E3, or the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is arguably the biggest and boldest annual video gaming convention ever to grace the planet. Held in sun-drenched Los Angeles; the big guns of the gaming industry including Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony showcasing brand new hardware and games. The event is a pantomime of lights, music, noises and good old’ fashioned video games. Held exclusively to the press and industry members, the entire convention is streamed online for all us norms to watch at home. And that’s exactly what we did. People from all around the globe watched with bated breath waiting for what the next big announcements were coming to PC’s and home consoles over the next few months and beyond. This is a list some of the notable games and software that hooked us to spend all our hard earned money on the most expansive and by far best consumable media there is
Electronic Arts are known for their prowess when it comes to the best and most loved sports games; epic racers; superb shooters and massive hits. EA may have been voted as one of the worst companies for two consecutive years but you can’t overlook their sheer scope and outlook and how it continues to make some fantastic games. From the Sims and the ‘FIFA’ series, to ‘Need For Speed’, to ‘Battlefield’ and ‘Dead Space’ and ‘Mass Effect’, EA know how to create a good franchise that will sell and please.
After a short teaser of a new, hotly anticipated ‘Star Wars: Battlefront’; a woman with a cello on a moving plinth came out to open with a trailer for the action role-player ‘Dragon Age Inquisition’ that showed off sprawling scenery and a seemingly endless world. This segued into demonstrations and a behind the scenes looks at the new ‘Mass Effect’ detailing how the improvements BioWare have made for the new consoles.
One of the most popular EA games, ‘The Sims 4’ showed the infinite creation tools in making your Sim and ultimately their stories and adventures. The showcase was a bit cringey but at least it covered all the bases of the new Sims, there is still that traditional Sims element of being to create whoever you want – be it yourself or as the trailer showed, President Barack Obama – and whatever house you want and how the life and death of a Sim pans out.
Criterion are responsible for some of my favourite games in the past. I loved smashing cars off the road in ‘Burnout 3: Takedown’ and ramming Lamborghini’s in an Aston Martin police car in ‘Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit’, so seeing new content from Criterion got me excited. In early stages of development, this new game is built around extreme motor sports. From launching speedboats off waterfalls; flips on an all-terrain quad bike or blasting through snow-covered trees on a skidoo; full of crashes and smashes and those sort of adrenaline pumping moments that have come from the Burnouts and the Need for Speeds albeit on larger scale with a wider scale of vehicles at ones disposal. Although not a lot was shown, this is going to be one of them games to watch closely to see how it comes on and what it does exactly that splits it apart from other games with element like this in them.
‘Mirror’s Edge’ was teased at last year’s E3 so it was slightly disappointing that it was still in early stages of development. Regardless of this, ‘Mirror’s Edge’ was a game that has a impeccable sense of speed, momentum and weight that I haven’t really seen done elsewhere. ‘Mirror’s Edge’ is going on six years old now and along with some inconsistencies (as well as pretty poor gun-play), it’s showing its age. It still looks fantastic and when you’re in the swing of things, plays like a dream, so when sequences of new and improved game-play and graphics was shown in another one of these ‘behind the scene montages’ the next ‘Mirror’s Edge’ looks like it’s on form to being what it originally set out to be. The clean utopia is back with the stark red hints is back and brings in elements that play out the best approach for combat; keeping everything that Faith does fast and agile without ever stopping.
The biggest hit of EA’s press conference was the almighty ‘Battlefield Hardline’; a new take on the first-person shooter that doesn’t rely on the military backing that happens so often. This is a gritty, urban cop’s vs robber’s simulator that borrows from Battlefields of old. It is invigorating to see a game where you can choose how to tactically take out the enemies in a trade of mayhem from the right of the law for once. But having the choice of playing dirty is always going to win votes. The demo showed team of bad guys against the team of police trying to stop them from running away with the loot in a 32 player melee. And the bad guys do not go without a fight. Played in a similar vein of the Battlefield 4’s demo at the last E3, the demo has explosions, massive gunfights, car crashes, a crane taking out a building; it was just utter destruction. Rocket-propelled grenades create escape routes; debris allows access to other parts of the level, player’s zip-wire onto motorbikes. It looks fast, immense and purely epic. Gun-play is typical of your generic military shooter but it still allows you to use them in interesting ways such as shooting whilst zipping down a wire or out of a car as it hurtles as the police pursue. This type of game hasn’t really been done before and it’s invigorating to see a game where you can tactically plan your battle I And of course, it ends with the bad guys being taken down. ‘Hardline’ was released as an early closed Beta on PC and PlayStation 4 which stalled both EA’s Origin service and PSN. People want this game and like last year, ‘Battlefield Hardline’ will be fighting it out with Call of Duty for the best first person shooter of E3.
Bruce Lee is in the new ‘UFC’; ‘Madden NFL15’ and ‘NHL 15’ have been given an overhaul. But the big surprise in these sports game segments was ‘PGA Tour’; described as ‘Golf without limits.’ Yes they showed the simple courses but when a battleship rams through the middle of one course and runs aground, you think “wow. When did golf get so interesting?”
‘FIFA 15’ has again improved the details of strides, ball trajectories and more realistic players. The lists of tweaks that have been added to ‘FIFA 15’ only seem to be the tip of the iceberg. Football games, I find, have a certain level of excitement; the gripping tension of scoring one goal, not knowing when or how the other team are going to fight and claw their way back. These added details will then add to the atmosphere of an already great franchise.
Who Was Not Mentioned?
It was announced earlier in the year that Need for Speed won’t be releasing a game in the coming months. Need for Speed has been one of those franchises that release a new game every year with varying degrees of success. I enjoyed ‘The Run’ but not as much as ‘Hot Pursuit’. And ‘Most Wanted’ felt like a clone of the Burnout game a lot of us felt we needed. This isn’t such a bad thing as developers are releasing racing games over the course of the next year or so that look to fulfill that need for speed. With ‘Drive Club’, ‘The Crew’, ‘Forza Horizon 2’, and soon to be Criterion’s next effort, Need for Speed won’t necessarily be sorely missed. It would have been nice to have heard from a Need for Speed but Criterion’s extreme sports racer will keep me ticking over for a while.
I felt like EA needed more in the press conference. It’s understandable that games are in development and at this time when the PS4, Wii U and XBOX ONE are still in early years of life; progression may take a bit longer as the new hardware is utilized to the best of its ability. But as it panned out, the reveal of ‘Battlefield Hardline’ showed that EA aren’t taking things lying down and it will be one to watch over the coming months. The sheer exuberance of it made it the ultimate highlight of the showcase.
Words by Jimmi