Going into EA’s conference, we were all expecting appearances from the usual suspects; FIFA, Madden, NBA, Need for Speed & Battlefield. While they were all present, it was the surprise reveals that had everyone talking once the show had come to a close.
The first game shown opened with the familiar Battlefield beat along with the static-like visual we have come to recognize as Battlefield, only for it to be revealed that the game was actually Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare for Xbox One and Xbox 360, a third person co-op action game inspired by the popular ‘Plants vs. Zombies’ strategy game. While controlling different types of plants, the players battle against hordes of zombies including a rather brilliant dancing zombie. While it is unlikely that Garden Warfare will catch on like the original, the undeniable charm and personality of PvZ is still present which alongside the fun looking gameplay is surely going to entertain many.
Peggle 2 was announced for later this year in an awkward yet hilarious manner that has to be seen by all.
Having garnered interest after its debut earlier in the day at the Microsoft conference, Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall was showcased with a behind-the-scenes video. Titanfall has been one of, if not the most impressive of the Xbox One exclusives announced during E3 with mechs adding a new layer to the quality of Multiplayer we have come to enjoy from FPS’s.
Need for Speed: Rivals looks to continue the trend of good quality NFS games, even with usual developers Criterion Games taking more of a secondary role in development behind new studio Ghost Games. Shown onscreen was the integration of All Drive, which allows a seamless move from single player to multiplayer, as those playing as police will be able to interfere and shutdown races as well as those participating. It’s a very cool concept that adds additional drama and intensity to the already deep nature of NFS races. A behind-the-scenes look at the Need for Speed movie (due out in 2014) was introduced by main star Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), which I doubt many have high hopes for but who knows, we might end up being pleasantly surprised.
The witch is back
EA Sports had a predictably long section of the conference to talk about this year’s sports releases. As usual, athletes representing their sport took to the stage to add a little star power to the conference.
Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers appeared onstage to talk about dribbling, which went along with EA Sports focus on ‘bounceTek’, new technology being used to help add realism to the ball bouncing physics in NBA Live 14. Right before a very basic trailer of the game was shown (featuring Irving), it was announced that the player stats in NBA Live 14 will update on an hourly basis which is rather insane if I do say so myself, yet not too surprising considering updates on sports games have become weekly/daily occurrences in recent years.
Talk of Madden NFL 25 was kept surprisingly short, with talk of players having better senses during plays. The trailer shown was the first footage of Madden on next-gen consoles, which all in all looked…well like Madden.
Footballers from FC Barcelona were shown talking about their experiences on the pitch, before music artist Drake of all people came on stage to talk about FIFA and football. Why on earth Drake was chosen to talk about football I’ll never know, but I would recommend in future that EA get an actual footballer or someone involved in the sport to show up so it doesn’t come off feeling so random and laughable. EA Sports Ignite is set to help create realistic atmospheres in FIFA 14, which is something the last couple of games have sorely needed however outside of that, all of the “new” features announced simply feel like updates to the features in last year’s FIFA 13.
Finishing off the sports period of the conference was EA Sports UFC, which felt like a real let-down after the announcement of the partnership last year. Dana White, Jon Jones and Benson Henderson were brought onstage and while a trailer was shown, it lacked any real gameplay for us to sink our teeth into.
Battlefield 4 multiplayer was finally shown and was hands down the best part of the conference from a gameplay perspective. With 64 player support finally available on consoles, seeing so many players moving off towards battle was quite the sight. Commander mode was shown during the demo, in which a player is given the opportunity to command his team around the battlefield and it looks to be a great addition. DICE delivered a damn near perfect demo that showcased action both on land and water, along with a jaw-dropping climax that truly impressed those watching.
To close the show, DICE revealed that they had a surprise that many had been waiting years for...MIRRORS EDGE. The trailer showed scenes of protagonist Faith having her distinctive tattoos done, while mixing in clips of gameplay which revealed that the game is set to be a prequel to the original.
Overall EA’s conference was a rather weak showing overall thanks to the lack of gameplay shown and a dire section dedicated to sports (this coming from a sports fan). Only a quarter of the games mentioned actually had gameplay shown during the conference, which is hardly good enough. Fair enough not having gameplay for the newly revealed games, but something more needs to be shown for the sports titles. Talking about the new physics and what EA Sports Ignite has brought to the table isn’t good enough unless we can see it in action.