Round One of E3 is over, and EA Play certainly stepped up its act from last year. By no means was it great, but I’d be comfortable referring to it as “very good.” A couple impressions off the top of my head:
Much Tighter Focus on Non-Sports Games
This is a big one. Last year, too much time was devoted to talking about a sports game or showing one off. This year there was a brief mention on Madden FIFA, and NBA live, but that was it. Personally, I appreciated this more, not just because I find the sport genre monotonous and unable to innovate since its heydays in the early 2000s, but because EA finally recognized that most of the viewers and audience members are people who are more dedicated to gaming and ergo are likely indifferent to better texture on a players uniform.
Introducing a New IP was a Fresh Breath of Air
This. This game was easily the best creative work shown off at the entire conference, and I was very surprised to find out that EA is publishing it. A co-op adventure that can be played with another person next to you that can involve one person in a cutscene while the other player is at work on another text, or requires both players using their skills in order to escape prison. It looks every bit like the kind of games I enjoy playing; a game that’s taking heavy influence from cinema, throwing a focus on close quarters combat, and engaging players in a unique story all its own. It’s exactly what’s needed to fill the void left by Uncharted and I seriously can’t wait to hear more about this game. Here’s a more detailed look narrated by one of the writers for the game:
Making Need for Speed Look…Kind of Cool Again?
Speaking of cinematic influences, the latest in a franchise that’s had quite the roller-coaster when it comes to critical reception made its official gameplay debut today, and while it wears its influences on its sleeves, a game styled after the Fast and Furious movies might be kind of cool. Here’s the trailer:
While everything looks cool, I am worried that the game is showing a false face so to speak. Even by “next-gen” standards, I’d be surprised if they could make the game look that great on a standard console. Pleasantly surprised, but surprised. I understand there’s plenty of people who aren’t a fan of the emphasis on action but it could be a great way to drag more people into a franchise that’s lost its way a bit. I’m not a big racing guy, but if the game can continually impress like this, then it might be a buy for me as well.
Battlefront 2 Looks Nothing Like the First…and That’s a Good Thing
I knew about a single player campaign, larger maps and how DICE planned to add things like space battles and a detailed multiplayer, but seeing it onscreen was truly impressive. My brother, who invested a good amount into the first Battlefront, noted how DICE took a page from Battlefield and allowed vehicles to play a much larger role than in the last game, and it clearly helped. There’s a full 13 minute match you can watch, but here’s the gameplay trailer that sums most of it up:
While I was disappointed that there was nothing teased regarding future Star Wars games, Battlefront II looks like it has potential to be the definitive Star Wars game, with the inclusion of characters like Darth maul and Yoda and actual space battles. Pair that with a single player campaign that plans to tell the story between Episode VI and VII, and it seems like a recipe to attract any kind of Star Wars fan.
In conclusion, this year’s conference was a huge step up for EA. Amidst some awkward introductions and some largely uninteresting sports demos, EA Play proved to be a more than passable introduction to E3, and I’m eager to see how the other conferences plan to compete.