E3 2012: EA Conference Coverage and Thoughts
After being called one of the worst companies of the years, EA has a lot of people’s trust to win back and with their E3 conference they introduced a lot of appealing footage for sequels and hopefully these new looks will get fans excited.
The conference started out strong by showing off some brand new footage of Dead Space 3, which has become the industry’s new standard for spine chilling horror in video games. In this demo, we saw Isaac acting much more calmly than previous entries (Probably due to having to deal with it for so long) and talking a lot more. We were introduced to a new drop-in, drop-out feature where a friend can come in and play as the new character, John Carver, who will be at Isaac’s side throughout the duration of the game. During the video we saw them fighting necromorphs as well as human enemies while a giant drill was going out of control and they had to fight off enemies whilst avoiding being slaughtered by the drill at the same time.
The environment was much more of an ice planet like the first Lost Planet game and the demo showed off a new cover based shooting system that wasn’t heavily used, but could be used sparingly for some better and more appropriate moments. The end of the demo showed off a gigantic necromorph boss that required you to shoot it in it’s heart but Isaac got too close and was eaten alive. The next thing we saw was him being digested and having to fight off parts of the inside of this enemy before the screen went black. Dead Space is looking to impress with it’s very first look and hopefully it maintains that perfect balance between action and horror that it’s so well known for.
We were reintroduced to Madden 13 during EA’s conference where they went into more detail about how they’ve reimagined the game with the infinity engine, having better physics that allow for more realistic reactions and plays. Connected careers will allow you to move up in leagues with up to 32 others and try to gain legacy status and they also stated you could be any type of individual from a coach, player or legend. You can retire and there will also be twitter integration. Madden isn’t a game I’ve ever cared about, but it certainly seems to be trying to make the best of what it can offer to sports fans.
We were introduced to Sim City Social for Facebook and it looks like a much more casual game with fun being the key essential piece of it. The demo showed aliens attacking, you can be evil and destroy your city and there’s much more emphasis on it being a city than anything country-wise. This was followed by the announcement of a true Sim City PC game, with constructable worlds that you have more free reign to make and devise, there was more simulation in real time people walking around and doing things as a part of their daily lives and much more specialization like airports, stadiums and other such things. Sim City will also have integration with other online friends in that your city will directly influence what happens to someone who has a city right next to yours, so choose your direction wisely. This seems like a really cool new way to take the Sim City franchise. I love the idea that you will have cities right next to others and integrate the two, though people are probably afraid it means being online at all times.
Battlefield 3 announced the new Battlefield 3 Premium service for $49.99. This will allow early and full access to new maps, 5 expansion packs, 4 of which are new (Close quarters, armored kill, aftermath and end game, the last of which has the introduction of motorcycles), 20 new weapons, 10 new vehicles and the ability to have dog tags.
Star Wars: The Old Republic showed off new difficulties, warzones and a new planet while also announcing that you can play the game for free up to level 15 and that there’s new missions entitled “Space Station Assault”, “Terror from beyond” as well as new characters like the HK-51 Assassin Droid, a new species and a new level cap.
Medal of Honor: Warfighter showed up with some new footage running in the Frostbite 2 engine, which really showed some cool stuff you can accomplish with it. Every mission in the game is now linked to a real life event that happened in recent history. When breaching a room, a small spin wheel shows up that allows you to choose how you want to breach the room. As with COD, when you breach, time slows down and you take out your enemies which was a little saddening to see. Water elements in the game didn’t appear all that impressive, however in one moment, the character went under the water and it looked rather impressive. Destruction was well done, showing chipping on environments and explosives causing some major damage.
After blowing up a building, you take control of a small military drone vehicle meant for small spaces. This is where the Frostbite engine really stood out. Dust and dirt particles were amazing. Your HUD was dirty from the destruction and lights were more flairing because of said dust blocking your view. With a minigun and a small grenade launcher, you guide the small mech through the battlefield and take down enemies up ahead of you before it was destroyed by an enemy, thus ending the demo.
Madden came back again for some short announcements for Madden social, a free to play version of madden for Facebook and Phones. Fifa 13 showed off more about their game, detailing things like gaining currency in game for unlocking materials, an Ipad/Iphone app (Later to release for Android), new dribble moves, a more intense way of battling, sometimes physically, with other team members for possession of the ball, more creative tricks you can implement to confuse the AI or another player over the internet as well as tactical free kicks.
EA announced that they’re partnering with UFC to bring the UFC games to a bigger market.
Criterion has returned to the world of Need for Speed in their remake of Most Wanted. It will be another open world Need for Speed game like the original and Carbon were. You will be able to race, chase and explore the environment and it will have the 2nd generation version of Autolog with enhanced features. During the demo, we saw a quick race and a free roam chase, both of which showed off some detailed graphics, impressive damage and well done lighting effects. There were a few instances of destructible shortcuts and being able to go into an open field just to take down cops.
Finally, EA finished out with a strong look at Crysis 3. Running on Frostbite, it was by far the most impressive demo shown so far at E3. It started out with a high impact, very fast action gun fight with a machine gun that shot very high and fast rounds. This was followed by the player going into a facility and destroying a generator with his bare hands, escaping with much destruction around him and ending up on a rooftop, looking at the forest/city hybrid that they’ve been showing off for a while now. With a high powered bow, the player takes down a helicopter with explosive rounds and then proceeds to zipline down to a safe position as they destroyed an entire dam. The entire display got me more excited for Crysis than any of the previous titles.
EA had a very strong beginning and end with a little down time in between, but titles like Dead Space 3, Most Wanted and Crysis 3 had me the most excited and I look forward to seeing how all of these titles turn out when they are released. The sports news and the DLC/expansion announcements didn’t do a whole lot for me, but the big releases will most certainly keep my attention.