So after playing all that the Anthem demo has to offer over the last couple of days I have to say the game is looking to have a rough road ahead. Okay, that might sound really negative to start off with and I don’t want to just trash the game because Anthem has some things in it I genuinely love, but unfortunately, it appears the awful VIP demo wasn’t a one-off with many of its problems transitioning to the open demo too.
Let’s start off with the things I love about Anthem. The core gameplay is about as solid as you can get. Gunplay and movement feels fantastic. Blasting off the ground to fly a few hundred feet in the air only to rain lighting down on my enemies seriously never got old. In fact, I would say that Anthem’s verticality is easily its biggest selling point. Dive bombing into a canyon with waterfalls pouring in on either side or scraping across huge cliff faces at ludicrous speeds is simply epic. Flying around the world of Anthem, and shooting lightning throughout it for that matter, is made all the better by the game being jaw-droppingly gorgeous. It isn’t just pretty sandboxes either, everything in Anthem looks insane from the environment to the creatures, to the weapons and especially your Javaline which I’m happy to say had plenty of customization options to not only make my Javaline look cool but more importantly feel completly unique.
Without mentioning technical issues, which we’ll get onto later, the Anthem demo does have some major downsides to it. The first of which might not even be a problem come to the main game launch but in the demo at least Anthem’s story, or lack of should I say was a serious turn-off. The game doesn’t do a great job of introducing the world of Anthem and so I very quickly felt lost and eventually just tuned out altogether and instead focused on the next thing I could to shoot in the face. I didn’t care for the characters we meet in the demos few short story missions despite some excellent voice acting, and ultimately didn’t care for the enemies I was fighting which felt more like cool looking bullet sponges than actual protagonists or villains and by the end of my experience felt a little underwhelmed. Hopefully, Anthem at launch will be rich with story and in-depth lore, especially because Anthem looks to be an incredibly interesting universe and I hope it isn’t a repeat of Destiny where you have to go outside the game to learn what’s actually going on.
Moving on from the story, at multiple times throughout it felt like I was extremely under leveled for the missions I was doing. Randomly getting one-shot out the sky or catching a glimpse of my health bar disappearing was infuriating especially when I was surrounded by explosions and didn’t even know what was hitting me. Oh and do no try and play Anthem solo. Seriously a team is an absolute must, take it from someone who tried to fight a boss on their own and after 20 minutes had taken out about an eighth of its health. Put it down to my inexperience in a Javaline but for me at least, Anthem felt like it had some minor balancing issues here and there.
None of Anthems triumphs, or downfalls, really matter however due to how rough and inconsistent this demo is. Also, let’s be clear, this is a demo, not a beta. This is not an early version of the game, it is a slice of the finished product and that should really worry players who have pre-ordered. Not only did the demo hard crash on me twice on the PS4 Pro and freeze up at one point after restarting it, but when I was playing it was littered with bugs. Enemies disappearing before I can finish them off, multiple audio and visual glitches, and constant frame rate issues meant that I struggled to enjoy the positives of Anthem. Plus, we know this isn’t a one-off as many of those same problems were experienced in the VIP Demo as well. Anthem is going to need a day-one patch at launch or at least a patch in the first week to fix the issues, especially with it releasing at a very competitive time. Luckily I didn’t experience any of the server issues that VIP players experienced and we can only hope they don’t reappear come the game’s launch.
Ultimately I genuinely think Anthem could still turn this around in the little time it has before launch although the chances of it happening are slim. Again, this is only a demo so the main game will have at least some more depth to its story and hopefully, a patch can be rolled out pronto to help mend the various issues seen in the demo. If so, then Anthem could be a very strong contender this year but if not, it is going to be an uphill battle for both the game and its players.