Far Cry New Dawn Review

Far Cry 5 ended on somewhat of a sour note. After spending hours adventuring across Hope County and battling the Eden’s Gate cult, nuclear bombs rained from the skies, and our protagonist was left in a bunker with the cult’s leader, Joseph Seed. Far Cry New Dawn is a direct continuation of Far Cry 5, bringing us from a largely forgettable story in modern-day Montana to a largely forgettable story in post-apocalyptic Montana.

Being a direct sequel, New Dawn feels like Far Cry 5 in a lot of ways. The game still takes place in Hope County, albeit only a small section of the original map, and there are a lot of pink flowers and colorful animals roaming around. Other than these minor aesthetic changes, New Dawn mostly has the same look and feel as its predecessor, which, after spending 20+ hours exploring Hope County last year, did little to engage me.

There are some changes to the game’s core design, but they feel half-baked and arbitrary. Many of Ubisoft’s major franchises have shifted their focus to RPG elements, and Far Cry has finally made the transition into RPG territory, although not to as great of an effect as some of its cousins like Assassin’s Creed. Weapons and enemies fall into one of four tiers now, and engaging enemies above your current weapon’s tier is doable, but it becomes an exercise in frustration due to how spongy they can feel. Tiers are not random, however, as the game’s campaign sends you further and further north, away from your base of operations, and enemies get stronger as you make your way through the world. This gives definitely gives the game a more linear feel, but you very quickly get access to high-tier weapons that make little work of any opposition, so it leaves the RPG elements feeling more like roadblocks than actual progression.

The perk system leaves a lot to be desired as well. Like Far Cry 5, you can complete basic challenges (get x amount of kills with this weapon, kill x amount of deer) to earn perk points. There are roughly 25 perks in total, and as I scrolled through them I thought to myself “I don’t want any of these”. Sadly, pretty much all of New Dawn’s perks suck. Being able to melee takedown high-tier enemies, swim faster, or carry more medkits are not enticing enough to actively work for perk points. Because the challenges are so simplistic, I ended up with a multitude of perk points just by playing, but that didn’t make the act of spending them any less boring. There are some more interesting perks later in the game, like a double jump and invisibility, but they come too late, leaving you with little time to get familiar with them and no incentive to incorporate them into your playstyle.

Luckily, New Dawn does have satisfying progression in other areas. The aforementioned base of operations, Prosperity, can be upgraded, providing you with access to better weapons, more health and ammunition, and other quality of life features like fast travel and maps. Prosperity is upgraded with the use of crafting materials that are obtained through Far Cry’s core gameplay loops. Liberating outposts, completing treasure hunts, and even hunting all grant materials, the most precious of which being ethanol, and the rewards make these activities feel more useful than in previous entries.

These side activities are the shining light of Far Cry New Dawn. Outposts function similarly to older Far Cry games. Sneaking in and disabling alarms or going in guns blazing with a co-op partner are both equally satisfying. New to this entry is the ability to scavenge an outpost, allowing you to retake it from enemy forces at a higher difficulty than before in order to earn more coveted ethanol. Each time you repeat an outpost, there is a change of a cosmetic drop, and it only takes a few tries to get a complete outfit. Some of these get pretty wacky, as per usual with Far Cry, and some personal favorites include the unicorn onesie and the knight armor.

Prepper Stashes from Far Cry 5 return in the form of Treasure Hunts, and they are easily the best content in New Dawn. They offer more cerebral challenges rather than combat and provide a nice change of pace from the game’s nonstop action. Solving a Treasure Hunt rewards you with a bevy of crafting materials and even a handful of Far Cry Coins, Ubisoft’s premium currency for this title. I had a blast trying to find my way into bunkers and hideouts full of rewards, and it’s a shame there are only 10 of these in total.

Hunting and fishing return as well, to little fanfare. Pelts can be traded in for crafting materials and meat is used in crafting recipes like bait and medkits. There is little restriction to how you go about hunting, and pretty much nothing will ruin the pelt save for hitting the animal with a car or burning it with a flamethrower. Coming off of Red Dead Redemption 2’s hunting system, it feels good to blast a deer point-blank with a shotgun, skin it without any animations, and put it into my endless video game backpack next to my four assault rifles and my bundle of crocodile skin. Unfortunately, there is little reason to go out and hunt. The time invested is not worth the small amount of materials you get in return, and you’ll have more than enough materials from outposts and exploration.

A new addition in Far Cry New Dawn are expeditions, side missions that take you to unique locales outside Hope County, like a theme park, a Splinter Cell themed plane crash, or even Alcatraz Island. Expeditions offer a welcome change of scenery and interesting, linear levels to play through, but they all have the same objective: get a package and extract as quickly as possible. This makes them feel samey, and the emphasis on speed doesn’t let you admire the new environments or explore at all. Expeditions do you net rare resources, though, so they’re worth doing if you’re short on supplies.

Speaking of exploration, the world is relatively bland. There is nothing of interest in New Dawn’s colorful wasteland except the things that are marked on your map. Because of this, exploration feels completely inorganic, and I found myself either fast travelling or flying to my objectives, ignoring everything else. The most interesting thing that’ll happen to you if you choose to walk or drive is an enemy encounter, and there is so little incentive to combat that I just drove past threats most of the time. Interesting locations or beautiful vistas would have been appreciated and could have done wonders to add variety to the game’s barren world.

I also wish New Dawn took better advantage of its setting. Despite being set in a zany, colorful post-apocalypse, everything is pretty much the same as before the bombs dropped. You still fight regular, humanoid enemies and the occasional animal, and, for the most part, you still use the same guns you did the first time you tore through Hope County. The guns and animals do look a little different, but fundamentally they’re the same thing, just with the odd splash of color here or duct tape there. The only new weapon is the saw launcher and it’s the first gun you’re handed. There is very little in the way of innovative new weapons or creative combat scenarios.

New Dawn’s story did little to grab me. I couldn’t stand the story in Far Cry 5, and New Dawn fares even worse. The plot and writing are absolutely insufferable, and after playing so many games with at least decent writing over the past year, this just feels inexcusable. There wasn’t a single likable character, not a single plot point resonated, and most of the optional dialogue was skipped. Even the game’s antagonists, twin sisters Mickey and Lou, leaders of the roving bandits The Highwaymen, are completely forgettable, which is strange for a Far Cry game. The plot takes itself way too seriously, provides no reason to care for its characters, and fails to deliver a satisfying payoff in any way, shape, or form. Performances are good, even great in some cases, but there’s nothing to back them up, and all the stakes feel wholly artificial.

Even the Guns For Hire, most of which return from 5, are flat out annoying. They do cater to widly different playstyles, Timber the dog spots enemies to help you with stealth, Horatio the boar soaks up damage to help you with a full-on assault, and Nana comes equipped with a sniper rifle to help you pick off targets from a distance, but I mainly used Timber not only because he’s a good boy, but also because the human companions kept talking to me. As much as I’d love to bring Hurk along for his RPG, he won’t shut up, and the same goes for every human companion. Their lines aren’t even just meh, they’re bad. All the dialogue in this game is awful, but luckily most of it can be skipped. It’s almost as if Ubisoft knows the writing is garbage because every quest giver has a voice line if you skip their dialogue, and some of these did make me crack a smile, mostly because of how ridiculous it is that there’s basically an “I don’t care” button.

Thankfully, Far Cry New Dawn doesn’t overstay its welcome. It’s not nearly as long as the previous game, only clocking in at around 8-10 hours, and its more linear nature trims the fat and reduces the bloat that the Far Cry series is so well known for. The shooting is still impactful and fun and clearing outposts is as addicting as ever, especially with the new rewards, but the main campaign, both in its narrative and mission structure, is incredibly subpar and never comes close to realizing its full potential. There are a lot of good ideas in Far Cry New Dawn, but it does very little to capitalize on them in a unique and fulfilling way. It’s an enjoyable but wholly unremarkable and disappointing spin-off that could’ve been so much more.

Final Score: 6

Xbox Game Pass February Update: Alien: Isolation, Batman, and More

A slew of new titles are getting added to Xbox Game Pass this week.

Three games will be available tomorrow, February 21st. Headlining this trio is Batman: Return to Arkham, a collection of the first two Batman: Arkham games remastered for current gen consoles. Alongside Return to Arkham are Adult Swim Games’s Headlander and Disney’s Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two. This entire trio comes to the service tomorrow.

Image Credit: Xbox Wire

That’s not all for Xbox Game Pass this month. Two additional games will be added to the service next Thursday, February 28th. The first of which is Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season 2, the follow up to the critically acclaimed first season (which is also available on Game Pass). Joining The Walking Dead Season 2 is Alien: Isolation, a tense survival horror experience.

Xbox Game Pass is currently available at a special price of $2 for your first two months and grants access to a library of over 100 titles, including every Microsoft first party title like Forza Horizon 4, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, and the newly-released Crackdown 3.

Will you be playing anything on Game Pass this month? Be sure to let us know down below, and follow us on Twitter for quick and easy updates.

Google to Reveal Gaming Project at GDC 2019

A new giant may soon be entering the gaming industry.

Google is planning to reveal details about its unannounced gaming project at the Game Developers Conference next month in San Francisco. Invitations were sent to members of the media this morning, inviting them to “gather around” for a keynote in which “all will be revealed”. The cryptic invite also features a GIF of a hallway with an explosion of light that fades into a date: March 19th.

Image Credit: Google

Not much else is known for sure about what Google is planning to unveil next month, but rumors of Google breaking into the gaming industry with either a streaming service or brand new hardware have been floating around for the better part of a year now. A report from The Information last year states that Google’s “Yeti” project is a streaming service that would work on either Chromecast or a Google console. A report from Kotaku followed, stating that Google was working on a streaming service paired with some sort of hardware, alongside efforts to attract developers to the platform, either through “aggressive recruiting or even major acquisitions”.

In October of last year, Google unveiled Project Stream, a service that allows streaming of new AAA titles through the company’s own Chrome browser. They partnered with Ubisoft to test the service with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, and our experience with the service was better than we expected. If Project Stream is what Google is showing off at GDC, then it would be in competition with Microsoft’s Project xCloud, set to launch this year.

GDC 2019 will run from March 18-22, and Google’s Keynote will be on March 19th at 10AM PT/ 1PM ET.

What do you think Google will show at GDC? Are streaming services going to be the next big thing this upcoming generation? Be sure to let us know down below, and follow us on Twitter for quick and easy updates.

Destiny 2’s Trials of the Nine Will Not Be Returning Anytime Soon

If you’ve been waiting for the return of Destiny’s notorious PvP mode, prepare to wait a lot longer.

Bungie, the developers of the franchise, announced that the Trials of the Nine crucible mode will be taking an extended vacation until further notice. Admitting to the dissatisfaction of the game mode in the second iteration, Bungie has decided the best course of action is to further delay its return:

“With the introduction of Trials of the Nine in Destiny 2, we made a few changes to the formula which never really hit the same mark…Until we have a solid prototype for a pinnacle PvP endgame activity, Trials is staying on hiatus indefinitely and will not return over the course of the next few seasons. When we have those new plans ready, we’ll be sure to share them with you.”

This news came as both a shock and unwelcomed surprise as players anxiously waited for Trials to return. While no set date was ever given by Bungie, many anticipated a return of the PvP mode sooner than later. Prior to the launch of Destiny 2: Forsaken, Bungie made a series of announcements detailing their plan to rework some of the systems and features the game currently offered, with Trials being the most noteworthy. With the fate of Trials remaining to be seen, long time fans and players of the title have taken to social media to voice their displeasure.

Leading up to its launch in May 2015, Bungie introduced Trials of Osiris as a new PvP experience and changed the franchise for the better. Placing guardians in a unique 3v3 elimination mode, players went head to head in hopes of achieving the ultimate victory: securing 9 consecutive wins to visit the elusive Lighthouse. Additionally, players were able to obtain unique gear and weapons that doubled as trophies to symbolize their achievements. This format was changed during the launch of Destiny 2, which renamed the game mode to Trials of the Nine, among other changes that were initially accepted but later rejected by the community.

One infamous change was the inclusion of a short cut scene that highlighted the teams and their loadouts prior to the start of the match. While these introductions were initially accepted as they removed the need to navigate through menus to see what your opponents were equipped with, they were later rejected by the community as time went on. Although still helpful, the absence of a “skip” option brought frustration to players, especially to those that were that were being matched with the same rivals and found the clip to be repetitive and unnecessary.

Another change that affected the game mode was a change in the process of obtaining the elusive Trials gear and weapons. As an effort to double down on their plan to integrate more clan features within the game, Bungie allowed players to essentially obtain Trials gear without having to ever play a match. By joining a clan, members that were skillful enough to win 7 matches without obtaining 3 losses allowed for the whole clan to receive a “Trials Engram”, which would contain either an armor piece or a weapon. Due to excessive feedback, Bungie affirmed to the Destiny community that Trials gear should only be obtained by participating in the game mode and rolled back this feature.

While the absence of a Trials game mode will continue to be felt, the effects of Bungie’s decision to further delay its return will soon been revealed in the coming months. Since its introduction, the game mode has helped the Destiny franchise in times of content drought and provided players with a recurring challenge every week. With future content coming on March 5 during the “Season of the Drifter”, we’ll have to see if that content will bring a similar challenge and engagement to the game as Trials once did.

Do you miss Trials? Does Destiny need a mode like this to maintain its playerbase? Be sure to let us know down below, and follow us on Twitter for quick and easy updates.

Over A Decade Later, Far Cry 2 is Still The Best in the Series

Far Cry games are all about gratification. You get to run, drive, and fly around beautiful open worlds, armed to the teeth with military-grade weaponry, gunning down the bad guys like an unstoppable killing machine. It feels good, but the games just sort of hand you everything. Not Far Cry 2, though. Far Cry 2 fights back, and that’s why it’s the best game in the series.

Far Cry always struggles with blending gritty realism and survival with lighthearted open world fun, and while later games lean more toward open world shenanigans, Far Cry 2 is all grit, all the time. Set in an unnamed African country embroiled in a bloody civil war, Far Cry 2 never lets the player feel safe. And that’s brilliant.

The setting itself plays a huge role in that. Being a video game from 2008, you better believe Far Cry 2 is drowning in different shades of brown and gray. That’s not to say it isn’t pretty, there are still stunning vistas and landscapes to behold, but the environment feels oppressive. Other games in the series try to do this by just throwing a bunch of wildlife at you, but I never felt as unwelcome in the mountains of Kyrat as I did roaming the jungles and savannas of Far Cry 2.

The gameplay is a far cry from other Far Cry games too (I apologize for that joke). 3, 4, and 5 supply you with shiny new assault rifles tricked out with multiple attachments, alongside buckets of ammunition. Far Cry 2’s weaponry is held together with duct tape. Your guns will jam, and they will jam at the worst times. Your guns will fall apart in your hands. These are not the pristine firearms of later Far Cry games, these are heavily used, poorly maintained weapons caked in dirt and grime, and you’ll have to work if you want better equipment. These guns aren’t the laser beams most other first person shooters give you either, you have to manage and control your aim to land shots. It’s tough, and combat is incredibly tense because of it.

There’s also the issue of malaria. Very early in the game, you contract malaria, and you need pills to suppress the negative effects. Pills, however, are scarce, and the malaria stays remains an issue throughout the entirety of the game. You’ll feel the effects of it at random, even in combat, and you’ll lose control until you take a pill, or pass out and wake up at the doctor’s if you’re out. Far Cry 2 very rarely lets things go according to plan. You may think you’ve planned out the perfect outpost takedown, but then malaria strikes, or your gun james in the firefight, or there’s a fire, or the car you planned to escape with won’t start. This forces you to react and respond, and it makes for incredibly engaging gameplay.

The buddy system is another one of Far Cry 2’s dynamic systems. Rather than playing a predetermined, voiced character, you choose one of nine mercenaries. The other eight aren’t just forgotten, though, they’re out running around like you are, and they’ll even help you out in combat, give you side missions, and save you before you die. Buddies can die, too, and you make even have to be the one to put them down. The buddy system creates memorable emergent stories. Maybe a buddy swooped in and rescued you after a malaria attack left you vulnerable. Maybe a buddy called you on your way to a mission and offered an alternative means of completion. The buddy system and the sandbox Far Cry 2 provides creates highly personal stories that you’ll want to share with people, just like something out of Breath of the Wild. Far Cry 4 and 5’s Guns for Hire system is just a hollow shell of what the buddy system once was. Sure, Hurk’s lines might get a chuckle out of me every now and then, but that’s nothing compared to the time I had to mercy kill my buddy Warren.

Far Cry 2 also excels in its UI. For the most part, there’s never anything on your screen. When you shoot you’ll get an ammo count and health info, but that’s pretty much it. The lack of UI really helps immerse you in the world, and, like the Metro games, the map is a physical item you have to look at, and it makes navigating more fun than just pressing start and placing a waypoint. The map might seem like a small detail, but it really adds a whole new layer to the experience.

Of course, the game does have its faults. Enemies at outposts respawn way too quickly, to the point where if you drive away and turn right back around, there’ll be new enemies. It really gets old when you’re just trying to reach an objective on the other side of the map. The voice acting is stilted to say the least, and the story is as generic as they come. The shooting also feels clunky compared to today’s standards. This is a decade old game, after all.

Despite these flaws, Far Cry 2 is still a phenomenal video game. It nails the feeling of a hostile environment like no other game. You really are just some guy lost in the jungle with nothing but a map, a worn down gun, and a deadly disease. Not even a character, just one of nine mercenaries. Just another solider in a world where you’re not treated like a superhero or a one man army. Far Cry 2 has a vision that it commits to wholeheartedly, and because of that, it fosters its own unique identity and I’ve yet to play anything like it to this day. It sets out to create a specific mood and it accomplishes that with flying colors. If only Ubisoft would look back at this one instead of the follow up.

What’s your favorite Far Cry game? Are you going to play Far Cry New Dawn (which was featured in our 30 Games to Look Out For in 2019 list)? Be sure to let us know down below, and follow us on Twitter for quick and easy updates.

PlayStation All-Stars 2 Coming in Dreams

Years ago I told a friend of mine how much I’d love a sequel to PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. “In your dreams,” he told me.

He was partly right.

Originally unveiled alongside the PS4 itself way back in 2013, Media Molecule’s Dreams will finally see the light of day sometime this year. The game’s beta just came to an end, and people have been eagerly sharing their creations now that the NDA has lifted. From recreating Super Mario 64 to designing wholly original first person shooters, players quickly learned the extensive creation suite and got to work on their projects. Some projects, however, are more ambitious than others.

Atomic Productions is a group of creators that plans on working with Dreams when it’s released. Rather than just creating levels or small demos, they’re buying into Media Molecule’s idea of creating entire games within Dreams. They currently have two projects planned: an entirely new Infamous game and a fully fledged follow up to PlayStation All-Stars.

Featuring fan favorites like Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, and of course, Knack, it seems like this project is among the most ambitious projects announced for Dreams as of yet. The starting roster features 15 returning fighters from the original and 19 newcomers, totaling a whopping 34 total characters. Even new characters like Aloy from Horizon Zero Dawn and 2B from Nier: Automata made it in. They even have Kiryu from the Yakuza series, a personal favorite.

The more Dreams gets shown, the more extensive the creation tools seem to get. Media Molecule promises that players will be able to make entire games, songs, and even movies within Dreams, and based on what’s been shared from the beta, it looks like that might actually be true. Dreams will be interesting to follow after its release because fans like these will surely continue to attempt to revive dormant franchises through fan games, only now they’ll have a pretty substantial platform on which to share them.

And these won’t be held together by scotch tape like the more elaborate LittleBigPlanet levels were. Instead of having to work around the toolset to do cool things, the cool things are supported from the get go this time around. Someone even recreated P.T. in Dreams, and it’s pretty amazing how close it actually is to the original. And while that may be incredible on its own, someone recreated Dead Space in Dreams, and just look at it. Media Molecule remade their own game, LittleBigPlanet, in Dreams, so we’ve already come full circle. All of this just in the beta, imagine a year after launch when people get really comfortable with the tools. Dreams is going to be a game changer, and you can mark my words on that.

Dream was featured in our 30 Games to Look Out for in 2019 list, and you can check that out here. Are you looking forward to Dreams? Be sure to let us know down below, and follow us on Twitter for quick and easy updates.

Anthem’s Demo Was Weak But Promising

So the Anthem demo happened.

I’ve played a lot of Anthem over the past two weekends and while it’s not the dumpster fire some might lead you to believe it is, it definitely has its share of problems.

Before we get into the gameplay, the story, and all that fun stuff, I have to mention the plethora of technical issues I encountered during my time with Anthem, especially during the VIP Demo weekend. Server issues were rampant. I logged less than an hour of play time the first weekend because I couldn’t even get into the game. When I did, my time was cut short by infinite load screens or crashes. It was a mess.

This is what people saw for the majority of weekend one.

Luckily, the second weekend fared much better. I could actually play the game, which was nice. However, textures wouldn’t load, the draw distance was abysmal, environments were barren, enemies would despawn, and the framerate was consistently below 30fps on PS4 Pro. All of that on top of a noticeable graphical downgrade from what we saw at E3 2018.

There was an abundance of gameplay glitches too, not just visual ones. When I would die, my respawn timer would count down from 5 and then say “respawning”, but I never did. I had to wait for a teammate to come and revive me, but a lot of the time squadmates would be AFK or just not even care. I just had to wait or abandon the mission. Sometimes enemies wouldn’t take damage from my attacks. Other times they would take damage but they’d just ignore me and stand in place. I had to close the game once because the exit button stopped working while I was customizing my javelin.

During most of the time I spent with Anthem, Anthem did not work. Considering this game is out next week for EA Access subscribers, it’s not in a good spot. But how’s the gameplay? Surely flying around in those cool suits and shooting ash titans with your friends is a good time, right? Well, sort of.

Flying around big enemies was a highlight.

The javelins are awesome. Learning to balance flying and hovering with being on the ground and managing cooldowns creates a relatively high skill ceiling. A really good Interceptor, for example, won’t get hit often if they utilize their jumps, dodges, and flight efficiently. Each javelin handles differently from one another. The Ranger is the balanced one and handles just like you’d expect it to. The Interceptor is the agile glass cannon that can weave in and out of incoming fire with three jumps and quick dodges. The Colossus is the tank and it has quite a heft to it, so it can’t move too quickly, but it can take a lot of damage. The Storm is essentially the Warlock from Destiny, relying on elemental attacks to do damage and handling way floatier than the other three. Navigating combat arenas in whichever javelin you may choose feels good, and nailing your cooldown management so you don’t overheat is a fun challenge on top of regular shooting.

Of course, you won’t be spending all your time flying. Anthem is a shooter, not a flight-sim, after all. Unfortunately, the gunplay in Anthem just isn’t good. A game’s shotgun is an easy way of telling how good the shooting is. Destiny? Great shotguns. Doom? Even better. Anthem? It’s like I’m shooting marshmallows instead of bullets. I spent most of my time as the nimble, close-range Interceptor, so I would fly in and expect to blast somebody point-blank with my shotgun, except it didn’t feel nearly as powerful as it should’ve. Using a shotgun in Anthem feels like using an Airzooka. The rest of the arsenal feels a bit better, but enemies are spongy and don’t react to getting shot. Guns in Anthem just feel weak, and that’s a shame when its competitors do it so much better.

Abilities feel much better than guns.

What Anthem does better than its competitors, though, is team play. Anthem has a combo system that’s very poorly explained, but once understood, it adds a layer of depth to the combat system. Some javelin abilities are primers, which usually afflict enemies with a status effect. If these enemies are then hit with a detonator ability, it’ll combo with the primer and do a lot of damage. Having a squadmate prime a bunch of enemies with a flamethrower so I could fly in and detonate with a melee ability felt good, and combos like these are a necessity at higher difficulties. Not every ability is a primer or a detonator though, and those falling outside of either category seem useless in comparison.

The customization system is pretty deep. Not only can you paint each individual part of your javelin, but you can also change the material and the wear status of each part. Want to run a bright pink leather Interceptor? You can. How about a battle-scarred red and black Colossus with metal plates laid over rubber? Go for it. There was only one additional vanity set available for each javelin in the demo, but people got really creative with mixing and matching just the base set and the one extra one we got. It seemed the first minute or so of every mission involved my squad and I inspecting each other’s javelins and looking at the cool designs other players had come up with (or laughing at ridiculous material/color schemes). Player expression is a huge part of this genre, and Anthem nails this aspect so far.

Anthem’s endgame has me worried, though. The endgame will consist of daily missions, strongholds, of which there are only three, and cataclysms, events that change the open world and present players with new challenges and rewards. Daily mission and strongholds offer a decent amount of content, especially the strongholds, which last about half an hour or longer on harder difficulties, but I feel they won’t be enough to keep players engaged for a long time. Cataclysms, ideally, offer the variety Anthem so dearly needs, but the “small tease” we got right before the demo ended worries me. All it did was change the skybox and spawn strong enemies, but that’s not a big enough change to keep players interested, and the spawn rates are so low that you just end up flying around aimlessly for 15 minutes until you find one ash titan.

The Storm event popped up Sunday evening for the final hours of the public demo.

Hopefully a strong campaign will make up for a relatively weak endgame experience, and Anthem might actually be able to provide one. The mission design was simplistic, it’s the same go here and kill this design philosophy that so many multiplayer shooters employ today, but some of the boss fights were really cool and made me utilize my movement abilities to dodge area of effect attacks or weave in and out of rings of fire. The writing also didn’t make me want to gouge my eyes out, which is a plus. The scenario the demo let us play through kept me somewhat engaged, but cutscenes dragged a little. Of course, it’s hard to judge the full story now, but Anthem does show some promise in that regard.

The majority of the game’s narrative segments take place in Fort Tarsis, the game’s single player hub. Here you’ll pick up quests, shop at vendors, and talk to people. It’s strange having the hub in a game like this be strictly single-player, but a social hub is coming at launch. There are some other strange decisions about Fort Tarsis, like the movement speed being way too slow, or having a generic five second song loop right next to the vendors, but Bioware has stated they’re adding some quality of life features for Fort Tarsis for the game’s full release, and the social hub will hopefully alleviate some of the other issues with the antisocial nature of Fort Tarsis.

Anthem has a lot of problems. The gunplay needs some work, the game needs a lot of technical improvements under the hood, and it’s in desperate need of substantial endgame content. However, what’s here is a promising foundation that could possibly blossom into a fantastic cooperative shooter. I just hope it won’t be too late by the time that happens.