One of the holiday season games we're most bullish on is Dragon Age: Origins. While this nerd-tastic tale of dragons and elves and guys wearing chainmail armor isn't for everyone (or even usually our cup of tea), the large chunks of the game we've played have had a mainstream Lord of the Rings epic action movie vibe, rather than rolling a 20-sided die in your parents' basement. Plus, it's one of the only big budget games in recent years developed first for PC gaming, and then ported to living room consoles, rather than the other way … Read more
Electronic Arts's certainly not afraid of controversy. In fact, the company seems to be embracing it with arms wide open.
At a recent "Naughty or Nice" event in New York, we had the opportunity to play Dante's Inferno hands-on. The Xbox 360 and PS3 video game, which recasts the epic Dante poem as a God of War-type journey through nesting levels of hell, is certainly wearing its M rating on its sleeve (Note: while the ESRB hasn't officially rated this game yet, it's pretty clear there's no other rating it would achieve). The … Read more
EA Sports is one of the few game companies that's managed to successfully charge $9.99 for a game in Apple's App Store. Madden NFL 10, priced at 10 bucks, remains a top seller, and now FIFA Soccer 10 has hit the App Store for $9.99 and seems destined to make a run for the top spot in the games category.
While we thought Madden didn't play quite as well we'd hoped it would on the iPhone (and iPod Touch), we think soccer, with its top-down view and simple control scheme, should make a better … Read more
Before 2007, the 2K series of hockey video games was tough to match. It seemed 2K had a perfect sense of gameplay, physics, and true-to-life NHL action. When EA Sports revamped its franchise in NHL 07 by introducing the Skill Stick and a new game engine, the tide immediately turned.
With the 2009-2010 NHL season fast approaching, both hockey games look to improve on their respective formulas. While each game tries to create an accurate hockey simulation experience, only one title is able to deliver a winning combination.… Read more
The real NFL season is about to kick off, and EA has seized the opportunity to finally slide in the release of its much-anticipated port of Madden to the iPhone/iPod Touch format. It represents the meeting of the mobile entertainment industry's unstoppable force, Apple's black slab of wonder, with the gaming industry's immovable object. Available at $7.99 through the kickoff of the Steelers-Titans game tonight and $9.99 afterward, is it worth your hard-earned tailgate dollars? We played it last week here at the CNET offices and played it a lot more on our own iPhone last night, and here's our verdict.
It took EA a few weeks longer to get its iPhone act together than Gameloft did with NFL 2010. Did it pay off? Well, in some ways, yes. The player models and 3D stadiums seem better rendered than Madden's NFL-licensed and similarly-named App Store rival, NFL 2010 by Gameloft, but with a significant drawback: the framerate on our 3GS playthrough was significantly choppier than NFL 2010. A future update will hopefully fix this, but in the meantime it doesn't affect gameplay enough to be a game-killer. The presentation and commentary are impressive, nearing console level but hovering nearer to PSP and DS versions of Madden.
The biggest fear among those who play any type of hardcore game is whether losing a physical control pad affects gameplay in any significant way. The answer is simple: yes, it does. I've played games on my iPhone for more than a year, and it rarely avoids feeling like a compromise: lose a control pad, but gain a simplified interface and an extremely compact form in a smartphone. As to whether it's worth it, ask yourself if you'd rather tote around a PSP or a Nintendo DS in your pocket in addition to your phone, or just carry an iPhone and lose a few controls, and you'll have your answer.
The solution EA has given is the same many developers have, including Gameloft: add a virtual stick in the lower left corner, and a series of context-sensitive buttons in the lower right. The problem with the virtual stick is that, like other titles, it can be lost in the shuffle on heavy-focus moments of game play. There's no tactile feedback, so it must be looked after, unlike a real analog pad. When playing Madden, that means a lot of the accuracy is lost. But the good news is that this game wasn't really designed for finesse play. We'll explain.… Read more
Brutal Legend is the latest from legendary game designer Tim Schafer, who is responsible for such classics as Grim Fandango and Psychonauts. His latest adventure, undoubtedly the most mainstream yet, stars Jack Black as the voice of Eddie Riggs, a roadie for a metal band who finds himself transported to demonic, metal-infused world.
We got a chance to sit down with the near-final build of Brutal Legend in New York. Here's how the game is shaping up:
Jeff: Brutal Legend is a metal fan's absolute fantasy come true. The game is overflowing with references and jokes about the genre and is sure to lure in gamers on charm alone. Beneath the metal spikes and skulls lies a hack and slash action/adventure game, but it seems that the overall production value, soundtrack, and presentation might be the winners here.… Read more
On September 9, classic rock fans will have a chance to strap on a plastic guitar and jam along with the biggest act in popular music history.
Artfully orchestrated buzz has been building for The Beatles: Rock Band since the start of 2009, and the team of developer Harmonix and publisher MTV Games (and distribution partner EA) hope to provide a bright spot in an otherwise drab video game market with one of the few video game products for the 2009 holiday season that has a real chance of appealing beyond core gamers.
We've gotten our hands on a final retail version of the game (minus the new Beatles-inspired instruments, but our old Rock Band gear worked fine), and gave it a test drive in CNET's AV Lab. Check out this video to see our extremely shaky music skills, and read our hands-on impressions below.
Dan: Music aside, this is essentially the same Rock Band game you've been playing for two years, but with nicely done overhauls of the menus, graphics, and interface, including some very cool animated Beatles segments. The biggest change to the actual gameplay is the inclusion of three-part vocal harmonies (you'll need three USB mics). We found out the hard way that these songs are actually pretty tough to sing, and nailing the harmonies is even tougher. … Read more
You know, I'd almost forgotten they still make these. When i say "these," I'm of course referring to standard aspect ratio monitors. With the advent of wide-screen 16:10 and now 16:9 monitors, the last three to four years has seen 4:3 and 5:4 monitors go the way of the Dodo.
NEC seems determined that we don't forget standard aspect ratios and in September will be releasing the 19-inch MultiSync EA190M. According to NEC, the display is designed for "a variety of business environments, government applications, and education users."
Just what government applications are we talking about here? In every episode of "24" I've ever seen, everyone uses wide-screen, 24-inch Dells. This monitor must be for less well-funded government divisions.
According to NEC, the EA190M consumes 50 percent less energy and contains 50 percent less mercury than traditional LCD monitors. It has a one-touch button to go into EcoMode. This most likely puts a cap on the brightness since a display's brightness is the main determining factor for power consumption.
Here are a few other features of the EA190M:… Read more
Madden may rule the roost of NFL games for the most part, but one pesky little company still has a license for mobile phone-based NFL games, too: Gameloft. We covered NFL 2010 recently, and mentioned that it could give Madden a run for its money in the mobile space.
While Madden for the iPhone and iPod Touch was rumored before, EA Sports has formally confirmed the release of the game with some screenshots and a promise that it will be available "in time for opening day," which is September 10. Promising expertise that 20 years in the business can provide, the news release for Madden on the iPhone and iPod Touch is clearly cognizant that there is a competitor out there already.
One observation, looking at these screens, is that there's more than a little similarity between the interfaces of this game and NFL 2010. A virtual joystick on the left combined with contextual action buttons on the right will try to accommodate for the missing control pad in much the same way as Gameloft's title--although to be fair to Madden, it looks as if it has more action-button options on the offensive snap plays shown. Receivers look like they're color-coded based on how open they are, and it seems like tap-to-throw may also be the mechanic here, as it is in NFL 2010.
The start of an NFL season begins with a few things: training camp, weeks of preseason games, and the launch of the yearly Madden. With Madden 10 now out in stores for nearly every system imaginable, we also are presented with the yearly question: is it worth it? After two weeks of playing the final boxed version for the Xbox 360, here's our final verdict on the only game in town. Or, almost the only game in town: Gameloft's NFL 2010 for the iPhone/iPod Touch uses full NFL license and rosters as well.
Scott: I've played this game since 2001 pretty much obsessively, and almost always as the New York Jets. Take that with whatever grain of salt or other spice you like, but at least you now know that I've been playing with a handicap. Compared with Madden 09, my first impression a month ago was that the new Madden was slow. Apologies to EA, but it's better now. While Madden 10 still operates at a less arcade-like speed, the flow of gameplay doesn't feel as slow-mo as it did in early builds. Maybe I've gotten used to it, but the change actually makes passing and running more realistic. Here's why:… Read more