E3 is officially underway, and EA Games opened the series of press conferences with a bang! If there is one word to describe everything that they came out with today it would be “story.” And if there are two words: “story” and “Star Wars.” Here’s a short recap of what we saw in today’s press conference.
EA kicked off their press conference with a thrilling story trailer for Madden 18 – and, yeah, I was just as surprised to see a story trailer as you are. It looked damned good, too. From the trailer, it looks like your character will start from college football as he works his way up to the NFL.
Story modes like these are what compel me to buy Madden. I don’t do it often, but when the blue moon shines, and there is a good career mode present, I will fork over the $60.
I’ll be 100% honest, I did not expect to see anything Battlefield related today, but catching me by surprise seems to be EA’s prime objective this year. EA announced two new maps coming out within the next two months as well as a new DLC pack called “In the Name of the Tsar.” Obviously, this DLC pack will focus on the Russian front of the War to End All Wars. It will also feature new vehicles, female fighters, and six additional new maps (on top of the two mentioned before).
“In the Name of the Tsar” will be available in September, this year.
Next up on EA’s list was FIFA 18. In their FIFA segment, EA announced their launch of a FIFA esports championship – making a spectator sport out of a game based on a spectator sport. EA also showed a few video clips showcasing FIFA 18’s impressive graphics while mentioning a “player personality” feature. This “player personality” will evidently give each footballer his own quirks based on his real-world performance. Certain players will run a certain way or will be able to perform techniques unique to them.
If it works the way it sounded, the next FIFA game will have an impressive variety in gameplay.
Need for Speed: Payback:
Probably the most surprisingly hype announcement for me personally was the trailer for Need for Speed: Payback. This trailer showed a great-looking story and transitions between objectives that looked pleasantly similar to those of GTA V. It was like watching a trailer for an upcoming Fast and Furious movie. I haven’t been this invested in a racing game since Burnout 3 for the PlayStation 2.
Announced along with the trailer were promises for new “heist” missions (GTA V again, anyone?), a new narrative style, and an open world.
A Way Out:
EA then spent a little time announcing a couple new IP’s. The first of which is A Way Out. At first glance, it is kind of hard to describe, but what we do know is that it will be designed for split-screen co-op only. It will revolve around the story between to inmates as they break out of prison. Even the gameplay is hard to pin down, because there was just so much variety in the trailer that they showed. There were some puzzle aspects, some third-person cover shooting, some driving, just about everything.
Expect an interesting story-based game from this title. I just hope the “two-player only” aspect doesn’t bring it down. As I’ve learned from Divinity: Original Sin, it can be hard to maintain those playthroughs.
The next new IP comes from Bioware, and unfortunately, that’s about as much information we got from it. There was a very brief trailer that emphasized a wall, some giant monsters in a primeval jungle, and quick shots of people in futuristic-looking armor.
It looks borderline post-apocalyptic. It has piqued my interest, and it seems we will be seeing more of Anthem in Microsoft’s press conference tomorrow.
NBA Live 18:
Continuing the trend of more story in games that usually lack it, one of the main focuses of NBA Live 18 is its “The One” mode. “The One” looks like a story mode or career mode, much like the Madden career mode I mentioned earlier. Its focus is on your ability to choose between playing in the stadiums with your NBA team and playing on street courts to build up your personal hype. It looks to be a neat angle. That said, it hasn’t caught my attention quite as well as Madden has.
We will be seeing a free demo of NBA Live 18 in August.
Star Wars Battlefront 2:
By far the coup de grace in today’s conference was Star Wars Battlefront 2 – and it looks good. DICE is bringing back a story mode to the Battlefront franchise, which was sorely needed in the previous installment. This story will take place between the events of Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, serving as a useful narrative bridge between the two films.
DICE have apparently taken feedback from the “original” Battlefront to heart. They are bringing back a class system, adding customization, and creating a battle point system, which is used to take control of certain vehicles and unit types, including Jedi and other heroes.
Space battles do not seem to be a thing, as far as we can see; however, there will be air vehicles and dog-fighting within the battle zones, much like the real original Battlefront.
Aside from the feedback-inspired improvements, what impressed me the most was just how amazing the graphics looked as well as how clear and visible everything looked despite the amazing graphics. Next-gen graphics on certain games like Call of Duty always bug out my eyes in the first few hours of play, but Star Wars Battlefront 2 looks clear as day.
The conference closed out with 15 minutes or so of real-time gameplay of Star Wars Battlefront 2, leaving little more than vote of confidence. There weren’t any closing words or farewells, but after the overload of surprisingly impressive announcements, they didn’t need any. This year’s E3 started with a bang, and now I cannot wait to see what’s in store for us over the next few days. I’ll see you tomorrow with word from Microsoft, Bethesda, and Devolver Digital.