Based on the feedback from Electronic Arts and BioWare’s presentation for Anthem at EA Play 2018, it seems the general reception around the game is relatively mixed. What the developers were willing to show and say had promise but there were a lot of questions left unanswered and frankly, the gameplay demo didn’t inspire a lot of excitement.
But once E3 2018 got into the swing of things, we were able to go hands-on with Anthem and our feelings about the game changed dramatically. Read our full hands-on preview, but the main takeaway is that Anthem feels really good to play, from the shooting, to the abilities, and most especially the flying.
Seeing Is Not Believing For Anthem
It’s that disconnect between watching a demo and playing a demo that has us believing that BioWare should borrow a page from Destiny’s playbook and give fans a chance to play the game.
Some might remember Bungie’s E3 presentation for Destiny back in 2014, which gave a general overview of the game but like EA’s demo for Anthem it didn’t inspire much excitement. However, shortly after E3 concluded, Activision held a closed alpha (and eventually a beta) for Destiny that turned everything around. Gamers got to better understand what Destiny would offer and more importantly they were able to experience the tight gunplay that Bungie is known for.
We already know that Anthem has a beta planned but most likely that won’t take place until much later in the year, if not early 2019. But we believe that BioWare should prepare some form of demo/beta experience as soon as possible because it could really turn the narrative surrounding the game around.
Obviously, there are tons of fans that are already sold on Anthem, but following Mass Effect Andromeda there are even more gamers that are wary of another BioWare product. And coupled with mixed feelings about other looter shooters, like Destiny, the verdict is still out on Anthem.
A Beta Can Change Perception
It’s important to separate one’s feelings about Destiny post-launch from that buzz following the alpha. There’s a reason the game broke records for a new IP and became so popular right off the bat, and if not for those follow-up demos things might have played out completely different.
And now Anthem seems to be in a similar boat. A lot of gamers that we talk to are not sold on the game based on the E3 demo, and neither were we. But then playing the game had us convinced that this could be something really special, and a very fun co-op experience with friends.
Make no mistake, we are not saying that Anthem should be like Destiny but rather its marketing should take inspiration from Activision’s. Next year is going to be very competitive, and if Anthem wants to come out on top during the very crowded February 22nd release date it will need to change the conversation.
Anthem releases February 22, 2019 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.