EA's E3 Conference for Everyone.

    Funny-to-say name out of the way, EA has quite the stable of games. Mass Effect 3, Battlefield 3, SSX, The Old Republic… and many more. Most of which it showed, and most was great. Pepper in a few surprises here and there, and you got yourself quite the showing. Though it wasn’t all great, but we’ll cross those bridges when we come to it. And who knows, maybe EA and Crytek will announce a new Timesplitters game! 

    Or maybe not…

    But anyway, let’s get started, shall we?

    Mass Effect 3
    EA’s conference kicked off with a live-action teaser of Mass Effect 3. In it we see the news stations of the world reporting on the Reaper invasion, as well as some bombed out cities and Reapers walking around “War of the Worlds” style. After the live action teaser, we move on to an actual gameplay demo. In it, Commander Shepard is at what he thinks is a Reaper base, and ends up waking up some sort of Reaper. After which he and his team(consisting of Garrus and Liara) try to escape from it with the help of Legion. It ends with a cliffhanger. Mass Effect 3 also got a release date: March 6th, 2012. Mass Effect 3 was also briefly featured at Microsoft’s E3 press conference, showing how the game would incorporate Kinect as an option. ME3 uses Kinect to allow you to give orders to your team and pick dialog choices. 

    Overall, the Mass Effect 3 showing looked solid; however, it mainly focused on combat and spectacle. Taking Bioware’s want to appeal to a wider audience with Mass Effect 3, I’m worried the RPG elements(or the very few that are left), will take a bigger hit as well, maybe even erased entirely. Then again, Bioware did state they’re bringing some elements back and are finding a balance. It seems we’ll have to wait for the final game to see for sure. They did promise lots of RPG elements for the second game, and it was pretty lacking in that department. Also, I’m really interested to see how Shepard will be able to stop the Reapers. Considering how Sovereign almost won by himself(with help from the Geth), and it took the Citadel and Human fleets to destroy him(even then they were only able to destroy him since you disabled Sovereign), there’s no way anyone’s going to be able to stand up to ALL the Reapers in head-on combat.

    Viable tactic against the Reapers, apparently.

    It’ll also be interesting to see how your choices will affect the game. In the demo it showed Liara, Legion, and Garrus(who finally got himself a repaired suit of armor…). In ME2, Garrus and Legion could die. Wonder how it’d play out without them. Kinda makes me want to replay ME2 and kill most of my team while still surviving to see what happens. Does that make me a bad person? 

    Either way, hopefully ME3 does more with your choices than affect what emails you get.

    Need for Speed: The Run
    After Mass Effect 3, EA showed off a new Need for Speed game called Need for Speed: The Run. Apart from having a name that’s one typo away from hilarity, the new Need for Speed uses DICE’s Frostbite 2 engine, and will have the player leaving the car to do some running. Unfortunately, it seems the running is mainly done in the form of quick-time events. Frostbite 2 engine is certainly doing its job though. If it wasn’t for the quick-time events, I would have assumed it was CGI. Unless it was, in which case… it still looks really good.

    Now, I’m not exactly a fan of Need for Speed(or a fan of racing games in general), but this seems to be quite a big change for the series. It started as more of a simulation-esque franchise, then moved on to more of a Fast and Furious vibe, then back to simulation, and now back to F&F. It’ll be interesting to see how they’re handling it. I wonder how proper Need For Speed fans feel about it. If you’re a Need for Speed fan, how do you feel about the changes?

    The Old Republic

    After NFS:TR, Bioware co-founder Greg Zeschuk then came onto stage to show The Old Republic. Or, at least a trailer of The Old Republic. The trailer itself was a mish-mash of the previous two CGI trailers, with some new clips thrown in(its actually a new CGI trailer, called The Return, and is just as badass as the previous two. No idea why they didn’t show it…). No actual gameplay, and once again TOR’s elusive release date was not revealed. Needless to say, it was pretty disappointing.

    They said they’d be showing off raids, high-level bosses, and plenty of other things, but it seems they were referring to a show-floor demo or something similar. I find it kind of worrying that they aren’t showing any actual game-play footage for trailers. There are trailers showing game-play, but none are that big or that advertised.

    After a sub-par TOR trailer, EA Sports announcements kicked off with an SSX trailer and general release date(January 2012). EA also said a new SSX character will be revealed on their Facebook page, with all characters being revealed before E3 is over. So if SSX interests you, be sure to watch that page! The in-game trailer showed what we’ll be snowboarding on(or some of what we’ll be snowboarding on at least), and it seems on top of racing with a colorful cast of characters, we’ll be fighting for survival as well.

    Hopefully they aren’t making the game too serious. One of the best things about SSX is how lighthearted and fun it is. It’d be a shame if that was all lost for gritty realism. I love the series, and can’t wait for the new one.

    EA then went on to reveal a new FIFA game. The new game will feature a new defence system as well as improved dribbling. They also seem to be introducing a new player-contact engine which will add impact physics and whatnot when characters collide. Also announced was a new social plugin for the FIFA series called EA Sports Football Club, which will let players check stats, connect with friends, compare their in-game teams to real life teams, and all that fun stuff.

    I’m not much of a fan of FIFA(or sports games in general), but the Football Club thing sounds interesting. It could be Incorporated into other games, or perhaps even incorporated into EA’s new Digital Distribution service, Origin.

    Madden NFL
    A new Madden game was also announced. Although I’m pretty sure everyone who plays games knew it would happen. And apart from a trailer and 3 NFL players coming onto stage, it wasn’t really of note. Wonder if they’ll incorporate the football club for this game as well, along with their new character-collision engine.

    The Sims
    After the sports announcements, EA announced it was bringing The Sims to Facebook. So now you can play as characters doing household chores, instead of actually doing those chores yourself in the real world! I kid, I kid.

    Kind of.

    The trailer was nothing special really. Seems it was made to target the “teen girl” audience. An audience I’m not a part of(like, 99% sure I’m not part of).

    If you have Facebook, prepare for craploads of status updates from friends who play this.

    Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning
    After The Sims, EA showed off a new trailer for Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning. Reckoning is a fantasy-role playing game, and it looks pretty good. What makes it stand out though, is that its being written by R.A. Salvatore, who’s done more than his fair share of work in the fantasy setting. I suppose that alone may be enough to sway some people for/against this game. It certainly intrigues me.

    The trailer itself is your standard fair. Epic music, montage, nothing that special really.

    After that, Insomniac took the stage to reveal their new game, called OverStrike. It will be a multi-platform game, where you’ll be taking control of a squad of rouge agents, all with unique abilities. Insomniac showed it off with a CGI trailer for the game, and its looking pretty good. It seems to have Ratchet and Clank’s cartoonish charm, a kind-of gritty story, and Insomniac’s trademark inventive weapons. Overall, it looks to be one great game. Since there’s 4 main characters, that raises the question of whether or not the game will have co-op. Time will tell I suppose.

    Say Cheese!

    Battlefield 3
    And ending EA’s conference was Battlefield 3. It started with a trailer showing what Frostbite 2 is bringing to the series, and then we are treated to a live demo of Battlefield 3. The demo took place in a desert-setting, and showed off the game’s vehicle combat(well, tank combat at least). Needless to say, it looks absolutely stunning, and its serving as the best reason(outside of Skyrim) to upgrade your PC for this holiday season.

    Actually, "stunning" would be an understatement...

    Apart from the demo, we were treated to some other Battlefield 3-related announcements. The Battlefield 3 beta will begin in September, and Battlefield 3 will be released on October 25, 2011. Only way to get into the beta right now is to own a limited edition copy of the latest Medal of Honor. EA and DICE will more than likely offer more ways to get into the beta, so stay vigilant! 

    However, I’m a bit worried about the game. It seems EA is hyping it up to be a direct challenger to Call of Duty. EA has also done this with Medal of Honor, and with Bad Company 2. I don’t know why EA seems so keen on doing this, since it’ll more than likely end in failure. I’m sure Battlefield 3 will be great, and will sell well. But even if it’s better than Call of Duty in every way, there’s no way it’ll outsell CoD. It also seems to look an awful like Call of Duty. I hope DICE and EA focused more on making a great game, instead of making a game just to challenge Activision’s prime franchise. And I really hope they don’t make Battlefield too much like CoD in order to woo CoD’s player-base. So far, it looks really good. But I’m not that impressed. It just didn’t feel like… Battlefield.

    It also seems like they went from a magazine-based reloading system that was in Battlefield 2 and 2142(shoot a bullet, reload, lose all bullets in the mag you dropped), to a bullet-system that’s seen in all shooters these days(shoot a bullet, reload, still have the same number of bullets as before). Just a personal nit-pick, but I’m sad to see the change. Could have helped differentiate the game-play from other shooters. Seems like a small change, but sometimes its the smallest things that have the biggest impact.

    Thats all Folks!
    That wraps up EA’s press conference. Overall, it was pretty good. It had great games(ME3, Battlefield 3, SSX), a surprise reveal(Overstrike), obvious reveals(new FIFA, Madden), a returning franchise(SSX), and a Facebook reveal(The Sims). Oh, and there was a Need For Speed announcement. 

    Compared to the other press conferences, it sits right in the middle. Which is where everyone else sits, with Microsoft a bit below them.

    And yet again, I am let down by the fact that there wasn’t a Timesplitters announcement of some sort. Ah well, there’s always next year…


One Comment

  1. McBeeferton

    Mass Effect 3 and Battlefield 3 are going to be my most anticipated games. One, a long awaited sequel to a franchise I love. The other, a shooter which looks simply breath-taking and serious at the same time. I can’t wait for these games to come out.