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Posts with tag ElectronicArts

Skate keeps performing tricks, keeps people smiling

It's time for another progress report on EA's upcoming title skate. Utilizing the two analog sticks to perform more "realistic" tricks, the game has garnered a lot of press for possibly being the game to dethrone Tony Hawk's reign of terror! We exaggerate, of course, but the game itself is on the right track to do just that. After you start the game, you'll be asked to participate in a "game" of S.K.A.T.E. which plays like the basketball game of H.O.R.S.E. -- one guys pulls off a trick, the other person must repeat the same trick. No scores; just ability. That's cool.

Unlike the Tony Hawk games, the streets aren't riddled with ramps or arbitrary railings. It's a city, so there are benches and stairs and all that, along with some curved building structures. If you want ramps and such, head off to one of the designated skating parks. Or be more imaginative with your surroundings. There are multiple contests and tournaments to enter all across the city, so there's plenty of chances to pull out your best moves on different scenic grounds. We're looking forward to hearing more about this game!

EA diagnoses Sony as "healthy in 2008"

We didn't know electronics had states of health, but apparently leave it to Dr. Diagnosis (and his sidekick, Bangs McCoy) over at Electronic Arts to give Sony a clean bill of health for next year. EA Games president Frank Gibeau sat down to a lengthy interview with Gamasutra only to dole out some information on a few pieces of PS3-related impressions and predictions.

First off, EA's reaction to the PS3's game-to-console tie ratio last year: "Frankly, there weren't any platform-defining titles on the PS3 that first Christmas. There was Resistance: Fall of Man, perhaps. I think as we get more titles, that tie ratio will improve." We think it will, too -- especially if they count the 2 games included in the European bundle as tie ratio games. Plus, for this Christmas, there will be a plethora of titles to choose from!

Gibeau commented on the future of the PS3 as well, saying "I think 2008 feels like when you start to see the titles that define that platform start to come out... [the tie ratio] has improved since release, which is good news. I think it really starts to get into the range where we feel like we're bullish and aggressive. It feels healthy in 2008." Again, we're going to agree. While some may argue a lot of good games are coming out this November, we think the big sellers will hit in 2008 and with those, a gigantic leap in console sales.

New Marvel fighter promises top-tier fighting experience

Even though our Dreamcasts are still humming to the sounds of Marvel vs. Capcom 2, we've been wondering for a while if any decent Marvel-licensed fighting games will ever exist again. We weren't surprised when we heard that EA took up the challenge to create a game utilizing their Marvel license. What are you mumbling? Is it "oh no, not EA, anyone but them?" Perhaps they'll step up to the plate and deliver a solid gaming experience, perhaps not. Let's wait and see before we judge.

The game is going to feature an "all-star cast" of heroes and villains across the Marvel universe (we hope this means a "large" cast instead of the dozen or so popular lads and lasses), with huge environments and some sort of way to keep every match fresh. Destructible environments, Power Stone-like level mechanics, or aerial-to-ground combat? Who knows. We'll keep an eye on this as EA leaks details through their solid gold pipes.

EA's skate looks pretty darn polished and extreme

We're not scared to admit it -- we've got a pretty biased attitude against Electronic Arts. They aren't the best at making quality titles ... they're more of the Kroger brand soda to Sony or Epic or Konami's name-brand colas. However, things may be turning around. First, Burnout Paradise seems to be built from the ground up on Sony's system and it's looking sharp. Then comes skate. This game looks excellent and the level of polish is impressive. We're not fond of "totally xtreem sportz" titles, but this one really makes us want to reconsider. Interesting dual-analog gameplay mechanics and a more skating-sim style make us squirm with anticipation. Check out the video. We like it!

Mercenaries 2 lets you destroy just about anything

We are a gaming news site, after all. Let's move away from all the juicy new info and give you a preview of a game we're still in the air about. Some may dislike it, but the loyal fanbase of the original Mercenaries title are ready for more and we've got some hands-on impressions from IGN to keep you worked up. Let's make a list.
  • Everything is destructible, so set those trees on fire and watch the blaze spread. The fire is claimed to be the best-looking thing in the early build of the game. So either it looks really good or the game looks kinda bland.
  • Did we mention everything is destructible? Every building, vehicle, other person, whatever -- all can meet their doom thanks to you.
  • There are thirty weapons in Mercs 2 and over 200 vehicles. The fun lies in the vehicles, though. You won't necessarily have to pull a Grand Theft Auto and take a 20 minute jog to get the perfect vehicle, though. As you kick ass, you earn cash. This cash can be traded in for special weapons, attacks (air strikes), or vehicles to be delivered on the spot. Want a Wave Runner on that small lake? You got it!
  • Stealing a tank from an enemy involves a more God of War inspired button-pressing sequence, whereas other vehicles will only require one press of the action button to oust whoever else happened to be driving it.
There are a lot more impressions about the actual level played in the hands-on treatment, but we'd like to leave that up to you to read. It's pretty entertaining and we're moderately jealous. The game seems to be shaping up nice, but since we haven't heard how their online service will work, we've got our reservations until we see that in action.

Burnout Paradise: it's crashtastic!

Realistic and powerful. That's how the cars in Burnout Paradise are being described. Their engines are loud, their paint is shiny, their speed is ferocious! Basically, the cars are pretty badass. Built from the ground up instead of using an existing engine, Criterion's Burnout Paradise has a lot going for it. The neatest feature is the damage physics. Ramming a pole at extremely high speeds will result in car-wrapping goodness, with details mirroring all those old crash test dummy videos. Sometimes, if you're especially violent in your wipeout, you can crack your vehicle right in half.

Online racing is incredibly simple and incredibly seamless. Invite a buddy to race and when the person accepts, the race begins. No menus apparently. No waiting. This was demoed on the PS3 version, so we know we'll be getting this seamless feature. Chances are, the 360 build will get the same thing. The point is this: we're not getting shafted this time.

Every street has "race rules" across the 30 square mile city, so again you won't be bothered by pop-up menus or interrupting boxes of text to tell you the rules. It's hard to imagine how they'll do this, since it's nearly unprecedented, but it sounds lovely. There's a lot more to this game than meets the eye (no, they don't transform), with tune-up shops, crash mode, freeburn and more. Check out the rest of the preview if you're curious. It's worth the read!

Medal of Honor: Airborne delayed for PS3

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, everyone, but it seems those of you waiting for your Medal of Honor: Airborne fix are going to have to wait a bit longer than owners of other consoles. In another cheap move by EA (who we believe more and more to be lazy developers who don't even try to optimize their games for each system ... why won't their sports games be at 60fps on the PS3, but will on the 360? We know the system can handle it, so the fault clearly lies within the developer house), PS3 owners get to wait an extra couple of months.

Due out by the end of August initially, MoH:A has been pushed to a November release. A time where they will have to deal with much more important titles as competition. While no clear reason for this delay was explained, we're pretty sure we know why. We highlighted it above. The PS3 is harder to develop for, so the port from 360 to PS3 is giving them troubling results. Instead of optimizing performance for the PS3 itself, they're trying to debug a faulty, most likely less-impressive, port. We could be wrong. Maybe we get extra content. Tell us your thoughts!

[via Joystiq]

FIFA 08 looks great, uses lots of math to kick balls

You might not think it while playing sports, but there's a ton of math involved in every single motion you make. Yes, that's right, there are people who care about how many degrees your bat swings, or how a ball travels in the air, or other more confusing arithmetic terms we really don't want to think about at this moment. The fact remains that in addition to making a great looking soccer game, EA wants to let you know they're putting a ton of math into FIFA 08. They've got a 22-page document detailing all their little formulae for the simple matter of shooting the ball. Impressive, no?

We're not going to talk about the graphics. We're excited to hear about all this math! Tricks will play important roles instead of being nothing more than flashy nonsense and luckily, their implementation is simple, fluid, and realistic. Plugging gaps in your defenses is easier with the new ability for the team's formation to change on the fly. If you'd rather do it yourself (kind of like playing Final Fantasy XII without Gambits ... try it, it's a hell of a lot of fun and an insane challenge on Active Mode), you can click the R3 button and take control of your keeper. Everything seems less ... automated, more real and dependent on your actions as a skilled player. We're glad -- EA needs to put more attention like this into all their games.

Skate soundtrack announced, more impressive than expected

"Oh, no," we thought, "another skating game soundtrack. Bring on the O.C.-inspired punk bands or washed out bands from yester-year." We were wrong to assume such a thing! The band lineup for upcoming title skate does have a few staples of the industry, but they go beyond the normal bounds and acquire some songs that we wouldn't mind bobbing our heads to as we pull off some basic tricks.

The song listing is pretty diverse, from David Bowie to Slayer. There are the generics, like Sex Pistols or Nirvana, others like White Stripes or ZZ Top, and more. The songs aren't the biggest hits from the bands, but to have a selection that varied is a lot of fun! Feel free to check out the full listing if you're very curious and let us know if skate will truly dethrone that long-standing king, Tony Hawk.

Plastic legs score a goal in FIFA 08 teaser trailer

Assuming you really love watching some quick footwork by some plastic-looking legs, you'll probably get a ... prepare yourself ... kick out of this teaser trailer. Oh no we didn't! In all honesty, EA has made some fairly lofty improvements regarding the next installment of FIFA. Like having superstar Ronaldinho grace the cover. Other improvements? We imagine graphics, gameplay, pretty much everything that crippled last year's game. It's all in good fun and shows what we can expect -- nicely rendered grass, possibly some insanely improved ball-handling mechanics, and people cheering. Cheering people are awesome.

Wondering how NHL '08 is shaping up?

Sure, hockey isn't the most popular sport in many places of the world, but the NHL series of games is a pretty big hit every year. Not quite a hit like Madden, but it's a great way for the hockey enthusiasts or the closet hockey lovers to get their sticks on the ice. EA has lifted the veil on NHL 08 and we're going to talk about what's changing.

First and foremost, skate controls are going to get a major overhaul. Playing defense in last year's game was quite difficult due to lack of skater control, which is also getting overhauled. For example, the way you move your analog stick (left to right or in a semi-circle motion) will determine how your player turns. It's pretty obvious -- left to right turns the player around right away, a semi-circle motion will turn the player around in a slower, wider arc. You can dynamically switch between the two turns mid-way if you want, too. Your skating speed is affected by the amount you push the analog stick forward. Basic and intuitive, but something they needed to do.

In addition to those control tweaks, there are additions to the skill stick so you can do some fancy puck work around the competition -- no doubt to liven up the online aspect of the game. You can toss the puck in 10 different directions now, so that should help in online matches as well. There's only so much you can do with left, right, and behind.

Checking is getting improved -- momentum based for both players instead of the incredibly outdated "I hit you, so you fall down" method. Shooting takes on a Tiger Woods twist. Your right analog stick serves as your accuracy. With all these improvements, we have to ask: did EA even try on previous NHL titles? It sounds like these "updates" are incredibly basic things that should have been improved and changed at least five years ago. We hope there's more to come, because we'd hate to have the hockey-lovers rise up in rebellion against the lack of attention EA gives to the games.

Need For Speed: Extreme Street Talking Interview edition

While the whole street racing genre has gotten as dry as that meatloaf we tried to call supper (the oven simply refused to let it come out until the timer went off -- the timer happened to be the smoke alarm), EA is attempting to jump start the genre with their latest Need For Speed title: ProStreet. Game Informer has the details -- we'll make it much quicker to read.

  • More emphasis on car performance and your skill at driving the cars than crazy crashes and cheesy live-action sequences (which will still exist, of course).
  • The game has been in development for 16 months! That means they've probably already started on another NFS title due out in 2008. Just speculation.
  • All races thus far are scheduled to take place in broad daylight.
  • No police, either. The emphasis isn't on getting "caught" but on keeping your car clean of damage. Which there will be a lot of.
  • About damage ... it's not going to be a punishment. They want you to see it -- damage is "cool". Personally, that's lame. If we smash our hood, we should have a faulty horn to amuse ourselves with at least. Or a broken axle means ... well ... it means you've got to cough up a bit of scratch to keep that ride.
  • The customization system in the game will allow you to do "whatever you want" with the cars. Not to resell online or anything, but to make something you're genuinely proud to drive.
  • Sixaxis controls will be toyed with. Expect it to be an option you can turn off, though!

It honestly seems like they've got just as much going for them as the upcoming title skate does. Similar customization claims, departures from games with similar premises and Electronic Arts. We'll file this game in the "potential" cabinet. Where do you all stand?

Want a new way to skate?

Tony Hawk, your days are so numbered! Actually, it would be more appropriate if we were to say "arcade-style skating games, your days of off-the-wall tricks are numbered!" See, the upcoming PS3 and 360 title skate isn't like Tony Hawk games and others in that it plays more like a skating simulation. Gran Turismo for the X-Games, so to speak. For those instantly turned off by the mention of a sim, don't worry. Black Box is still approaching skate like a video game, so they'll let you have quite a bit of fun. We'll tell you how.

  • The dual-analog control scheme is innovative and a huge draw for those trying to find something new in their skating titles.
  • Create your own skater isn't limited to five standard skins, but a completely unique character for every player. skate sports 40 brands of apparel, so mixing and matching your dress is just the start. Roll up the sleeves, perhaps roll up one pant leg, tilt that hat sideways ... it's possible.
  • Skateboard physics are paramount -- choosing between soft and hard wheels greatly affects your performance. Along with altering your trucks (tighter or a bit more on the loose side) is a good idea when taking on specific challenges. Sounds intense? It is.
  • No stats, no set tricks, nothing locked away. The experience depends solely on your ability to perform tricks using the unique control scheme and manipulating the physics to your advantage.
  • There's no hokey-pokey story to play through -- more like the Quest Mode in Virtua Fighter 5, with an open world like Grand Theft Auto. Gain clout by owning skating arenas, win competitions and just create your own story. Wanna be an underground legend, or a magazine-cover mogel? Your choice.

It sounds like a very ambitious project and we're extremely interested to see how it pans out. But we want to know what you guys think -- will taking a more realistic approach to a mostly arcade-inspired genre breathe new life into it? We'd like to imagine so.

Need For Speed ProStreet screenshots finally round the bend

And you thought you'd be off the hook with street racing games for a while, huh? There is a difference between this ProStreet iteration of Need for Speed and other street racing games, though. Imagine this: a driving simulation, but for street racing. Yes, it's like Gran Turismo meets The Fast and The Furious. Is this a good idea? We aren't sure because we've never actually experienced a game like that before. The culture of street racing and focusing on your vehicles performance permeate from this game like ... well, like gas fumes.

The game itself, taking place in a multitude of locations with a multitude of cars, actually looks good. Yep, EA is making a game that seems like effort was put into this year's edition of any given franchise. So, let's get this straight: a realistic street-racing simulation with car damage and a complete move away from prior NFS titles? Yeah, it's surprising, but don't let our loss of words keep you from checking out the first screenshots. What do you think? Could this actually work?

Gallery: Need For Speed ProStreet

Madden '08, sports titles in general, move to real-time play

Electronic Arts has gone the extra mile with their next-gen iterations of sports titles. They've birthed a partnership with ESPN to dramatically increase real-time content. If you ask us, this may actually force EA to build yearly games with actual gameplay tweaks and enhancements instead of updated rosters and slight graphical boosts. Let us explain.

Starting with the summer's release of Madden '08, if you've got one of them fancy high-speed internet connections, you can have streaming information directly impact your gameplay experience. It's going to be like fantasy baseball, or whatever those fake online things are. If a player gets injured, guess what? He won't be on the team in your game. If it's raining in such-and-such stadium for real, it's going to be pretty wet for you in the game, too. On the flipside, stat increases will crop up to reflect a player who's having an unexpected hot season.

Some games have already implemented some of these elements, allowing gamers to get sports news displayed as a ticker or podcast during their gaming sessions. While there will be a lot of people praising the innovations to bring sports games closer to real-life, there will be those who cry foul. Where do you guys stand? Is this a good move, or will it hinder the experience for you?

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