I'll admit, I've been on more of a slow boat than a hype train when it comes to Anthem. It's taken me some months to gel to the idea of BioWare (the house that Mass Effect built, at least in my timeline) making the full transition to a fly-around pew-pew-pew action-MMO. Sure, the internet's consensus states that Mass Effect 2 is the best Mass Effect for having improved exponentially on the series' combat mechanics. And sure, the internet's consensus states that Mass Effect: Andromeda sucked but that the combat was great. So, it's not like BioWare hasn't been building on and building towards this model of video game for a decade now. And yet, like I've said, it's still taken me longer than most to get cozy with the idea of what I've seen of Anthem so far.
Okay, enough of me burying the lede. BioWare kicks off a new gameplay series with the video below, "This is Anthem | Gameplay Series, Part 1: Story, Progression, and Customization." It does the Rockstar thing where they bring in a well-voiced but disassociated narrator, speaking calmly about a game's features. It's all scripted more like a TED Talk than an action movie trailer. I like these. They speak plainly. A simple guy like me can appreciate that.
The video opens with three wildly varying environmental shots—a surefire way to get me to perk up. There's the rugged cliffs and ruined metalwork of the main world; the alien and bioluminescent underwater world, and the hacked-together medieval bricklaying and steel buttresses world trying to keep the lava fissures from swallowing everything whole. You're part explorer, protector, and adventurer in this landscape. Your mission—the game's entire namesake—is based on something called the Anthem of Creation. As one of the incredibly good-looking facially animated characters will inform you, "The Anthem of Creation is everything. To control it is everything."
You get four Javelin exosuit types, meaning character classes, to choose from: Storm, Ranger, Colossus, and Interceptor. The Interceptor is your rogue. Built for speed. Get in, get out. Hit and run. The Ranger is your sniper-type. Keep your distance. Control the crowd with wicked firepower at range. The Colossus is your fighter. What it lacks in agility it makes up for as a bullet sponge. The Storm is your wizard. Huge amount of magical-looking firepower, but it's exosuit is practically robes.
Anyway, I'll let the video get down to the nitty gritty. Anthem is due in a month or so, launching on PC, PS4, and Xbox One on February 22.