Anthem’s first Demo is upon us this weekend, and luckily we’ve had a little bit of time to play before it goes live – meaning we’ve gathered a handful of handy tips and good-to-know tricks to help you get off to a flying start.
If you’re after details on that Demo itself, by the way, you can take a look at our dedicated page on the Anthem VIP demo start times, date, and everything else!
As for our tips, here’s the best advice we’ve picked up so far:
Most things are more fun – and easier – in squads
Anthem’s missions will scale naturally with your squad size – you can take on anything in the game with any combination of one, two, three, or four players in your squad – but that doesn’t mean things still don’t get easier with more players.
That’s because some of Anthem’s missions require you to do a bit of environmental puzzling, and it’s much easier to do that whilst also tackling the game’s many enemies when there are more of you. It helps you split your focus, back each other up, multi-task, and most of all coordinate your Combos, which are surprisingly important.
Combos are by far the most important thing to master
In terms of Anthem’s combat, getting to grips with what Combos are, how they work, and how to get the most out of them is going to be the best thing you can do to maximise your damage output early on.
In breif, Combos involve setting up or ‘priming’ enemies with one type of attack, and then triggering a big damage chunk by hitting them with another. Multiple players can combine to do this, too – so if you only have a primer in your arsenal and one of your pals has the type of attack that triggers the combo, you can do the setting up and they can do the setting off.
The amount of damage you can deal out from doing Combos, and the relative frequency with which you can land them, means that they’re going to be pretty central to your experience of combat in Anthem. It’s worth investing some time in your character build and planning with co-op buddies to get the most out of them!
Attacks that prime enemies have a little bullseye-style circle symbol next to them, in the bottom right of your HUD; ones that detonate primed enemies have a little four-pronged star symbol.
Flying well is essential – and it’s all about the heat
Flying is more than just getting around in Anthem – it’s also a key part of the combat as well, as manoeuvring in the air is how you’ll avoid attacks, reposition, and stay mobile whilst delivering your own. You’ll need to master it, which is a matter of practise as much as anything, but there are some things to bear in mind that’ll get you off to a good start.
Most importantly, flying is about managing temperature. Your Javelin (suit) can fly as long as it isn’t overheated – the longer you fly for, the more you heat up, as shown by the gradually-filling bar below your Javelin as you fly around.
You can cool it down in a few ways: flying near water or liquid, which gives you a ‘cooled’ buff for a few seconds where you won’t heat up at all; and nosediving rapidly, which reduces the temperature of your Javelin as long as you’re diving.
As you get better at flying around, you’ll be able to weave climbing and diving into your moment-to-moment movement in the air, keeping yourself cooled for longer. There are also various types of gear that apply cooling buffs when equipped, too. One other thing to note as well: enemy attacks that set you on fire will immediately overheat you, knocking you out of the air. Learn your enemy types to avoid getting almost totally immobilised in combat!
Difficulty setting is as important as your gear and Pilot level
Here’s a weird one: unlike most service-style shooters like Anthem, the damage you deal scales according to your gear, weapons, level, and difficulty setting, which is a much more active part of your progress than usual. It isn’t just about how much of a challenge you want but about how much of a reward you want to earn too: the higher the difficulty you select – it’s selected every time you launch an Expedition (mission) – the higher quality and quantity of loot you’ll get as you complete it.
What’s more, damage is scaled per-player. So let’s say you’re level 10 and you squad up with a level 20 pal, you’ll both do the same damage to enemies in terms of how much their health bar goes down, but you’ll see different numbers on your own screen. You might deal 500 damage and take off half of an enemy’s health bar, and they might do 1,000 damage on their screen, but take off half of their health bar too. Basically, higher level pals can’t carry you through missions. What makes missions feel easy or hard is the difficulty you choose in advance.
All Javelins fly at the same speed, but with different amounts of mobility
Picking your class, or Javelin, is absolutely about your choice of playstyle, but what won’t be affected no matter what is the actual top speed of your Javelin. You’ll always fly at the same top speed, but things like acceleration, and you ability to manoeuvre effectively or perform in-air or ground-based dodges, depends on your choice of Javelin.
No need to worry about getting left behind, then – but if you do end up far behind your squad on a mission, you’ll get teleported forwards to their location when enough time’s passed.
You can rejoin missions where you left off if you get disconnected, for a time
We haven’t tested the maximum amount of time that can elapse, but in our experience at the Anthem preview, you can all get disconnected from a mission for at least a minute or two, and then still rejoin that mission where you left off.
You can also join onto your friends at any point, provided they have a free slot in their four-player squad, which is great news for that one annoying squadmate with the dodgy internet connection – and for Demo players, since there’s bound to be the odd bump in the connectivity road along the way.