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As a former die-hard Destiny fan, I avoided news about BioWare’s Anthem, convinced it would be a copy of Bungie’s work. Now that the release is nearly here, and Destiny 2 was extremely underwhelming, I can no longer ignore Anthem’s presence. Anthem, it seems, does not refer to the world itself but rather a power that can create and destroy. Which means that a baddie wants it like a kid wants candy. The inhabitants of Fort Tarsis, called Freelancers, have something to say about that. In this game, players are called pilots. Why? Because they control a Mjolnir-style supersuit called a Javelin. But it can fly. And swim. And do some other neat stuff. There are four basic Javelin types to choose from - Storm, Ranger, Colossus, and Interceptor - each of which has its own merits ranging from elemental attacks to lumbering defense and heavy hitting attacks. From there, the pilot can customize their Javelin further, creating different types of layouts for different encounters in the world. Everything is customizable from the armor to the boosts, enabling players to change the Javelin to fit their individual play style. Additionally, there are two types of leveling systems: a pilot score, and a javelin score. Similar to many other loot-based games, there’s a tier system in place that ranges from Uncommon to MasterWork. What Anthem seems to be striving for is to take the varying elements from previous shooter RPGs that made those games great and smash them together in a very ambitious effort. From the gameplay footage, I can see things that look like Mass Effect, The Division, Titanfall, Overwatch, and, of course, Destiny. Granted, many of these games share similarities already, but it looks like Anthem will be the top dog this year if BioWare can successfully pull it off. If you happened to pre-order the game, the VIP demo ran this weekend from January 25 to 29 after some initial issues. KSI players from across the community took to it immediately. “So far it’s great,” said KSI Harley 97, General of Leviathan FA. “Very smooth gameplay. Only issue I have is the loading screens taking forever.” I was able to watch the General of Integritas IR, KSI Ronald_McFallin, play as a Ranger. He directed his Ironman-esque Javelin in a couple of encounters with Scars. Even while on fire, he was able to boost over the head of a Scar Enforcer and use a laser ability to take it down. An open demo of Anthem will be available February 1 through 3 before the game releases February 22 on EA Origin, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Keep an eye out for KSI streamers this weekend! (Images courtesy of KSI Ronald_McFallin's stream 27 January 2019)