E3 2015: After Conference Report – EA

As E3 continues throughout this week, Geek Syndicate will be covering as much as we can – as soon as we can. In addition to these “after conference reports”, check out our E3 twitter coverage, using the hashtag #GSE3.

I think of all the conferences this year, EA’s is the one I was least looking forward to. Partly this is because I was expecting another look at the same but prettier sporting titles as we get every year. Okay, there are the women’s national squads in Fifa 16, which I think is brilliant but sporting titles hold no interest for me.

On the other hand, the publisher has the Star Wars game rights and I fully expected (along with the rest of the world) for Battlefront to be front and centre. I was also a little intrigued by Mirror’s Edge as well so was hoping to get a look at that. Without further ado, here’s my look back at this conference.

 

EA Games

 

MASS EFFECT Andromeda

Awesome start! Looks like Bioware got around the whole “what happened after Mass Effect 3” thing by moving to a new galaxy… At least, that would be my assumption based upon the title of the game and the fact that the technology in the preview clip seemed to be more advanced than that in the previous trilogy. There’s no doubt that this will be on my pre-order list. I am Bioware’s proverbial money slave!

 

Need for Speed

As with Forza in the Microsoft conference, Need for Speed is a franchise that isn’t for me. But it is one that I can see holds great appeal. The game was said to be inspired by previous games. Elements from different games in the franchise have come together into the “definitive” version. The game uses the Frostbite engine which – as we’ve previously seen – allows amazing detail in a game. If I were a car fanatic then everything in this game that was discussed … extreme customisation, stylish driving, escaping from the cops etc. would be whetting my appetite for the game.

 

The Old Republic

Knights of the Fallen Empire is a story driven expansion that introduces a new faction to oppose both Republic and Sith. The expansion will be free to all players which is great news. I recently jumped back into the game, having been away for a long while and I’d forgotten how story-driven the main quests are. This was the draw for me originally and a new story based expansion is excellent news. There are new companions to recruit as well. This looks like a massive expansion – and free!

 

Unravel

This year seems to be the year of the new IP – perhaps inspired by the success of indie games over the last few years. Unravel features a tiny character made of yarn. The character represents the emotional ties for a person, connecting them to others. The game seems to essentially be a physics game puzzle / platformer. Intriguing and interesting to see it coming from a big publisher like EA rather than it appearing on Steam or some other indie based platform.

 

Plants Vs Zombies Garden Warfare 2

This time around, there is the chance to play the fun – and weird – shooter as the zombies. The Plants have invaded the factory that Dr. ZomBoss (creator of the Zombies) is using to create new types of zombie. The new classes look like a lot of fun and as ever, the franchise does not take itself too seriously. There is a part of me thought that wonders if the sequel has come too soon? Will Garden Warfare become the new annual release like Call of Duty?

A bonus is that if you have played the original, then anything you have unlocked there will be transferred directly to the new game. At least there’s a reward for upgrading. Also announced was a single player mode (against AI) and split-screen co-op play.

 

EA Sports

The usual raft of sporting games were announced but no real shockers manifested. The new PGA game has fantasy courses which at least makes things a bit different. Very little gameplay or information was forthcoming about the ’16 games.

What was great was the “game face” scanning app in NBA ‘16 which enables players to scan their own faces and reactions into the game. The app generates a scan of the player … front, rotate left and rotate right. This can then be used in the game.

This is the kind of feature that I think should be in every game that features a customisable character. From NBA to Mass Effect. I’d be able to jump into an RPG much quicker without having to tweak umpteen bits of face to try and mimic myself!

Bizarrely, football legend Pele was brought on stage in the longest and most convoluted way of repeatedly saying that football is made by the small moments. The interviewer could not have repeated “beautiful moments” more often if he tried.

The big announcement for Madden NFL ’16 was that the game allows players to build their own team from current and past teams. This happens through a series of “drafts” where the player buys one of three choices.

 

Mirror’s Edge

The game maintains the very stark white look of the original and promises no levels and no loading screens. The city is the city is the city. I’m certainly intrigued by the game, having recently come around to the idea of a first person parkour style game. The game is slated for launch in February 2016.

 

Star Wars Battlefront

As we saw last year, the models and textures in the game are superb. The models have been created from the models held in the Lucasfilm archives. The game will include 40 player battles and squad based, 8 player modes.

The presentation showed the “walker assault” mode where Imperials try and destroy a rebel base and the rebels try and stop them. The footage was from Playstation 4 and was actual gameplay footage. Concerns about needing to level up aside (I’m still not sure if you do, but there were XP notifications, so probably it’s required), the game looked and sounded exactly like a Star Wars film. It very much reminded me of the old Battlefront games that I absolutely loved to play on both the original Xbox and the PC. Only bigger and more action packed. I won’t be cancelling my pre-order.

 

Round Up Thoughts

As I expected, there was a heavy focus on the sporting titles that had anything approaching a new feature in them. While I’ve lumped them together in this review, it was actually quite nice that in the conference itself, they were dotted in between non-sporting titles.

A mixed bag outside of the sport games, I think. Garden Warfare 2 feels too soon and I think Unravel could either be a breakaway hit or fade into nothing. But it was great to see such a heart-felt game picked up by a large publisher like EA. I admit that a lot of my indifference comes from the fact that most of the company’s output just isn’t targeted at me. Need for Speed looks like a great game though – not being for me aside.

GS Blogger: WedgeDoc

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