Following on from this weeks’ Google Stadia announcement, EA continues the years biggest gaming weekend with EA Play, revealing details about several of their biggest franchises.
Star Wars Jedi: The Fallen Order
Respawn revealed 15 minutes of Fallen Order gameplay. In this demo, several mechanics were revealed, and it seems that they have taken inspiration from several games, and infused those with some staples of the Star Wars universe.
Combat seems to be influenced by FromSoftware combat, rather than the formulaic combat seen in the Arkham series. Gameplay depicted standoffs against both weaker and stronger enemies, with some well-timed blocks, dodges and executions highlighting combat fluidity. The combat was augmented by several force abilities.
This is Star Wars though, and you haven’t come here for the blocks and dodges; you’re here for the force abilities! Cal can freeze blaster bullets mid-air, a la Kylo Ren, push enemies and he also uses force abilities to solve environmental puzzles. The most interesting ability is definitely the force pull, which Cal uses on a storm trooper, before stabbing him for the kill.
Lastly, some environmental traversal was showcased, with some Shadow of Mordor-like climing mechanics demonstrated. It also wouldn’t be a respawn game without some wall-running, and Fallen Order doesn’t disappoint.
Apex Legends Season 2: Battle Charge
The second announcement revealed details of Apex Legends’ second season, with new weapons, map events and a new Legend!
Wattson is a ‘defensive powerhouse’ capable of deploying laser barriers aimed at fortifying structures and cornering enemies. Wattson can lay up-to twelve nodes, which your team can cross, allowing your team to close off entry points. Her Ult is called “Pylon,” and creates a structure that destroys incoming enemy fire.
The next weapon is the L-Star, which is a weapon found in Respawns’ incredible Titanfall 2. Admittedly, this announcement has confused me. Watson is clearly there to address the aggressive gameplay encouraged by the current meta. However, even the developers have noted L-Star to be overpowered. Presumably this will be nerfed faster than Fortnites Thanos…
Season 2 makes changes to the battle pass as well. Timed events will make way for challenges. What’s great about this change, is that you don’t need to complete these immediately. They stack, allowing you to complete multiple in one session, so that you can reap the rewards without having to play daily. This is a nice change, and eliminates the need for constant engagement.
FIFA Street is back! Kind of…
FIFA 20 will see the introduction of a new, FIFA Street-inspired mode, Volta. The mode sees the long-awaited return of street football, which places emphasis on skills and feints, rather than the team-based nature of the main mode. This isn’t just a mode though, it’s a fully-realised addition that encompasses the wider FIFA experience. Volta allows you to experience a single-player story, and a branch with leagues involving promotion and relegation.
As for the main game, the showcase focused on the usual iterative features of ball-based physics, AI improvements as well as some changes to the dribbling system. The biggest overhaul seems to have been to the set-piece system, with entirely new systems implemented. Players can no impose greater control over ball spin.
I know nothing about Hand Egg (NFL), so I don’t really know what these features mean… however, EA promised a host of updates to the live features of the game. For example, if a team introduces a new play (tactic?), this will be introduced in the games’ playbook. I assume this will have more ramifications for the online play, rather than contests versus the AI…
Sims 4: Island Living
Arriving on PC from July 21st, the next expansion for Sims 4 sees your sims live on an island. Of course, this brings some themed fashion changes, but the big story here, is that your sims can actually go in water and befriend dolphins!
The big theme of the expansion is eco-friendliness – if you don’t take care of the island, then there are consequences. In effect, the expansion is focused on you taking care of the environment.
There is also a volcano. Looking forward to the creative (sinister) stories of volcanic sim sacrifice…
The only real news of note here, is the addition of the new maps.
Firstly, Al Sundan. This map will arrive June 27th, and it’s a typically enormous Battlefield map, in which players will be able to control air and land vehicles. Secondly, Maritia, will arrive in July. This is another massive map, taking place in a small Greek village. Operation Underground, set in a subway station, was the final map revealed. It offersa nice departure from the previous two, placing an emphasis on flanking routes and close quarters combat.
Lastly, DICE revealed they will release chapter 5 of BFV. This tells the story of the United States’ and Japan’s entry into WW2. This will include the Battle of Iwo Jima, and several new weapons, items and vehicles. This will be released later in the year.
The industry is set to put its best foot forward at E3 this week, and with games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Baldur’s Gate 3 set to take centre stage, it doesn’t feel like EA have announced anything ground breaking here. They have very much relied on established franchises to give themselves a little bit of the limelight that industry will enjoy over the next week or so.
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