This past Wednesday, I had the opportunity to attend EA’s Naughty or Nice event in New York City. On display were over 25 games slated to be released during the holiday rush, needless to say this was a big deal. No where was this more apparent than in the setting and decoration of the Providence night club. Rather than solely relying on the games to present themselves, the EA marketing team really threw themselves into making the Naughty or Nice concept a reality.
Walking into the Providence nightclub on west 57th in Manhattan, I entered a whole new world. The night club was subdivided into two categories, the main flow and upper area was denoted as the “nice” and the lower level was the “naughty”. The upper levels had all the family and children themed games while the lower level was for the mature games (ie. The games with violence and blood shed…aka the awesome one!!!…just kidding). I actually found that I enjoyed a number of games in the nice section especially those centering on family, more on that below.
The Nice area was bathed in blue lights, with bags of presents marked nice (unfortunately they were just props). The “Naughty” area was in the basement area of the club, totally bathed in red lights and naughty bags. Another defining feature in both areas were the plethora (the word of the day brought to you by “The Three Amigos”) of flat screens. Now lets get to the good part…the games.
Actually, let me preface the games section with one note:
There are a couple of games that I am actually not allowed to mention that I got to see and even play, so obviously this list will be incomplete (and also means that I am just way cooler than you…have you seen my new team picture? Yes, I am THAT goodlooking!)
EA Mobile Titles: The first place that I stopped at was the EA mobile area, where I got to test out games developed for the IPhone and IPod Touch. I got to check out NBA Live as well as Command & Conquer Red Alert. The main thing I noticed was the integration of the various control features such as tiling the IPhone and IPod Touch and other such movements, as well as the level of detail put into each of the games. The thing that kept on amazing me was that these were fully developed games, a far cry from the block breaker and solitaire that used to be the standards for mobile devices. Also on display was The Sims 3, Rockband and Need for Speed Nitro, basically all games that we are used to being played on consoles now able to fit in you pocket.
EA Sports Active More Workouts (Wii)- This is an extention pack for the popular EA sports Active Personal Trainer. The pack adds 35 new exercises as well as refining the way user can track their work outs as well as a feature called the 6 week challenge which has works outs that increase in intensity as you progress. I tried out some of the new excercises and was impressed. Now those of you with Wii Fits may also find it interesting that Personal Trainer and More Workouts emphasis a more western approach to fitness which differs from the eastern philosophy of Wii Fit. So if you aren’t a yoga person this presents an interesting alternative. More Workouts is available on November 17th.
Hasbro Family Game Night (Wii)- I have a feeling that this would be a hit at my house. With games such as Jenga, Operation and Connect 4, there is nothing else needed to get the competitive juices flowing between Divina and me. I had the opportunity to play the jenga game and found just as fun as the original with the added benefit of not having to stack the tower up to play a new game. Family Game Night comes out this month.
FIFA Soccer 10 and Madden NFL 10- I grouped these two together because if you are even half familiar with the two fanchises you would already know that they are the best games for their respective sports you can get. With added nuances to the controls as well the as intelligence of the computer players and depth of the franchise modes you can get lost in the game quite easily as I can attest to during my college years where entire seasons were played and classes were skipped (and we wonder why America is slipping in the educational ranks). To add on top of this FIFA Soccer 10 has a mode where you can even add your own face to the players. How cool would it be to see yourself in the video game.
Something to note is the difference in the Wii versions in the games. EA has taken advantage of the motion controls for the Wii to make the games even more immersing while keeping things a bit simpler for newbies to the series. For example in FIFA in certain situation the player must shake the Wiimote at the exact right time in order to save a goal or make a crucial play…its pretty intense. FIFA Soccer 10 is out on all consoles on October 20th and Madden NFL 10 has been out since August.
NERF “N-Strike” Elite (Wii)-I have always been a fan of rail style shooters as most of the shooter available at arcades only consisted of these types of shooters. Frankly, I like the simplicity. You don’t have to worry about moving, or some cases ducking, everything is done for you, all that my sugared up brain had to concentrate on was pulling the trigger. Unfortunately, these types of games tend to be really violent (ie. House of the Dead). In comes N-Strike which gives you and your kids the enjoyment of being to blast everything in site minus the nightmare inducing scary monsters. Also included is a red lens attached to the custom blaster that allow the user to decode secret messages through out the game. While, the addition of the red lens is kinda hokey to me, I am pretty sure that kids are going to love it.
Dante’s Inferno (360, PSP, PS3): Based on the epic Italian poem, this was the game I was most excited for. I played as Dante (a much more juiced and action oriented character compared to that of the real poet) who ventures into the depths of hell in order to save the soul of his beloved Beatrice. Yes, looks like a clone of God of War set in the nine circles of Hell and to tell you the truth that is basically what it is. Yet, I don’t see anything wrong with that, in fact, that just makes it even more exciting. The EA team has the opportunity to take everything that was awesome about GOW and then turn the dial to 11. So far, I have not been disappointed and can’t wait for more. The game is also being put out for the PSP. The one question I have is how different the game will be going from the big consoles to the portable unit. Dante’s Inferno will be out February 9th, 2009.
Dragon Age: Origins (PC, 360, PS3): I was not able to actually play the game, the but the little I saw has me pretty excited. The player is able to customize their character who then will play one of 6 different Origin stories. Basically its like have 6 different games in one. So there really isn’t a good way to describe the plot, lets just say that it deals with Dragons and other fantasy elements. Don’t expect a linear adventure the player’s choices shapes the entire adventure from the dialogue down to the basic plot elements. Other than the variable stories the combat in the game was spectacular with wonderful visuals and explosive moves. Dragon Age: Origins comes out in November.
There was way too many good games that I missed didn’t talk about and not enough time or space to talk about them.
Other games of note at the event: Fight Night Round 4 (already available for 360 and PS3), The Saboteur (Available December 8th 2009, 360, PS3 and PC) Left 4 Dead 2 (Available for the 360 and PC on November 17th), Club Pogo (Available online), Littlest Pet Shop Online and Friends (Available now online and on Wii and DS, respectively) Spore Hero and Spore Hero Arena (Spore Hero is available in October on the Wii and Spore Hero Arena is available in October on the DS), SimAnimals Africa (available October on the Wii and DS), Army of Two: the 40th Day (available January 12th, 2010 on 360 PS3 and PSP), Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (Available March 2nd 2010 on PS3 and PC),
And finally Brutal Legend (Available now on PS3 and 360), I got to play this game, and it was awesome. No need to talk about it as you probably already have it…and if you don’t GET IT NOW…thank me later.