Playing the EA Games I Am Supposed To Hate
EA had a bad year last year.
Oh, I'm sure they still made money. They still put out Madden and FIFA, and both of those games are unstoppable machines of money-making.
But they had a bad year public-opinion wise. Mass Effect Andromeda, Battlefront II, and Need for Speed Payback all took a critical bashing...and although I think they all sold decently well, it seems like they missed EA's expectations.
And now, the hate train continues to roll.
These games started out with tepid responses...and now they've come to represent "Everything wrong with the games industry."
I don't think they're that bad, but it's interesting.
I played a good chunk of Mass Effect Andromeda at launch. The pacing is weird, the game's scope was lowered significantly right before release, and you can't save the game while you're on major missions.
That last offense is the most egregious thing it does, in my opinion.
It's essentially a reboot of the Mass Effect franchise, but it desperately tried to tie itself to that legacy in order to engender good feelings. The other Mass Effect games had years of game development pedigree behind them, and were able to refine the formula over three successive games. Andromeda was a first try from a new team.
And then Bioware fans were dealt a second blow when all the DLC was cancelled. They were mad about that...and rightly so, honestly.
I don't think MEA is a bad game, but I think it was marketed poorly. I think it should have been given the time to attain its original scope. And I think it maybe should have been a much cleaner break from the rest of the franchise.
Battlefront II and Payback both got stomped on for their handling of microtransactions and loot chests.
I can't really speak to that because I didn't play them at launch, and EA made a bunch of changes.
Last night I tried the Battlefront II EA Access demo...and WOW! What a cool game!! I'm supposed to hate this???
It's got amazing graphics, wonderful sound design, and tight, fast, responsive gameplay. All the things a shooter needs. My first impressions are very good, and I can't wait to try some more.
I also have Payback downloaded and ready to go for this afternoon. I liked the previous game's heavy use of FMV, so I'm bummed that's gone now. But I like the concept of cars that level up, and I enjoyed The Crew. So I'm cautiously optimistic.
What's the point of this ramble? It's okay to try games that popular consensus has frowned upon. Yes, MEA has weird graphics issues. Yes, Battlefront II launched with a questionable progression. Yes, Need for Speed has had a rough go of late.
But all three of these games are still big budget creations, with thousands of hours of coding and artwork poured into them. And very few games are completely bad.
Battlefront II is easily one of the best-looking games I've ever played, and all the negative press meant I almost didn't even download the EA Access trial.
That's worth reminding myself of.