 1070 Amp Extreme at 2560×1080
  • Exciting and challenging gameplay with elements of puzzle solving with grate amount of exploration available to find hidden chests of goodies
  • Smooth animations and details to those animations
  • Good combat and movement control system one use too

The Cons

  • Too many loading screens break immersion. For example out on mission in open world and start to fly into a opening cave and suddenly, bang, loading screen for 20s. Or in Freeplay fighting open world boss, move to far back and bang loading screen to respawn you back in the fighting.
  • High CPU load under general play averaging 80-85% on a Intel Skylake i7-6800k is worrying for those with a lower end CPU. Hopefully its only demo debug code causing this?
  • Constant loading bug on entering and leaving expedition (mission) requiring Alt+F4, end task and then reload Anthem. Benefit is when game does reload it prompts you was in and expedition and do you want to continue. Hitting yes, loads everyone and finishes off the entering or exiting with all loot you earned.
  • Expedition or open world mission boundaries of accidently move out can break immersion with loading screen to portal you back into the fight.

Final Decision

Despite the cons I could not stop thinking about playing Anthem last night and the fun I had, I want more and therefore this morning I pre-ordered from CDKeys.com for mere £34.

Another review opinion

Why not check out my good friend Aidan and fellow moderator of Good Guys Gaming review below.

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