I was a big fan of Plants vs. Zombies (I literally own at least five distinct versions) but PvZ: Garden Warfare left me cold. As a $30 third-person online shooter, it had the stink of a cash-in, and so I paid it very little attention and ignored it completely at launch. But what I won't touch for 30 bucks, I'll jump all over when it's free.
EA's Battlefield games, generally speaking, aren't known for the strength of their single-player campaigns, and Battlefield Hardline looked set to stick to that tradition when it was first revealed as a multiplayer cops-and-robbers blast-fest. But EA seems determined to make single-player a relevant part of the experience, and the 12 minutes gameplay trailer released today suggests that it might actually be able to pull it off.
I somehow managed to miss the announcement of Game Time on Origin, and so when the Battlefield 4 freebie was revealed today I thought it was part of some exciting, new way to deal up free stuff. It's not, obviously, but that's not important: What's important is that you can now blow an entire week on Battlefield 4 at absolutely no cost.
Remember SimCity? Specifically, the disastrous launch of SimCity, followed by a year-long slog to implement a proper offline mode that we'd previously been told wasn't possible? It's the sort of business that might have put you off of buying the game, even at the current, vastly-reduced price of 20 bucks. But if you're curious, you may now indulge yourself without cost, and without risk.
It's hard to be too critical of anything that's free, assuming that the free thing in question isn't actually doing you harm. So even though I'm not a big fan of Wing Commander 3: Heart of the Tiger, I can recommend it right now because it's free—"On the house," you might say—and it's probably not going to set your PC on fire.
Electronic Arts has made a lot of noise about the power of emotion in The Sims 4. In fact, Senior Producer Lyndsay Pearson said on Twitter in June that there will be "multiple types of emotion deaths" in the game. But while your Sims might die laughing, they won't be able to die of depression, because Maxis wants to keep the game lighthearted and fun.
The Sims 4 is all about feelings, as you may have heard, and people who own The Sims 3 will enjoy—or perhaps suffer—even more of them than everyone else. Electronic Arts is offering a Sims 4 Rewards program that will unlock emotionally influential bonus content for owners of the previous Sims game.
Titanfall's Frontier's Edge map pack is out today, so you might as well watch this video showing off the three new arenas. Impressions based on the above footage are mostly positive, though it's a shame there's nothing as aesthetically bracing as 'War Games' from the Expedition pack. The colour palettes don't really depart from what we've seen before.
Can Battlefield Hardline's sudden delay to 2015 engooden a game whose beta wasn't terribly well received? Ignore the fact that I just murdered the English language there with the word 'engooden' and focus on these details about the game's story mode, which until now has been shrouded in mystery. Admittedly a mystery no one really cared too much about, like the premise of The Leftovers or what happened to Walt in Lost, but a mystery all the same. Hardline's single-player tells the story of two framed cops who bust out of prison to clear their names (by shooting lots of people, as is the custom). Actors from The Shield, Sons of Anarchy and, er, Nash Bridges are on-board to do the voices. Cheech Marin isn't one of them, disappointingly.
Earlier this month, Electronic Arts announced that The Sims 2 was being "retired," and that to make up for the loss, anyone who owns it would be upgraded to The Sims 2 Ultimate Collection on Origin at no charge. But today that deal got a whole lot more Oprah, as EA is now offering the game to everyone, on the house—even thought it's not actually an On the House promotion.
Back in June, the Battlefield Hardline debut trailer revealed that the game would launch on October 21. Today, however, DICE VP Karl Magnus Troedsson announced that the game has been pushed into 2015, so the studio will have enough time to properly implement the ideas and improvements that emerged from the June beta.
It's not often that "fewer explosions" tops a game studio's to-do list, especially when the game in question is something like Battlefield Hardline. But it's number one on the latest edition of the "Community's Most Wanted" list of changes Electronic Arts and Visceral is making to the game.
The Battlefield Hardline beta ended just a week ago, but Electronic Arts says a number of significant changes have already been made to the game based on feedback from the players. Ten of those changes are detailed in the new "Community's Most Wanted," a standing list of updates and improvements that will be maintained until the day the game is launched.
Bad news for anyone hoping for a single-player campaign in Titanfall: Respawn Entertainment founder Vince Zampella and Titanfall Director Steve Fukuda both made it clear in a new interview that they have very little interest in making it happen.
Punkbuster, for those just joining the eternal online fray, is software that detects cheaters—punks—and then deals with them appropriately via "busting." It's widely used, although its popularity has waned in recent years. It's also automated, which means things can occasionally go wrong. And it appears that things have gone very wrong recently for some Battlefield 3 players, who have been locked out of the game they love through no fault of their own.
Battlefield Hardline only has one more week in beta, so to make sure players see everything it has to offer all firearms and gadgets have been unlocked. This means you won’t have to earn your right to access things like the Ballistic Shield, Breaching Charge or Decoy: you can now access them in your loadout menu on Battlelog no questions asked. Meanwhile, several fixes and improvements have been made to the audio and netcode.
Sorry, Battlefield: Hardline, it's nothing personal. Your cops and robbers CTF battles have the subtlety of a playground pile-on, but I've managed to extract a few moments of fun from the chaos. I like the violent, bass fart of your P-90, as I did in Battlefield 4, and Battlefield 3. And I like the way you use the Frostbite engine to fill the air with floaty bits of burning chaff even though I have no idea where it all comes from. The problem is the competition. There's just so much more laughter and joy to be had in a seven year old free game called Team Fortress 2.
There was a time when Electronic Arts was literally the worst company in America. That time was last year, actually, and even though it managed to avoid the three-peat in 2014, there's no question that EA has a long way to go to shed its less-than-sterling reputation. Fortunately for those concerned about such things, CEO Andrew Wilson has a plan.
It seems like only a week ago that the Battlefield Hardline beta was a closed affair, accessible to only the most fortunate and well-connected of the world's virtual warriors. And you know what? It was only a week ago, roughly, but that doesn't matter anymore, because those doors have now swung wide open. Want in? All you have to do is sign up.