Is PC gaming dead? I've been hearing that argument for as long as I can remember. And although consoles and mobile devices have definitely stolen a lot of thunder from the PC platform, I'd say the latter is alive and well. It's simply...evolving.
And getting cheaper. From now through March 19, EA's Origin store is offering 50 percent off some top PC games. (The sale banner says "Get 50% Off Storewide," but that's just flat out untrue--only select titles are on sale. Come on, EA, you're better than that.)
Among the … Read more
Nearly 10 years after the last major SimCity release, Maxis Emeryville and EA unveiled information yesterday about SimCity 4's upcoming successor.
The fifth version of the iconic SimCity is due in 2013, and features a large range of graphic and gameplay improvements over previous generations. One major new feature is multiplayer region support (for up to 16 players). Playing with friends enables challenges such as leaderboards and the ability to "launch a space shuttle or build magnificent wonders," according to EA.
Multiplayer relationships go much deeper, though. For example, you can send fire trucks to another region in a massive crisis. If your city turns into a smog-filled re-creation of Los Angeles, then Sims in a friend's area suffer and experience health problems. … Read more
Hungry for Mass Effect? Buy the console game. As far the simultaneously-released iOS game for iPhone and iPad goes, I'd recommend downloading Dead Space instead.
So, maybe it's a tiny bit unfair to compare a $60 console game to a $6.99 iOS game, but when the name "Mass Effect" is slapped on a download, there is some expectation of a certain style of game, and a certain level of quality. Mass Effect: Infiltrator is downright beautiful to look at, especially in its opening cinematics: at first, it could cause an onlooker to drop their jaw and proclaim that the iPad is the true inheritor of the future of handheld and even console games.
Well, not so fast.… Read more
It's tempting to say that there hasn't been as fully realized a science fiction universe in a generation as the one presented in the Mass Effect games, which include the just-released Mass Effect 3 (read GameSpot's review here). The game's impressive reach is supported by novels, comic books, apps, and a fanatically loyal fan base (that recently forced a tie-in novel back to the editing desk for corrections to continuity). Sci-fi blog io9 makes much the same argument, calling it, "one of the most important pieces of science fiction narrative of our generation."
Does the trilogy's end deliver? We step back into the shoes of Commander Shepard for one last trip through the galaxy.… Read more
The story behind Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is an interesting tale. Its development house, 38 Studios, was founded by former Major League Baseball pitcher Curt Schilling.
After finishing up his baseball career with the Boston Red Sox, Schilling refocused his energy (and a lot of money) into the company in addition to tying up sci-fi mastermind R.A. Salvatore and comic book veteran Todd McFarlane.
Jeff: While its story and characters are less than memorable, Reckoning is a lot of fun to play and has a combat system that's good enough to stand on its own. Historically, RPG games don't even have much of a fighting mechanic, but the one in Reckoning is totally out of the ordinary--and that's a good thing.
To me, Reckoning feels like an RPG stripped of its inaccessible number-crunching stat-trackers and at times comes across as a linear adventure altogether. That said, all the usual RPG suspects are accounted for, including choosing your class, upgrading a varied and complex skill tree, and deciding which quests to take on.
While it might be a blast to swing your sword at droves of enemies, Reckoning doesn't do much for me in the character development department. Considering the major players involved in the game's creation, it's a bit shocking to see that a lot of that energy may have been devoted to the game's expansive backstory instead of conveying a world filled with characters that players can identify with. You can talk with nonplayable characters in the game, but I'm not sure you need to.… Read more
A funny thing happened when I sat down to test out Mass Effect 3's ability to shout out orders to my virtual squad mates: I resisted. Big time.
As a longtime Mass Effect fan (I'm almost embarrassed to admit I've played the previous two games enough times to see virtually all of the different endings), it was difficult not to fall back on to old habits. Despite some tweaks and additions to the game, Mass Effect 3 played similarly to its two predecessors, so the temptation was there.
But I persevered and actively avoided using buttons and pausing the game, instead barking my orders via the Xbox's Kinect peripheral, which powers the feature. After the initial awkward few minutes in which I learned the different commands on the fly, I was routinely telling my squadmates to fire singularity warp fields and throw grenades just as naturally as if I asked my co-worker to hand me an extra notepad. The result was a more satisfying experience and a stronger personal connection to the virtual characters flanking me in combat.
Gamers will get their own chance to try out the game on February 14, when EA and Bioware will release a free demo online to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles, as well as the PC. The game hits stores on March 6. … Read more
After at least three years and an estimated $155 million, Electronic Arts and BioWare open their new massive multiplayer game, Star Wars: The Old Republic to general audiences on December 20.
The developers' hope is that the game will bring meaningful competition to the World of Warcraft-dominated online gaming market. Gamers and the "Star Wars" faithful, on the other hand, just hope the game is fun. We've been playing the game in an early release phase, open to customers who preordered the game and others.
Rich: Games in the MMO (massive multiplayer online) genre are notoriously hard … Read more
I sometimes wonder how mischievous those who create video games really are.
They toss in unexpected witticisms, facial expressions, and idiosyncratic actions--just for the sheer fun of it. But what could have been going on among EA's FIFA 12 development team to create the stunning action I have, well, embedded here?
For at the end of what seems to be entirely innocent sporting action, pony-tailed Andy Carroll of Liverpool and goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski of Arsenal collide and then start snogging.
Should you not be familiar with that term, it is the colloquial English for kissing. And what happens here--thank … Read more
Electronic Arts, best known in the mobile world for its stable of premium franchises such as "Madden NFL" or "Need For Speed," is increasingly trying its hand at free games.
The company is offering four games for free in the Apple App Store right now, but plans to expand that number to between 10 and 14 by March, an EA executive told me. Rather than an upfront payment, it's looking to generate revenue through in-app purchases.
The shift in strategy is emblematic of the growing trend of "freemium" games, which are free to … Read more