Features// Electronic Arts Winter Showcase

Sucking at FPS games

Posted 6 Nov 2009 17:13 by
Battlefield Bad Company 2

As an admirer of Mirror's Edge, I was quite pleased to see DICE still able to throw their creative visual style within EA in Battlefield Bad Company 2. Certainly, DICE have made use of their unique visual flair to make even an arid desert seem ever so slightly more colourful. I had a quick go on the game's multiplayer mode, which is set in Arica Harbour and pits Americans against Russians as they battle for supremacy on the field.

Not only was it imperative that I used as much cover as I could for camouflage, but there were in fact two objectives going on it seems. The match gave points for kills on the battlefield, but there were points on our team's patrol that were regularly rigged with bombs. My team had to regularly dash between two points to deactivate the terror threat and push back the opposition away from our territory.

Naturally, I lost, because I suck so much as these games. But it made the occasion no less enjoyable, particularly as a lot of us were facing each other on a system link, so we could shout commands to each other. Always more fun than using a headset, I feel.

Skate 3

If anything could be taken away from Skate 3's presence at the showcase, it was a sense of evolution to an already playable skating franchise. It's surprising how quickly Skate has appeared so quickly and yet handily superseded Activision's Tony Hawk games as the skating title to beat, and it doesn't look like Black Box are resting on their laurels here. The studio plans to shake up its series by introducing 'brands'.

Brands are teams that you create when you start your career in the game. You build a skating crew, create a brand to associate yourself with, and then perform gnarly tricks to get your name out there and become world-famous. Black Box told me that they took a lot of the modes from Skate 2, which was primarily a solo affair, and adapted them all for co-op play, and you can even start brand teams online with friends too. As you get better with your tricks and get more well known, the city evolves around your brand, so billboards advertise your clothing line and your chosen music is played throughout parts of the city.

The studio has improved the online user creation features too, with skate parks able to be created and downloaded, edited and then re-added with comments and ratings for each too. There's a desire to make the game lighter than the previous title, and more accessible as Skate 3 now includes a tutorial mode and varying difficulty settings for your controls. For those that thought Skate 2 pushed the envelope a bit but now don't see how Black Box are going to make it better, perhaps the team based play will encourage you to take a look.

Army of Two: 40th Day

I didn't get much play time on the new Army of Two game unfortunately server issues plagued the row of consoles that were running the multiplayer mode. But I gave it a good go, and was quite enjoying what little morsels of play I could get in between crashes. The mode I was playing was called 'Extraction', and is a new mode for the series. Up to four players don armour and getup similar to the main characters of the campaign mode, and must work together to beat waves of enemies.

The play is very reminiscent of Gears of War 2's Horde mode, which everyone seems to be doing these days, but it's a welcome addition. There are four different maps that change randomly after you defeat a certain number of waves, but each one gets progressively harder to overcome. The area I played was in a little alleyway in Chinatown, with my team sat in front of a few military jeeps and a few roadblocks for cover. It's a very small space to engage in a firefight, and you can't just sit and camp because after a while the enemy will start to run right up to you, pumping bullets into your face.

I wasn't able to enjoy the new single player campaign that will come later with any luck but my impressions with the multiplayer were good, but not overwhelming. If you've ever played Gears of War 2 you'll know exactly what to expect here as it plays almost the same. I can imagine it being quite fun though (server environments permitting), and that's all that matters really.

Dante's Inferno

While we're on the subject of games playing like other games, I was able to get a cheeky playthrough of Dante's Inferno. You'll have heard of this game before because of the Seven Deadly Sins advertising initiative that EA has been running with this for. After hearing so much about Dante's Inferno, I finally got to play it and had great fun, even if the immediate thought is of a Western-made Devil May Cry with devil tits.

I think the presentation is what's driving the fun in this game as well, because you journey through one room to another and are constantly surprised as to what you'll be doing next. At first I explored a few rooms and solved some rather good puzzles (involving putting weighted statues on a floating platform to stop it from rising upwards without you) and had an interesting boss fight against a huge devil woman with skeleton bugs crawling out of her nipples. Yummy.

In contast to Capcom's gun-laden action game, gameplay is multi-layered here. The face buttons all perform a particular action, and holding the Left Trigger on the Xbox 360 pad replaces those basic attacks with more complex manoeuvres. Holding the Left Bumper will reveal even more, magic-based assaults, so you can really mix it up when it comes to your battle approach and create some meaty combos. All in all, I'm loving the appeal of this game so far.
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