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Happenstance

Anthem (PS4, Xbox One, PC)

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Played one mission.

  1. menus are atrocious; horribly slow and clunky
  2. load times are too long
  3. frame rate in town is horrible; walking around town is slow
  4. you have to go to a specific point in town to start a mission/change load-out; come on...just let me do that via a menu
  5. flying seems unnecessary - well, that's my impression from the one mission...it's probably more important for free-play and exploration
  6. initiating "hover mode" is ass, you can't just jump and then somehow hover with a button press; you have to start flying and only then can you hover by pressing the aim button
  7. battles are fun

Shame that number 7 is overshadowed by 1-6...The game needs a lot more work. As it is right now, it's not for me. Everything aside from the mission is just annoying. ::shrug: 

Edited by drahkon

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Finally got everything sorted with the help of another advisor so have managed to play a little bit, one mission (about 40 minutes) but have had to close the game and re-launch as I got stuck at the loading screens between 2 locations and then at the mission end. Hopefully that'll be a bit smoother over the weekend but not great this close to launch to have those hiccups on top of some of the server issues.

Visually, from what I've seen it looks good so far. You can tell it's a Frostbite engine game though, it just has that look about it. Not the smoothest frame rate on the original PS4 and I'm not keen on the first person view point for getting about the hub but it might grow on me. The open world looks descent but it doesn't look great. Bit muddy (that's not quite the right word but I'm tired and can't think) but the general environments and scale is good.

The UI for menus is awful, it's so clunky, especially for getting an expedition going and getting suited and booted for it. Again, maybe it'll click better in the final game with playing that way from the start but they really needed to streamline that aspect as menus should be easy to navigate. I've also got a slight issue in that the image on my screen goes off the edges and I can't adjust the screen size (I've tried with the actual PS4 system settings and it hasn't helped).

The gameplay has been pretty good though. I do like the flying and how smooth it all feels, though I have the same issue with hovering as Drahkon. That should be easier. Gunplay doesn't seem to have the snappiness and weight to it that Destiny has or even Mass Effect but compared to something like Warframe I'd say it's pretty similar. Could be tighter but I'll get used to it.

The mission I played, Triple Threat, was ok. Glad there was matchmaking for it as playing it single player would've been a slog. They've said it can be played single player but from that mission, I wonder how easy that'll be the pull off in some of the bits. The puzzle bit at the end was also annoying. I think it was bugged for me to start as the clues weren't showing up and then all of a sudden they were but it took ages and we were all standing there wondering what the hell to do. Some better guidance would've helped.

It sounds like I'm being hard on it but I enjoyed what I managed to play. I can't wait to get a different javelin though as the Ranger is a bit boring to play as. Only get to unlock 1 more in the beta so need to think if I want the Storm or the Interceptor. Intrigued to delve in more and see what more is there but I'm not put off from all the hassle to get going and from the issues encountered so far.

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I've not played the demo (decided not to, will just wait for the release date) but I can easily see this as a game that'll get 7s and at most 8s from review outlets, citing lots of teething problems, not much content etc. Fast forward to a year or two though it'll be a completely different game: highly polished, loads of story and multiplayer content. Hopefully the player base will stick around till that happens though. They've already hinted at post-launch content coming a week, two weeks, a month after release, so there should be plenty to get stuck into.

If the core gameplay is fun, then everything else can be ironed out.

Edited by Ronnie

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I've not played the demo (decided not to, will just wait for the release date) but I can easily see this as a game that'll get 7s and at most 8s from review outlets, citing lots of teething problems, not much content etc. Fast forward to a year or two though it'll be a completely different game: highly polished, loads of story and multiplayer content.


Again with the assumptions. People just assume there'll be a January Direct, just because. People assume Nintendo will suddenly care about the arms race and again and release a super powerful Switch. It's counter productive.

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The issue of getting stuck at a loading screen was supposedly sorted early this morning going by the Anthem Twitter feed but having played throughout the day, I can say that it definitely hasn't been fixed and is becoming very annoying.

I've finished up all the story missions and decided go jump into a session for the Stronghold dungeon. First attempt, the connection was the other player was so bad that it lagged to the point you'd move two steps forward and be right back where you started 5 seconds later. Second attempt, spent an hour playing through the dungeon and get to the boss fight. One person has left leaving 3 people and 2 of them go down leaving me with the aggro for the boss and the adds so I try to fly to my teammates to revive them and get one shotted. Thought that was ok as we could try again but instead of being able to do that, I get stuck on a loading screen. Jump back in the game after restarting to find the whole last hour has been lost. No XP, no items, nothing that I managed to do has been kept. Waste of time.

Not exactly keen to jump back in to the Stronghold after that as I don't know if I'll have the same problem again. It's an issue that really needs ironing out as the game is out in 4 weeks and that's going to hurt it a lot of it keeps happening.

As for the Stronghold itself, it wasn't great. Very obtuse at times and it just throws wave after wave of enemies at you, though with more shield and armour so they're even more of a bullet sponge than they are normally. It just felt messy and didn't have the sharpness of say a Destiny strike. Hopefully they're not all like this one.

So yeah, day 2 and impressions aren't great for me because of continued technical issues and poor design choices for their dungeon.

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So I played this for a little while and I have to say, I honestly can't understand why anyone will be preordering this or buying at day 1. It is going to have a very rocky start and will clearly take time to fix the problems that are there right now.

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After @Ganepark32 kindly supplied me with access to the demo (thanks again! :)), I booted the game up five or six times on Friday and three or four times yesterday, only getting so far as the loading screen between the town and any of the missions that I attempted to start. I didn’t even bother attempting to play it today. The least amount of time I waited was around ten minutes, and the most was around forty-five. 

So, yeah, I didn’t get to play it, and while I can’t really speak from my own experience with the game’s demo...I am not sold on the game. At all. 

Almost everything that I’ve read about and watched from the demo is riddled with seemingly unavoidable negativity, whether it be problems with the demo’s servers, loading times, frame rate, the game not looking or controlling so great, a poorly constructed UI, etc.

Can we also talk briefly about how this isn’t at all what I and many others expect a demo to be? When I hear the word “demo”, I personally think about a vertical slice of a game limited in environment or time when compared to its full game, and I get a feeling that’s what comes to my mind for many other people here, too. Which is why I find it especially surprising that the “demo” for this game was actually more of a beta (around a month from release, as has come to be expected when it comes to EA) likely seen more as an opportunity to stress test servers (ironic considering that servers for a number of EA games went down to some degree this weekend) than to let players actually try out the game, put across more in my next point than in any other I’ve made so far: they’ve also admitted that this “demo” is based on an older build of said game. Because what better way to sell your game than people on the fence that to let them try out the poorly constructed build from a few months ago? ::shrug:

I’m genuinely worried for BioWare to some degree. Not necessarily because their future relies solely on how this game performs, but because I haven’t seen or heard any reason yet to seriously consider picking up Anthem next month. A saving grace could be the story, I suppose, or even the game being much more functional than the “demo” has been, but I think that the possibility that they have their second AAA bomb in a row (critically or in terms of sales) is a very real one. 

On 25/01/2019 at 11:27 PM, Ronnie said:

I've not played the demo (decided not to, will just wait for the release date) but I can easily see this as a game that'll get 7s and at most 8s from review outlets, citing lots of teething problems, not much content etc. Fast forward to a year or two though it'll be a completely different game: highly polished, loads of story and multiplayer content. Hopefully the player base will stick around till that happens though. They've already hinted at post-launch content coming a week, two weeks, a month after release, so there should be plenty to get stuck into.

If the core gameplay is fun, then everything else can be ironed out.

I’m curious what you’ve seen/read/heard that makes you willing to fork out for this game on release date, @Ronnie? Or did you mean that you would just wait for reviews? 

Not trying to rile you up, just genuinely curious, as you hinted that you think this could be a case of the game not being where it should be at launch, but given the support that it could potentially receive, it could be in a much better place in a year or two. 

I’m just not personally in a place where I have much confidence in EA right now. I play FIFA briefly in between long gaming sessions, and although I got plenty of playtime out of Battlefront and quite a bit out of Battlefront II, their general attitude towards game development continues to irk me, and their sloppiness when attempting to put Anthem in a positive light with this “demo” has only worsened that feeling for me.

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48 minutes ago, Julius said:

I’m curious what you’ve seen/read/heard that makes you willing to fork out for this game on release date, @Ronnie? Or did you mean that you would just wait for reviews?

Obviously if reviews are catastrophically bad I'll cancel my pre-order but I've been looking forward to this game since it was first revealed and I'm fully on board.

I didn't play the demo (out of choice) but the general consensus seems to be that the game looks stunning and the gameplay is loads of fun, it's just quality of life issues that are hampering things, and we also haven't really seen any of the story, which is obv going to be a big part of the experience.

Hating on anything EA puts out is pretty much par for the course these days so I'm taking some of the negativite reactions with an anti-EA sized pinch of salt. The server/demo issues made things far worse, likewise putting out an old build rather than the one that went gold a couple of days ago. Respected editors from IGN have mentioned that the build they got to play at preview events had a much better framerate than the demo was getting, so that doesn't really worry me.

Like I said, I'm fully expecting 7/10 sort of reviews, probably down to a lack of content at launch and the game needing more time in the oven, but the devs keep saying they'll have new stuff most weeks and months and I have to assume the quality of life improvements will come over time as well.

tl;dr: I'm forking out for this game because it looks loads of fun, is a flying third person shooter with a Bioware storyline thrown on top of it. Walking speed in the hub and dodgy server issues a month before release don't really worry me.

Edited by Ronnie
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@Ronnie you might want to give the demo a whirl because the issues go far beyond quality of life, it is genuinely one of the most shockingly bad beta tests I have ever played. Worse was that when I actually managed to play the game it just was not fun.

We will see how the game reviews but my opinion of it after playing the demo could not be lower.

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While I wouldn't go so far as to say my opinion of the game couldn't be lower, I've definitely come away from the demo in the mind frame that I couldn't recommend the game on what I've played at the weekend.

The moments where optimism tried to shine through when playing were quickly pulled our from under me after losing all expedition progress multiple times over, with and without loading screen issues. I should have hit the level cap but I lost XP and loot repeatedly because of technical issues upon completing freeplay expeditions where nothing would show for my rewards and my level was set to zero. I should've unlocked the second javelin on Saturday but because of the aforementioned issues, I didn't get it till yesterday afternoon after the game finally started working. But the joy of that and getting to try out the Interceptor was so short lived as the afternoon became plagued with loading screen issues and connection problems. The game eventually crashed on me and is had enough by that point.

From a technical stand point, it was at time abysmal and hearing that some people couldn't get in to play at all over the weekend despite having pre-ordered for access is shocking. Looking at EA and BioWare's stance on things though, they opted to prioritise maintain the experience for those not having issues rather than put out genuine fixes for those struggling to even play. That's not a great mindset to present to gamers who've either pre-ordered your game or are looking to get down hands on before making the decision. Fixing issues should have been priority but it seems they weren't looking to out real ones in place. And it's not simply putting more servers out there to run things, it's fixed to genuine technical problems that, a month out from launch, don't paint a great picture alongside they're attitude to the issues.

Next weekend will be very enlightening for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it'll be interesting to see whether issues remain when the demo opens up to even more people because if they're still there, in spite of time to put in fixes, then I think it'll impact just how many people will bother to try and play. That brings me to the second point of interest: gamers' interest in the game and whether the VIP demo has done the damage or not. I think EA and BioWare will have to put their expectations in check as I think word of mouth, and there were plenty of stories about it on sites, will hold back people from jumping in. As an example, I'm not even going to attempt trying Friday or possibly Saturday because I suspect it'll be an absolute mess again trying to connect. I think a lot of people will just sit back and abstain from playing.

It'll also be interesting to see what this has done for those who've put down pre-orders. Sure, some have enjoyed what they've played but there are a lot of unhappy gamers who won't be appeased by getting a second javelin skin for being a VIP upon release.

There's plenty of potential with the game but the demo has definitely soured it for me. Things definitely picked up once I managed to get in and play as the Interceptor javelin and I really began to enjoy battles with that set up but up till then, it was simply fine, not great. And even then, the waves and waves of enemies spawning out of tears did become monotonise because even with the extra speed of the Interceptor, your shields and health get ripped through in seconds.

Special enemies are absolute bullet sponges, more so than they are in game like Destiny, but have to hooks or anything to make them interesting encounters. The Titans, for example, have an attack pattern of two attacks that repeat in the same sequence. It just felt uninspired shooting away at them without any way to really make things interesting.

I'd like to be an optimist and hope there's far more to the game than what was there in the demo but I just don't know whether it'll be of any substance. This isn't a question of quantity but more of whether it'll have enough variety. But again, with both EA and BioWare being cagey this close to launch, it's impossible to tell and that to me is worrying.

I haven't decided whether I'll keep my pre-order or not. With Metro Exodus the week before this, I'll have my hands full there and I know 4A Games won't drop the ball on that. I can't say the same for BioWare and this. Some thinking to do for me anyway.

Edit: Jesus, didn't realise how much I wrote :/ tl;dr: demo didn't leave a great impression, somewhat sceptical about how the final product will turn out.

Edited by Ganepark32

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This is an interesting video that compares the VIP demo with the playtest demo people were invited to beforehand. The VIP demo was using a 6 week old build of the game, compared to the playtest.

Key points stolen from ResetEra

Quote

- Playtest builds (aka builds closer to launch) were very different to the VIP demo. He had many problems with the VIP demo.
- QoL changes (and UI changes)
- Overheating wasn't as annoying in the playtest builds as it was in the VIP demo. Same with getting hit by the smallest rock and somehow falling or being CCed.
- VIP demo felt way more flat.
- The loadscreens and FPS optimization were better in the playtest builds (both in the playtest he was invited and what he has played on his own PC, he also comments they played the invited playtests on LAN).
- The gunplay felt more solid in the playtest (to the point that after the playtest he didn't really worry about that, something Mtashed has also talked about in his videos).
- He feels like the VIP demo took a step back and didn't make the game justice (since he also had problems playing it).
- He also feels that they should've just let players choose from all the javelins instead of locking them to the ranger first.
- Many of the missions of freeplay they've done in playtests weren't in the demo which he thinks it's a shame.
- You could run in Fort Tarsis.

Performance was hugely improved to. Devs on Twitter have said it'll be 30fps on console at launch, with 60/4K patch for X coming later.

Quote

I thought it was funny people never figured out flying straight down cools you off so you can keep going. The idea is you fly as high as you can then dive bomb for a second or two to cool off, then fly up again and so forth. Also water and waterfalls help once in a while.

Believe me there’s tons of stuff like that in the game no one even touched on yet.

 

Edited by Ronnie

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EA revealed during their conference call today that they expect the game to have sold between five and six million units by the end of the fiscal year (i.e. by March 31st, so in a bit over six weeks). 

I'm not overwhelmingly convinced that it will get there, to be honest. Factors like this being a new IP, having a poorly received VIP and public demo (I don't recall either Battlefront or Battlefront II having such a poor reception for their demos), etc., just seem to be slowly racking up against them. 

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8 hours ago, Julius said:

EA revealed during their conference call today that they expect the game to have sold between five and six million units by the end of the fiscal year (i.e. by March 31st, so in a bit over six weeks). 

I'm not overwhelmingly convinced that it will get there, to be honest. Factors like this being a new IP, having a poorly received VIP and public demo (I don't recall either Battlefront or Battlefront II having such a poor reception for their demos), etc., just seem to be slowly racking up against them. 

It will be interesting to see if they actually hit that number or not. The demo/beta done a lot of damage and there were plenty of complaints about it to the point where people were cancelling their pre-orders. Most gaming enthusiasts seem to be really down on the game so it will be whether EA can capture the more casual part of the market.

Another point to make is the release of Apex Legends. They haven't done themselves any favours  releasing that so close to this game. By all accounts that it's a fantastic shooter and one people are already falling in love with. Granted, it's a different type of game but people only have so much free time and it they get hooked on Apex Legends ( not to mention it being free ) then why would they move over to Anthem, especially given how rough the demo was?

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This game is looking fantastic, and the devs' communication and transparancy is pretty much unheard of. The VIP demo soured people but most of the issues were fixed for the open demo a week later and both of those were running a 6 week old build of the game. Reaction is definitely a lot more positive since then, especially after these new updates released today:

 

And Part 1 if anyone missed it:

The post-release roadmap so far:

So excited, cannot wait.

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Personally, what they've announced as their end game content seems to be lacking in substance some what. The trailer they put out didn't exactly inspire confidence in me that what's there at launch will be substantial. There's still little to no details on the story and length of that and with only 3 strongholds at launch (2 of which unlock at level 30 and are considered end game content), what they're proposing with the cataclysms and contracts leave a lot to be desired.

Sure, some of it is par for the course with these types of online games as Destiny had similar type things to extend the end game. But that game also launched with more than 3 dungeons that were interspersed throughout the levelling up process (at least with the original that was the case). But touting Freeplay as one of the activities for your end game doesn't sound great to me. There are obviously activities and events that happen when in freeplay but it's hardly what I'd call major content for getting the masterwork gear to jump into the higher difficulties.

I'm just finding it all a bit lacking from what they've said and sure, there seems to be plenty of stuff in the pipe line but will there be plenty at launch to hold until that starts trickling in through March and beyond.

It's definitely dampened my limited amount of hype for the game. They may be communicating but they're not doing so efficiently and they're not putting out there the information that prior are hungry for, myself included. So at the moment, taking all this into consideration, I'm wavering over whether I'll pick it up at launch or cancel my pre-order for something else. I just need to see and hear more and they really aren't putting everything in the table.

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24 minutes ago, Ganepark32 said:

Personally, what they've announced as their end game content seems to be lacking in substance some what. The trailer they put out didn't exactly inspire confidence in me that what's there at launch will be substantial. There's still little to no details on the story and length of that and with only 3 strongholds at launch (2 of which unlock at level 30 and are considered end game content), what they're proposing with the cataclysms and contracts leave a lot to be desired.

Sure, some of it is par for the course with these types of online games as Destiny had similar type things to extend the end game. But that game also launched with more than 3 dungeons that were interspersed throughout the levelling up process (at least with the original that was the case).

I suspect Anthem will have a much better campaign/storyline than Destiny, so there's that. I'm obviously not expecting Mass Effect type length/depth (at release) but hopefully it's a meaty campaign and not a 5-10 hour thing.

It sounds to me like they have plenty of content at launch and plenty of new stuff coming.

24 minutes ago, Ganepark32 said:

they're not putting out there the information that prior are hungry for, myself included.

I don't really know what else they can do? They're playing the story campaign close to their chest, but otherwise all the info is out there. They've revealed more about this game than most games get prior to release tbf.

PS: forgot to say in my previous post, the suit customisation looks insane. So many different options, and I still can't decide which javelin I like the look of best. Probably the Ranger but the Storm seems cool too.

Edited by Ronnie

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So yeah the private demo was awful. Second public demo better. I wanted to keep playing.

But the game has lots of design issues! Stuff that Destiny actually handles well (Bungie probably playtested and remade aspects thoroughly). Its a good game overall but could be better. IMO it needs more time. Too many loading screens without doing anything (Destiny lets use micromanage stuff, access menus etc.)

Having said that the game's strengths are pretty good in places and there arent many game games like this.

The Division 2 beta sold me more on Anthem than the Anthem demo itself. Division 2 was super generic. The Division 2 is like an open world game with online tagged on.The shooting machanics are bad compared to Anthem... The story is super lazy and kind of like right wing propaganda. The opneing has you run into the Whitehouse. Like a generic camp in an open world game...

Anthem has great art, interesting presentation, great graphics, good music, nice controls etc. There is alot to like too.

 

Ultimately it makes me appreciate Destiny a whole lot more.

 

Edited by Choze

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Hopefully they can keep on top of the design issues and put out quality of life improvements at a pretty fast pace. The full release next week is an even better version than yesterday's launch apparently.

Have to say I find it really annoying that Origin members get the game a week early, hearing all these impressions while the rest of us twiddle our thumbs.

 

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I've ended up cancelling my pre-order for this. I've been going between keeping it and not since the demos but with the game out now on EA Access and plenty of hands on with the full game (not just the 10 hour trial on the Xbox One), a lot of my fears for the game seem to have been realised. It looks like there are a lot of bad design choices with regards to missions and progression through the story and said story doesn't really do much. The Eurogamer one in particular encapsulated a lot of the issues and while there seems to be promise there, it just sounds like a game that will be better for a lot of player feedback to tweak. Though I suspect the poor design choices for the story won't see a change but still, 6 months down the line it may be a game in more inclined to jump into when they've ironed out the issues.

It is a shame as part of me is still interested, partly to support a new IP from one of my favourite developers, and no doubt I could get some enjoyment out of it but I just can't afford to throw money at the game at launch when the issues being talked about are the kind of things that'll rub me the wrong way when playing. I'll be keeping an eye on things to see how it pans out but I have a feeling that this will fall somewhat by the wayside until BioWare show that long term they're able to act on feedback quickly to improve things. Previous experience suggests that they're slowness of the mark might hurt the game long term.

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23 hours ago, Ganepark32 said:

I've ended up cancelling my pre-order for this. I've been going between keeping it and not since the demos but with the game out now on EA Access and plenty of hands on with the full game (not just the 10 hour trial on the Xbox One), a lot of my fears for the game seem to have been realised. It looks like there are a lot of bad design choices with regards to missions and progression through the story and said story doesn't really do much. The Eurogamer one in particular encapsulated a lot of the issues and while there seems to be promise there, it just sounds like a game that will be better for a lot of player feedback to tweak. Though I suspect the poor design choices for the story won't see a change but still, 6 months down the line it may be a game in more inclined to jump into when they've ironed out the issues.

It is a shame as part of me is still interested, partly to support a new IP from one of my favourite developers, and no doubt I could get some enjoyment out of it but I just can't afford to throw money at the game at launch when the issues being talked about are the kind of things that'll rub me the wrong way when playing. I'll be keeping an eye on things to see how it pans out but I have a feeling that this will fall somewhat by the wayside until BioWare show that long term they're able to act on feedback quickly to improve things. Previous experience suggests that they're slowness of the mark might hurt the game long term.

I can imagine this will be close to 20 quid before very long at all. I'd say you're doing the right thing by not preordering it.

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7 minutes ago, Sheikah said:

I can imagine this will be close to 20 quid before very long at all. I'd say you're doing the right thing by not preordering it.

Most (non Nintendo) games are to be fair. You can buy Assassin's Creed Odyssey for £25 on Amazon, or Shadow of the Tomb Raider for £28. Great time to be a gamer, if you're trying to save money.

I can't wait to play it this Friday but these days unless it's Red Dead you might as well just wait and it'll drop in price pretty quick.

Edited by Ronnie

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