Tuesday, June 02, 2009

EA at E3 '09

EA gave a good conference yesterday, mostly showing old news.

Some of the trailers are interesting but reveal little. The trailers for Dante's Inferno and Charm Girls Club (aimed at teenage girls) were apparently designed only to create name recognition, because gameplay is left to the viewer's imagination. The Sims 3 was mentioned, and GameTrailers released their review today.

Need For Speed: Shift sounds interesting. There's apparently a character progression system in which the game recognizes (or you choose?) your playstle, precise or aggressive, and you level up. A "reward system" was mentioned, but not shown. The game is played exclusively from an inside view, which should make it feel more visceral than other racing games but also more difficult.

Bioware was present with Dragon Age: Origins, Mass Effect 2, and Star Wars: The Old Republic -- a lot to show from one developer. I'm still waiting to be impressed by Origins. The graphics are ugly, and Bioware only reiterated the feature of moral choices and the game's brutality. It was also restated that a player's decisions made in the first Mass Effect will have consequences in the sequel, which is something cool to look forward to. Bioware spent more time talking about their attempts to make combat more engaging in the sequel, but they didn't offer details. As for SW:TOR, it was announced that all dialog in the game will be voiced. That's an incredible feat, though many question if it's a wise decision.

Fight Night: Round 4 offers an incredible boxing experience. I've played the demo, and the learning curve is steep. There are many moves and only an instant to react. But if you have the patience to really learn the controls, it seems like a deep, dynamic, immersive game. EA also announced a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) game, but there are no details yet.

Crysis 2 and APB could be cool, but little has been shown. More has been revealed of Brütal Legend and The Saboteur. Each of those looks awesome in its own way. Both are open world games.

Brütal Legend seems to have some dynamics, but its foundation is comical tributes to metal. Tim Schafer announced that Ozzy will be joining Halford, Lita Ford, and Lemmy in the game, which is huge news.

The Saboteur is a more serious game, but seems to offer more variety and compelling action. Tom French and his team released a great trailer that demonstrates the game's concept of "quiet in, loud out" action.

Overall, it was a good presentation for EA, though it had the misfortune of coming between Microsoft's and Sony's stellar shows. I'm sure we'll learn more about these games throughout the week.

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