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Found 83 results

  1. The force is strong with this one. Star Wars Battlefront 2 was intended to show officially at Star Wars Celebration in Orlando, Florida April 13-16. However, someone with access to the trailer ahead of time leaked the trailer onto the video hosting service Vimeo, presumably because leaked videos take a bit longer to be taken down on that platform. The original upload is no longer available, but the trailer has since been scattered to the wind and picked up by the larger internet. As of right now, you can view the trailer on numerous YouTube channels, like the one below. There are a lot of exciting things about this teaser trailer, despite its short length. There are strong hints that this sequel might include space battles - possibly along the same lines as the previous Battlefront 2 on the PlayStation 2, which featured massive ship-to-ship combat combined with ground combat inside those ships. New hero characters from different eras were also shown fighting in the trailer. Notably the teaser depicts the opening moments of a duel between Darth Maul and Yoda. Rey and Kylo Ren from The Force Awakens also make brief appearances, letting us know that the entire Star Wars universe is fair game to appear in this sequel. That kind of fan service has really been the bread and butter of the Battlefront series. Battlefront 2 will be releasing with a story campaign, something many players wished to see in its predecessor. The story seems like it will follow a soldier for the Empire in a post-Return of the Jedi galaxy. The second Death Star has been destroyed along with the Emperor and the Rebel Alliance has beaten back the Empire's fleet. Various locations are shown in the trailer and seem to indicate that battles at Starkiller Base, Jakku, Hoth, and other film locations are in store - no surprises there. The main downside to this leaked trailer is that it gives no context to the systems that will back up these locations. Will Galactic Conquest return? Will bot play help bolster servers that aren't terribly busy? Are the game mode offerings going to be more robust? I suppose we will have to wait to see if the official reveal in the coming days contains more information.
  2. The force is strong with this one. Star Wars Battlefront 2 was intended to show officially at Star Wars Celebration in Orlando, Florida April 13-16. However, someone with access to the trailer ahead of time leaked the trailer onto the video hosting service Vimeo, presumably because leaked videos take a bit longer to be taken down on that platform. The original upload is no longer available, but the trailer has since been scattered to the wind and picked up by the larger internet. As of right now, you can view the trailer on numerous YouTube channels, like the one below. There are a lot of exciting things about this teaser trailer, despite its short length. There are strong hints that this sequel might include space battles - possibly along the same lines as the previous Battlefront 2 on the PlayStation 2, which featured massive ship-to-ship combat combined with ground combat inside those ships. New hero characters from different eras were also shown fighting in the trailer. Notably the teaser depicts the opening moments of a duel between Darth Maul and Yoda. Rey and Kylo Ren from The Force Awakens also make brief appearances, letting us know that the entire Star Wars universe is fair game to appear in this sequel. That kind of fan service has really been the bread and butter of the Battlefront series. Battlefront 2 will be releasing with a story campaign, something many players wished to see in its predecessor. The story seems like it will follow a soldier for the Empire in a post-Return of the Jedi galaxy. The second Death Star has been destroyed along with the Emperor and the Rebel Alliance has beaten back the Empire's fleet. Various locations are shown in the trailer and seem to indicate that battles at Starkiller Base, Jakku, Hoth, and other film locations are in store - no surprises there. The main downside to this leaked trailer is that it gives no context to the systems that will back up these locations. Will Galactic Conquest return? Will bot play help bolster servers that aren't terribly busy? Are the game mode offerings going to be more robust? I suppose we will have to wait to see if the official reveal in the coming days contains more information. View full article
  3. You might have noticed headlines today blaring about how BioWare was going to reboot their beloved Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic franchise. Going from some of the articles, you'd think that this new version was going to be completely redone in the Frostbite Engine and also spontaneously manifest unending supplies of pizza. Sadly, that rumor never had much substance to it. The rumor originated from some words uttered by Liam Robertson, who runs Unseen64. On the show, Roberston discussed revelations from his connections at BioWare Austin, saying: I’ve learned now that [BioWare Austin is] pretty much now exclusively working on Star Wars games and they’re going to be doing that for the indefinite future. What they’re currently working on right now—and I have this on good authority—is a sort of remake/revival of Knights of the Old Republic. I don’t know when this is set to come out, but it has been in development for a little while now. According to Kotaku, that information just isn't accurate, or at least it is only partially correct. BioWare's Austin studio actually did prototype a revamped Knights of the Old Republic; the only problem is that the project never went any further than that. It's not in development and hasn't been greenlit by the higher ups at BioWare. Revamped KotOR isn't happening. Liam Roberston released a statement earlier today on the issue: Going to hold my hands up here - I think I just misheard some of the Austin stuff when I was talking on Skype, so I may have misspoke there. There’s also the element that I had no notes in front of me and just sort of rambled on from memory. I did not expect these few select statements to blow up (oops). I’m used to having the opportunity to just release follow-up notices on the Patreon with any updates and corrections. My bad there. Let me clarify that I don’t think KOTOR’s a current project. From the same people I learned about Dylan from, I did hear that they prototyped a KOTOR revival at Austin a while back. I believe it may have evolved into something else since then or fizzled out since then. I’m still confident Austin is doing something Star Wars related though and I’m confident in that. I actually did know that they were contributing towards Dylan since I originally found out about it when I was researching Austin’s Shadow Realms, so if I said exclusively, then that was admittedly a mistake. However, what is happening at BioWare Austin is work on a new IP for the studio. It's rumored to be a game along similar to Bungie's Destiny series. The code-name for the project has been confirmed to be Dylan, something Liam Robertson's sources also corroborated. Dylan went into development shortly after the cancellation of BioWare's last attempt at a new IP, Shadow Realms. Whatever it turns out to be, Dylan should be shown at E3 later this year.
  4. You might have noticed headlines today blaring about how BioWare was going to reboot their beloved Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic franchise. Going from some of the articles, you'd think that this new version was going to be completely redone in the Frostbite Engine and also spontaneously manifest unending supplies of pizza. Sadly, that rumor never had much substance to it. The rumor originated from some words uttered by Liam Robertson, who runs Unseen64. On the show, Roberston discussed revelations from his connections at BioWare Austin, saying: I’ve learned now that [BioWare Austin is] pretty much now exclusively working on Star Wars games and they’re going to be doing that for the indefinite future. What they’re currently working on right now—and I have this on good authority—is a sort of remake/revival of Knights of the Old Republic. I don’t know when this is set to come out, but it has been in development for a little while now. According to Kotaku, that information just isn't accurate, or at least it is only partially correct. BioWare's Austin studio actually did prototype a revamped Knights of the Old Republic; the only problem is that the project never went any further than that. It's not in development and hasn't been greenlit by the higher ups at BioWare. Revamped KotOR isn't happening. Liam Roberston released a statement earlier today on the issue: Going to hold my hands up here - I think I just misheard some of the Austin stuff when I was talking on Skype, so I may have misspoke there. There’s also the element that I had no notes in front of me and just sort of rambled on from memory. I did not expect these few select statements to blow up (oops). I’m used to having the opportunity to just release follow-up notices on the Patreon with any updates and corrections. My bad there. Let me clarify that I don’t think KOTOR’s a current project. From the same people I learned about Dylan from, I did hear that they prototyped a KOTOR revival at Austin a while back. I believe it may have evolved into something else since then or fizzled out since then. I’m still confident Austin is doing something Star Wars related though and I’m confident in that. I actually did know that they were contributing towards Dylan since I originally found out about it when I was researching Austin’s Shadow Realms, so if I said exclusively, then that was admittedly a mistake. However, what is happening at BioWare Austin is work on a new IP for the studio. It's rumored to be a game along similar to Bungie's Destiny series. The code-name for the project has been confirmed to be Dylan, something Liam Robertson's sources also corroborated. Dylan went into development shortly after the cancellation of BioWare's last attempt at a new IP, Shadow Realms. Whatever it turns out to be, Dylan should be shown at E3 later this year. View full article
  5. I’ll be more upfront than usual; Dragon Age: Inquisition is a fantastic game. The staggeringly large scope, excellent score, eye-popping visuals, and engaging gameplay, BioWare executed everything almost flawlessly. I’d recommend it to almost anyone, even people who aren’t typically drawn toward RPGs. Inquisition has issues, certainly, but none that would prevent me from endorsing it. If you are just looking for my recommendation, there you have it. If, on the other hand, you’re interested in a deeper dive into Inquisition, taking a look at the seemingly minor issues that keep Inquisition from rising into the stuff of video game legend, read on. I think it fitting to begin a discussion of Inquisition by addressing the glitches that plagued my opening hour of gameplay. I spent around three hours attempting to satisfactorily begin the game. Character creation proved to be particularly difficult. No joke, all of the facial hair floated a good six inches off of my protagonist’s face, dissuading me from touching any of the glorious beards on display. Perhaps more importantly, the lighting in character creation looks nothing close to the lighting elsewhere in the game. Meaning that my first character, who I intended to look Middle Eastern, ended up looking like he had a fake spray tan that would never, ever come off. Though I initially thought I’d try to live with the abysmal results, I quickly ditched him because Dragon Age decided that he was going to be regarded as a lady by all other characters in the game, a rather significant glitch for which there was no fix. My second time through the creation process went much better, though depending on camera angles and lighting my protagonist could either look really awesome or like the world’s biggest simpleton. I thought I was in the clear. However, Dragon Age kept switching him from a mage to a rogue midway through the tutorial. It took over a dozen reloads before I was able to successfully make it through the introduction and progress into the game proper. With those initial glitchy hurdles cleared, my experience was nearly error free, excepting the occasional giant falling out of the sky. I only encountered one major glitch after the opening ordeal. About halfway through Inquisition, the game introduces a new character who can be customized. If players choose to customize that particular character, there seems to be a 50% chance that their main protagonist’s voice could change to the default option if they had opted for the non-default voice during character creation. This happened to me with no way to reverse it. There are few things as grating as spending 40 hours with a character sounding one way only for them to suddenly begin sounding completely, irritatingly different. Glitches aside, people interested in the PC version should know that Inquisition’s mouse and keyboard controls handle terribly. I could only handle about two or three minutes of gameplay before I decided to plug in a wired 360 controller, which proved to be a far superior experience. A tactical RPG originally made for the PC, Dragon Age: Origins required strategic thinking and micromanaging that lent itself very well to a mouse and keyboard. To a lesser extent, that was also true of Dragon Age 2. However, I found Dragon Age: Inquisition to be more of an action game with RPG elements, which lends itself better to a controller than a keyboard. A tactical camera and customizable companion tactics allow players to fine tune strategies, but I literally never used either of those functions, never even touched them. Granted, I played through on Normal difficulty, so perhaps higher difficulty levels require a more tactical approach to combat. The fact remains that I approached combat almost like I would a button masher and had a great time. The change isn’t a bad thing for the Dragon Age franchise, but prospective players should be aware that Inquisition’s gameplay differs significantly from that of its ancestors. The strength of BioWare’s writing team remains unchanged. To summarize the initial plot: The Chantry, the leading religious power in Thedas, convenes a special council to begin peace talks between rebellious mages and their former Templar handlers, an attempt to halt a disastrous war. Something goes horribly wrong and the entire council is obliterated in a magical cataclysm that creates The Breach, a massive portal to the Fade, a realm of spirits and demons. In all the commotion, a single individual emerges from The Breach, the bearer of a strange magical mark on their right hand. As that person, players make choices that shape the world of Thedas for better or worse. It is a great set up raising numerous questions for players to explore. What is the role of faith in times of peril? Is the protagonist divine? Can the current events all be rationally explained? Is there a god looking out for the people of Thedas? Unfortunately, none of these questions are really explored to much meaningful depth. It was a bit of a disappointment, especially given where the series might be going in the future. If anything makes up for my minor grumbles with how adequately Inquisition explores its own themes it is how well BioWare succeeds in characterization. Far and away, I found the dialogue to be the strongest part of Inquisition. BioWare really isn’t afraid to explore waters that most other video games still aren’t ready to touch quite yet. One of the most compelling companion characters, Dorian, is a mage that prefers the company of other men. He’s not treated as a stereotype or a token character. He’s a fully formed individual, which is rare to see in most Western games. A more succinct way of putting it is that Dorian’s sexual orientation isn’t something that defines him as a character, rather he’s written as a person who happens to be gay. He’s also bold, brimming with clever quips, and can occasionally put aside his façade of bravado to try and be a good friend. BioWare isn’t content to rest on its laurels after crafting a character that most studios wouldn’t have bother with either. Krem, the second in command of the Bull’s Chargers mercenary company, breaks new ground as the first transgender character in the Western AAA game space. Despite not being one of the core companion characters, Krem stands out in the land of big budget games as a minority character written in a humane way. Much like Dorian, Krem’s gender identity isn’t the thing that defines him, he’s a person before anything else. I only mentioned two out of a cast of dozens. Who could forget Cassandra, the hard case Seeker with a hidden love for trashy romance novels? Or Sera, the kooky-yet-practical city elf that seems more than a little unhinged? Or what about… I could keep listing names for paragraphs, but I think you’ve probably understood my meaning. Lesser writers would stop short. Cassandra would just be a stuffy warrior, Sera would just be crazy, Dorian would just be another gay stereotype. Heck, Krem would be a one line anomaly in a typical game. But BioWare adds just enough to make each one seem fleshed out and real. Each have their own motivations, goals, and desires. They have needs and wants that are directly communicated to the player and others that are only hinted at and suggest greater depth. Despite the fantasy setting and the supernatural threats that close in on every side, Dragon Age: Inquisition manages to paint more realistic people than many games that strive to be more grounded in reality. As I played Inquisition, I slowly began to feel an absence. I tried to shake it off, but it continued to grow as I progressed. Then, somewhere in the midst of court intrigue, large scale warfare, and demons raining from the sky, it suddenly stuck me how disconnected I felt from it all. It wasn’t that the characters are written badly, several of them are easily the most brilliantly written video game characters I’ve had the pleasure to come across. It also wasn’t that Dragon Age: Inquisition is boring; there are plenty of things to do and the game aims to be visually stunning at all times. It didn’t even seem like the problem was on a narrative level, an issue usually found in even the biggest AAA games. I really struggled to pin down exactly why Inquisition felt so impersonal, and it wasn’t until after the credits rolled and I had an opportunity to reflect on the game and BioWare’s previous accomplishments that the answer hit me. One of the most positively received video games to come out of BioWare is Mass Effect 2. The wild, incredible narrative ride ratchets up over time to climax in a suicide mission made all the more satisfying by the time devoted to interacting with and learning about the team that risk their lives alongside the player. In other words, Mass Effect 2’s effectiveness stems from how the narrative and game design choices all revolve around each other, intertwined and inseparable. Practically every mission either links with a certain character, advancing the player’s relationship with them, or propels the plot forward. Almost no missions in Mass Effect 2 consist of dead air (except, of course, the planet scanning), every moment crackles with purpose to one end or another. To invest players and keep up the narrative momentum, BioWare kept every mission carefully directed and allowed for little in the way of exploration. BioWare seems to have taken a different approach that centers on the vastness of the areas they’ve created. It is easy to see why; clearly a lot of time went into the awe-inspiring environments. However, the mission structures applied to these huge spaces feel very similar to what you’d find in an MMO. For many people that might not be a problem, but it leads to a relatively inert game both in terms of player engagement and game narrative. That’s why I had trouble pinpointing the problem at first; the disconnect isn’t on a traditional narrative level. Instead it is the result of a uniquely game-related design choice. Unlike Mass Effect 2, many of the missions, even some that involve companions, require backtracking through previously explored areas to kill bad guys/collect items/destroy things A, B, and C. They aren’t engaging tasks. You’ve probably done them thousands of times in other games. None of those things are as memorable or meaningful as the time Garrus tried to assassinate his ex-squad member, Sidonis, and was either talked into or out of it through conversation. I spent almost 100 hours in Thedas, and there were still areas I hadn’t fully explored. I completed the game at level 24, even though the game recommends the final mission for character levels 15-19. The world BioWare created was so big that the side stuff overtakes the main narrative, despite it being the least interesting part of the experience. It seems telling to me that “Leave the Hinterlands” has become a piece of advice repeated again and again. Players are getting wrapped up in checking all the boxes, going into every nook and cranny, and engaging less with the characters and narrative. That’s a shame, because the main quest missions are easily the most interesting parts of Dragon Age: Inquisition. I just wish that there were more of them and less uninspired open world quest design. Herb gathering exemplifies the issue perfectly. The game begins and it is exciting to stumble across herbs and harvest them, so you tap buttons to go through the gathering animations again and again. They’re all over the place. Then you discover that it takes herbs to replenish your supply of health potions. Gathering herbs stops being a cool diversion and becomes a necessity. Later you learn that it takes herbs to upgrade your potions, too. At this point, you will be willing to commit murder to not gather any more herbs. What started as a fun diversion becomes a mind-numbingly boring task. Sure, you can send soldiers to do it, but they’ll only bring six or seven plants back at a time, but you could collect double that in the time it takes them to bring more back. Even by the end of the game, I was scrabbling for more herbs, more crafting materials. It took me out of the world and diverted my attention from narratively important tasks. With the writing talent at their disposal, BioWare’s decision to focus away from the dialogues is perplexing. I don’t mean that Inquisition lacks in the dialogue department at all, but rather there was a slight design choice that clearly emphasizes the open world gameplay over the conversations. One of the things that I loved about both the Mass Effect and Dragon Age series was that practically all conversations with significant NPCs that had more than one sentence to say were done from multiple fixed camera angles that created more engaging visuals than the player controlled camera was capable of providing. It made conversations feel more immediate and exciting. While that is certainly still present in Dragon Age: Inquisition, more often than not players will be kept in the broad player controlled camera during conversations. The design choice encourages players to leave the conversation with the NPC whenever they’d like. On paper, that seems like something a lot of players would want, but in practice I think it creates a lot of distance between the player and the sidequests or extra dialogue players might want to have with their companions. I understand that it is a large game and players have a lot to do, but are we really too busy to want personal conversations with important characters? I don’t think so, and I can’t help but feel we lost something rather important. Ultimately, the estrangement from Dragon Age: Inquisition hurt my perception of its narrative. Perhaps I spent too much time pursuing side content and not enough on finishing the core missions, but by the end of the game everything felt stacked in my protagonist’s favor and the climactic finale seemed like little more than a formality. This could be an indication that the narrative itself is a bit flawed on how it approaches the overarching conflict in Dragon Age: Inquisition, but that’s probably a spoiler-filled topic for another day. Conclusion: Despite the glitches, the feeling of disconnection, and the wall of text that might indicate otherwise, I very much enjoyed my time in Thedas. The criticisms I had were small, but they’ll be the reason Dragon Age: Inquisition isn’t remembered quite as fondly as Origins or the Mass Effect series. Dragon Age: Inquisition left me wanting more, curious as to where the franchise might be headed next. Color me doubly curious since many loose ends from both Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2 are resolved by the time the credits roll in Inquisition. I opened this review with a recommendation and I’m ending it with another. Do yourself a favor and play Dragon Age: Inquisition. Any missteps it makes pale in comparison to the enjoyable experience it can offer. Dragon Age: Inquisition was reviewed PC and is now available for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360
  6. Josef Fares founded Hazelight, a new development studio under EA, with a core team composed of veterans who worked with him on Brothers. The indie studio's first project is still unnamed, but is teased at the end of the video announcing Hazelight. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons was a fantastic accomplishment and I really can't wait to see what Hazelight has in store for those two gentlemen on that train.
  7. It is easy to forget that BioWare took a bold risk when they launched their untested, original IP as an Xbox 360 exclusive back in 2007. The RPG genre had never truly veered into uncharted territory with a mainstream release as with a third-person shooter hybrid. On top of that, it was set in an unknown universe that the marketing team could easily have over-inflated to generate hype only to fall victim to the backlash (remember the cautionary tale of Advent Rising?). However, what made Mass Effect special was that it actually managed to live up to the hype. It worked. It had choices that engaged players. It was full of unique and interesting piece of universe-building and memorable characters. It delivered the sci-fi adventure some people had been waiting their entire lives to see in a video game for the first time. Almost a decade later with a new entry in the franchise releasing this week, does the original Mass Effect stand as not merely a good game, but one of the best games period? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Mass Effect 'Uncharted Depths' by Hy Bound (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02157) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, follow the show on Twitter and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  8. It is easy to forget that BioWare took a bold risk when they launched their untested, original IP as an Xbox 360 exclusive back in 2007. The RPG genre had never truly veered into uncharted territory with a mainstream release as with a third-person shooter hybrid. On top of that, it was set in an unknown universe that the marketing team could easily have over-inflated to generate hype only to fall victim to the backlash (remember the cautionary tale of Advent Rising?). However, what made Mass Effect special was that it actually managed to live up to the hype. It worked. It had choices that engaged players. It was full of unique and interesting piece of universe-building and memorable characters. It delivered the sci-fi adventure some people had been waiting their entire lives to see in a video game for the first time. Almost a decade later with a new entry in the franchise releasing this week, does the original Mass Effect stand as not merely a good game, but one of the best games period? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Mass Effect 'Uncharted Depths' by Hy Bound (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02157) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, follow the show on Twitter and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  9. Mass Effect: Andromeda releases later this month bringing players into BioWare's sci-fi universe once again. The spacefaring adventure might hit stores on March 21, but those who subscribe to EA's Access service will have 10 hours of pre-release gameplay time beginning on March 16. A similar perk is available for PC users through Origin Access. Unfortunately for PlayStation 4 owners, EA Access is exclusive to the Xbox One and no options are available to PS4 players to get in on the early slice of Mass Effect: Andromeda. Interestingly enough, that 10 hours of gameplay won't be completely unfettered. Players will be limited to a handful of story missions on a single planet before additional progress becomes locked. At that point, players can either explore or restart Andromeda. Mass Effect producer Fernando Melo expanded a bit on the limitations of the EA Access game time on Twitter. For more Mass Effect: Andromeda goodness, check out the trailer for BioWare's new space epic.
  10. Mass Effect: Andromeda releases later this month bringing players into BioWare's sci-fi universe once again. The spacefaring adventure might hit stores on March 21, but those who subscribe to EA's Access service will have 10 hours of pre-release gameplay time beginning on March 16. A similar perk is available for PC users through Origin Access. Unfortunately for PlayStation 4 owners, EA Access is exclusive to the Xbox One and no options are available to PS4 players to get in on the early slice of Mass Effect: Andromeda. Interestingly enough, that 10 hours of gameplay won't be completely unfettered. Players will be limited to a handful of story missions on a single planet before additional progress becomes locked. At that point, players can either explore or restart Andromeda. Mass Effect producer Fernando Melo expanded a bit on the limitations of the EA Access game time on Twitter. For more Mass Effect: Andromeda goodness, check out the trailer for BioWare's new space epic. View full article
  11. BioWare's next installment in the Mass Effect universe looms on the video game release horizon only a scant few weeks away. While we've certainly seen a decent chunk of gameplay and cinematics, much of game still seems to be shrouded in mystery. Today, BioWare pulled back a bit more of the curtain on Mass Effect: Andromeda. As explorers sent to an entirely unexplored new galaxy, players need to establish and secure a new world 2.5 million light years away from Earth. If that weren't already a daunting task, the alien races that inhabit that new galaxy are unpredictable - some might greet explorers with curiosity and open arms, but others are out for blood. Players will need to explore, craft, and fight to carve a new home out of a dangerous new frontier.
  12. BioWare's next installment in the Mass Effect universe looms on the video game release horizon only a scant few weeks away. While we've certainly seen a decent chunk of gameplay and cinematics, much of game still seems to be shrouded in mystery. Today, BioWare pulled back a bit more of the curtain on Mass Effect: Andromeda. As explorers sent to an entirely unexplored new galaxy, players need to establish and secure a new world 2.5 million light years away from Earth. If that weren't already a daunting task, the alien races that inhabit that new galaxy are unpredictable - some might greet explorers with curiosity and open arms, but others are out for blood. Players will need to explore, craft, and fight to carve a new home out of a dangerous new frontier. View full article
  13. Dragon Age: Inquisition comes out next month on November 18, but EA is already prepping by giving out the first Dragon Age RPG for less the staggering price of nothing. People looking to snag a copy of the fantastic Dragon Age: Origins will need an Origin account to download their free copy. While I know that not a ton of people are a fan of Origin, it is pretty hard to turn your nose up at a free copy of one of BioWare's best RPGs. The promotion will only be available for the next six days, so hop to it.
  14. EA has revealed plans for a new service for the Xbox One that will allow players to access a library of EA titles and provide discounts to other EA products. What does a subscription to EA Access net paying customers? During the initial beta phase of the program, buyers will have access to a vault of EA's titles on Xbox One which includes FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Peggle 2, and Battlefield 4. EA promises more titles will be added to the vault soon. Besides the game collection, subscribers will receive a 10% discount on all digital content purchased on Xbox One. The final benefit of a subscription is trial access to new titles up to five days before their official release. Trials will be available for Madden NFL 15, NHL 15, FIFA 15, NBA LIVE 15, and Dragon Age: Inquisition. EA Access will begin at $4.99 per month or $29.99 annually on Xbox Live. It will soon be available for purchase at physical retailers like Gamestop as well as online vendors like Amazon. On the surface the subscription to EA Access seems like a bargain at around $30 a year for over $100 worth of games (and that is just initially). However, I can't shake a distaste for being beholden to a third-party developer/publisher for access to games that I've purchased. What do the fine people of the Extra Life community think about EA Access?
  15. The martial arts master will be available both as an unlockable fighter and as a pre-order bonus in EA Sports UFC, the upcoming MMA fighting sim for Xbox One and PlayStation 4. While all UFC players will be able to unlock Bruce Lee by playing though Career Mode on the Pro setting, customers will also be able to unlock the fighter by pre-ordering at any of the following retailers: Amazon, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, GameStop, and Target. “It has always been part of our vision to have Bruce Lee, the most iconic martial artist of all time, in the first ever EA Sports UFC,” said Brian Hayes, Creative Director, EA. “The team is very excited and tremendously honored to have the privilege of bringing Bruce Lee to life in our game. We’ve been working closely with the Bruce Lee team to ensure we represent the legend with as much visual and gameplay fidelity as possible.” Shannon Lee, the daughter of Bruce Lee and the CEO of Bruce Lee, LLC, expressed her support of his digital resurrection saying, "I am so excited about this opportunity to bring my father back to video games! I’m thrilled that fans can now interact with him in a new way. The EA Sports UFC development team has been incredible to work with, and they've done a great job capturing the look and feel of my father." EA Sports UFC launches this year on June 17 and it seems like the development team is doing their best to make sure the game is representative of the best that Ultimate Fighting has to offer.
  16. A few weeks ago, the industry was flabbergasted when Amy Hennig, long-time creative director of the Uncharted series, unexpectedly left Naughty Dog. She has since been picked up by Visceral Games, the developer behind Dead Space and Lord of the Rings: The Third Age. It would appear that Amy Hennig was attracted to the idea of being the creative director of a new Star Wars game. For those that don't know, Visceral Games is owned by EA which has a contract with Disney to make games based on the Star Wars IP. The prospect of having creative control over a Star Wars property is certainly a mouth-watering prospect for any creative individual, especially a person of Hennig's creative caliber. Steve Papoutsis, the vice president and general manager at Visceral Games, expressed his excitement at what Hennig would be bringing to their Star Wars project: Over the last few weeks, Amy and I have spent a lot of time talking about what her first project would be. There are a lot of different directions we could have gone, but I could sense that what really excited her about this opportunity (because let’s face it, we weren’t the only ones knocking at her door) was Star Wars. Amy’s a huge fan. We happen to be making a Star Wars game. Just thinking about the possibilities made both of us even more excited about having her join the team. We're all pretty dang excited, too, Steve. As for what exactly that Star Wars game will focus on or be about, no one outside of Visceral knows. There has been some speculation that the remnants of Star Wars 1313 may have been picked up by EA following the closure of Lucas Arts. While there is no reason to believe those rumors, I can't help thinking how awesome playing a game that was described as "Uncharted + Star Wars" helmed by the actual creative director of Uncharted. This isn't likely, but a guy can dream, right?
  17. EA is introducing the On The House promotion as a way of showing appreciation to the gamers who have downloaded Origin onto their computers. Though most gamers have probably played Dead Space by now, those who haven't should take this opportunity to play one of the best survival horror titles in recent years. The only requirement to acquire Dead Space is to download it through Origin. Once you've added it to your account, it is yours forever. Why is EA doing this? Seemingly, just because they can and want to do something nice. Or maybe to get people to think more positively about its mostly maligned Origin platform. Dead Space was released in 2008 and was highly praised for its new approach to combat and updating the survival horror genre. Since then, developer Visceral went on to make two other Dead Space titles and is now working on the next Battlefield game.
  18. SimCity had one of the most disastrous launches in the gaming industry when it released last March. Server stability was awful, people were shut out of the game with hour long log-in queues, and who could forget the debacle of EA and Maxis claiming the game had to be always online? Turns out, that SimCity is getting an offline, single player mode with the upcoming update 10. In a recent blog posting on the SimCity website, Patrick Buechner, the general manager of the Maxis Emeryville studio proudly announced the upcoming development for the city-building title. As for when the update is coming, Buechner was a bit vague, referring to the undefined testing period the update would go through with their volunteer DevTester group. But when the update launches, what will that mean for the current game? "All of the benefits of being connected will remain including access to Multiplayer, the Global Market and Leaderboards. And all of your pre-existing saved cities and regions will still be accessible should you log-in to the Online game," said Buechner. This will also open up new opportunities for the modding community to create new content for SimCity, though that content will have to be within certain guidelines provided by EA. Is this enough to get you into SimCity for the first time or give it a second chance?
  19. GlassLab, a part of the Institute of Play, is dedicated to helping create games that are both financially successful and help educate players regarding important social, scientific, and practical issues in today's world. Their latest effort with EA has resulted in SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge!, which challenges students to minimize pollution while juggling employment rates and citizen satisfaction while also providing lesson plans and resources for teachers to fit the program into their curriculum. Jessica Lindl, General Manager of GlassLab, summed up the project, saying, “Taking the essential elements of games, we’ve created an educational tool that will keep students excited and engaged in real-world problem solving, while providing teachers with actionable reports aligned to standards.” You can purchase SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge! or learn more about it at www.simcityedu.org.
  20. On October 29, Battlefield 4 launches on PC, Xbox 360, and PS3. The PlayStation 4 version of Battlefield 4 hits shelves on November 12, followed closely by the Xbox One version a week later on November 19. Battlefield fans who don't want to wait the two or three weeks for the next wave of consoles can purchase a current-gen copy and upgrade to a next-gen copy via a number of methods for a small fee. Upgrading will carry over all multiplayer statistics and premium memberships. Where can you upgrade and how do you upgrade and how much will it cost? PlayStation 3 customers who want a PS4 upgrade for Battlefield 4, marked copies will come with a code that can be redeemed for $9.99. This offer expires on March 28, 2014. Microsoft is offering upgrades at numerous retail locations. Best Buy, Microsoft stores, and GameStop* can trade-in an Xbox 360 copy of Battlefield 4 and upgrade to an Xbox One version for $9.99. Alternatively, Amazon is offering $25 of credit toward Battlefield 4 on Xbox One in addition to the minimum $25 trade-in value of the game. All offers expire December 31, 2013. *GameStop trade-in only available to GameStop Power-Up Rewards members.
  21. Earlier today, EA announced that it had signed a three-year deal with F.C. Barcelona (Futbol Club Barcelona). For those who don’t follow soccer on the world stage, F.C. Barcelona is one of the best teams in the world and have been around since 1899. That wasn’t a typo. They were actually founded 113 years ago. They club is a well-known threat on the international stage having won four Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Champions League titles, four UEFA Cup Winners’ Cups, four UEFA Super cups, three Inter-Cities Fairs Cups, and a record two FIFA Club World Cup trophies. Only one other team has ever won two FIFA trophies: Brazil’s Corinthians. What I am trying to say is that F.C. Barcelona is PRETTY GOOD AT SOCCER. “Joining a world class soccer club like Barcelona as an Official Club Partner is a fantastic opportunity for EA Sports and our fans,” said Matt Bilbey, Senior Vice President and Group General Manager at EA Sports. As a result of F.C. Barcelona’s partnership with EA, 17 players will have their likenesses scanned into FIFA 14 in what one might assume to be higher detail than lesser known players from less popular teams. It will be interesting to see if news like this and Microsoft’s promise to bring exclusive FIFA downloadable content to the Xbox One will impact the popularity Sony’s consoles have traditionally had in the past.
  22. EA announced at their pre-E3 conference on Monday that a sequel to the acclaimed free-running game Mirror's Edge was in the works. They even went so far as to post a trailer showing off the beautiful updated graphics, fluid combat, and smooth running action. The one downside to this great news? We have no idea when it will be finished. The trailer ends with, "Coming... when it's ready" What do you think? Are you excited for a new Mirror's Edge? Or do you wish that EA would invest some more in new IP?
  23. The sports division of EA unleashed everything they had during the press conference yesterday. Beginning by touting the new Ignite game engine which enables major improvements in AI and character model animation, EA quickly moved into discussing the games coming later this year. Kyrie Irving of the Cavaliers came on stage to promote the return of the popular NBA Live series in NBA Live 14. The biggest addition to the series, besides the obvious graphical improvements, is the addition of a unique physics engine for the ball. Also, the developer promised to have stats updated for players in less than an hour after games are played. Madden NFL 25, releasing near the 25th anniversary of the series debut, will feature improved footwork animation and control. Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings (I gotta have some hometown sports pride!) will be the face of Madden 25, appearing prominently on the cover of the game at retail. Soccer, the other football, makes its yearly return in FIFA 14. This year the selling points are the dramatically increased calculation power of the computer soccer player's AI and the "living stadium" feature that makes the crowds more believable and generates effects teams morale during home or away games. Rounding out the sports talk at the EA show, was EA Sports UFC, a game based on the popular mixed martial arts spectacle fighting that has been growing over the years. The title will feature a system called MMAi, which will allow the computer to adopt new strategies on the fly during matches. It will also feature character models that take and retain damage as fights progress. One of the UFC officials who took the stage to talk about the game declared, "This will be the greatest game about fighting ever made." Bold words. Hopefully EA Sports UFC can live up to them.
  24. BioWare's flagship high fantasy RPG series has been flying a bit under the radar of late, but Dragon Age returned at EA's pre-E3 press conference yesterday. The trailer holds the haunting narration of the recurring witch Flemeth as voiced by the talented Kate Mulgrew. Old faces from both Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II will be making appearances in Dragon Age III, though it is not known if they will be playable characters or if they will merely make cameos. Dragon Age III: Inquisition is an open world RPG built on the Frostbite 3 engine and choice will affect the world as well as the narrative. Inquisition will release sometime during Fall 2014.
  25. EA did it. They finally did it. After years of hopeful gamers waiting for a third installment in the Star Wars Battlefront series, a hope that was nearly crushed with the recent closure of LucasArts, EA released less than a minute of cinematic footage, which you can watch below. The trailer clearly meant to invoke the feeling and memories of the Hoth invasion, which has been seen in numerous Star Wars games throughout the years after dazzling generations of original trilogy film fans. It has been nearly eight years since Star Wars Battlefront II was released and finally there might be a new reason for fans of the series to be excited for a polished follow up to one of the most successful Star Wars titles of all time. What do you think? Is this something worth getting our hopes up for?