• EA Wants You To Love Them

        And they have the games to prove it.

        Itís the Monday before E3 swings into full gear, and that means itís press conference time. EA used the format thatís worked well for them the last few years, taking over the Orpheum Theater in downtown LA to have the game creators show off their wares in a greatly-appreciated no nonsense fashion.

        The festivities kicked off with Mass Effect 3. Little new was revealed, except for a release date of March 6, 1012. It was quite the impressive trailer, though, with Commander Shephard taking on a giant Reaver mech in an on-rails sequence. Maybe not very Mass Effect-y, but still enjoyably epic.

        John Rice showed up next to demo Need For Speed: The Run. The cross-country race from LA to New York promises some nifty driving sequences, but the addition of the on-foot sections are mystifying. The level on display had the driver run from the car after it got wrecked, jumping from rooftop to rooftop and then escaping the police, but it was all done with quicktime events. Does anyone really want a race interrupted by random quicktime events? And if they do, what on earth are they doing outside of their nice, padded cell?

        Once that bizarre display was over, it was time for something that made a bit more sense. Star Wars: The Old Republic showed up for the dozenth (?) year in a row, looking as impressive as ever. How any of the scenes shown in the trailer would work in an MMORPG is a complete mystery, but still nicely dramatic.

        Then it was time for smoke and lasers, as SSX showed off a new trailer. The mountains of SSX are looking simply fantastic, filled with deadly situations and incredible jumps. Old favorite racers are coming back, with the trailer showing off Elise and Kaori mentioned but not revealed quite yet. In non-EA Conference news, it was also mentioned that the PS3 gets exclusive access to Mt Fuji.

        Next up was sports time. FIFA 12 was followed by Madden 12, with various sports people saying how awesome each game is going to be. Hot on the heels of this was the announcement of the Facebook Sims game, The Sims Social. Each of these games is bound to be highly popular to the people who like this kind of thing.

        Curt Schilling came next, showing off his studioís new title Kingdoms of Amalur: The Reckoning. This is an action/RPG with scenario by fantasy author R.A. Salvatore, character designs by Todd McFarlane, and game design by Morrowind and Oblivionís Ken Ralstone. Details were a little scant, other than it being open-world, but it sure looked pretty in the standard Fantasy RPG way.

        The penultimate game of EAís conference was Overstrike, about a team of four operatives working together to complete missions and, apparently, cause as much property damage as humanly possible in the process. Itís a four-player co-op action game with exotic weaponry and more than a little humor, and also Insomniacís first multi-platform game. While the trailer showed off the skills of mercenary, thief, scientist, and detective, it was all cut-scene style and actual gameplay was left for the E3 show floor.

        Finally wrapping up the night was the incredible-looking Battlefield 3. The trailer showed off lush European hills and combat in the streets of Paris, so it was a little disappointing after all that color to be dropped into the brown of the Iranian desert. The open skies and large vistas were perfect for some long-range tank warfare, however, with giant explosions kicking up dust clouds all over the plains. EA has [I Battlefield 3[/I] poised to confront Modern Warfare head-on, and even took a dig at Activisionís Elite service with the announcement that all Battlefield 3ís online features are free with purchase.

        And with that, another EA press conference came to a close. While there were a few questionable offerings (seriously, quicktime events in Need For Speed!?) most of the games are sure to set hearts aflutter in all the appropriate demographics.
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