After Microsoft’s conference yesterday, I started watching EA’s conference with the hope that they might announce a few more surprises and new titles. Of course, as I mentioned in my previous article, I’ve got an eye on EA’s show this year, as I’m interested in seeing more on Mirror’s Edge, as well as a few more details on their upcoming Battlefront game. I enjoyed their E3 showing this year, so I was intrigued as to how they would handle their conference today.
All in all, I found EA’s conference to be a pretty mixed bag. It was a strong start for me, but it kinda dipped a little in the middle, as I don’t really have much interest in the Sims 4 and Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 (Although, they have introduced a Mass Effect ‘Z7’ mech preorder bonus, which made me chuckle.) They also previewed a few stills and concept art for upcoming ideas, before brining the mood back up. So, here’s my personal highlights from EA’s 2015 conference.
Need For Speed
As I’ve discussed previously, I’m not the biggest racing game fan (my options are limited to Mario Kart.) However, even I can say that the customisation available for the new Need For Speed looks really good fun and incredibly detailed. They talked a little bit about their direction for the Campaign mode, which will be an interesting blend of live action with the in game footage for the garage and races. They also pointed out that there’s a choice of five different styles in the campaign (Speed, Style, Build, Crew and Outlaw), allowing you to shape and create your own personal play style. They didn’t go into too much detail about these yet, but it does look quite interesting. I haven’t played a Need for Speed since Underground on the GameCube, but I have to admit that I might keep my eye on this one.
Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst
I was really looking forwards to the Mirror’s Edge conference. As I said in my earlier article, I’ve really wanted to get stuck into Faith’s world, but I always overlooked the first game and sidelined it. Hence the reason why I was so excited by this games announcement – I hoped that they would improve on their first title and really make a world that draws me in and makes me want to play. From what they showed at the conference, The game looks really really pretty and crisp – the clinical, white vibe of the city is broken up with splashes of bold colour, really giving it a stylised look. I also finally got to see my first glimpse of gameplay footage – the combat looks incredibly fast paced and really fun, especially the way the environment reacts around you, with glass smashing as bullets fly. However, the parkour side of it is what really has my interest. The world and rooftops look like an intricate maze to explore and, it just looks to be a really enjoyable experience. I think it’s say to say that DICE have managed to persuade me that this is definitely a title I should be purchasing, especially considering that it has a 25th February release date. I might even dig out the first game and give it a go.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
The Knights of The Old Republic game by Bioware is one of my all time favourite games, and although I’m not much of an MMO gamer, I decided to give it’s spiritual successor a go and I find the game to be a really enjoyable experience. So maybe I’m a little biased in putting this announcement up with my EA highlights, but I always get excited for more news on this title. So Bioware came to the EA stage with more details on their upcoming expansion, Knights of the Fallen Empire. In this arc, you play as the Outlander – a veteran of the original story. They also stated that players can import their previous characters, or jump straight into the story with a new one. The expansion will offer 9 chapters of an evolving story (that’s already piqued my interest) that continues after launch in an episodic format. From what they showed in the trailer, they are trying to focus on bringing the game back to Bioware’s story driven routes, so for long term fans like myself, that’s exciting new indeed. The expansion’s release date is the 27th October, and is free to all subscribers. Excuse me – just gonna dust off my lightsaber…
Ah, the world’s most nervous games designer. Bless him. Unravel looks to be a really interesting and quirky sidescroller with an interesting concept. They showcased some more Pre Alpha gameplay footage – explaining the idea of the game is to reach the end of the level without running out of yarn. However, you can pick up extra yarn in the level, but not all of it is easy to find. One of the challenges from this particular level was to avoid the ebbing of the tide, by creating a yarn bridge as a slingshot to launch yourself onto taller platforms, or surfing on buoyant objects. The game is realistic, grounded in ‘real world’ physics, so it’ll be interesting to see how you can manipulate the yarn using these rules. The game also showcased moments that weren’t just about overcoming obstacles – there’s a strangely sensitive feel to this game, as you explore and take in the sights of the world around you. Even in the Pre Alpha, I think the game visually looks really nice, with a strangely ‘home made’ kind of vibe to it. Not sure if it’s the kind of game for me personally, but I really enjoyed watching this demo. The game is stated to be available on Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC.
Star Wars Battlefront
I am so excited for this game. The EA conferences showcase of this game just confirms how much I need this game. The big announcement for the conference this year was the Fighter Squadron, which is a 20 player multiplayer mode in which you can take the battle to the skies in an epic dogfight. They’ve confirmed that X-Wings, Ty-Fighters and Interceptors as being playable vehicles, as well as the iconic Millennium Falcon. From what I could gather from the trailer, the mode they demoed was one team guarding a specific target, whilst the other had to destroy it. Whether or not they will add other types of Fighter Squadron modes is unclear, but this one did look to be really fun. One aspect I really enjoyed was the ‘squad banter’ that rang about in the cockpit – it was reflective of what was happening in the battle and made it feel like you were really part of a squadron. As well as being able to fight alongside 20 players, there are an additional 20 AI units, making the battles truly epic in scale. They also promised that new modes, characters and maps will be revealed soon, but with it being so close to the release date, I think I might hide in a cave with Battlefront and wait for the surprises when I finally get the game on 19th November. I cannot wait!
FIFA 16 isn’t a game I’m really all that interested in, but I know how popular and well loved this game is, and I can understand why. The EA conference gave a few new details for the next instalment in the franchise. One of the more talked about modes was the FUT Draft – a mode in which you build your own team up from 43 of the most revered players in the footballing world. For each position, you have to pick from one of five suggested players, focusing either on player stats or team chemistry. You then take your team online, where you can participate in exclusive competitions and unlock rewards for your Ultimate Team. Sounds pretty fun, since you have access to all the best players from the get go. They also announced the new modes for Career Mode – Pre Season tournaments to help grow and develop your transfers budgets, and Player Training so you can develop younger players and enhance your teams attributes. There’s an improved focus on the keepers too, with new save animations and added athleticism, and creating a better balance between your defenders and attackers. They also revealed that there will be 12 national women’s teams to play as, as well as new weather conditions, such as fog and unpredictable rainfall. Sounds like there’s quite a few new features to keep the FIFA crowd happy.
So overall I think the EA conference was alright. A little vague, I know – I was happy to get more details on Mirror’s Edge, and pleased to see that my love for the Star Wars series wasn’t diminished in anyway, but the pace kinda dropped for me at the half way point. Still, there was nothing new to really bring to the table and all they really did was give us more information on the titles they already talked about at E3. So, personally, I feel like I could have gone without watching the conference, and not have been too affected, but it was an enjoyable watch overall.