Electronic Arts E3 Press Conference

Electronic Arts’ press conference can be summed up in four words: Casual, Sports, Mature, and Bioware.

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Electronic Arts’ press conference can be summed up in four words: Casual, Sports, Mature, and Bioware.

Electronic Arts split it’s company up into four different divisions in 2007 and 2009 is reaping the rewards for doing just that. Each division of the company had there own games to share and each showed potential to take a firm grasp of the gamer this year and next.

EA Sims started the cavalcade of games with a trailer for the new game that will be out today.  The game looks very polished from the last two and is very much more a city of activity then the former two games.

EA Casual was up next with the announcement of a few girl-focussed games. These included three Littlest Pet Shop coming to DS and one for the Wii. Littlest Pet Shop also will have a toy and online community much like Webkins coming soon. EA Casual also showed off Charm Girls Club games for the Wii and DS. These games are specifically to tween girls.

Next,  EA Games’ division showed off their line up with videos of Dante’s Inferno (Disturbing), Need for Speed: Shift, Crysis 2, APB, The Saboteur and Brutal Legend.

EA Sports came up next with probably their strongest ever lineup of sports games including a new onlie editor for NCAA Football 2010, Franchise Management for Madden 10 (inclucding iPhone apps) and online browser based Tiger Woods PGA Tour.  EA also showed off its fighting game Fight Night Round 4 and its newest franchise, EA Sports MMA.

Bioware finished the show with a huge bang including videos of their next two games, Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age: Origins, as well as the continuation of their Knights of the Old Republic series:  Star Wars: The Old Republic. Bioware says the game will be fully voiced with all NPC’s being fully voiced as well as the main charachters and villans

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Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings – Coming to the Wii

Yes Dr. Jones obtained this random artifact. Great job!
Yes Dr. Jones obtained this random artifact. Great job!

Another oddly named Indiana Jones games is on the way, and this trailer does nothing to show how the Wii controller will be used to make this a unique experience – But we still have hope! Continue reading “Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings – Coming to the Wii”

Game Review | Animal Paradise (Nintendo DS)

Animal paradise for the Nintendo DSIf I were told to describe Empire Interactive’s Animal Paradise in three words I would say cute, adorable and mildly addicting. Ok so the last description is two words hopefully you’ll see what I mean. Continue reading “Game Review | Animal Paradise (Nintendo DS)”

Game Review | Unsolved Crimes (Nintendo DS)

Remember all of the skills you learned from those marathons of CSI New York? Well its finally time to put them to use! You get to use the intuitive observation skills of Gil Grissom and the deductive reasoning skills of Sherlock Holmes as you solve cases as the rookie in the New York Homicide division in 1976. You and your partner Marcy Blake are assigned cases from Captain Abbot, the head of the department. And as if the bodies aren’t enough for this, add in an abducted model (who happens to be Marcy’s sister) and you have Empire Interactive’s Unsolved Crimes.

With this being my first hand held game since Pokémon Yellow for the Gameboy Color, it was an easy introduction game for the DS. While investigating crime scenes, Marcy asks you questions involving the case and you get to choose the correct answer from multiple choice options. Sounds simple right? Well, it is. You have a total of three tries before you get kicked out of the department, with the occasional bonus question to gain an extra “star”. Some of Marcy’s questions involve drawing the trajectory of a bullet, or filling in missing portions of a map but most consist of either writing in the answer or choosing from 5 multiple choice answers. This makes for the game to be simpler that I would have preferred but I will admit that there are those questions that had me perplexed for a while, but for the most part the questions were pretty easy as long as you think it through logically. It’s all elementary my dear Watson.

Dare I add to the cheesiness? Yes I do. The graphics are a crime in itself. With the graphic’s color range as far as I can throw an elephant, I wouldn’t suggest nominating this game for any awards in artistic design. The colors are limited in shades and textures are minimal at best. The 3D aspect of searching through the crime scenes are rather flat. Whether this was a conscious choice on the designers part I’m not sure, but I don’t believe it fits with the game very well.

The continuing story line of a kidnapped model gives you a break from the usual routine. With the tracking down of suspects, searching their apartment for incriminating evidence, or memorizing license plates from suspicious vehicles, the game becomes a little more intriguing. After a while, solving cases one after another becomes a routine and rather predicable, but when side investigations from this continuing story arc are put in intermittently into the case lineup, it can keep us interested enough to see the game through to the end.

Although the somewhat repetitious game play and poor graphics are a downside to the game, upside of a good thinking game with a story to break up the monotony helps bring this game up a couple of notches in my book. It may not be the huge adrenaline rush that games like Gear of War 2 is, but if you want something different than “woah! Did you just see its head explode?” kind of game then give this game a try! Not that I’m condemning those kind of games. I may not look it, but trust me, I enjoy the games where I get to watch an alien creature’s head pop through a sniper scope! But every once in a while I do want to embrace the idea that while playing a video game you can use your brain for more than planning around AI aliens trying to kill you, and Unsolved Crimes would be one of those games where I can get my synapses started up.

Pipe Mania DS – Review

Pipin Hot!
Pipin Hot!

I first encountered interest in pipe related games about 13 years ago playing Pipe Dream on my parent’s computer. At the time however, I was more interested in playing Chip’s Challenge, but the memory of Pipe gameplay had been stored into my memories. Jump forward to high school where the only thing to keep me from jumping through a window in boredom was another pipe game on my cell phone. It was fun and passed the time but it had no pizzaz.

Finally, Empire Interactive has made the best of the best when it comes to laying pipes. Pipe Mania for the DS is the most fun I’ve ever had trying prevent slime from leaking onto the floor. Empire went all out (as far out as you can go for a pipe game at least), to make a challenging, yet entertaining (it has a story mode believe it or not) game of plumbing. The game breaks free of strictly connecting pipes,  and challenges you to connect factory assembly lines, internet cords, electricity cabling, and train tracks. While they all follow the same basic rules of laying and connecting pieces, each category has special requirements needed to fully connect start piece to end piece. The factory requires splitting assemblies into multiple lines, the electricity can be temporarily stored in special glass pieces etc. If this isn’t your thing, the game comes with a Classic Mode where you can lay pipe till your head explodes with frustration. I say this as a good thing however because the other pipe games I’ve played have been incredibly easy to beat. Pipe Mania starts off easy enough, but once you beat the first few levels, it really challenges you; not to the point of throwing your DS across the room (I’m lookin at you SMB 3!) but enough that you sometimes have to play one level a few times to really plan out what you need to do to get things done.

That being said, I also want to add that the DS is probably the best kind of platform for this kind of game. No more messing up pipelines by pushing the wrong button or having a crappy mouse that clicks the wrong place. With the touchscreen you just touch right where the piece goes and you’re good to move on. This is a good play before bed type games, or just to play to pass the time. Its worth the buy if you’re into games like these, and has tons of replay value and a surpising number of levels and mini games.

Rating:  3 Pipes Out of 2.2 Lighthouses