Here in the gaming industry, we always appreciate creativity. It’s a darn rare thing, that’s why. It’s the same thing everywhere: somebody has a neat and innovative idea, and suddenly everyone else ever is ripping it off.
After the barnstorming success of Super Mario Kart in 1992, you couldn’t move for all the kart racers that were springing up. Everyone from Crash Bandicoot to the infuriating Crazy Frog were suddenly releasing them. Yes, some of us do think that Crash Team Racing is better than Mario Kart, but most of these pretenders were just beyond bilge.
That’s the tricky thing about gamers. We like things to stay faithful to familiar formulas, but we don’t like games that stick too rigidly to them. When sequels are just lazy retreads of what came before, that’s totally uncool.
It’s so difficult for developers to be truly creative. Even when they do pull it off super well, that’s only half the battle. A great idea executed poorly is just gutting, because you can see the potential there and you can see the game falling tragically short.
We’ve seen this lots of times in the industry, but the most high-profile example of late would have to be Anthem. It’s a big, brash, ambitious action RPG from BioWare, boasting high-octane combat in fancy exosuits known as Javelins. Its launch was… well, a PR nightmare, but there’s still a huge amount of enjoyment to be squeezed from the game.
From getting to grips with the combo-centric combat to limiting the number of times you’re freaking overheating, let’s take a look at some expert Anthem tricks and tips.
20 You Can Fly Into Battle… Literally
That little pun’s going to seem pretty clever in about twelve seconds, friends. Just wait.
Anthem comes with a few ill-advised limitations on its exhilarating flight mechanics, and one of them may seem to be the transition between flying and combat. This needn’t be the case, though.
As you fly towards an opponent, you can hit B (or circle) to instantly perform your heavy homing attack. Not only does this make you feel super powerful, it’s seamless and much less jarring. Moreover, as What Culture reports, it can cause AoE damage, capable of wiping out little bands of enemies before combat even really begins.
A very simple yet crucial tip to keep in mind.
19 You Can Get a Wealth Of Extra Worldbuilding Info From Your Codex
One of the (many, many) criticisms leveled at Anthem has been its story. It’s all a little disjointed, for one thing, and quite limited at face value. If these elements of games are important to you, though, you’ll be glad to hear that there’s a lot more going on here under the surface.
As is the case with Dark Souls and the like, much of the lore isn’t simply handed to you. Dive into the menus, the codex, your in-game emails, and you’ll be presented with a wealth of extra story and information that you may never have known about. It pays not to skip through all of this stuff.
18 You Can Skim Across The Water To Prevent Overheating
So far in this rundown, we’ve spoken about the neat ideas within Anthem and the questionable decisions that have let them down. Take the whole flight mechanic, for instance. The high-tech exosuits are clearly the main USP of the game, but there are some frustrating limitations to their use.
The main one? Overheating. This mechanic restricts you to only short bursts of flight and sees you having to dip underwater to keep your Javelin cool.
This is a little counter-productive, though. A far more intuitive solution is to fly very low so you’re just in the water (your overheat bar will be blue if you’re doing it right), allowing you to stay cool while on the move.
17 You Can Get A LOT Of Value From Dodging
As a wise man once said, (well, actually, it was Peppy Hare from Starfox, but the furry little guy is wiser than some) do a barrel roll! Yes, this phrase has become more of a meme than anything else, but it’s certainly apropos in the world of Anthem.
As GameSpot have stated, you might think that the high maneuverability of your Javelin means that you can simply fly around attacks and evade them that way. You totally can, to a limited extent, but if you don’t take the time to master the dodge mechanic, you’re going to be in trouble. Especially with all of those speedy homing attacks you’ll be bombarded with later.
Take the time to get it all down. In particular, pay attention to the fact that holding the dodge button and any direction will allow you to evade up to three times at once.
16 You Can Also Just Use A Huge Shield Instead (If You're Colossus)
So, yes. As we’ve just seen, dodging is a crucial element of Anthem gameplay, and you’re going to want to master it as soon as you can. At the same time, though, your chosen Javelin has a huge role in the way you play too.
There are four different exosuits to pick from: Ranger, Interceptor, Storm, and Colossus. Mastery of the differences between them is another essential aspect of expert Anthem play (as we’ll see later in this rundown), but for now, there’s one important thing to remember. The Colossus Javelin does not have a block.
Instead, Colossus will raise a shield, allowing the user to negate a certain amount of damage. This makes its playstyle super different from the other three, in ways that you may not expect. Try it out and see if it’s for you.
15 You Can Perform Very Stylish Combos
From flashy gameplay trailers and such, you may have thought that combat in Anthem is going to be a little superficial. You know, all about big, beautiful effects (it’s a darn pretty game in places, you can’t take that away from it) and explosions out the wazoo.
This isn’t a Marvel movie, though. As more experienced players are coming to know, there’s actually a surprising amount of depth to the combat of Anthem. As is the case with a lot of the best game mechanics, combos are easy to understand but require skill and split-second timing to get the very best out of. Let’s take a look at how combos are done.
14 You Can Stick Foes In Place And Then Light Them Up
Combos in Anthem revolve around Primers and Detonators. These are different types of abilities that you can set in your loadout, and they serve as a sort of one-two punch in battle. As WhatCulture explains, you can see which is which in the loadout screen by those handy symbols: the little circular icon next to an ability’s name means that it’s a Primer, while the star icon denotes a Detonator.
Put simply, a Primer will set your foe up for a big hit, which is delivered by the Detonator: “Primers only wear off after a set amount of time, so after freezing an enemy or covering them in acid, go all-out with your Detonators to deal as much damage as possible in that window.”
13 You Can Take Advantage Of Special Javelin-Specific Combo Effects
So, yes, the combo system is very easy to understand. Set up your Primer effect, then Detonate your opponent to deal big damage. That’s all there is to it, right? Well, fundamentally, yes, but there’s a lot more that expert players can eke out of this simple-sounding system.
Each specific Javelin has its own special effect that triggers when you achieve a combo, you see. Colossus, for instance, has the added effect Explosion, which causes all successful Detonations to explode and damage all enemies in range. Ranger, meanwhile, maximizes the damage it deals to specific detonated enemies with Critical Target.
Depending on who you and your allies are playing and the situation on the battlefield, these are the sorts of things you’ll need to be aware of. There’s a lot for an experienced squad to take advantage of.
12 You Can Play Just Fine By Yourself (And Sometimes, It's More Productive)
Sometimes in these multiplayer-orientated titles, there’s safety in numbers. Other times, though, there darn well isn’t. In games like Monster Hunter, for instance, you may think that a team of four hunters would have a much easier time with a monster than a solo player, but that isn’t always the case. Depending on the series entry and the circumstances, the monster’s HP will scale way up, meaning the fight can actually take much longer.
In Anthem, too, multiplayer isn’t always better. If you’re out to collect everything you can, there’ll be times when you don’t want allies pulling you along (literally, you’ll be automatically teleported to them if you stray). This has been patched and is much less of an issue, but was one of many things that turned players away from the game early on.
Crafting and looting are darn important, so striking out by yourself is a-okay when you want to.
11 You Can Prevent Yourself From Being Befuddled By The Underwater Camera
Now, water is the greatest enemy of any and all electronics. There’s a reason why Electric is super effective on Water in Pokémon, after all. Why? Because that super-expensive tablet is never going to work again if you accidentally drop it down the toilet, that’s why.
Regardless, as we’ve already seen, water is incredibly important to the maintenance of your Javelin. The game encourages us to hop into waterfalls and dive underwater whenever we can, in fact.
While down there, you’ll have surely noticed that the camera can get a little shonky. Save yourself from becoming disorientated with this simple tip: click the right stick to hover and you’ll right yourself. You’ll want to make this habit second-nature quickly.
10 You Can (And Really Should) Avoid Crafting With Your Precious Resources Early On
Now, if you’re familiar with the Raid mode of Resident Evil: Revelations and its sequel, you’ll know that the weapons you found had levels of their own. A new rifle, for instance, may seem super-powerful at first, but would soon be replaced by newer, better equipment. You may have paid out a lot to buy it, too.
This is something to be aware of in Anthem, too. Early in the game, resources are tough to come by, and you don’t want to waste them on weapons you’ll soon ‘outgrow.’ Early in the game, you’ll be just fine with what you find, so save your crafting for later as far as you can.
9 You Can Customize Your Javelin’s Colours
Now, this is one of those features that should really have been clearly marked for everyone to find. Yes, these newfangled exosuits are neat and all, but what if you want to deck them out in a stylish purple, yellow and pink color scheme? Well, you can go right ahead and do that, but you probably wouldn’t know it.
Oddly, this functionality is a little hidden away. As GameSpot reports, at face value, all it looks like you can do is alter your Javelin’s textures, but “to change its colors, press right on any of the body options to shift over to a little box on the right-hand side of the menu; this allows you to change the part's color.”
8 You Can Keep Those Consumables As An Ace Up Your Sleeve For Tricky Challenges
So, Pokémon players, how often do you use X items? X Attack, X Defend and such? The games are hardly known for their difficult main stories, so probably very rarely, if ever.
They've come in handy at times, sure. Against Ultra Necrozma, for one thing, because that was just silly. As a general rule, though, they're rarely needed.
This also tends to be the case in Anthem. If you’re just playing through to the conclusion of the main story, you’ll be just fine without those consumables for the most part.
The challenges that await much later in the game? They’re a different story, and you’ll be glad you saved up those items then.
7 You Can Research And Learn About Your Specific Javelin's Strengths
To keep things simple, you could say that your Javelin serves as your character class within Anthem. Perhaps it’s not quite as role-defining as that, but as we’ve seen, there are major differences in the ways that they operate.
Over on EA’s site, there’s a handy-dandy introduction to each of the four types of Javelin. While it’s nothing comprehensive, it’s enough to give you a feel of how each will operate and what their general gameplan is. This is something to keep in mind when you’re making your loadout choices, but remember that it isn’t the be all and end all of things.
6 You Can Also Adapt And Deviate From What Your Javelin Is ‘Supposed’ To Do
Speaking of which, this is something that can be a little tough to grasp for new players. Looking at the Colossus, for instance, you’d probably go ahead and assume that this is the game’s tank. What with the whole hey, ma, check me out, I’ve got a huge darn shield thing it’s got going on, nobody could blame you for that at all.
Even so, there’s plenty of scope to think outside the box here. That shield is a weapon as well as a defensive tool, and the offensively-powerful Interceptor can also do a whole lot to protect you and your team with the brief invulnerability from its ultimate.
In short, expert players have gotten to know the true versatility of their Javelins and their abilities, and so should you.
5 You Can (Somewhat) Resolve The Loading Screen Situation
Do you remember when Bloodborne launched? It was critically acclaimed as the stellar title it is, but (like any other game), there were nitpicks and issues.
The loading screens were a major one. Players were being bested by slavering monstrosities every ten minutes or so, and the super-long and barren loading screen was a real problem as a result. Fortunately, it was patched in time, and so have the many, egregious loading screens of Anthem.
Things are much better than they were, and the waiting time has been drastically reduced, but gamers don’t tend to be patient people. As reported by Windows Central, dedicated players have been utilizing external SSDs (Xbox One) and internal M.2s (PC) to try and get things running as quickly as possible.
4 You Can Perform Instant Reloads Like A Pro
This next tip is something that probably goes against the instincts of every shooter player out there. You know that feeling you get, when you’ve only fired off a couple of shots but you’ve just got to reload anyway, just in case? It’s a compulsion, and such a common one that it’s actually achieved meme status.
In Anthem, though, you should really try to unlearn the habit of a lifetime. In this game, you can instantly and automatically refill your magazine by nabbing an ammo pickup. This won’t always be an option, of course, but these drops are frequent enough that you can incorporate this into your play.
3 You Can Use The Terrain And The Enemy Placement Against Them To Accomplish Impossible Feats
As we all know, Anthem’s had a super-shonky launch (it’s currently BioWare’s worst-received game on Metacritic, sitting at a sad score of 60), but there’s no need to despair just yet. It’s very early days, and there are signs that things are improving (with the loading screens and the forced-teleport-to-teammates thing, for instance).
More importantly, even at this super-early stage, there are players who have outright mastered the game already. We’ve already seen a two-man team take on the Temple of the Scar Stronghold (made for four) on the highest difficulty.
To achieve this feat, they utilized the terrain and the positioning and movements of the enemies to their advantage. That’s what being an expert is all about: using everything.
2 You Can (And Should) Just Go For Optimal Gear At First; Don’t Try And Micromanage Too Early
Next, we’re arriving at another aspect of the game that BioWare didn’t trouble to explain too well.
In grind-heavy games like Anthem, it’s probably even more important to give players a firm grounding in how to go about leveling their character, but nope. Newcomers are probably a little baffled about equipment and which way to go with it.
One important thing to note is that, as Tech Register reports, it’s all very Destiny-like. Much like the Light system, your overall power is determined by the pieces you have equipped (the straight total of it all combined, in this case), and that’s what you really want to be concerned with at first. Pieces have different passive effects, but you can’t get bogged down in ensuring you’ve got the right ones because you’ll be constantly getting new gear.
Before finalizing a build much later, just keep swapping out what you have when you can (without spending lots of resources in the process, as we discussed earlier).
1 Grabbing Masterworks The ‘Easy’ Way With Legendary Contracts
On the subject of gear, it’s only natural that you’ll want to be meticulously customizing every stat and ability your character has, right from the off. So many of us are just conditioned to do that in these sorts of titles.
In the long run, though, it’s definitely better to cool your jets and save those crafting resources for later. Once you reach the endgame, you can tinker and perfect to our heart’s content.
At the moment, the best way for expert players to get the best gear is through the Legendary Contracts. At level 30/Grandmaster I and higher, these tough missions will always drop a Masterwork when you complete them. These are available only once each day, so make sure you keep checking back.