Let’s just forget Mass Effect: Andromeda ever happened and concentrate on the good stuff – Anthem. Showcased as EA’s answer to Destiny, Anthem is a shared-world multiplayer shooter in which you play as a ‘Freelancer’, super-soldier packed into a Javelin exosuit.
It deviates from BioWare’s MO of story-based single-player RPG but we hope that their world-building skills more than make up for it. The closed Alpha for Anthem is scheduled for the 8th – 9th of December 2018 for the PS4, Xbox One and PC. The alpha is not tied to any pre-orders of the game but is run by EA’s Playtesting Community. To be in with a chance of getting in the closed alpha, players must sign up on EA’s official site by today.
EA hasn’t detailed exactly what is in the alpha (unlike a beta, this test will be kept more under wraps), but should see players teaming up on missions and visiting the hub area of Fort Tarsis.
Following December’s alpha, EA has already announced that there will be a pre-launch demo launching on 1 February 2019. The publisher is not calling it a beta, but the only way to access the demo will be if you have a pre-order of the game or are a member of EA Origin or Access.
While Anthem might be a departure from BioWare‘s single-player RPGs, its stellar experience in sci-fi world building with Mass Effect can be felt throughout the new game. You will be able to influence the narrative and make choices in a substantial storyline, with the developer hoping to thread its storytelling expertise into a primarily multiplayer game about raiding and collecting loot.
The hub of the game, and where much of the game’s story will unfold before you head into the field with a group of players, is called Tarsis. An ornate, almost Roman-esque sci-fi city, Tarsis is where you will meet NPCs and make decisions on how the story will proceed. Bioware has said that you will be able to influence the story, but your actions will not lock off any missions as it wants every player to have access to all content within the game.
While your choices in dialogue might not have that kind of impact, you will be able to influence your relationships with the many NPCs that live within Tarsis city. Though you will not be able to romance any of them sadly, that BioWare staple infamously not present in Anthem.
Anthem, refers to a great mythical power that was used by an ancient alien race known as the ‘shapers’ to create the planet the game takes place on. However, for some reason the planet was left unfinished, with the Anthem continuing to morph and corrupt the world.
You are a ‘Freelancer’ sent to collect dangerous relics left behind by the shapers. The relics need locating and powering down, apparently to avoid planet-shattering disaster. As a skilled pilot of a Javelin exosuit, your chosen ‘Freelancer’ will come with their own class and abilities.
While you can, of course, customise your character in Anthem, it is your Javelin exosuit that will be getting the most care and attention as the game goes on. The fully customisable power armour will come with different individual parts, with you able to adjust shaders on each.
In terms of their workings, Javelins all come with a jetpack that will allow you to speed across environments and reach higher ground. There are four classes which, like Destiny, seem to be a mix of sci-fi grunt and fantasy based tropes. Each comes with its own ultimate ability.
The Ranger is your all-rounder, complete with a multi-target missile battery attack. The Colossus, as the name suggests, is your powerful tank class that packs a shield, mortar and whose ultimate ability is a ruddy great cannon. Storm is a hovering, mage-like class, which focusses more on team buffs and elemental attacks from the peripheries of the battle. Its ultimate is an elemental storm of fire and ice. Interceptor, meanwhile, is your speed-based class with its melee-base Assassin’s Blades ultimate. The latter should please those Destiny Hunter players looking to try something new.
Anthem is set to release on the 22nd of February 2019 for the PS4, Xbox One and PC.