Tried the Anthem demo. It is: a game wot can be played on computer.
It’s a strange thing. The movement feels good outside of in-flight default mouse sensitivity, the movement animations and the suits in general look fun, there voice acting for some of the little between-mission and over-the-radio chats ranges from pleasant to quite lovely, and it’s all very pretty. Once you’ve unlocked them, Javelins can be swapped out in-between missions so unlike Destiny there’s no need to start a new character to try out all the different classes. The hubworld is a nice density–the layout is weird, but in terms of population it feels like the right amount of people hanging about in a way I’m so unused to seeing in games I can’t stop thinking about it. I’m used to game spaces feeling oddly big or empty of people so I have a sense that achieving this feeling is not easy and the demo fort in Anthem hits it just right for me.
But the gunplay is aggressively medicore as are the special abilities–it’s strange that the game decided to go all in on guns as your primary interaction with the game instead of activated abilities or suit-mounted gunnery only to have all of them feel samey and lifeless. A heat management system prevents you from spending all that much time in the air. The lore and storytelling are all the way towards the boring, bewildering nonsense end of even your standard MMO or loot collection game spectrum. The game has some very strange area partitioning–it needs to load a separate area for post-match victory screens as well as the hub-world inventory terminal. Speaking of inventory, it’s cumbersome to manage because of this and some annoying choices in how equipment stats are displayed and inventory is inaccessible during play (there’s an inventory button that’s ONLY usable during play, but it’s not actually for accessing load out or looking at stored equipment).
All in all a disappointment. I was pleasantly surprised by Destiny 2’s gunplay and accessibility–things like being able to access inventory, stats and so forth during loading screens, conveniently displayed weapon stats, being able to switch sub-class or weapons on the fly at any time, and just the way weapons feel to use and fire. But where Destiny had me clinging to under-leveled gear that looked and felt good to use, Anthem had me mostly interested in the damage capability and unclear on how guns compared to one another. Anthem has had me enjoying the moments that in Destiny I tuned out of or hoped to be done with soon–the traversal between combat, the returns to hub areas. Unfortunately that’s not a favorable inversion when gunplay is still the vast majority of time spent in the game and conservation is still just added spice.
The demo build is also a bit of a mess. It feels like a beta build in terms of connectivity and other bugs encountered over a short evening of play. Hopefully the demo build is pretty out of date as the release isn’t too long from now and I wouldn’t recommend even someone who enjoyed it more than I did hop in at launch if the demo is representative. Too many connection issues and weird glitches. The demo build isn’t bad enough to be unreleasable or unplayable, but it feels like a mid to late period early access build that just turned on the newer, better servers and hasn’t got them dialed in yet.