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Found 75 results

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. 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
  7. 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.
  8. 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?
  9. 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.
  10. 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?
  11. 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.
  12. 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?
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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?
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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?
  20. During the EA Press conference yesterday, John Vechey of PopCap Games took the stage to tell the crowd of gaming journalists that Garden Warfare was not a joke and very much a real product. The upcoming title combines the popular Plants v. Zombies formula with third-person action and some light tower defense elements. Vechey demonstrated a four player co-op session highlighting the four known classes: the soldier-esque Pea Shooter, the medic/rapid-firing Sunflower, the long-ranged Cactus, and the brawling Chomper. As the level progressed, players were able to plant vegetation in flower pots to provide fire support or bonuses to nearby allies. Occasionally, power-ups dropped in the level, like flying garlic drones. The session on display to the crowd at the conference was from Garden Warfare's survival mode, which pitted players against waves of enemies culminating with a boss monster. Garden Warfare will be coming first to Xbox One and Xbox 360 before making its way to PC and other platforms.
  21. On Thursday, Electronic Arts announced Need for Speed Rivals, a racing title from one of EA’s newest studios, Ghost Games in partnership with Criterion Games, the team behind the Burnout series. The game will be built on the Frostbite 3 game engine. It will be released on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC on November 19 this year and it will also be coming to Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Rivals allows players to take on the role of either a police officer or a racer, pitting the two sides against each other. Each faction has its own goals and challenges. Racers aim to make names for themselves by making the most daring escapes and evading more and more cops. More escapes will earn players more points with which they can unlock new cars and items. As a cop, players make use of teamwork to pursue and capture the racers and earn points for every racer busted. Officers will also rise through the ranks and unlock exclusive vehicles and pursuit technology. The game will make use of a new online feature called AllDrive, which will provide players with smooth transitions from single player to co-op to multiplayer. Friends and enemies will be able to enter races as they unfold, lending an amount of unpredictability into every situation. Need for Speed Rivals will also come with the features fans have come to expect: High-fidelity graphics, stat tracking, customizable cars, and upgradable tech for both the cops and the racers. Pre-orders at select retailers will come with the Ultimate Cop Pack which provides access to powerful items, cars, and customization options.
  22. On Monday, Maxis and EA announced that The Sims Studio, the dedicated Sims development team, was currently working on The Sims 4 for both PC and Mac. The next official entry in The Sims franchise is scheduled for a release sometime in 2014. Only a few scant details are known about the upcoming title. Gameplay will resemble previous Sims games, while adding the ability to share player creations with other Sims 4 gamers. For those of you worrying about another always online debacle like Maxis’ SimCity, never fear. The Sims 4 is promised to focus on the single player experience and will have no always online requirement. If you are a Sims super fan and want the latest updates on The Sims 4, you can head over to the official site and sign up for their newsletter. Or you can keep reading Extra Life. You know which one you’d prefer (the second one, obviously).
  23. The Walt Disney Company, the owner of all things Star Wars, announced today that they had chosen to contract EA to create new Star Wars video games for the foreseeable future. EA announced this with pride over on their official blog, adding that the future of Star Wars includes tablets, mobile, and other devices as well as the traditional console and PC entries. While I am sure that many gamers out there are curious as to what this means for old Lucas Arts Star Wars games like First Assault and 1313, EA has declined to mention details on any specific titles. However, they stated that they had top studios such as Battlefield developer DICE, Visceral, which created the acclaimed Dead Space franchise, and BioWare, who previously created one of the greatest games of all time with Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, working on Star Wars related projects. All games coming out of these studios will be powered by the Frostbite 3 engine. While EA promised that all of the content coming out of these and other EA affiliated studios would be original, I wouldn’t mind if they dipped into the deep and relatively untouched well of past Star Wars series to give them a new life. A DICE developed Star Wars Battlefront or Rogue Squadron would be incredible. If Visceral took up the reins of 1313 or created another Star Wars Republic Commando I would be ecstatic. And if BioWare is working on a single player Knights of the Old Republic III, I would definitely disappear for a week when that releases. Any one of those hypothetical games would win me over to this new deal between Disney and EA, but for now we have to sit tight and wait for more news. What Star Wars titles do you want to see coming out of EA?
  24. EA Sports launched their second annual Cover Vote initiative for their flagship hockey series yesterday. After last year’s staggering 25 million votes cast, EA has brought back the hugely successful contest. Fans can vote as many times as they’d like for their favorite players to be featured on the cover of NHL 14. As an added bonus, up to 10 entries per day count toward the Cover Vote Sweepstakes. Winners of the sweepstakes will receive a trip to a 2013 Stanley Cup Final game. There is no current release date for NHL 14, though it will likely come out toward the end of the year. View the trailer for the perennial hockey title below. There will be several rounds of voting to narrow down the field of candidates from 60 to determine a single face for the annual game franchise. Below you will find the schedule for each of the voting rounds: Round of 60 – April 22-28: Teammate vs. teammate. One representative from each team plus two wild card selections advance. 32-Player Leaderboard – April 29-May 5: Fans vote for their favorite 16 candidates; top 16 vote-getters advance. 16-player Bracket – May 6 - May 26: Weekly round-by-round, single-elimination playoff bracket decides finalists. The Finals – May 27- June 2: Winner takes the NHL 14 Cover. To cast your votes and see the initial 60 candidates, head over to CoverVote.nhl.com.
  25. Electronic Arts announced today that it is bringing its popular city-building game to Mac on June 11. It will be available exclusively as a digital download through the company’s Origin service and other digital distribution sites. As an added bonus, future purchases of SimCity will work for both Mac and PC, with cities created in one version being available in the other as well. People who have already bought SimCity on PC will receive a free Mac version via Origin. Despite selling 1.3 million copies since launch, many enthusiastic customers encountered numerous server issues due to the always-online component of Maxis’ city simulation. Server instability became so bad that Maxis disabled part of the time-speeding feature (called Cheetah Speed) and players were frequently required to endure ridiculously long login queues. To try and earn consumer loyalty back, EA offered free games to affected customers. Even with the free game giveaways, many people still cried that EA hadn’t done enough to repair the damage. Maybe offering free Mac versions to existing customers is another attempt from EA to make reparations to jilted consumers?