Tuesday, 10 June 2014

EA @ E3 2014

Missed the EA E3 conference? Want to check out the highlights without watching the whole thing? Don't worry, CeX has you covered!

Hosted by a dude that looked like a younger, slightly stretched Matthew Perry, the EA presentation was both lacking and impressive. They've always had a hard time connecting with gamers (what with being nominated and winning the “worst company in America” award), so it's always fun to see them try to impress. So, like a guy meeting his girlfriends father for the first time, EA got their hair cut, dressed up nicely and  tried to deliver their best E3 yet. Here's the rundown...

Star Wars: Battlefront (Multi-platform)

For far too long has this franchise been left out in the cold. The original Star Wars: Battlefront was released in 2004, and landed the player amidst massive, epic Star Wars battles. Whether controlling an AT-AT Walker in an attempt to destroy the rebel base on Hoth, using a Jedi against a group of Sith or even wanting to take part in some classic space battles, Star Wars: Battlefront was literally the ultimate Star Wars experience. Now, after a long absence, Star Wars: Battlefront is about to make its return. Being developed by Battlefield developer DICE, the latest Battlefront incarnation not only look absolutely jaw dropping, but also extremely authentic. Fingers crossed it all comes together in the end, but this looks like it's going to be incredible!

Dragon Age: Inquisition (Multi-platform)

I was a little torn while watching the beautiful trailer for Dragon Age: Inquisition. On one hand it looked pretty damn stunning, and without a doubt a departure from previous instalments, but on the other hand, it's coming from Bioware, who most recently made Mass Effect 3, Dragon Age 2 and Star Wars: The Old Republic. All of which were just bloody terrible. But despite their past screw ups, perhaps we're seeing a return to form for Bioware? Maybe they're getting back to their Baldur’s Gate/Neverwinter Nights roots? I certainly hope so, and after watching this trailer for Dragon Age: Inquisition, I'm thinking yes, Bioware is back, baby!

Mass Effect (Almost definitely multi-platform)

One problem with EA's presentation was the lack of real content on offer. Sure, they showed off a good few titles, but when it came to showing off something from Mass Effect, all they could muster up was some artwork and CGI renders. It's better than nothing, but a true insider’s look at the next Mass Effect could have won E3 for them, but instead we got Bioware essentially saying, “Don't forget about Mass Effect! We'll have something to show by E3 2016, I swear!” It should have been the centrepiece to the presentation, but rather it got lost in the over saturation of EA Sports titles.

NHL 15, FIFA 15, Madden 15, PGA TOUR (Multi-platform)

I'll put my hands up and say I have no interest in sports games. None. But even the biggest sports enthusiast must have been put to sleep when EA started focusing on their EA sports titles. From talking about how FIFA 15's players will have emotions, to how Madden 15 is apparently only fixing its defence controls to the fact that PGA Tour will have “fantasy courses”, I literally almost fell asleep. Ugh. Maybe it's the fact that they are all yearly releases, but I really got a feeling like EA was grasping at straws as to what new features these titles had that last years EA Sports line didn't.

Mirror's Edge 2 (Almost definitely multi-platform)

After last year’s announcement, an early demo of Mirror's Edge 2 was finally showed off. I have to hand it to EA, the original Mirror's Edge, despite gaining a cult following, wasn't exactly any publishers first choice of a title to make a sequel to. But amid rather dismal sales it looks like EA is steaming ahead with Mirror's Edge 2. It remains to be seen if this is a true sequel or something a little more “casual”, but it's looking pretty great so far. Plus, points for sticking with this one, EA. Well played.

Battlefield: Hardline (Multi-platform)

EA's final push came in form of Battlefield: Hardline, an upcoming Battlefield title that brings the action to the streets of Los Angeles with a Cops vs. Criminals gameplay dynamic. Much like Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, the game itself didn't look particularly fresh to me, but the intense city street action that was reminiscent of the film Heat, was pretty spectacular. Hardline is clearly inspired by games such as Payday which is mostly evident during the opening heist segment, but Hardline's unique Cops vs Criminals approach came across wonderfully on the big screen. Cutting back and forth from Cops and Criminals, I can see huge potential in this moving forward for EA. However, it looks like a Battlefield title. Stop doing that, EA. Give us something different this time, something that has at least some colour to it!

Though it was a little clumsy at times, EA didn't do that bad of a job at E3. There were no huge surprises and I could have done with less Battlefield and more Battlefront, but hey, it was passable.

I'd give it a C

Denis Murphy

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