At this point I am trying to keep my blog fairly spoiler free given that the game is not out yet for a ton of people. I still find that concept really odd, but I am pushing past it because I see that as an EA thing and not necessarily a Bioware thing. When I have a major fork in the road coming up in a game I tend to spend a significant amount of time avoiding it. I am not sure why I do this thing but it happens constantly. I am in the final stretch to the “end” of Assassin’s Creed Origins… but have not played the game since I realized that. In Anthem I knew something major was about to happen, but I was not exactly sure what… and as a result I spent most of my evening avoiding playing through the only quest that I happened to have in my journal. As a result I spent a lot of time roaming around last night in Freeplay mode while watching Umbrella Academy, which seems pretty great so far. However given the events of the quest that I had been seemingly avoiding… I wish I had done this at the beginning of the night rather than the end of the night so I could see more of the story.
Anthem threw me its first loop, because up until now most everything had largely been predictable. I was not expecting what happened last night to change the entire tempo of the game from this point forward… and I like that a lot. So often my wife and I will be watching something on television… and I throw out a random statement as soon as I get the idea a thing is going to happen. The other night it happened during one of the medical procedural that she likes to watch, and they were setting something up… and I blurted out what I thought they were setting up. In the end it turned out to be exactly what I was thinking because earlier in the show they had set up a character only to kill it off, and talked about a specific medical procedure as an offhand reference. This happens with games as well that often times I can see the train coming before it arrives at the station… recent example when FFXIV introduced the “Shadowhunter” character I pinged Tam who was further along in the story than I was at that point and made my guess that turned out to be completely on the nose.
As such I really appreciate it when a game can throw me for a loop and in hindsight all of the clues were there waiting for me… but I didn’t piece them together because I was too engaged with the content to notice the signs. I love it when a game shocks me… and even though this is probably on the lower tier scale of shocks it was still an extremely good experience to go through. If you have played through the content to this point you will know what I am talking about. However please keep the comment section spoiler free in respect for the people who have yet to get their hands on the game. Some folks are stuck behind having played their 10 hours already, and another batch simply purchased the game and cannot play because they can’t or won’t pay the $15 tax to get immediate access. However I find it refreshing that the game can shift gears and change what sort of a story that is playing out in front of us. The fact that I am wearing my N7 decal (which I spent my accumulated coins on purchasing from the Forge) makes the above screenshot feel like a Mass Effect game seeing as I go with the green, red, black and white color scheme in that game as well.
Another thing I thought I would mention this morning is something that had been bugging me up until this point. In my friends list I would see players with backgrounds behind their name and could not for the life of me figure out how to set this. Copious amounts of googling yielded no results either with me calling it a Nameplate or even after getting the correct term a Banner. I realized in yesterdays post that my friend Naithin had one of these nameplates so I figured I would ask them about it. So in order to get to the above screen… you have to hop in your javelin and then click over to the squad tab that is shown on that screen. You will see a number of options and one of them is hold right mouse to change banner image, or I assume something equivalent will show up if you are on a console or using a controller. This will pop up this screen and give you a bunch of different pictures and backgrounds to choose from… I have no clue where the larger image is used but the textured background shows up pretty much everywhere in the game.
I think now is the time for us to talk about one of the glaring issues that Anthem has… it has a horrible UI. I am certainly hoping that none of my friends at Bioware were responsible for said UI, because I would feel bad in saying this. However it just does not behave in the manner that I would expect it to… and everything seems to be more cumbersome than it should be to interact with. The fact that I could not for the life of me figure out how to change my nameplate is a prime example of this. It required me to be on a very specific screen that I never actually clicked over to in order to find it. When I have set up a squad I have done so before actually getting in my Javelin, so it seems like an odd design decision to bury that option on a screen you can bypass ever going to. However I thought I would post it on the blog in case like me you were curious and clueless.
I spent a little time trying to play the Storm again last night… and nope… I am absolutely a Ranger through and through. I just feel squishy as a Storm as compared to how I feel in the Ranger. I know it is largely a play style thing… and my default play style is to get up and personal in the heat of the action and run around dodging incoming attacks. What the storm wants you to be is a hovering long ranged damage platform, that casts spells tactically on the battlefield below them. I should probably give Colossus another try and play with the slam all the shields nonsense it offers. When I hit my next unlock I will likely be spending it on that Javelin. However my true love will probably always be the Ranger. I hope you all find that Javelin that is the perfect fit for you as the game officially launches this coming Friday. Strong Alone, Stronger Together!