The Biz – E3 2018 – Anthem: EA Play Demo Recap

E3 2018 Recaps and Analysis
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The EA Play press conference started off by going over some of their long standing IP. However, towards the end they revealed their first big budget AAA new IP release. A futuristic 3rd person power-armor shooter called Anthem.

Anthem E3 2018 Cinematic Trailer

The trailer features grizzly fighters flying around in future-frontier style power armors known as “Javelins”. The plot of the game revolves around something called “The Anthem of Creation”, a mysterious ancient device left behind by the gods that can change the shape of the world.

You are a resident of a city called Tarsus, who has a long standing war with a group known as The Dominion. Word on the street(word on the trail?) is that the Dominion believes they have found a way to weaponize the Anthem, so your role in this will be to investigate, and if need be stop The Dominion.

During the presentation, the group on stage discussed the difficulties of creating a new IP, details about the world, and their vision for the game.

Anthem EA Play 2018 Press Conference

As I watched through the Anthem presentation I had one re-occuring thought, “This looks a hell of a lot like Destiny”. Same class based power armors, same sharded multiplayer format, same progressive character growth. However, one area where they aren’t like Destiny, is in the ability to freely fly around various aerial and underwater levels.

I don’t want you to take my cynicism as negativity. While it borrows heavily from other games, it is a brand new IP, and that should ALWAYS be celebrated.

There is a large group of players out there who are looking for exactly the type of gameplay Anthem has to offer. Even if a lot of the mechanics are pretty samey, there is always an excitement to living in and exploring a new world

That all being said, the mechanics that were on display during the demo were interesting, but not particularly impressive. There seemed to be a nice blend of terrestrial and aerial combat, but the MMO style damage system likely means there will be a lot of grinding and bullet sponges in our future.

The demoed graphics do look pretty spectacular, but as we know we can never trust that an E3 demo will be representative of the final product. I expect overpowered PC rigs will be able to handle it, but console gamers should expect a graphical downgrade.

A bit of good news coming out of the presser was that initially there should be no pay-to-win micro-transactions. I have to caveat that statement using the word “should” because depending on how the multiplayer portion of the game shapes up, there is always a risk of even cosmetic equipment having unintended mechanical benefits(smaller hit box, environmental camouflage, etc).

On the bright side they did give us a pretty comprehensive set of release details. Unlike Destiny, Anthem will launch on Xbox, Playstation, and PC. Last but not least, Anthem will release on February 22nd 2019.

Overall I am cautiously optimistic going into Anthem. While the presentation itself was beautiful, this seems like classic E3 bait a la Watchdogs at E3 2012.

At the end of the day, my recommendation is to not pre-order the game, and wait for more details to be revealed before you make a purchasing decision. Anthem has potential, but it could also end up being a very samey time-sink.

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