BioWare’s latest games-as-a-service model, Anthem, has now launched across all major platforms. In Anthem, you play as a Freelancer - a mercenary tasked with protecting the haven known as Fort Tarsis. This requires you going on missions called expeditions, for which you’ll wear a suit known as a Javelin, which affords you the ability to fly, as well as a plethora of unique combat capabilities.
At the moment, there are four Javelins in Anthem: Ranger, Colossus, Storm, and Interceptor. The thing is, it’s difficult to say which of these is the best, because all four suits are the best at what they’re designed to do. So, instead of telling you which Javelin is the most powerful, it’s perhaps more useful to say which Javelin will suit your playstyle best.
In order to do that, we have to take a look at all four suits individually and come to a conclusion about what each Javelin is best at, as well as how each Javelin synergizes with the rest.
Being the first Javelin you unlock in Anthem, it’s easy to dismiss the Ranger as a throwaway suit. Although this is the tutorial Javelin, it actually outperforms the others in certain situations, despite the fact that’s emphatically what it’s not supposed to do. It may be documented as the most balanced class, not specializing in any given combat style, but it’s actually one of the better suits in terms of providing support.
In Anthem, everything is based on combos, especially at higher difficulties. To trigger a combo, you need two things: a primer and a detonator. The Ranger suit is brilliantly equipped to execute primers, which other classes can then capitalize on with devastating detonators. Also, the Ranger can use its Bulwark Point ability to put a shield up around its squad, allowing for some interesting strategies involving revivals and area control.
While the Ranger isn’t the flashiest suit - unless you get really creative with customization - it’s a really powerful Javelin if your team composition is right. It’s well worth having a Ranger on every squad, and if you usually prefer all-rounder classes in shooters, this could be the Javelin for you.
The Colossus suit resembles what most other online games would label as a tank - and that’s kind of what it does in Anthem too. The biggest of the suits, your job as a Colossus is to control mobs. You’ve got a far bigger health pool than all the other Javelins, although this can be deceptive given the fact that you’re way less mobile too. You can charge in and take lots of hits, sure, but you need to remember that you’re not particularly well-equipped to make an exit once you get low. That’s why the Colossus suit is probably the most difficult one to master.
Using your Taunt ability will cause all nearby enemies to focus on you, and that can be great if you’re playing with a cooperative team. However, remember that this class is almost entirely founded upon teamwork and communication. It’s like Overwatch - Winston is a staple to lots of compositions at professional level, but in lower ranks he can be easily countered if his team don’t synergize with him. A Colossus pairs incredibly well with a Storm, as they can help each other trigger some of the most gargantuan detonations in the game.
Just keep in mind that if you get burned or frozen while you’re in the thick of it, you’re as good as dead. Pick your fights, engage the mob at the right time, and take the heat away from the rest of your team so that you can annihilate entire mobs in one fell swoop.
At the moment, if there were to be a best Javelin, it would probably be Storm. It’s a little frail, having the second-shallowest health pool, but it has enough mobility to dodge incoming attacks once you get used to the movement.
As mentioned earlier, most of Anthem’s combat is founded upon combos. The Ranger is a great primer Javelin, whereas the Colossus can unleash some massive detonations. Storm can do both, and can do so from a distance thanks to its ability to hover almost indefinitely - if you’re crafty.
Because you’re going to be at range most of the time, you likely won’t take too many hits, especially if you’ve got a Colossus that’s good at aggroing enemies towards them. So you can devote your entire attention to setting up combos and capitalizing on primers your teammates line up for you. Storm is way more ability-focused than the other classes, but these abilities can be devastating once you master them. At higher difficulties, it will be mandatory to have at least one, if not two, Storm players on your team.
Ah, the Interceptor. Our favorite class, but alas, probably the weakest one. As a melee-based Javelin, the Interceptor’s playstyle involves getting up close and personal with enemies. It’s a shame, then, that the Ranger is actually better suited for this due to the fact that it has more sustainability. In fact, at higher difficulties, the output value of enemy damage is so high that engaging them in close combat with anything other than a Colossus is ill-advised.
If you’ve got to play ranged to stay alive with a melee-based class, you’re wasting a Javelin slot. The Interceptor isn’t unviable, and if you’re good with it, you can likely play at any difficulty. Also, if you’re not interested in Grandmaster, then you can really clean up enemies with ease at lower difficulties. Again, this is the Javelin we like best, as we love the style of combat. It’s just not in a good place right now relative to the other suits, which all add far more to a team. It’s not meta, per se, as all of the other Javelins add more in terms of combo potential.
So, while there isn’t a best Javelin, there is probably one that’s best for you. If you’re a tank kind of player, you should be on the frontlines wearing a Colossus suit.
If you’re a tactician, the Storm suit will afford you the ability to both set up and execute the kind of plays that will see you and your team back to Fort Tarsis safely.
All-rounders will dig the Ranger Javelin, as it allows you to do a bit of everything, and having a jack-of-all-trades around allows you extra versatility for when a fight looks as if it’s about to go south.
The poor Interceptor is in need of some buffs at the moment, but it’s probably the most fun Javelin of the lot, and if you learn it inside out, you should be able to use it at any level of play-given that your team is cooperating, that is.
After all, that’s the most important thing in Anthem. To borrow from the title of the prequel book launched by Bioware in support of Anthem, “strong alone, stronger together.”
(Image credits: BioWare/EA)
- Read more: Anthem review
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Cian Maher is the associate Editor at TheGamer. He is a freelance reporter with work in The Guardian, The Washington Post, Techradar, The Irish Times, The Verge, VICE, WIRED, Ars Technica, MTV, Eurogamer, VG247, Polygon, GameSpot, Rock Paper Shotgun, IGN, Variety, Red Bull, Gamasutra, PC Gamer, SYFY, and more. First Class Honours BA in English Studies from Trinity College Dublin.