BY TOM SVALINN: If you’ve picked up the new online multiplayer action role-playing game Anthem over the last week, you’ll be among the first wave of players (aka Freelancers) that have entered the world of Anthem.
The day 1 (technically, day -7) experience isn’t too bad. High on my list of first impressions include adjectives such as captivating and entertaining but also confusing. Oh, and there are loading screens galore (okay, not an adjective but you get the idea).
If you’ve no idea what ‘primers’ and ‘detonators’ are or have no idea how to pilot your javelin without face-planting into walls, don’t worry as you’re not alone. Thankfully the community has come together to provide helpful guidance such as this infographic by user /u/FireDragon04:
My journey of discovery took me to the Reddit pages where I now know a bit more about how to pick my skills. How to use them effectively, is still a work in progress.
My experience in the early release week (via Origin Premier) has brought to mind the overall day 1 experience for new games. Is it worth it to be in that first wave?
I’m usually a late adopter when it comes to technology and games. My best gaming buddy abides by the philosophy to wait a few months for the developers to iron out the major bugs before buying to fit in with my mindset. As an added bonus, we often also save some money too. I made the exception for Anthem.
I personally haven’t sunk enough hours in yet to provide a full review of Anthem, but my musing is more on whether it’s worth buying Anthem now or indeed any multiplayer game right at launch.
I figure that delaying playing a single player game means you may have fewer bugs, some DLC content maybe, but by and large the experience is the same whether you play on day 1 or day 501. Not so with multiplayer games. The experience here evolves over the first few weeks as players collectively unlock more items and learn how to synergise tactics and abilities. What is effective one week may be outstripped by a new idea the next.
Thinking back to the last games I have previously bought relatively close to launch, Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4, I find common experiences such as zero map knowledge, unfamiliar weaponry and complete lack of a meta (most effective tactic available) yet discovered. It’s liberating to be a newbie in the newbie pool.
In Anthem, it helps that flying around in an armoured exo-suit is an enjoyable experience and the weapons have a distinct sense of impact when fired (a key requirement for me in a good shooter) and, yes, I don’t mean the game mechanics of impact weapon types. I already get the feeling there are some further layers to unravel, but I feel that I need to learn to use abilities more than rely upon just gunplay to win fights at higher levels. For now, blasting away is more than enough fun.
So, yes, Anthem is worth getting – but is Anthem worth getting right now?
I’ll be honest, there are bugs and other quality of life features that are missing, but the potential for a great mainstay game is there. If you’re desperate to play it, you’ll have an enjoyable experience if you pick it up today. Time will tell whether the raw potential in Anthem continues to be polished.
For the moment, if you do decide to take the leap when it releases officially on Feb 22, jump in with eyes wide open and I’ll see you in the field!