News June 6, 2012

EA's 2012 E3 Press Conference Recap!

Written By: Kenneth Seward Jr.
Date: 06/06/12

Today, we’re continuing our recaps of the E3 press conferences. Being that they were streamed on everything everywhere, there is no need for us to give a second by second of what happened. We’re are going to be focusing on the most important things announced as well as giving our opinion on how well each company did. So without further ado, here’s my take on EA’s Press Con!  

Don’t get upset if I hit things in the wrong order; I’m aiming for the highlights of the con after all. That said I believe the first game shown was Dead Space 3. After crash-landing on a hostile new planet, Tau Volantis, Isaac Clarke finds out that the planet could be the key to ending the Necromorphs for good. Before he can do that, he’ll have to battle icy conditions, deadly Necromorphs, zealot humans and more. It’s a good thing he has Earthgov Sergeant John Carver to help him survive!

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That’s right, the demo shown at the beginning of the con featured co-op play. Now before you get all up angry and start waving you’re “Survival Horror Yes; Action Game No!” signs, understand that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Visceral Games hasn’t forgotten Dead Space's roots; they promised that if you want, you could play the game solo. Playing it solo changes the story somewhat (you won’t have an AI tag along), giving fans the survival horror experience they want. At the same time, playing co-op features some changes as well; same story, two different experiences. Awesome!

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Speaking of awesome, that’s exactly how I’d describe the demo that was shown. The frozen planet seemed to have a life of its own; graphically, it looks better than the previous title. The co-op gameplay looked fun and wasn’t actiony as I thought it would be (it hasn’t gone completely RE5 yet). Not only did we see both heroes in action, but EA showed off one of the games bosses. This huge monster, appearing during Act 2, is similar to the one found at the END of the first Dead Space game. Meaning that we should expect even crazier encounters then what’s been shown.

The next game up was Madden NFL 13. This iteration of the classic football series looked great, thanks to the use of EA’s Infinity Engine. The engine allows for dynamic impact and authentic momentum transfer between players. On top of that you have updates to offensive gameplay with Total Control Passing. This allows players to lead receivers and put the ball where they want it to go. On defense, you have better AI (using new read and react mechanics), covering their defenders without alerting the user until the snap. Basically, it makes the game WAY more realistic.

Hall of Famer Michael Irvin came out on the stage to talk about his experience in the NFL. Awesome! His chat set us up to hear about the new story integration/career mode (featuring RPG elements) and the new social connectivity options. Here gamers can create their own legacy (or relive one created by a Hall of Famer) in new Connected Careers. You’ll be able to lead a player or a team to glory all while being connected to this new online experience. Connected Careers offers a virtual Twitter feed where gamers have their player’s progress critiqued by your friends and real NFL insiders via the console, mobile device, or the web. Even if this game had competition, NFL 13 is going to sell like hotcakes when it releases!

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The next two titles were hit and miss; SimCity: Social (miss) SimCity (Hit). Social is SimCity for Facebook; less Farmville more City was the tag line. While I believe this game will do well, it’s not for me…at…all. As for the rebooted Sim City game, this is where it’s at! Maxis Emeryville, who is currently working on this awesome city-building title, promised the most sophisticated simulation of its kind. Offering new modern mechanics like curving roads and co-op play, SimCity is looking to be a major hit when it launches February of next year. They have living cities (every NPC has a house, a job ect.) with working airports for crying out loud!

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After that we had an announcement for all the Battlefield 3 players out there. Dice announced enhancements coming to the free Battlelog social network provided through Premium memberships. COD Elite fans…calm down and let me explain. Battlefield 3 Premium will give players all of the digital expansion packs (including the newly announced ones like Aftermath). Within these packs are 20 new maps and weapons, four new game modes, new soldier and weapon camos, dog tags and more. Gamers will even get to reset their score/minute, kills/deaths, and win/losses stats. All of this content sells for $49.99 (a $25 savings). The stand out feature to me (although they all were good) was the all vehicle mode announced; no on foot fighting, just strictly vehicular combat. On top of all that is the inclusion of motorcycles!

EA then went into the new content that’s coming to Star Wars: The Old Republic. A new planet, new space mission, quests, a raised level cap, new species/class, and more are on the way this July. For those of you on the fence, EA is allowing gamers to play up to level 15 for free starting next month. This news leads us to a live demo of Medal of Honor Warfighter. While the original game was somewhat lackluster compared to the other FPS released at that time, this new game looks amazing!

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To be honest, this demo looked better than the Black Ops 2 demo shown at the Microsoft Con (in terms of graphics). As far as gameplay goes, it featured more of the same. You know, cinematic shoot-outs, door breaching into slow-mo shooting; stuff we’d expect. There was an interesting part featuring a small remote controlled, rover of death. Fans will be able to check it out this September.

Moving forward, EA started talking about their sports titles and the return of NBA Live. Unfortunately there wasn’t much to see other than a few seconds of random gameplay. FIFA 13 followed NBA Live…but not in the way you think. Instead of going into the gameplay, they talked about the EA Sports Football Social Club. Gamers will be able to carry their FIFA Soccer 12 Football Club level and experience points into FIFA Soccer 13, all of their stats will be measured all season long, and fans can earn rewards for their achievements. They’ll also earn Football Club Credits to unlock items such as kits, special celebrations, virtual pro attribute points and more. All of this is sharable online via Facebook through the club. It seems EA gets the social connection gamers seem to yearn for.

After more FIFA news, Dana White (owner of UFC) stepped out on stage to announce that UFC will be partnering with EA on future titles. His excitement was interesting to watch, especially since he went public with his hated for EA a few years back. Just as fast as he stepped on stage, he was walking off and the new Need for Speed Most Wanted trailer was playing. This game looked great and even though its showing was short, it was defiantly a highlight of the show (you can read more about this title here)!

The last game shown wasn’t a surprise; we’ve known about Crysis 3 for some time now. While that’s true that didn’t stop this game from stealing the show during its live demo. Graphically, like others in the series, this game raises the bar. As for gameplay, it was cool (the main character took down a helicopter with a crossbow) yet it still felt like the other cinematic FPS on display.

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EA’s press conference was great. Even with all the social media stuff, the show was carried on the shoulders of EA’s titles. I would have liked to see more of NBA Live and more suprises. Although neither of them came totally out of left field, it would have been for EA to wait till the conference to announce games like Crysis 3 and Dead Space 3. As it stands, EA had the 2nd best con. this year!

Final Verdict:

A