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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

E3 2012 - Day 2 - Part 1: EA Press Conference

The EA press conference opened with the statement "Less like the Oscars, more like Sundance."  This coming from EA is more than a little comical, but the event continued with a straight face.  The first game shown was the third entry in the Dead Space franchise.  The graphics looked solid and the game featured a snowy waste with vicious monsters and the game promises drop-in-drop-out co-op!  The live co-op demo presented a dark mechanical deathtrap of a structure where a massive drill spun menacingly, flinging sparks and danger everywhere.  Trapped in a small, circular room with a deadly spinning drill whirring in random directions, the two fight off an ambush from menacing beasts and but the drill itself, which almost seemed possessed.  It was truly a spectacular show, and judging by this alone, Dead Space 3 promises to be a great experience.  Things didn't stop there though, as the two faced off against a massive, amazing-looking boss which sucked our heroes into it like freaking Unicron!  We watched as he is forced down the creature's digestive tract in the show ends with him facing off against a threatening form in what appears to be the beast's stomach.

The followup of that was was the obligatory EA Sports trailer for Madden 13.  Gameplay changes include the utilization of the Infinity Graphics Engine which will create all new animation possibilities and new ways a player's size and movement effects how they play and how they get hit. No longer does getting grabbed mean the end of your play as you will now be able to struggle a little further thanks to the power of the new engine.  Michael Irvine came on stage to present the career creation which allows you to start as a new player, embody a legend and even a coach.  The career uses RPG elements to "level up" your player as their abilities and strength increase.  There's a story engine that generates a history and story around you as you play.  Integrated Twitter and other social media elements and the ability to manage your team from your smart phone or from the Web increase the immersion in this great-looking game.

Up next is a presentation from Maxis for the introduction of a brand new Sim City.  The new engine creates randomized pedestrians and traffic that lives in your city and the new graphics are spot on.  This looks great and I'm a huge fan of the Sim franchise, Sim City in particular so I'm especially excited about this one.

Next up was a presentation from DICE and EA to reveal Battlefield 3 Premium, which offers new fetures to members including new expansions, stats, units, ect.  The 5 expansions featured promises hundreds of additional hours and are slated for a release over the next 9 months.  The service will cost an additional $49.99 and is already available!  For fans of the series with the extra scratch, who know they are going to get the use out of the service, this seems okay.  However, asking an additional $50 for a game that is already $50-60 is a little excessive if you ask me.  It does offer a lot though.  and if you consider an expansion costing $10, at five expansions, you're basically getting all of the other content free.

Star Wars: The Old Republic took the stage next to promise even more updates.  Including new PvP features, raids, species, and companions.  Increased level caps, character transfers and even a new planet round off the list of additions to the game.  It was also announced that the game will soon be available free-to-play up to level 15.  the trailer for the update was quite exciting, and I will jump on that free-to-play bandwagon (:D).

Medal of Honor: Warfighter is going to be one of EA's biggest games and the demo opens in an engagement with Somali pirates.  We aren't in Normandy anymore, people (God, I'm sure I'm not the first person to say that... sorry).  However far from France we are, however, our trailer still has us storming beaches of a crumbling city, under heavy fire from unseen forces populating a towering wreck a football field's distance away.  Flashes of gunfire flicker in a second floor window and progress to the building is treacherous indeed.  We get a preview of a slow-motion, bullet time system that allowed the player pick off enemies from in close-quarters quickly as you storm a room.  We then get a preview of the expansive ideas in the game when you take control of a rover armed with automatic weapons as you creep through cracks and low places, picking off enemies safely from a remote location.  This looks good.  So, so good.

We received a brief presentation from EA Sports covering their other popular franchises and introducing Madden NFL Social.  Following that we got a preview for the new FIFA highlighting the impact soccer has around the world.  EA Sports Football Club is a highlighted social aspect to FIFA 13 which connect soccer fans and it was also announced that Club members will be able to carry all their experience over to 13 from 12.  Additional, exclusive features and bonuses are all available through this feature.  Lastly a new iPhone app that connects to FIFA's growing network.  Legendary player Lionel Messi was the backbone of the new FIFA engine, which encourages more strategy and offers new offensive and defensive options.  The gameplay trailer showed stunning visuals and swift movement including a powerful new dynamic dribbling feature that allows precise and finessed movement of foot and body.

Next we got the trailerfor the upcoming EA/UFC collaboration that literally shut THQ down.  We got to see a teaser, but not much from the actual game.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted is back.  Most Wanted is arguably the best in the series so far and the open world driving game bringing us the best parts of Most Wanted.  Criterion already nailed the open world driving game with Burnout: Paradise and now they tkae their expertise to the next level with stunning graphics, an intense sense of speed and a high-tension time run through a brilliant urban landscape.  Touches of Burnout: Paradise are evident in the level design, and that is a positive.  This one is going to be awesome.

Crytek's presentation of Cysis 3 looks great, promising a multi-platform launch and a Feburary release date.  The event closed with this amazing presentation of a massive battle on a dam amid a fallen city.  Since it's Crytek, it looks awesome and the action seems perfectly tense and epic.

Thus closes the EA press conference, which showed some nice shooters and a few cool surprises.  Stay tuned for more throughout today and the rest of the E3 coverage.

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