Well, it’s that time of year again. E3 has arrived, and it wouldn’t be E3 without a laughably disappointing EA conference. And if you thought last year was disappointing (EA’s E3 2018 press conference that is), boy let me tell you about this year.
Okay, in all seriousness, this isn’t the worst EA conference to ever appear on my screen. For what it’s worth, their presentation formula has improved somewhat, probably due to the fact that it didn’t fall into the same tropes of your typical EA conference.
For example, this year they showed some restraint and didn’t have two awkward uncharismatic esports players talk about esports for an extended time period.
EA’s E3 conference this year was broken down into five segments with each segment getting thirty minutes to talk about their game. Some of them aren’t that bad, but for others, you really feel that thirty minutes.
The opening game for EA was “Star Wars: Fallen Order“, EA’s attempt at a single player Star Wars game. We get to see the hack’n’slash style combat complete with lightsaber combos, Force moves, and deflecting.
We can see in the footage that the game has three bars: one for health, one for guard, and one for Force moves.
The guard bars are very reminiscent of Sekiro’s posture bars as you can guard until the bar is spent, and enemies have the same bar that can be spent until they can no longer guard and take massive damage.
We also get to see some Force puzzles where the player must use the Force abilities in order to progress. However, so far they seem to be obvious and just there to break up the monotony.
So far, I’m not impressed. The game itself looks like an HD rerelease of an old Xbox 360 game and the combat looks light, with no impact or weight to your attacks (despite what Greg said about it in the conference discussion).
I hope to see other trailers that show off complexity in this game because I’d love to be wrong about my first impression of an EA game just once.
Next up, we have “APEX Legends“. It seems to be that the slogan for this segment is “New Content is Coming” based on how many times it was stated in that thirty-minute span (I recall at least seven times).
In this segment, it was announced that they will be rebalancing the game by making certain buffs and nerfs to their different weapons for the next season.
We also got a look at the new “L-Star” weapon, which appears to be a plasma gun that can bust open doors, something that the conference makes note that usually melee attacks and grenades do.
It was also made clear that this weapon does not use any ammo that can be found on the map and so when you run out, there is no ammo available for it.
There is also a new event coming to “APEX Legends”, a legendary hunt event, which will reward Double EXP for a weekend, have new skins for your character and weapons, and other surprises to come.
Also coming to “APEX Legends” is a Rank Mode for competitive play, something that fans of the game have been asking for. We also got our first look at the new Legend, a girl named Watson, who seems to be a defensive character with the ability to set up electric walls.
The devs had said that “Watson” will be a character that will be rewarding to play for those who know the maps well. Lastly, for APEX, there was a teaser, some dragon-looking eye that will be explained sometime in the future.
Next up we have “Battlefield V” and I have to say, it was the more boring and agonizing part of the conference so far…
So, now you might just ask yourself the following question: “What’s coming to Battlefield 5?” (well, at least those two people who are actually interested in reading this part of my article).
Well, maps. Lots and lots of maps. Big maps, small maps, maps with cars, maps with planes, maps in the desert, maps underground. Maps, maps, maps.
This thirty-minute segment was just agonizing because it was just them talking about maps coming to the multiplayer. Marita, the first map, is of an area between Greece and Albania.
It shows off a rural village on a mountainside. We can expect this map to drop in July for Chapter 4.
We also got to see the next map which is a massive area full of vehicles and vehicle-based gameplay. They claim that it’s classic Battlefield and what people will enjoy.
Personally, it reminds me of “Metal Gear Solid 5” in looks, but with planes. There are also more maps coming out in August that are geared more towards close combat and smaller game modes.
Next up is the Operation Underground map, which appears to take place in a metro, full of subway cars, though we didn’t get to see much of it.
In regards to their ranking system, the cap has been increased from 50 to 500 and Battlefield fans will be receiving the ability to make Private games soon.
Lastly, we get to see a preview of Chapter 5, which depicts Iwo Jima in the Japan vs US conflict this Fall.
Okay, so I don’t care much for sports games. Frankly, I find them boring and just not for me.
Nevertheless, there is no exaggeration when I say that their FIFA segment was the best part of their conference.
It doesn’t start out very strong as it just shows people talking about street soccer and how that was the way they played growing up, which I believe is there mostly just to promote FIFA 20’s option to play street soccer, showing modes with soccer in something akin to cage matches.
However, once EA brought out Sam Rivera things started to get a whole lot better. Rivera was by far the highlight of the entire presentation as he didn’t try to force jokes like in the “Battlefield” segment, and he didn’t try to overact to look fun and energetic like in the “Star Wars” segment with Greg.
Sam straight up addressed all the issues of previous FIFA games, talked about what they were doing to improve the game to make it stand out among its predecessors, and spoke in a way that was very informative, even to me who has never played a FIFA game.
Where I was honestly lost in their previous segments for a while, I was on every word of the FIFA presentation.
So what is FIFA bringing to us? They wanted to focus on giving more control to the player, adding a lot of systems in which the game plays based on context.
As Sam put it, “Smart technical build up based on skill” is a focus of the next FIFA installment. By giving more control to the player, it makes it much more rewarding when you do well, a philosophy I can get behind.
There is also a new ball physics system, where they rewrote how the ball acts on every interaction.
There are now realistic player deflections and bounces, and dropping and rising trajectory based on context. He said that a lot of the changes were made based on player feedback. FIFA 20 is set to release September 27th.
Unfortunately, the best segments have to end as we move towards the promoted campaign of the year.
Like how EA promoted the He for She campaign a couple of years ago, this year they are talking about bullying in gaming, saying that 37% of people claim to be bullied or harassed in online video games.
Now that we’ve said that, we can move on to what was said in the intermission, which is that “Anthem” is currently having their Cataclysm event going on PC for those who are interested.
“Madden 20” is up next and it was probably the second best of their showcases.
EA then talked about the custom character system and the new improvements, especially the Scenario Engine, where you can do different challenges to improve the character and their rank.
EA also announced at the event that Madden’s playbook will be updated and improved as the NFL updates their playbooks, meaning that more options to play will be available after release.
There are 220 plays total in “Madden 20”, with three different types of plays. There’s also Ultimate Missions, a guide and information hub for getting items for your character and your team.
Then we have the X-factor abilities, where players and NPCs have passive and active abilities that can be used in-game that allows the players to feel like the stars they are and change each team and experience.
Some abilities are always active and always on whereas other abilities have a requirement that must be met in order to use them (such as make three successful passes without getting sacked).
Every player now also has unique animations based on their real-world counterparts.
The reason I’m going so in-depth with the two sports games is because the people talking throughout those two segments were the most competent in getting out their information.
They talked tech, explained the new modes very efficiently, how the game feels and what their goals were and it was really the only segments I followed without getting bored, and that’s not usual with me and sports games.
Finally, we get “The Sims 4”, which has a new expansion called “Island Living”. It has a large area to mess around with including a volcano, the beach, and a sea of dolphins.
Your character can work as a conservationist, cleaning the beaches and the ocean to make sure the environment isn’t covered in trash.
The new area has its own culture and traditions based on Polynesian culture.
You can also create mermaid characters with this pack, and of course, the pack comes with new furniture and new architecture that allows the player to make a traditional home or a more modern home.
EA also partnered with It Gets Better with a Pride Pack which comes with Pride clothes and a gender-neutral bathroom, the latter being a little too late to be relevant as that was the subject of discussion about a year or two ago.
Lastly it was announced that the next pack for “The Sims 4” is “Realm of Magic” and will be here this Fall (2019).
Even so, quite frankly I was not thrilled by “The Sims 4” and its new announcements, though it’s not my kind of game.
Furthermore, I have seen people talk about how much the game costs since it’s got so many packs attached to the main game and if that’s the case.
So all of this actually makes me wonder why EA simply doesn’t just move on to “The Sims 5”?
So, that was all that EA had to offer during E3 this year. Well, I must say that the quality of presentation has improved, even if just a little. That being said, it was kind of annoying to sit through.
The first host overacts like he’s a YouTuber declining in relevancy, the third set of hosts made a joke of picking on one of the hosts, and that got old quickly, leaving me just plain annoyed, and the only interesting and competent speaker was only on-screen for about five minutes.
The games themselves…Weren’t the highest of quality. Their two best games were the sports games in this presentation and that’s kinda funny since it’s the games we expect to see every year.
Sure, the said games are getting new content in the future, but they are still old games nevertheless…Being “APEX Legends”, “Battlefield V”, and “The Sims 4” were underwhelming in EA’s content and didn’t seem like big enough deals to show off at E3 alone.
And the one new and unique game, “Jedi Fallen Order”, looks so underwhelming as a hack-and-slash style game, or as a modern game period, and doesn’t show anything new so far.
Truth be told, “Jedi Fallen Order” comes off as the HD rerelease of an old game, and that’s all there is to it.
I wouldn’t be excited as a gamer and I wouldn’t be excited as a Star Wars fan (disclaimer, I’m not a Star Wars fan and I’m completely apathetic about the series. I’m simply looking at this like a fan of video games).
Other than that, there were no surprises at EA’s E3 presentation at all, none, zero, null. In other words, it’s more of what we expect while still being less than the bare minimum. I honestly can’t believe that EA has dedicated fans anymore.
I mean, sure. I understand being a fan of the studios underneath the banner, but EA taints everything they touch and it’s hard to take any of their presentations seriously.
Entertainment Value: 1/5
Verdict 1.5/5 (E-)
I honestly feel bad for the people who hosted EA’s E3 2019 presentation, because it was clear they were trying, but unfortunately the presentation felt rushed an unprepared even with the entire thing being scripted.
The hosts weren’t funny, the personalities of some of them were unbearable, some of what they showed was irrelevant, such as the conversation with Trevor Noah from the Daily Show that I left out, and a lot of the discussions about the games kinda fell flat and was borderline generic.
I can always hope for a better presentation in the future, but it’s been at least five years since the last one, so why should I start hoping now?
Robin Ek – Editor
This is a personal opinion of the writer, and it doesn’t necessarily represent the other writers (nor The Gaming Ground´s) opinions.
The Gaming Ground
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