EAs conference is done and dusted and while there weren’t any surprises at all, as everything on show was already pre-announced. But games is on the menu, and here’s what we’ve learnt from EA.
Star Wars looks rather decent?
First off the bat and easily the most anticipated out of the line up of games is Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order (which we looked at previously at its announcement in April). And this time there was some lovely gameplay footage to see and personally, I liked it. Combat is definitely inspired by From Software games with a hint of God of War, as the enemies have a health and block meter which if you can break it can lead to a lightsabre execution – much like Sekiro from this year. Managing your force powers and health all the while taking on the Empire from the cannon fodder stormtroopers to the more challenging purge troopers who will be a challenge. There will be a good variety of enemies to take on, and along for the Adventure is Cals droid companion BD-1 who can heal you and unlock doors. Apparently, according to Game Informer, he will work like the Estus Flasks from Dark Souls and will only replenish at save points and when resting at the ship, and like Dark Souls enemies will respawn when using savepoints.
As a Jedi, you do have access to the Force which you can do all sorts of things from pulling people towards you to freezing people and blaster bolts. Or my favourite in the trailer throws an R2 droid into a trooper. So, there will be plenty of tools to experiment within the game. Also, there are some familiar faces including Saw Gerrera from Rogue One, and the KX Series Droid from the same film as well. Probably others will be making an appearance as well as the Demo was set on Kashyyyk familiar locales would be also added along with the new ones like Bracca.
However, it wouldn’t be a Respawn game if there wasn’t wall running. All in all, for me it’s good to see some gameplay at last and it does look decent enough, not a world beater as of yet but keeps my optimism and attention.
Out on the 15th November if you’ve forgotten
New Stuff for Apex Legends and Battlefield V
Now, there were also details on what’s coming up for Apex and Battlefield in the year and starting with Apex (we did a review on it) with its upcoming Season 2 content. Which includes a new Legend in Wattson who given her name her tactical ability is creating mobile laser fences up to 12 at a time (a conversation that when on for far too long for people who aren’t fence enthusiasts.) That can be used to block people off and create choke points but allow your teammates to pass through, which can be very handy especially at the endgame. Her ultimate is a Trophy, the kind that you see in COD MW which destroys incoming projectiles and recharges your tactical abilities if you are nearby. But, her passive ability is that if any Ultimate Accelerants are used it will also recharge her ultimate to 100%. If you do have enough of them at the end of the game you can place a shitload of fences which I feel would be a bit OP.
A new gun also is being introduced as well, aptly named the L-STAR which is an energy Assault Rifle/SMG that can knock down doors, and it’s only exclusive to supply drops which on the face of it seems okay, but will need to be a quite rare drop for it to be fairly balanced because it looked and even the devs are calling it “OP”.
Daily and weekly challenges will be added and will be unlocked forever so you can stack them it blast through them it a sitting. Also, Weapons will also be balanced with buffs and nerfs. Although we don’t know all the details, but the Mozambique AKA the most memeable gun in games will be buffed up and become useable. New game modes will also be added including a ranked mode and limited time events as well. and new skins and badges becoming more streamlined make it quite an update when season 2 goes live.
Then we come to Battlefield V and it was focused on what is coming in chapter 4 of their War Stories which included new maps in Greece and North Africa and one which was inspired by Operation Metro in Battlefield V as well as 2 new close quarters maps. The max rank has been increased from 50 to 500 which is something for people who have little ambition in life other than having a max rank in a game. Ongoing improvements to Firestorm (which we’ve also done a review on that as well) with new guns, custom skins, squad respawn and improvements to the loot system as well as matchmaking. Also, a landmark called The Dome which drops mid-June.
Battlefield V will also be available on the EA Access and Origin Access Vault. Also, there were details on the next chapter which focuses on the Pacific theatre, which features new factions in the Japanese and the USA. New maps including fan favourite Iwo Jima, amphibious vehicles to go island hopping and an expanded arsenal to utilize which drops at the end of this year.
SPORTS, SPORTS, SPORTS
Now, we come to the sports and it focused on new FIFA and Madden NFL. Let’s start with FIFA as I know little to nothing about American Football. The main news is that Street football is back in FIFA and for reasons unknown is called Volta Football which frankly is a silly name. For starters, you can customize your male or female avatar with a plethora of clothing hairstyles tattoos and in-game emotes. Which given my time with Pro Clubs that everyone will dress and look like twats. Once you’ve ruined your pro you can play football on a rooftop in Tokyo, and underpass in Amsterdam or a cage in London in 3v3, 4v4, 4v4 Rush, 5v5 and Professional Futsal. With plenty of options such as playing with goalkeepers and more, and also use professional team as well as your own in Kick off. There are other Volta game modes including a story mode which given FIFA record recently with Story focused modes doesn’t float my boat really.
Aside from Volta Football, there are also other gameplay changes to report, including dynamic one-on-ones, AI Defending is overhauled but giving user defending an advantage. Natural Player Motion where the players will move more natural and composed like their real-life counterparts. Strafe Dribbling, Controlled Tackling, Set Pieces changed again and more composed finishing and topped off with changes to the ball physics with new trajectories and spin and bounce motions. All in all, aside from Volta Football, it just an update on the FIFA formula and out on the 27th September, with more info coming out on all these details as we get closer to September.
Then we come to Madden and now it gets tricky as my knowledge of American Football is tiny. Firstly, the main highlight is the Face of the Franchise which you can create your very own Quarterback who goes from College Football on the road to the next NFL star, which seems neat. Also added in Scenario Engine where it brings in dynamic challenges to improve your stats as you play.
X-factor abilities are in essence unique abilities. Take Patrick Mahomes as an example who’s also the cover athlete as well who has the exclusive Bazooka Superstar ability which stretches his reach by 15 yards or so. This applies to all types of players as well and can counter them as well which does almost makes Madden more like a chess match of sorts. New mechanics such as cancelling throws and pump fakes, signature animations, and with playbooks, any new plays that happen during a real NFL game will come across into Madden as well which is cool I guess. There will be a closed BETA from the 14th-16th June and will come out between the 31st July to 2nd August.
SIMS 4 stuff
Last and not least we come to the Sims 4 and mainly about new packs. Chief among which is the new pack Island Living where the Sims go to a lovely tropical island. New activities like hanging out with dolphins and mermaids, swimming, and clean up the island. New careers and additional activities as well and fashion and including a new Moschino fashion pack as well and interior updates as well. It’s not just a holiday pack as your Sims can live there, and you can free play in the ocean as well with jet skis and meet the wildlife.
The pack comes out first on PC on the 21st of June and for consoles July 16th.
Also, the name of the next pack for the Sims was also announced, called Realm of Magic, which would probably involve witches and wizards of the sort. Also announced was that EA is partnering with It Gets Better Project, which is an NPO that focused and helps support the LGBTQ+ youth. And as part of that partnership and timed with pride month is new pride theme clothing for The Sims 4, The Sims FreePlay and The Sims Mobile as well as a gender-neutral bathroom. Which for the record is good to see support for the LGBTQ+ community and seeing some representation in gaming, and also the Sims turns 20 this year and more evidence that I’m getting fucking old these days.
Anthem and Battlefront 2
Anthem made an appearance and instead of talking about new content for the game. It was more a confession of the games weak spots and committing in rectifying those issues. While working with influencers and getting feedback from players to shape the content to go forward on, starting with the limited time event Cataclysm which is in testing on PC.
Lead producer Ben Irving says:
“Anthem does have a future. A very bright future, we hope,” We’ve learned a lot these last few months, we really want to make the game better, we believe Anthem can be a really amazing game. We know we have some work to do, we just want to work with the community and build it together and make it a game that everyone wants it to be.”
Also, Star Wars Battlefront 2 made a short appearance detailing new content. Such as the new Capital Supremacy map set on Naboo. Droidekas are also coming to battlefront as well and new vehicles such as the TX-30 tank, and the planet Felucia is also coming to Battlefront 2
EA Play 2019 as a whole
The conference as a whole was rather tedious. After the chat on Jedi Fallen Order, it became more of an endurance test when we were streaming it. While I somewhat appreciate the long discussions into the games itself. Tt just didn’t pace itself and keep my attention as a viewer, in the past, it worked well where it flowed better. And there was plenty of cringe on offer and bad fashion including those hats In Madden 20 and awkward conversation and forced banter, with no surprise announcements – it lost its pantomime of sorts, which I much preferred. Although as it E3 and leaks more stuff than the titanic it can be understandable of sorts.