From the masterminds of Mass Effect and Dragon Age, fans of these past titles will find themselves experiencing something fairly different. Anthem marks a brand-new direction for Bioware. Known for their lengthy, intense, role-playing games, BioWare takes a chance with a new loot-n-shoot multiplayer game. If I were to compare this game to something similar, I would say it’s a mix between The Division and Destiny. Anthem involves a campaign, followed by an extensive end-game content, with better rewards to collect and more difficult bosses to beat.

Set in a futuristic sci-fi world overran with alien monsters, you’ll play as a Freelancer, teaming up with other players and fighting to keep humanity safe in a Javelin armored suit. (Ironman, or hulk buster suit if playing as Colossus). Javelin choices break down into 4 options.

The Ranger is the soldier class that can wield it all in one (Jack of all trades). I wouldn’t say the Ranger is boring to play but just less focused. The other javelins are locked into specific playstyles, but the Ranger is flexible.

The Interceptor is more of a ninja play style. Very fast, agile, and can outmaneuver any other javelin. It mainly focuses on melee combat, so a shotgun is the perfect weapon to use with the Interceptor’s duel blades. This javelin has pure mobility but requires a steady hand and focused mindset to beat surrounding enemies.

The Storm is a powerful, longer in-flight javelin. More or less of a wizard type, the Storm exists in the air mostly. This javelin is built for long-range combat, and can use different ice or eletric abilities that can be brought down on anyone, anywhere. With enough team support, it can do it all without ever getting knocked out of the sky. The only con is it heavily relies on other players in your squad to make sure they are on the ground causing as much ruckus as possible.

One might say the Colossus (my personal favorite) is all about defense, but it actually has more to offer. You are equipped with a powerful shield and can take in more damage than the other javelins. Built to lead the fight, a powerful heavy machine gun can do a lot of damage to ads and other surrounding areas. It’s the only javelin that can’t dodge and move around quickly, but it makes up for that with almost indestructible armor. You most certainly need one on your team. 

The beginning story talks on the Heart of Rage and the lancers fail, and how prosperous the city was. Your goal is to build the city back up by taking on the enemies and rebuilding fort Tarsis in hopes of bringing it back to the people of the city. The Heart of Rage was a never ending, violent cataclysm created when the Dominion, led by Doctor Harken, attempted to seize control of the Shaper relic known as the Cenotaph. These forces destroyed the city of Freemark and The Freelancers were sent to shut down the cataclysm. Suffering heavy losses, the story unfolds into finding out the correct way to approach them and find out how strong freelances can be when working as one.

Anthem’s world is one of its biggest strengths, actually. While flying and gliding around Freeplay, you get to experience the beautiful level design and how incredibly big the game is. Environments are stunning, but gunplay and character movement look and feel fantastic in equal measure. The main tactic Anthem offers is flight, but I’m primarily playing as the Colossus. He’s the heaviest of the four Javelins, stays mostly on ground, and can take in more damage than others.

Like Destiny, Anthem features group and solo-friendly activities like raids and open world missions. The open world of Anthem uses dedicated servers that support up to four players at any time. Exploring the world without an assigned mission objective is called Free Play. This mode has group events that will randomly spawn at various locations that reward loot and experience points.

Anthem’s story is progressed through Missions that you can play alone or with a team. These are scripted encounters that’ll take you to various destinations as you learn more about Anthem’s world, characters, and back story.

Strongholds are your typical raid style experience and require a full team of four to complete. The team will challenge much more difficult enemies and monsters in exchange for more valuable loot.

So far, my concerns are the standard looter shooter lows that come about once it’s released. Mission variety fatigue, potential loot problems and endgame protection seem to be a standard issue. As I completed the storyline, some of the missions seemed very similar to the last. The story itself was a bit confusing as well. I know it’s only been the first few weeks, but similar crashing to EA servers in the middle of a mission happened a few times as well as a sound glitch where the sound of the game completely cuts off until you reset the game itself. I am sure BioWare is aware of these issues, but with the complications the beta and the demo had, it should of made BioWare aware of its current in-game issues.

The strongholds, very similar to how raids are structured, are just replaying certain parts of missions but can drop better loot depending on the difficulty played. I was hoping the strongholds would look and feel different and have newer boss battles you did not encounter within the story. I have high hopes for BioWare to release more content that seems newer and fresher instead of just recycled elements within the game already. I am at a standstill where I never get legendary armor.

What is also nice about the game is all in-game purchases are only for cosmetic items. So for the 13 year olds that enjoy using their mom’s credit card to reach max rank, this is not your game. I have about 40 hours into the game and finally reached level 30 with about 400+ armor power. There is still much to do as the Grandmaster difficulties you unlock after level 30 creates its own type of beast. Still much grinding to do and extremely excited to see post launch content.

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