Anthem's Demo Ends With An Exciting Cloud And A Less Exciting Rock Monster

Screenshot: EA, Anthem

Anthem’s open demo, which launched this past weekend, had its first “mini-event” last night. A fiery vortex formed in the sky, and some big rock monsters appeared on the ground below. It made for a nice change of visuals and something new to hunt, but like a lot of what the demo has shown off, something seemed to be missing.

BioWare’s multiplayer shooter is entering the growing landscape of live service games that get small updates every few weeks or months so that players feel like there’s a reason to keep returning to them. For example, Fortnite started off this year with a mysterious icy sphere, and Destiny 2’s Valentines-themed Crimson Days event kicks off next week. Anthem’s mini-event unfolded in a familiar fashion.

On Monday morning, the game’s Twitter account started tweeting about a weird new anomaly in the sky in the game’s freeplay mode.

As players became aware of it, they started taking snapshots and sharing them online. After seeing those reactions, I decided to hop back into the demo and see what was going on for myself. The pictures looked cool. The first part of the mini-event worked.

Once my javelin loaded into the world, I started looking around for the big red ring in the sky. I thought it might appear as an icon on my mini-map, like Fallout 76’s blast zones, or that there would be a dramatic shift in the lighting in the direction where the vortex could be found.

Instead, I spotted it just by scanning the horizon. It looked beautiful, sparkled with bits of meteors burning up as they fell from it into the atmosphere below. It also looked super far away, at which point I realised it probably wasn’t something I could actually go inside and rather was purely decorative.

So I launched my javelin into the air and flew off in search of what else might be different in the world. I stumbled upon a mission marker and started to engage with a group of enemies but soon I realised that it was an old mission type I’d already done before and also, it didn’t have anything to do with the vortex.

I flew around a bit more, trying where possible to go in the direction of the firestorm but never seeming to get much closer to it. I eventually stumbled into an altercation with an Ash Titan, a giant molten rock monster that throws fireballs at you and wasn’t previously on the prowl in freeplay mode. Mystery solved.

I’d already fought a couple of Ash Titans during the Anthem demo’s brief narrative questline, and though it was nice to see something new during my patrol, it wasn’t the payoff I wanted.

Anthem’s demo has suffered from a lack of interesting encounters and mission types. Mostly, they involve flying into a room, killing everything you see, and then flying onto the next one. That sequence could be used to describe a lot of what you do in most shooters, but the combination of sprawling open spaces and mostly stationary mobs of enemies has made the simplicity feel especially obvious in Anthem.

Ash Titans are easier to take down as a group. They are big bullet sponges while playing solo, especially if you’re playing as the melee-oriented Interceptor class like I have been. It felt sort of like solo-ing a volcano. Ash Titans might be slow and pretty stationary, but you do not want to get caught trying to stab them with a laser sword. Unfortunately, no other online strangers showed up during the fight.

I saw one player had tweeted at Casey Hudson, BioWare’s general manager, to ask if the there was anything else to the event or if it was safe for them to log off. Hudson responded: “Yep, if you went out in the storm that formed today and fought some titans then you’ve experienced the mini-event that we added to this weekend’s demo. Just a small tease of some of the things we’ll be doing when @anthemgame goes live.”

As with everything else in Anthem, it’s too soon to tell how all of its individual parts will fit together. BioWare has kept almost everything to do with the game’s overall story, in whatever form it exists, under wraps.

Given the world of Anthem is full of ancient artifacts and mysterious technologies with the power to do large-scale terraforming, there’s plenty of room for interesting events in the future. Hopefully future events will involve more than a pretty picture and old bosses.


Comments

    Dead in the water

      This game will fail because it won't be grotesquely successful.

    Anthem’s demo has suffered from a lack of interesting encounters and mission typesErrm ok....but remember when you saidit’s too soon to tell how all of its individual parts will fit together.Yeah.

      What part are you getting stuck on?
      The demo was pretty lacklustre but it's too soon to tell if it's exactly what we will get on release.
      It's not a contradiction, it's just two facts that are equally true.

        Yeah it's not that it's contradictory, just a bit pointless. If it's too soon to tell how all of the individual parts will fit together, then why bother writing about how the individual parts fit together. It's a demo.

          If Bioware / EA are putting it out there for public consumption, it's fair enough to write about what they've offered up. It's clear that it's not yet finished, but there's no reason not to comment on the state that it's currently in - it's not like everybody else who tried the beta won't be posting their opinions all over the internet, too.

            Yeah sure, but complaints about breadth of content, AI patterns or balancing all seem kind of silly to me given that it's a demo. They're reasonable complaints to make if the full game is no different, sure, but like: "hopefully future events..." - author has literally seen one single event. "It made for a nice change of visuals" - as will, I imagine, the bulk of the game that wasn't in the demo. Just seemed weirdly in-depth and specific given that it's pre-release.

    Recycled ME:A combat system
    Convoluded launch access
    Micro-transactions in a full price game
    Only three strongholds at launch
    EA
    Hard Pass

      >recycled ME:A combat
      Well i would consider that a good thing, it's far more enjoyable than 95% of TPS's
      >Convoluted launch acces
      Oh no!
      it's weird sure but really doesn't matter much
      >Microtransactiosn in a full price game
      Like almost every game for the last 3 years. But at least this one is giving out all DLC for free by doing the MTX instead, would 100% prefer this option for every game.
      >only three strongholds at launch
      Agreed that is bad, the endgame sounds very lacklustre and rumors of the campaign length are that its not great so i think content wise unless they can keep a steady stream of DLC like each month this is gonna die fast from repetitiveness.
      >EA
      Yeah thats never a good start
      >Hard pass
      Its a soft pass from me until i see really how much content there is and then see a good sale price.

    Due to sudden and unexpected infestations of Real Life over the weekend, I only got about an hour with the demo. It was pretty, and the shooty bits were appropriately shooty, if you're in to that sort of thing. I liked the vaguely AfroFuturist vibe of Fort Tarsis, and took it as a good sign that I wanted more story and character interaction than I got. This is BioWare after all.

    BUT.

    Flying with KBM controls? That there is where embarrassment meets frustration in the gameplay. Just awful--the thought of being in a multiplayer environment where everybody gets to watch as I careen all over the place trying not to bang into the walls? No. Fsking. Way. And given that Tony Starking about the place is a major selling point, I suspect I'll have to sit this one out.

      KBM flying got better with a bit of practice and fiddling with the sensitivities.

      A few things I figured.... your slways going full speed, hitting backwards key slows you way down and allows tight turning.
      If you aim down sight during flight you, you dead stop and auto hover, take a new bearing and shift into full speed.

      BUT OMG SWIMMING IS WORSE THAN FLYING... even time you hit the water you get disorintated by the float animation. Why put water in strongholds... it was unneccessary.

        Thanks for the tips; perhaps there is hope even for me.

        Maybe if I put a bit more time into it I'll get less unintentionally hilarious and more able, who knows? And at least there's a solo mode available, which I found out after the fact. I won't be a nuisance or a distraction to other players while I get up to speed.

          Not only like that guy can you tweak the settings, get used to it more and figure out little tricks. But they have also said that the controls for KB+M were early versions and have already been changed for launch. How improved they are? who knows, but combined with the guy aboves advice i think they will end up alright.
          That said i'd wait and see

          They've stated repeatedly that they're tuning the controls in the final product.
          They've even added an option for to autocentre like on a gamepad.

      I’m picturing you in your suit as Stark in the first movie, scorching a bunch of expensive cars and trashing pianos ....
      I guess I’m still looking for a compelling reason to get into this game. So you have a generic skill tree, but different gear across different Javelins. That’s not a deal breaker for me (I love MHW and it has virtually no RPG mechanics, all your stats are determined by your gear. And food). And the MP aspect seems limited to: sometimes the bosses are strong and you need more damage. But a key attraction would be the flying and movement, if they haven’t nailed that, what novelty does the game bring?

        HA! That's pretty much how it was. WHEEEEEE *splat*! WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE *splat*!!

        It must be said that IRL, Agility is my dump stat; it takes me a long time to learn any physical skill. Once I've reached competence, I'm fine, but I don't care to do the learning in a multiplayer environment where I might be putting other people at risk (don't much care for them falling about laughing at me, either).

        There were a couple of small, spontaneous in-world events while I was free-roaming; they were diverting enough, but very similar. That might have been a limit of the demo, or it might be that clear-the-room-and-loot is all there is in this game. If the former, great. If the latter, I can't see it holding people's interest.

      they confirmed raw mouse input on launch (22nd, not the 15th... pretty alarming they need that distinction but that's another bullet point)... I don't know if you've played Monster Hunter World but the pre / post implementation of raw mouse input is like night and day (for me anyway)

      My current expectation for Anthem is that it will be a relatively solid game 3 to 6 months post release. QoL changes, content releases and a road map of some sort would have been released by then... unless EA / BW pulls a ME:A and just abandons the game

        That'll certainly make a difference.

        I agree with your expectation; they've certainly showed that they are listening to feedback, adding the social hub, so hopefully, they'll keep optimising post-launch and we'll end up with some substance to go with the style. I'll be stunned if the launch(es) are anything less than a clusterfracas, based on how launches of this sort of thing tend to go, but once the fuss has died down, we'll see.

    I think what Bioware is hoping with these events may be mute by the fact that only 4 people per instance means no matter how "large the event" is its still a small group experience.

    Was it still uselessly laggy in the second weekend? I didn't bother after the first.

      Didnt play VIP, just Open demo last weekend... only issue I saw was the server transfer bug common to most new MMO type gamed... where by whatever means they creat a new virtual instance and transfer you to that server and instability will result in a disconnect, but once connected it was stable.

      it was slightly better, but I found on Xbox One X and PS$ pro there was a lot more graphical issues and massive amounts of pop in, even with stuff at your feet while walking. I was beginning to wonder if that was a server related or something.

        er PS4 pro, sorry sony for insulting you you, heh

      Yeah i still got enemies literally just disappearing, then occasionally reappearing near me (but sometimes just never coming back), as well as the other weird issues from the VIP demo. Anytime i got frozen and was told to mash the A button (xbox controller) that turned itno a spaz fest

    I'm gonna wait for The Division 2, the frame rate drops on my One X and lack of getting into the game past the loading screen is a no for me.

    I wanted to like it but I just cant. For all Bungies faults they sure know how to do raids.

    I am not sure how exciting something like this should be with only four players per instance.

    For me, I am finding the combat, exceptional fun, but everything else just seems to be lackign or missing.

    I honestly would be happy if they delayed for six months or year and completely retool so much of it. It is almost a disservice and a waste of a great combat system, if everything that surrounds it is ill conceived.

    though the truly concerning part of the whole game is how much of the reddit is full of EA supporters... yep, you heard me, it is full of people actually putting down others for suggesting EA is a huge red flag.

      I feel like EA kinda needs a "good guy game" right now though. One where there grediness doesn't fuck it up, so they can get a smidge of respect back. The fact that DLC is gonna be free is a good start for me.
      Still aint buying it for a solid month at least to really see how it is and what sales i can get though.

    So... it sounds like you missed the huge Ancient Ash Titans that also spawned in the Eddian Grove? The ones that summon swarms of elementals and fire a chest beam? Shame, it was a good fight - but I guess you have something to look forward to in the full release!

    Had some fun playing it co-op but it's definitely missing something. It was more fun than games like Destiny for me but I can't see it lasting long.

    Also how come not enough people seem to be talking about the MASSIVE graphical downgrade since the E32017 trailer? You know, the one they said showed everything how it was going to look in-game and said there wouldn't be any graphical downgrade?

    And yet it still seems poorly optimised.

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