AN­THEM

BioWare re­veals its fourth Javelin, the In­ter­cep­tor, and how all the suits play

PlayStation Official Magazine (UK) - - CONTENTS -

We see the fi­nal Javelin suit in ac­tion and get a proper feel for BioWare’s sci-fi RPG.

Sit­ting in a side room at Paris Games Week, we’re privy to a pri­vate demo of An­them. It’s been two years since BioWare an­nounced the sci-fi co-op shooter – part Des­tiny, a bit of Mon­ster Hunter World, a smidge of Mass Ef­fect – but only now are we get­ting a sense of how ev­ery­thing clicks to­gether.

What’s clear from our demo is the game, at its core, is a BioWare ex­pe­ri­ence. If you feared the de­vel­oper, which is known for its sto­ry­telling, had aban­doned its val­ues to chase trends, then set­tle down and en­joy what’s shap­ing up to be the stu­dio’s re­turn to form.

“It’s what our play­ers choose to en­gage with, it’s where they want to live,” says BioWare pro­ducer Thomas Sin­gle­ton as he ex­plains the ba­sis for the game’s fo­cus on co-op – it’s be­ing de­signed as a shared ex­pe­ri­ence. “That said, so is sto­ry­telling, so is im­mers­ing play­ers in the lore and the en­vi­ron­ment – hav­ing, to be frank, give a sh*t about what they’re play­ing.”

While the stu­dio, and Sin­gle­ton, fall silent as we press for de­tails on the game’s story and deeper lore, the pro­ducer does reveal cus­tomi­sa­tion is de­signed to mean­ing­fully af­fect how you ex­pe­ri­ence the story.

“Get­ting into that Javelin is an ex­ten­sion of your story,” ex­plains Sin­gle­ton. “The Javelin is a di­rect re­flec­tion of your­self in the game, through cus­tomi­sa­tion and gear choices. These choices make a dif­fer­ence […] They change the di­rec­tion of the game and the dy­namic of your team.”

SHARP SUITS

We see the ef­fects of these choices in-game, as the four-player team tac­tics feel rooted in tra­di­tional fan­tasy RPG rules. De­pend­ing on your team’s load­out and mix of Javelins, you’ll need to tackle mis­sions in dif­fer­ent ways.

The Javelins (think Iron Man suits with a splash of D&D) all have par­tic­u­lar playstyles – strengths,

weak­nesses, and tac­ti­cal uses that come into their own when play­ing in a party with three friends.

The four Javelins re­vealed so far (“Right now we’re only talk­ing about the four suits,” teases Sin­gle­ton) are the Ranger, Colos­sus, Storm, and In­ter­cep­tor. This last one, the svelte green suit seen in An­them’s promo art, is be­ing seen in ac­tion for the first time dur­ing our demo.

QUICK TO THE PUNCH

Like all the Javelins in the game, the In­ter­cep­tor has its pluses and mi­nuses. It’s in­cred­i­bly ag­ile and ac­ro­batic, able to speed into the mid­dle of a pack of en­emy Scars, scythe through them with its twin glaives, and zip away.

It’s quick and fea­tures in­ter­est­ing gear, in­clud­ing clus­ter mines and en­emy-seek­ing throw­ing blades; our favourite tool is Star Strike, which turns the In­ter­cep­tor into a weapon and fires it­self at en­e­mies. While great on the at­tack the In­ter­cep­tor lacks de­fen­sive prow­ess, par­tic­u­larly on the ground, and like all scouts needs sup­port.

“Where the game shines is play­ing as that squad, you’re work­ing to­gether as a unit to go and con­quer var­i­ous mis­sions,” says Sin­gle­ton.

Our demo proves the pro­ducer right, as the In­ter­cep­tor works with Ranger, Colos­sus, and Storm Javelins in a new mis­sion called Lost Ar­con­ist to mix its abil­i­ties with the other exo-suited play­ers to tac­ti­cally over­come a mob of Scars.

The Ranger, for ex­am­ple, is your all-pur­pose knight, good in de­fence and at­tack. “He’s a ver­sa­tile front­line fighter,” says Sin­gle­ton. Within the game’s lore it’s the “Royal Guard’s suit, so you’ll be see­ing it a lot around Fort Tar­sis.”

The Colos­sus is An­them’s tank, the Javelin of choice for play­ers who want to act as a party’s blunt force unit. “If you like to blow sh*t up, Colos­sus is your guy,” says Sin­gle­ton, smil­ing as the big unit de­mol­ishes a wave of Scars with its flak can­non.

The Colos­sus isn’t just about fire­power – though its mini-nuke Ul­ti­mate Abil­ity called the Siege Can­non is a must. It can sup­port the team in sub­tle ways. The Taunt Sup­port Gear draws AI en­e­mies to it. Safe be­hind the Colos­sus’s shield, it’s a tac­tic that can give your team­mates a chance to re­cover or hit an en­emy in its weaker ar­eas as their at­ten­tion is turned.

Fi­nally Storm sup­ports the group from afar like a tra­di­tional mage

THE IN­TER­CEP­TOR SUIT IS BE­ING SEEN IN AC­TION FOR THE FIRST TIME DUR­ING OUR DEMO.

class, a Javelin that was “de­vel­oped by the Free­lancer’s neme­sis [and your en­emy] the Do­min­ion,” says Sin­gle­ton, teas­ing a lit­tle lore.

The name’s a give­away, as the Storm’s pi­lot can tap into the el­e­men­tal forces of An­them, called Seals, to power the suit, un­leash­ing fire, ice, wind, and light­ning strikes.

In­ter­est­ingly the Storm is most de­fen­sive when fly­ing, or rather float­ing, as it uses Seals en­ergy to hover and raise shields. In close com­bat it’s in­cred­i­bly vul­ner­a­ble so keep­ing Scars at a dis­tance, us­ing team­mates in Colos­sus and Ranger Javelins as a buf­fer, is the best tac­tic, and again, proves co-op is the beat­ing heart of An­them.

TEAM AT­TACK

As the Lost Ar­con­ist mis­sion reaches its cli­max we see the tac­tics un­fold. Colos­sus is up front draw­ing Scars to it­self, while Ranger is in close sup­port with its Shock Mace and a spread of gre­nades. The In­ter­cep­tor is dart­ing be­tween Scars, nip­ping at their health. Float­ing in the fore­ground Storm winds up its Ul­ti­mate Abil­ity, a suc­ces­sive bar­rage of frost, elec­tric­ity, and fire that cul­mi­nates in a me­te­orite fall­ing from the sky and crush­ing the Scars. Fan­tas­tic. What do you think of An­them? Take to Twit­ter and let us know, @OPM_UK.

You’ll want to team up with play­ers in a va­ri­ety of suits to en­sure your squad has max­i­mum flex­i­bil­ity and fire­power.

Storm can chan­nel the power of An­them into Seals to launch el­e­men­tal strikes.

Ranger uses a Frost Grenade to freeze and then shat­ter its en­emy.

Like a ninja, In­ter­cep­tor is best used to make quick strikes, then with­draw.

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