Top 10 Upcoming Electronic Arts Titles
Electronic Arts has been on a roll with the EA Partners program. Perhaps you’ve heard of Rock Band, Left 4 Dead, and Crysis. The program put EA back on the maps of hardcore gamers, and shed EA’s snakeskin as the company for sequels and yearly sports titles with new rosters, and little else. It’s now safe to speak about love for EA in public without being ridiculed for falling prey to “the man.”
GameZone visited EA at the Game Developers Conference, then at a pre-E3 showing, multiple times at E3, and we’re back to see the fall lineup at the EA Studio Showcase in Redwood City, California. It seems safe to finally list our top, upcoming EA titles.
#10 – Bulletstorm (PlayStation 3 – Xbox 360 – PC) Developer: People Can Fly Release Date: February 2011
People Can Fly is ready to make waves and inject some fun back into first-person shooters with the over-the-top action of Bulletstorm. Painkiller (2004) was an enjoyable game, but People Can Fly is about to shove a rocket in the genre and kick it to new heights as the rulebook burns in the aftermath. There are no rules here; it’s every man for himself.
Whether it is the overly-exaggerated weapons, the outlandish deaths due to precise skillshots, or all of the mayhem that ensues around the player, Bulletstorm may end up becoming the new digital crack for shooter fans.
#9 – NBA Jam (Wii) Developer: EA Canada Release: October 5, 2010
Few sports franchises have had fanatics pleading for a sequel like NBA Jam. From fiery, board-breaking dunks to the unstoppable catchphrases that still get tossed around today, including “Boom-shaka-laka!” and “The nail in the coffin!” NBA Jam is a classic that needs a landmark title in the new century.
Like its predecessors, NBA Jam is played on a 2D plane with 3D players as they swish impossible threes, soar over the competition, and wildly slam dunks straight into the hardwood. There’s nothing else that can compare to the likes of NBA Jam on the arcade sports market, so gamers best be ready to represent.
#8 –Medal of Honor (Xbox 360 – PlayStation 3 – PC) Developer: EA Los Angeles (single-player), EA DICE (multiplayer) Release: October 12, 2010
Medal of Honor hasn’t exactly been tearing up the popularity charts lately, especially after the mess that was Airborne, but EA is ready to take up the fight and charge headlong into the competition with a reboot of the series.
Medal of Honor pits players in the war in Afghanistan in 2001, so the scenery should be a welcome change to those who are sick of the trenches and sci-fi battles. Multiplayer and single-player are split between two developers to ensure that neither mode overshadows the other. The multiplayer sessions we experienced seemed capable, but that’s not surprising given EA DICE’s history with the Battlefield series.
#7 – NHL 11 (Xbox 360 – PlayStation 3) Developer: EA Canada Release Date: September 7, 2010
Normally, we try to avoid putting annual titles on our Top 10 lists since they often suffer the curse of roster updates with minimal changes. Electronic Arts’ NHL series has taken the sports genre to new heights with innovation and entertaining gameplay each and every year.
This year, NHL 11 is implementing a feature that should have NHL fans swooning: Canadian Hockey League teams are now in the Be a Pro and Be a GM modes. Another plus is the refined face-off system that should evolve stick play like never before.
#6 - Star Wars: The Old Republic (PC) Developer: BioWare Release Date: Spring 2011
This could potentially be a cash cow for Electronic Arts. The Star Wars license is one of the most recognizable on the planet and the MMO genre has worldwide appeal, so it’s only natural that the two should come together. SOE tried (rather unenthusiastically) with Star Wars Galaxies, but no developer has pushed the property forward in gaming like BioWare. So, who better to spearhead such an important project?
While our playtime with The Old Republic hasn’t been substantial enough for us to determine how far the title will go with the consumers, we can safely say that Star Wars fans should be pleased with the results in the long run. The combat was fairly simplistic, but this could potentially be the biggest selling point for those outsiders who only want to tinker with the genre rather than become overly consumed by it.
#5 – Dragon Age II (PC – Xbox 360 – PlayStation 3) Developer: BioWare Release Date: March 2011
Dragon Age II does away with the heavy character customization of Origins, and instead, opts for a sole lead character that is preset from the get-go. This could be a dangerous maneuver that will scare away the fans of BioWare, or it could be a streamlined approach that will attract fans both old and new. It remains to be seen if the changes are going to be welcomed; especially since it’s rumored that there are plenty more to come.
#4 – Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (PC – Xbox 360 – PlayStation 3 – Wii) Developer: Criterion Games (PC, 360, PS3); Exient (Wii) Release Date: November 16, 2010
A long time in the making, the reboot of the Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit series is ready to make a name for itself this fall; this time from the brilliant minds of Burnout creators, Criterion Games.
I’ve always been a sucker for cop chases (who isn’t?) in exotic cars. Heck, who am I kidding? Cop chases of any kind often wile me up with ease. Even though I have only seen the one game mode in action (cop vs. racer), Hot Pursuit has me jonesing to go back to the originals and get some action before the November release of the reboot.
#3 – Rock Band 3 (Xbox 360 – PlayStation 3 – Wii – Nintendo DS) Developer: Harmonix Release Date: November 2010
The inclusion of the keyboards was probably the easiest and most obvious evolution of Rock Band. For those who have been following the series, keyboards have often been the most talked about instrument to be added and here we are now.
Keyboards deliver a much grander and diverse experience than originally expected, especially in comparison to the drums or guitar, but Rock Band 3 has more going for it than another instrument. The set list is gargantuan. The second installment in the series didn’t sell as well as EA had hoped, but the keyboards and songs should help catapult the third entry into the stratosphere of a must-buy.
#2 – Crysis 2 (PC – Xbox 360 – PlayStation 3) Developer: Crytek Release Date: December 2010
As gorgeous as it was, the original Crysis didn’t break sales records upon its debut. Then again, hardly anyone had a PC with the chops to run the game. It slowly gained ground as months passed, so now that a sequel is on its way at the tail end of 2010, Crytek and EA have decided to develop the title for multiple platforms including the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
We have only had brief glimpses of Crysis 2, but Crytek obviously knows what it is doing. New aliens to battle and abilities to use are enticing, but not nearly as much as the move from jungles to the war-torn streets of New York City. If nothing else, you know that Crysis 2 is going to one of the most graphically impressive games in existence.
#1 – Dead Space 2 (PC – Xbox 360 – PlayStation 3) Developer: Visceral Games Release Date: January 25, 2011
Among the many reasons why Dead Space 2 tops our list is that there’s nothing else like it in any genre or on any platform. Even though Dead Space 2 will once again feature Isaac Clarke, the protagonist from the original, as he uncovers the truth within his world, it still feels drastically unique when put side-by-side to the first.
The environments have been amplified with eerie details to absorb the player within the creepy world of Dead Space. With a new set of enemies, locales to visit, and maneuvers to take down the opposition, Dead Space 2 represents the next step in action-horror.