Electronic Arts put Anthem at the forefront of its EA Play pre-E3 conference Saturday. The upcoming BioWare shared world shooter was used to tease the audience in the opening and get them to sit through to the end. The game appears to have delivered on expectations with a giant load of information for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC fans to absorb.
A Sci-Fi Fantasy Style Story
BioWare Lead Writer Cathleen Rootsaert explained the story of Anthem as a world left unfinished by the gods who left behind their massive tools. Those tools are in conflict with an unknowable force called the “Anthem of Creation.” The chaos of those two forces butting heads constantly reshapes the world, creating violent storms, mutated creatures, and giant monsters that make the world too dangerous to explore without a Javelin exosuit.
Players take on the role of Freelancers who defend Fort Tarsis from an age-old enemy called the Dominion, as well as other dangers. This Dominion has discovered a way to weaponize the “Anthem of Creation” and the Freelancers must stop them.
Four Javelin Exosuit Types
BioWare confirmed four Javelin types for Anthem, though they only really showcased two. Each exosuit will come with its own unique collection of weapons, abilities, and ultimate abilities.
The Ranger is a generalized suit designed for up-close and personal combat. It has a large club like melee weapon plus an ultimate that fires an arsenal of missiles.
The Colossus is the heavy suit that brings the big guns to the fight, like a mortar. It is also capable of deploying a shield to protect itself against heavy damage, while its melee ability is a ground slam that does damage to multiple enemies in an area.
Not much was shown of the Interceptor beyond it being a lighter, more maneuverable Javelin. The exosuit was not present in the four-player Anthem gameplay segment.
Meanwhile, the Storm suit appears to utilize an electromagnetic field to hover and fly plus suggested unknown electricity-based abilities. The gameplay trailer does show a Destiny-like blink ability to quickly teleport a short distance.
Players will be able to freely swap between the different Javelin types in Anthem, but only outside of missions. This means only one character will need to be created to get access to everything.
Co-Op Gameplay, Supports Solo, No PVP
Anthem is designed out of the box to be a co-op experience. The game can be played solo, but will be more difficult. However, Fort Tarsis will serve as a solo hub like the Base of Operations in The Division. The Fort will be there for narrative purposes, though the vendor setup is unknown.
Combos for Maximum Damage
BioWare made sure to showcase the use of Combos in Anthem once during the developer talk and during the gameplay trailer. The latter showed the Ranger launching an attack that froze a group of enemies. A Colossus followed up with a mortar barrage that did extra damage with “Combo” displayed prominently on the screen.
BioWare clearly plans to make combo attacks a major portion of the game to use against tough enemies and likely bosses. There’s no word on how many interesting combos can be built around the different Javelin skill trees.
No Underwater Combat
Executive Produce Mark Darrah, unfortunately, confirmed there will be no underwater combat in Anthem during an interview with Game Informer. The underwater sections of the game are for travel only.
No Loot Boxes, No Pay-To-Win, Cosmetics Only
BioWare confirmed Anthem will not contain any loot boxes or pay-to-win mechanics. All microtransactions will be cosmetic only. The developers showed different color schemes for Javelins, along with slightly different pieces of armor. An N7-themed armor based on the Mass Effect franchise was naturally included.
The method of purchasing cosmetics is not clear at the moment beyond BioWare saying loot boxes won’t be a factor. There are still many months to go before the studio settles on a monetization method and provides those details to fans, however.
Console And PC Graphic Options Will Differ
Anthem will run at 30 frames per second (fps) on consoles, per the Game Informer interview with Darrah. The PC platform will have the option to go past that framerate, however, and all platforms will support 4K if the hardware is there to do so.
The game is clearly running on a high-end PC during the gameplay demo and looks impressive. How much of that translates to the consoles remains to be seen.
No Romance Options
Romance options and a shared-world looter-shooter do not go hand-in-hand. However, this is an expected question given BioWare’s history with Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and other titles. A Game Informer piece confirms players will not be thinking of how to woo and bed others in Anthem.
Anthem fans have been expecting the game to release no later than March, 2019, following Electronic Arts’ recent comments on the game’s delay. It will come a little earlier with a February 22, 2019, release date on the PS4, Xbox One, and PC.