Monday, June 15, 2015

E3 2015: EA

Say it with me now! Sports, sports, and Star Wars.

Well, I'll say this about EA this year; at least they're learning. Last year was dominated by celebrities and showing concept videos of games in development. We heard about the games that were being made instead of actually seeing them. We didn't even get a trailer from them last year. This year though, we actually got trailers from EA! Granted they were from games that we never cared about, but progress is progress.

Beside the usual Madden, NHL, FIFA, and NBA games mentioned, the few games that were shown ranged from solid to underwhelming. Nothing really wowed me this year, even seeing the new Mass Effect game. Mass Effect: Andromeda was officially announced with a brief trailer, though we didn't see anything about the gameplay and only glimpses of the story. It felt like an obligatory showing of Mass Effect just to say it was there. Mirror's Edge Catalyst was finally shown, but there wasn't any gameplay shown. There was a trailer with gameplay elements, but no live demo. It has a release date of February 23, 2016, but I want to actually see the game in action instead of watch a trailer.

We did see live gameplay of Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2, and it was fun, bright, and funny. I had more fun watching the live demo of the game than I did at any other point during EA's press conference. More than any other game shown, it was actually playable at the conference and was shown in plenty of details. I wish we were able to see the new character classes for the plants and not just focus on the zombies, but when you have a large press conference like this, there's only so much information you can give.

And what EA press conference would be complete without guest appearances??? From interviewing Pele for over 5 minutes, to two sports broadcasters talking about God only knows what, and EA attempting again to shown live facial recognition, this time from the HoopGawd, the celebrities were in full swing this year. I still don't understand why EA insist we want to see important people use their games, but it's a staple that I've just learned to accept from them.

Finally, we have Star Wars. Exactly three Star Wars related games were shown, ranging from an expansion to The Old Republic, and a new Star Wars CCG game. But the real event was for the gameplay reveal of Star Wars Battlefront. We were treated to a large battle of Hoth that showed players as rebels, Imperial Soldiers, Tie Fighters, X-Wings, AT-AT, and even Luke Skywalker. It lived up to the two month wait that EA promised us, though I can't really comment more about the game. It looks exactly like how Battlefront should look, and it looks like all those years of waiting will be worth it.

Still, a good showing for Battlefront isn't enough to salvage the press conference. It wasn't disastrous and it certainly wasn't as bad as last year's, but there was nothing to get people motivated over. There was nothing that made me go nuts. Hell, Microsoft and Bethesda at least had games I was interested in, but EA had nothing. It only confirmed games that we already knew and gave gameplay for games we should have seen already. But then again, it isn't surprising for EA to disappoint viewers again this year.

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