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Jan 28, 2019, 10:59 PM 2,496 read

Anthem VIP Demo Recap

At long last, Bioware revealed the long waited Anthem to players through VIP demo, giving us a hint of what the game is about. For 3 days, players were able to access content which consisted of reasonably good amount of playtime for a demo as well as a variety of options to customize Javelin suits. I played the demo on my PC with a controller, managed to play up to level 15 which was the maximum level cap and finished all three story missions, stronghold on all possible difficulties and multiple world events from 'Freeplay' option. In preparation for the official launch next month, I've taken the liberty of reviewing the overall impression to highlight the demo and thought It'd be a good idea to share this here on moot for some of you who didn't get to experience it.   ● VIP Demo Recap   1) Javelin Suits   Basically, all you need to know about the gameplay is to understand how Javelin suits work. I'm sure many of you who already watched gameplay vidoes and played the demo know all the details, but let's just review some basic stuff as to how each suit functions.

Javelin suits, each with its distinctive playstyle, depend highly on how players choose to build them. Every Javelin suit requires weapons and components, but with their unique gear slots, players are able to change whatever gear abilities they'd like to use in the battle. Also, when fully charged, players can execute an ultimate attack skill with devastating power that demolishes enemies in sight by pressing the 'Up' button from the d-pad.   --------------- ☆ - Special Gear --------------- Ranger   Ranger, being the second-most agile suit in the game, is a jack-of-all trades type of Javelin capable of handling all types of combat situations. While it doesn't typically excel, with its intuitiveness, it's very easy to pick up and therefore recommended for first time players.   Ranger Javelin can equip any type of weapon except for Heavy weapons.   The set of equipment a Ranger Javelin requires is:   2x Primary Weapons 2x Components (Up to 6 in the official release)   1x ☆Grenade Frag Grenade - Blast everything in a large area with massive damage. Inferno Grenande - Set your enemies on fire, dealing immediate and continuous damage. Frost Grenade - Freeze your opponents in place. Seeker Grenade - Lob in one grenade that splits into multiple enemy-seeking missiles. Sticky Grenade - Hit an adversary with a grenade that latches onto them, dealing damage with extreme prejudice.   1x ☆Assault Launcher Seeking Missile - Fire a projectile that seeks out a single target and others immediately around them. Pulse Blast - Blast a single target with a massive energy burst. Spark Beam - Unleash a beam of energy that does continuous damage to anything it touches. Venom Darts - Inflict burning acid damage with a volley of darts. Blast Missile - Clear the field with a missile that damages a huge area around the point of impact.   1x ☆Support Gear Bulwark Point - Keep enemies out of your bubble with a spherical shield that protects your squad. Muster Point - Cover your teammates with a spherical shield that increases weapon damage.  

Ranger's Ultimate: Micro Missiles   ---------------   Colossus   Colossus, which is known to be a suit originally dedicated for industrial purposes, has the best defensive capabilities. Not only that, but it also has incredible firepower which makes it a formidable Javelin suit to any enemy it faces. The only downside is that the Colossus is the least agile when comparing speed.   Colossus Javelin is unable to equip Pistols and SMGs but can wield heavy weapons.   The set of equipment a Colossus Javelin requires is:   2x Primary Weapons 2x Components (Up to 6 in the official release)   1x ☆Ordnance Launcher High Explosive Mortar - Bomb anything in your way with an explosive projectile that deals heavy damage to a small area. Burst Mortar - Launch a volley of mini-mortars to blast everything in a huge area. Firewall Mortar - Light the battlefield on fire with a huge wall of flame. Lightning Coil - Give your enemies a shock with an arc of electricity that targets a random enemy. Shock Coil - Hit every target around you with waves of electricity.   1x ☆Heavy Assault Launcher Siege Artillery - Equip this classic and hit your enemies with a hefty rocket. Flame Thrower - Turn up the heat with a continuous blast of pure fire. Flak Cannon - Put your opponents down with a short-range scattershot blast. Railgun - Hit one enemy hard with a destructive kinetic projectile. Venom Spitter - Unleash multiple arcing shots of acid down on your enemies.   1x ☆Support Gear - Mark a target for increased damage / Removes status effect Battle Cry - Incite enemies to attack you while lowering their elemental and physical resistance. Shiled Pulse - Give your friends a damage resistance buff.  

Colossus' Ultimate: Siege Cannon   ---------------   Interceptor   Interceptor is the fastest among all other suits with ninja-like abilities. As opposed to how a Colossus would block incoming damages with a shield, Interceptors are more focused on dodging attacks. Unlike other Javelin suits, it's has an option to barrel roll while flying.   Interceptor Javelin can equip any type of weapon except for Heavy weapons.   The set of equipment an Interceptor Javelin requires is:   2x Primary Weapons 2x Components (Up to 6 in the official release)   1x ☆Assault System Searching Glaive - Throws out a homing glaive. Venom Bomb - Tosses a grenade which hits all nearby enemies with acid. Cryo Glaive - Locks on to up to two nearby targets and freezes on impact. Cluster Mine - Throws out a group of mines onto a targeted area. Spark Dash - Dashes forward, leaving behind a damaging trail of electricity.   1x ☆Strike System Detonating Strike - A melee strike that charges an enemy with electric energy. If killed whle charged, the enemy will explode dealing damage around them. Plasma Star - Tosses a plasma-empowered shuriken at a single target, effective at long range. Wraith Strike - Sends out a projection of the Interceptor to attack enemies. Tempest Strike - A melee strike that deals high physical damage and force. Venom Spray - Sprays out corrosive acid that damages all enemies hit.   1x ☆Support Gear Target Beacon - Marks an enemy, allowing allies to do increased damage to them. Rally Cry - Clears harmful status effects from the entire team.  

Interceptor's Ultimate: Assassin’s Blades   ---------------   Storm   Storm is a powerful sorcerer type of Javelin that has astonishing firepower as well as special moves that make it capable of area-of-effect attacks. However, because it's less likely to excel when it comes to comparing defensive capabilities, the Storm Javelin is specialized for players who prefer long range combats.   Storm Javelin can equip any type of weapon except for Heavy weapons.   The set of equipment a Storm Javelin requires is:   2x Primary Weapons 2x Components (Up to 6 in the official release)   1x ☆Blast Seal Lightning Strike - A targeted strike that deals lightning damage in an area. Ice Storm - Places targeted fields of ice that explode with frost damage and freeze enemies. Flame Burst - A quick explosion that deals fire damage at a target location. Ice Blast - Hurls huge chunks of ice that deal massive force and freezes enemies in close-range. Living Flame - A burst of flame energy that seeks out and ignites targets.   1x ☆Focus Seal Frost Shards - Rapid-fire shards of ice that slowly freeze a target in place. Burning Orb - A versatile fire ability that can be fired quickly in small shots or charged for a larger projectile that explodes. Shock Burst - A discharge of electric energy that can be bounced off of walls to reach targets behind cover. Glacial Spear - Fires a beam of powerful ice energy in a targeted direction. Arc Burst - Unleashes a bolt of lightning that will leap to nearby targets for heavy damage.   1x ☆Support Seal Wind Wall - Creates a translucent wall that will block enemy projectiles. Quickening Field - Creates a field that reduces cooldown on abilities for allies who enter.  

Storm's Ultimate: Elemental Storm   ---------------  

One thing I have to remind you is that you're only allowed to play up to two Javelin suits in the demo. The max level cap of Anthem goes up to Level 30, and with every two level increase, you're rewarded with different bonuses. You fully unlock four slots of suits at level 28, but unfortunately, you start from level 10 to work your way up to only level 15 in the demo. Therefore, players are allowed only one more Javelin suit at level 12 in addition to Ranger suit which you're given at start as the default option.   On a side note, for the last five hours of Anthem VIP demo, Bioware made all four Javelins available for playing to all VIP participants. They also stated from Twitter that the participants will be able to start with all four Javelins in the next demo as well with a promise that all our progress will be carried over to the next one.   2) Customization

Customizing Javelin suits to your own taste is another thing to make the game worthwhile. You can change Vinyls, Wear State, and each component of the armor and do paint jobs to make your suit look fancy.  

In addition to choosing basic materials for the paint job, you can also purchase additional materials through spending coins. All vanity items in the demo cost 25 coins each. Bioware mentioned that items that are purchasable with real money will mostly be cosmetics, so look forward to further customization options if you don't particularly have what you like.   Here are some well made customized suits that I found online:

D.Va Ranger and her MEKA Colossus (Via @Js, dcinside.com)  

Deadpool Ranger Javelin(Via @220.123, dcinside.com)     3) Story Missions, Stronghold, and Freeplay   For each mission, there are a total of 6 difficulties to choose from. From Easy to Grandmaster 3, the amount of the damage your enemies deal will scale as well as the drop rate of loot with higher rarities. The order of loot rarity is as follows: Common(White) -> Uncommon(Green) -> Rare(Blue) -> Epic(Purple) -> Masterwork(Orange) -> Legendary(Yellow). In the demo, you're only allowed to loot up to items that are Rare since the game only allows you to go as high as Hard.  

There are three story missions to try in the demo which revolve around an NPC named Matthias and an ancient relic called Manifold. As it could lead to spoilers, I will be careful not to spill the details. Basically, mission designs seem very similar to that of Destiny's. Players are to follow the instructions stated in the upper right corner, eliminating enemies in the way until they reach the end of the mission, possibly with a boss fight.   One thing I liked and hated at the same time was to solve a puzzle. Players, as a four man squad, are to communicate to figure out a way to solve a puzzle together in order to progress the mission to the end. However, if one or more players are unable to communicate with microphone, it could possibly lead to a disaster as solving puzzle requires consensus. Fortunately, the puzzle in the demo was simple enough, but if the difficulty of puzzles would scale up as we progress further into the game, I'd find it troublesome to play such features. To prevent such troubles, I think it'd be best for Bioware to add emotes to at least make non verbal communication possible.  

The Stronghold mission in the demo is similar to story missions, but you cannot create a private session as all four men are required. I strongly recommend cooperating with your teammates as it can be quite difficult to manage when in higher difficulty levels. As the difficulty goes up, you and your teammates will face challenging enemies with higher fire power and HP. In order to survive, you'll need to do more organized attacks, fully utilizing the combo system as well as a strategy not to die so quickly. Respawning is restricted throughout the entire mission, meaning If you and your squadmates all die, the game will revert your progress back to the last checkpoint.  

The Freeplay option is basically to roam around the map doing World Event missions. Missions include activities such as eliminating enemies, defend and save friendly Sentinels, destroying enemy base, and et cetera. Once completed, you're rewarded with XP and a loot box afterwards.   ---------------   ● The Good, the Bad and the Ugly   1) The Good   Generally, I feel good about the way the combat mechanic came out to be. Although Anthem looks like an RPG that mainly focuses on shooting, the game offers a variety of playstyles to choose from which highly recommend utilizing each characteristic of a Javelin suit to the fullest. The combination of different Javelins in a team is also another thing to look for. For instance, you can choose Colossus when other teammates choose suits with high DPS to offer him or her a chance to deal maximum damage while you're drawing attention from enemies using Battle Cry ability. From a distance, Anthem may look as if the only way to ensure a win is to have good aiming skills, but as its difficulty increases, the result highly depends on how you and your teammates decide to play it.   2) The Bad   The first thing that came to my mind when I first headed out to an expedition was how counterintuitive the basic control was. The demo throws you at the start of the map without any sort of a tutorial as to how the control works. Of course, there are written guides which you can access later on, but deciding not to put basic tutorials at the start of the gameplay just feels like a bad joke. Also, while I did not have sensitivity issues with a controller, there were a number of reports that the game felt intolerable when using keyboard and mouse, forcefully making them use a controller instead.   Speaking of counterintuitive, I cannot but mention how sluggish the UI in the VIP demo felt as I found some features somewhat clunky, slow and useless. Because there were hardly any explanations of what each icon indicated, the game would feel somewhat confusing to first comers. Another big problem was that they put too many animation time in between. Especially when it came to showing the end result of a mission, it felt like they overdid with everything that even mashing skipping button didn't really help. I'm not usually picky when it comes to problems like this, but surely, there's room for improvements.   3) The Ugly   Bioware's Potato Servers   As how you could expect from a pre-release game, there were quite a number of disturbing issues here and there. At the start of the demo, participants were unable to access the game due to unexpected overloaded server. Many players had to wait for 8-9 hours while Bioware worked to solve the problem afterwards.   Infinite Loading Screen   For both console and PC, whenever players went out to an expedition, the loading screen got stuck at 95%. The only solution to the problem was to open the task manager, exit the game and turn it once again to rejoin the session.   Unable to access the demo   This I did not experience myself but have heard from multiple sources that some with the VIP pass were unable to access the demo.   Miscellaneous Bugs and Glitches  

Apart from what I mentioned, there were also minor bugs and glitches that rendered the game unplayable at times. I myself have experienced multiple freezing issues during missions and also a bug that kept teleporting my Javelin to somewhere else.  

Although these problems left a bad first impression to some of the players, it also showed that Anthem demo received quite a lot of attention, exceeding the expectation of developers. That said, Bioware acknowledged the issues with their demo build and promised to offer additional vinyl skin to everyone who had participated in the VIP demo.   On a final note, the developers mentioned that the build for the demo was 6 weeks earlier version from the final build, so do expect some changes to be made on the day of release. You might think to yourself, what difference can 6 weeks make? While it is true that 6 weeks of development sounds like a drop in the ocean compared to 7 years, as a person who had participated in the closed alpha test for Anthem back in December, I'd say, 6 weeks can indeed make a difference, and I hope Bioware is quick to come up with a day one patch to tweak the game better.     ● Further Schedules   1) Open Demo(F2P for All Players) Date: February 1 to February 3, 2019 Requirements: Whoever wishes to participate Reward: None   2) Early Access Date: Starting from February 15, 2019 Requirements: PC players with Origin Access Premier subscription (Xbox players with EA Access subscription will also get to play but with 10 hours limitation) Reward: You get to play early(Yay!)   3) Full release Date: February 22, 2019 Requirements: All players who purchased the game or subcribed to Origin Access Premier Reward: None

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