EA’s press conference this year is watchable the same way Olive Garden is edible. We didn’t get a lot of games and what games were there were either just games that we knew about already or sports games. Nevertheless, we did get some interesting games from the conference.
I’m not all that interested in sports games, and the new sports offerings from EA aren’t going to win me over. Madden 18’s new story mode Long Shot looks predictable and by-the-numbers as far as sports stories go. We know that the out of practice hero is going to have a major comeback and he’ll get into fights with friends but then make up and all that jazz. FIFA 18’s story doesn’t look much better. I mean it doesn’t look bad but it’s just all stuff we’ve seen before. I can see how people can get excited about all the new features and the lovely graphics, and more power to them if they’re excited, but I can’t bring myself up to get excited.
Also, what was up with that drum line? That belongs in a high school football field, not a press conference.
What I can bring myself to get excited for is Need for Speed Payback. I always preferred the more arcade-like racing of Need for Speed and other games like it rather than the more realistic stuff, and it looks like Payback will keep up the pace. The game wears its Fast and the Furious influence on its sleeve, featuring explosive action setpieces with an underground street racing gang. And just like the Fast and the Furious series, it appears that very little of the story actually involves street racing. Jokes aside, it just looks like a further refined edition to the Need for Speed series with tons of customization and things going boom, which is much needed after the somewhat unceremonious 2015 reboot.
Battlefield One is getting a new expansion with new maps, weapons, and a playable female character. While that’s all cool, it’s somewhat mired by the sizzle reel of YouTubers that happened beforehand. I don’t know about you, but I can’t get hyped about a game when there’s a bunch of people screaming in the corner of the screen. They didn’t even get the really famous YouTubers either. It attempted to use a group of people that many people relate to, but just alienated us.
Also, the first YouTuber EA featured, Hank and Jed, said a transphobic word over and over again in two of their videos. Maybe you shouldn’t let them endorse your games, EA.
Anthem was on for, like, two seconds, so I can’t talk about it until Microsoft’s press conference where they’ll reveal more information.
A Way Out is my favorite game revealed at EA Play 2017. From the developers of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons comes an exclusively split-screen co-op adventure game where two characters have to work together to escape a prison and dodge the law. There’s a lot of potential for great storytelling moments as well as gameplay moments, especially since sometimes one player can move around while the other is locked in a cutscene. After so many open-world games, it’s great to see so much attention and funding put towards a linear adventure with an emphasis on story and clever gameplay. I can’t wait to see how this little experiment plays out.
The crown jewel of the conference was Star Wars Battlefront II. In many ways there’s not much to say since it just looks like a new and improved Battlefront with more content and more refined gameplay that keeps up the frantic energy of the first game. But what’s good about Battlefront is that it looks like they’re making a genuine effort to apply feedback. The game received criticism for its lack of single player content and its $50 season pass, with EA admitting that they rushed the game so it can coincide with the release of The Force Awakens. But now we’re getting a single player campaign with a female protagonist as well as free content over the course of the game’s life cycle with no season pass in sight. What also helped my optimism is Battlefront Actress and Presenter Janina Gavankar’s pure, ecstatic energy. I just hope that EA doesn’t rush this game to coincide with The Last Jedi.
Also, some people really need to behave themselves.
EA’s press conference was okay – very okay. The conference itself was polished despite some silliness here and there. But while we did get A Way Out and Star Wars Battlefront II, there wasn’t too much to get excited over. EA was just kind of there, and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it doesn’t really leave too spectacular of a first impression for E3 2017.
Rating: Three out of Five People in a Drum Line