E3 2012

EA at E3 2012 – Sports and Guns.

The second conference to take centre stage on Monday evening came from the folks over at EA. We already knew what to expect from them: Crysis 3, Medal of Honor, Need for Speed. But did they manage to pull out any surprises? Well, other than a surprise announcement that they’d got the rights to the UFC franchise, no, it was pretty much a slew of sports and guns, as per the title.

Dead Space 3

Oh, so that’s how it’s going to be huh? The first two Dead Space games were magnificent horror titles, putting you into a deadly environment, totally alone and at the mercy of  horrific space-beasts lurking in every direction. Things burst out at you when you least expected it and the atmosphere was oozing with tension.

Now we get to the third entry in the series and it appears as though, from the demoed footage, we’re in for some Gears of War-style cover-shoot-cover action, with a co-op partner to remove that sole-survivor element and no sight of the horror concept whatsoever. Unless you find giant drills particularly scary, Dead Space 3 looks to be delivering another third-person-shooter clone, complete with wise-cracks between co-op partners and a cover system. Visceral games, way to go in completely removing the elements from your game which made is so unique and interesting in the first place.

Medal of Honor: Warfighter

“We need to compete with Black Ops 2 this fall. How do we do that?”

“Erm, well, we can put in this super-innovative player-controlled drone to entice the masses! Yeah, and slow-motion door breaching! Yay guys, we’re so going to win this year”

The following is a conversation that I am convinced took place behind the scenes at developer Danger Close. There is absolutely nothing unique whatsoever in the gameplay for this title. Nothing, and that’s quite remarkable. Then again, when you really think about it, what did 2010’s Medal of Honor bring to the table that couldn’t be found elsewhere? Nothing and that game was a catastrophe, at least on the multiplayer side. I have to give them fair credit for a decent single-player, albeit short and over-before-you-know-it.

I’m not convinced that Warfighter will be a purchase for me. It looks so cookie-cutter that it’s almost comical. Are developers truly incapable of creating new, innovative ideas these days or are we going to be subjected to clones after clones until the gaming industry eventually collapses into a pile of its own recycled flesh?

Battlefield 3 Premium

There wouldn’t be an EA conference without their biggest franchise, Battlefield, being mentioned in some shape or form. There aren’t any new Battlefield games releasing anytime soon but they do have a slew of DLC planned for last year’s Battlefield 3, and that was the focus of the BF part of their conference.

Premium, which is basically a season pass with a couple of extras thrown in, is already available to buy with the second expansion pack, Close Quarters, available two weeks earlier and is already available on the PS3.

Now, in regards to the actual DLC, it doesn’t look too bad. Close Quarters should bring in some of the close-quarter combat that people have been wanting. Battlefield is all about the big, vehicular maps and always will be, but it doesn’t hurt to bring that action down in scale every so often. Besides, the Armored Kill DLC in September is said to feature ‘the biggest map in Battlefield history’ to suit the fans of that kind.

As for Premium, I won’t be getting it. I don’t have a problem with DLC season passes but they do nothing for me. I don’t like to buy all DLC in advance when I know nothing of at least two of them. For all I know, they could be complete garbage and I would already have paid for them come their release date. No thank you. I will probably end up buying them all anyway and spending more, but at least I know what I’ll be getting when I do.

EA Sports

I’m not going to lie and pretend that I have any degree of familiarity with the various EA Sports games that were announced here or have been released in the past. All I know of Fifa is that people kick balls around a field and that’s it. As for Madden, I’d rather be quizzed on mathematical equations. They hold no interest to me at all and as such, I can’t honestly talk about them at all in here. Plus there’s the fact I zoned out when they were talking about them during the conference, as I always do.

However, there is the matter of EA snatching the rights to the UFC that took some people by surprise. It must surely not be good news for THQ, especially since they’re not exactly in a wonderful financial position as it is. However, like before, I’m really not familiar with the UFC series nor what this transition means in the long-run so I can’t talk too much about it.

Regardless, I’ll put  the UFC announcement trailer here anyway.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted

What number Need for Speed game is this now? Honestly, I lost count a long time ago. All I know is there have been so many of them, and most of them below average. Here we are yet again with another NFS, developed by Burnout creators Criterion and it looks, unsurprisingly, like just another racing game with cops, crashes and women holding flags at the starting point.

The graphics do look good, I’ll give them that, and you can definitely see that there are elements of Burnout in there that might give it a slight edge above the rest of the titles in the franchise, but it’s still not enough to entice me into purchasing. I’m not a big fan of racing games but I can enjoy them when they give me something good. From watching this gameplay, I see nothing that would provide that. If anything, being relentlessly pursued by cops would be more likely to annoy me than please me. The game may be wonderful come release but I’m not seeing it from this.

Oh, and can Criterion create a new Burnout game? I mean a fully-fledged Burnout game, not the shoddy excuse for an arcade title last year. The last one, Burnout Paradise, was years ago and it’s been far, far too long since then.

Sim City

Sim City does, for the most part, look rather interesting if you’re into games that play like that. It certainly seems to have potential and like it could slowly absorb many hours of your life, but will I end up buying it and playing it? Probably not. Creating whole cities from scratch and managing them doesn’t sound like an easy task and I’ll probably just pass on it. That’s not to say that it won’t be good at doing what it does, it’s just that it doesn’t do much for me.

A Sim City: Social game was announced as well, playable on Facebook, but it didn’t look a patch on the main game and it’s a Facebook title so we can’t really expect much can we?

Crysis 3 Gameplay

Aliens? Check. Guns? Check. Bow and arrow that seems to be in fashion this year? Check. Innovation? Oh erm, let me just check my list again…

There’s no doubt that Crysis 3 looks good. No, it looks fantastic, just as its predecessor did. The gun-play looks just as tight and fluid as it did in the second title, but the problem lies from the fact it looks identical. I never played the first Crysis title but even I knew the differences between the first and second were large and noticeable. Try and work out the changes from the second to third and all I can see different is the bow and arrow. I can already hear people saying “It’s just Crysis 2 DLC” and we’re nowhere near release yet.

As I said, the game looks fantastic and I’m sure it’ll be a good campaign with decent multiplayer offerings but all the trailer showed me was how identical it looks to the 2011 entry. That’s a problem as far as I’m concerned.

 EA’s E3 conference was hovering around the average mark for the duration and it never once went above it, not even for the surprise UFC announcement that was revealed by an extremely wooden Dana White, President of UFC. The games focused on were either carbon copies of other, more popular titles, or nothing new above the previous offerings in their respective franchises, although that would’ve been great for Dead Space 3, rather than a grossly disappointing change in direction. The EA conference was populated by games with the numbers 2 and 3 on the end, showing no innovation or willingness to explore different changes in direction.

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