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Apex Legends Season 2 – EA Play Announcements

Apex Legends was at EA Play 2019 this year. Specifically, Respawn was there to discuss their second season of content for the battle royale shooter.

Legendary Hunt


The last event of Apex Legends first season is The Legendary Hunt. From now until June 18th, players are eligible to receive event specific weapon and character skins through challenges that are tracked through various game modes. As it is with all games in this genre, the in game store will have a rotating stock of cosmetic items in addition to the ones available by achievement.

The Legendary Hunt itself is available as an “elite queue” event, where availability opens only to someone who makes a top 5 finish in any game mode. While the elite queue is not something that is readily accessible to the family and/or casual gamer, the circulation of experienced players through this elite queue will create matches elsewhere that have less experienced players overall, and create a better experience for the family gamer.

In addition to the weekend of E3 providing double XP for base and battle pass experience, this event gives any player who top 5’s a match in any game mode an immediate level on their battle pass.

Several Character and Weapon Skins are achieved with the following Milestones:

  • Logging in with a battle pass during the event
  • 2 wins in any game mode
  • Top 5’ing any one game
  • Getting to level 15 on your battle pass before the event ends

Season 2: Battle Charged Announced

July 2nd will be the release date for the second season of Apex Legends. While all the details for the upcoming season were not announced, they were pretty comfortable with some baseline announcements:

  • New Legend (Which we go over in the next announcement)
  • New Weapon: The L Star: A fully automatic weapon that shreds through enemies and terrain that can only be found in precious care package drops. Its weapons speed is balanced by the nasty habit of over heating.
  • New Map Events
  • New Game Modes
  • A New Ranked Play Mode, with cosmetic rewards based on performance
  • Weapon and Legend Rebalancing based on community feedback
  • Possible colossal monsters in the maps

The biggest announcement relevant to Battle Charged and the family gamer is a significant change to the daily and weekly challenges and to materials granted through the battle pass and core level progression.

Daily and Weekly challenges will stack so that multiple challenges can be active at the same time. No word yet as to how many of these challenges can stack at once. Because challenges now accumulate as opposed to one overwriting the other, this creates an environment where players who can only play a limited amount of time in the week/month can get the full benefits of the challenges and their rewards. The maximum rate of leveling has become faster, allowing level 100 to be reached much faster, and crafting materials has been increased so that players can create at least one legendary skin for free with the crafting materials they acquire through regular play.

New Legend: Wattson

Scientist, Engineer, and Smartest Women on the Frontier

Wattson is the character for Apex Legends with a familiar style of play if you prefer defensive or construction based classes in your first person games. Her active ability builds electrified barriers that your allies can freely pass through. Her ultimate creates a permanent structure on the map which deflects incoming missiles, grenades and other havoc while also speeding up the cool down on her active skill (so she can put up more barriers). As a support class in Apex Legends, she has access to a consumable which lets her charge the ultimate abilities of her allies. Between the structures and the power to fuel your allies best abilities, this character is built with the strategist in mind, unless you just want to electrify all of the things. Science!

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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Madden NFL 20

The newest edition of Madden NFL is set to drop on 8/2 with all the bells and whistles that Madden fans have come to expect.  Everything is beautifully rendered, consistent game play, player accurate celebrations etc. As always EA has worked to move the needle with their tweaks to the game and new features.

The newest twist to the Madden Franchise is the introduction of the Superstar and Zone abilities, basically football superpowers, to the best of the best players in the game.  The top 50 players in the game will have access to special Zone abilities that give them the status of actual game changers on the field. A few examples that we saw at EA Play were:

  • Tier-1 Superstar Abilities
    • Escape Artist– Increases speed and agility when scrambling
    • Red Zone Deadeye– Perfect passing accuracy in the red zone
  • Tier-2 Zone Abilities
    • Bazooka– Increased passing distance up to 80 yards
    • Fearmonger– Increase pass rush pressure

The list of players will change with updates and with franchise mode but will not exceed the 50 player cap limit.  

This new feature also has the side effect of creating two new player rankings “Superstar” and “Superstar X-Factor”.  The former having access to the more mundane superpowers while the latter are the 50 player tier that has access to the Zone abilities.  It appears that they will also be changing how draft evaluation will work as you will be able to see that a draft pick has Superstar and Superstar X-Factor rating but will not know what that particular football superpower will be until the middle of the first season.

Madden has also taken steps to update its playbook to more accurately reflect the current state of the NFL with the introduction of the RPO  and trick plays (220 new ones in fact). There is also the promise of midseason playbook updates as the actual NFL changes and adjusts to the game.

Finally, EA also appears to be leveraging their “Face of The Franchise: QB1” mode to bring back more of its NCAA connection by allowing you to drop directly into the College Football Playoff, similar to how they did with Longshot, by taking over as QB1 one of the following schools:

  • Texas
  • Oregon
  • Florida
  • LSU
  • Clemson
  • Miami
  • USCS
  • Oklahoma
  • Florida State
  • Texas Tech

Your performance in the playoff will impact your draft stock and ultimately your career as you level to try and win Superbowls.

All in all this appears to be yet another solid installment in the Madden franchise and will undoubtedly be scooped up Madden loyalists and really anyone that wants to play NFL or really any kind of football game as Madden has cornered the market.

Please be sure to check out all our E3 coverage as we will update you if and when we find out anything new.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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Elder Scrolls: Legends Coming to PS4 and Switch with Cross play and Cross Save

EA announced that they were releasing Elder Scrolls: Legends on PS4 and Switch at their EA Play Media Briefing during E3 week this year. They also confirmed that the game would have cross-play between all of the platforms it is available on.  This is a serious advantage over Hearthstone, which has not expanded much since its initial offerings to mobile devices and PC gaming.

Elder Scrolls Legends is a digital collectible card game that pulls its influences from one of Bethesda’s longest running and popular settings. What separates it from other free to play online card games is just how well integrated the Elder Scrolls lore and feel is integrated into both its single and multiplayer content. Legends offers both competitive and casual multiplayer modes, but also offers single player story modes along with a single player arena mode (Their version of a limited card deckbuilding format).

Elder Scrolls features cards and deck construction that encourages multiple styles of play. Most card games limit you deck construction to cards of a single playable class and a set of neutral cards. Legends treats your deck and your personal avatar as two separate things to be customized. 

First and most pleasantly, the cards allow for multicolor deck construction as well as full support for multicolor cards. Each color of cards in Elder Scrolls Legends represents one the themes with the world of Elder Scrolls: White is the color of order and armies, Red is the color of rage and fury, Blue is the color of sorcery and knowledge, Purple is the color of control and ancient (undead) power, and green is color of nature and hidden threats. The races of the Elder Scrolls series often appear in multiple colors: Imperial forces are white and purple, Argothian lizardfolk are green and purple, and Khajiit Catfolk appearing in both green and white. These races, of which I only named a few, are often featured in Legends multicolored cards. While Legends limits deck construction to a maximum of two colors, it allows for more diverse design with each color as themes not only work within their own color, but with other colors as well. It also allows for more cards to be relevant as the same color can be played in different ways, even more so when paired with another color.

Your personal avatar will also serve you well in the free to play progression system within the game. The game rewards both single player and multiplayer content with gold (to buy packs, arena passes, and stories), Soul Gems (the common resource among card gam11es to craft individual cards, as well as a random cards. The cards you will receive after multiple played games will be based on your in-game avatar, and since races are connected to multiple colors, this gives you control to the type of rewards you receive as you play.

I would recommend Elder Scrolls Legend as a digital card game to family gamers who are invested in the lore of Elder Scrolls, and are looking for solid single and multiplayer content. With its Teen rating to the ESRB, Elder Scrolls Legends is also a playable alternative to younger gamers who want to experience the Elder Scrolls series without the more mature content that is a mainstay of the Bethesda Series.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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E3 2018 EA Play Media Briefing

EA held their EA Play Media briefing on Saturday, June 9th, 2018. They made a number of exciting announcements, but the crown jewel of the briefing was a lengthy gameplay demo of their upcoming multiplayer shooter Anthem.

Battlefield 5
FIFA 2019
EA Origin Access: Premiere
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Star Wars Battlefront 2 
Unravel Two 
Sea of Solitude 
NBA Live 19 
Madden NFL 19 
Command and Conquer: Rivals
Anthem 

 

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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Let’s Talk About Anthem for a Hot Minute

By: Drew Habersang

For those of you living under rocks, Anthem is Bioware’s spectacular looking open world online shooter. It’s basically Destiny with armor that serves a purpose and freakin’ JETPACKS!!!

Can we talk about how much Anthem looks like Destiny but is totally-not-at-all like Destiny?

First, the similarities: Anthem appears to be mechanically and structurally similar to the Destiny
Games including much of what was revealed about late game progression requirement co-op to complete endgame challenges like raids (Anthem calls them “Strongholds”). More to the point, Anthem looks like Destiny. I mean… just LOOK at it. The aesthetic similarities are undeniable.

But, a slightly closer look at the game reveals very many several and big and extremely exciting differences.

 

Friggin Jet Packs, gang!


The gameplay reveal trailer focused a great deal on that sweet sweet jet pack action, demonstrating the flight capabilities and apparently fluid controls as players careened through the skies of Anthem’s massive open world, cartwheeling past towering trees and gargantuan menacing monsters and even diving into cavernous lakes and exploring their depths. I am, by far, most excited about the jetpack action. Because c’mon – jetpacks! To quote our fearless leader, Stephen Duetzmann, “Everyone is Iron Man.”

The Social Space is anything but social


In Destiny and Destiny 2, players can go to any of several social hubs with up to 24 other players to get missions, upgrade gear, and retrieve rewards. Anthem’s hub “Fort Tarsis” is not a multiplayer lobby but instead offers a single player hub full of NPCs. And, as with previous BioWare titles, decisions players make will alter the space and, by extension, the game.

Armor Matters

Unlike Destiny 2 where armor is largely cosmetic, in Anthem, armor is EVERYTHING. Players suit up in one of four giant mech suits (woot!) with a wide range of abilities. And, as is the case with Tony Stark, the “Iron Man” style suits constitute the sum total of the players’ physical powers.

No PVP

You read that right. In an AMAAA (ask me almost anything) on Twitter, BioWare’s Mark Darrak stated unequivocally “No PVP. This decision allows us to have a much wider array of weapons and gear and make the loot chase more interesting.” No doubt, fans of PVP are disappointed by this revelation. PVE is my jam so I am completely unbothered by it.

(Potentially) Cross-platform Saves


While Darrah made it perfectly clear that BioWare has no plans to implement cross-platform play, he was a little vaguer when it came to cross-platform saves. Note: Darrah did NOT confirm cross-saves. What he DID say was, “I am looking into cross-platform saves as we speak”. So, despite the high probability that cross-platform saves are impossible, cross-platform saves confirmed but not confirmed but totally (potentially) confirmed, you guys.

We have several months until we’re able to get our hot little hands on Anthem, but I’m glad that BioWare is being so forthcoming with information about the game.

Anthem releases on February 22, 2019 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

 

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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Star Wars Logo

The head of Respawn Entertainment, Vince Sampella, appeared briefly during the EA Play event on Saturday, June 9th to reveal a scant few details about their upcoming Star Wars game. The audience was left hungry as he did not deliver s trailer, art assets, or even a logo. The information he did share, however, should be enough to keep Star Wars superfans sated until next E3 when it is given a proper reveal.

The Title

Respawn’s next game is called Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.

When Will Then Be Now

He revealed the game will take place between episodes 3 and 4 of the Star Wars series. It will specifically deal with the execution of Order 66. This represents a period of time where the members of the once great Jedi Order are fleeing as they are being hunted to extinction by republic/imperial troops.

This is a span of time that has been left unexplored since Disney’s acquisition of the Star Wars brand. There were a number of books and comics that discussed what happened, but Disney has stripped them from official canon. This opportunity for a divergence between what was once accepted as fact and the new lore I nerve-wracking for some longtime Star Wars fans, but it presents Respawn with some very interesting storytelling options.

A Tale of Two Games

At a very high-level Respawn has two real option with Fallen Order. They could make a game about members of the Fallen Jedi Order trying to escape. Or, they could make a game about Darth Vader hunting them down.

The first option, dealing with a member of the order itself, fees the most safe and the most likely. Many of the most powerful Jedi were killed when Order 66 was delivered. But, the Jedi Order was massive and far-reaching so it is not hard to imagine them creating a small group of Jedi that was on their way to a distant outpost or some other far out destination. Their quest for survival in the face of a massive military force and one of the most iconic villains in history could be super engaging and fun to play.

The second option, a more Vader centric game, may be less likely, but I think it might be the best option. First off, it’s not hard to imagine the marketing power of being “The Vader Game.” Money stuff side though, Darth Vader hasn’t been explored much after he dons the mask. There have been a few comic books recently that show his point of view, but I think that literally stepping into his shoes could be awesome.

Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order is currently scheduled for release during Holiday 2019.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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FIFA 19 is Getting More Accessible This Year!

FIFA 19 is the most recent iteration of EA’s popular soccer franchise. At EA Play, they announced story campaigns for both the Championship League, a brand new addition to the franchise thanks to UEFA and Konami parting ways, and the World Cup. These campaigns are the pinnacle of the fan fantasy: taking your own custom club, or one of the many premier teams down a long road to victory.

As part of this most recent update, EA has made an attempt to make FIFA 19 as accessible as possible to soccer fans of all ages.  While they have beefed up the complexity for the more experienced players to allow them more control at all times in shooting, passing, play calling etcetera.  They have also introduced a “one-button” play mode that allows players to let the AI control the decision making for you thus allowing access to even the most inexperienced players.  As a parent of small children that struggle with complex button and situational control this is a very big deal as it means that we can sit and enjoy this game together without the unneeded frustration of skill level gap.

I look forward to getting my hands on this and seeing the next step in the partnership between EA and FIFA as they continued to put its best graphics and gameplay into every game. This preview fails to disappoint.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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Madden 2019 Has Some Big Changes and a New Longshot Mode!

Madden is yet again setting the bar for football games.  Along with maintaining constantly beautiful visuals that add to the immersive experience.  EA has begun taking the Madden franchise down the road to being a true football simulator with the addition of Real Player Motion-Locomotion.   What they have done is try and find a more nuanced balance between controller responsiveness and authenticity when you are trying to blast through a tackle or break away from the field or even defending those high flying receivers.  Players will be able to string moves together for complex movements like Spin to Juke back to Spin to Push The Pile. The intent is very clear that EA wants players to experience the most realistic football experience possible from a visual and mechanical standpoint.  These changes along with changes to the Franchise system that will allow Players to level and evaluate players based on specific offensive and defensive schemes would appear to signify a large jump forward toward being their simulator goal.

However, one item that EA did bring back that is not mechanical is the continuation of the “Longshot” story mode that allows you play experience Devin Wade and Colt Cruise’s attempts to keep their NFL dreams alive while life gets in the way.  It appears that EA heard their fans on this one and have added more actual gameplay to the story that was lacking in the 2018 version.

Ultimately all this should be great news for the legions of diehard Madden fans as it really is just more of what has already proven to be a very very very successful business model.  With that said though for those of us that are casual fans of the franchise, the closer that they move to a true simulator the more difficult that it becomes to just pick up an play. So while I am excited to see where this franchise has come I know that there will be no way that kids will be able to wrap their minds or hands around this game.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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sea of solitude

EA announced the next game in their EA Originals series during their EA Play Press event on Saturday. This time around they announced Sea of Solitude.

Sea of Solitude is a third person adventure game from Jo-Mei studios. The story focuses on a lost girl named Kay as she explores a drowned world where human begin to slowly transform into twisted monsters. It is a world that appears to be very much like our own, and we are looking forward to exploring the mysteries that are held just beneath the surface.

There are very few family games that talk about complex emotional issues in ways that are approachable to kids. Depression is an important topic to learn and explore. Bound, Last Guardian, Ori and the Blind Forest: these are a handful of great examples of emotional exploration through games. Sea of Solitude looks to be a game shaping up to tackle the issues of depression, grief and loss, all while exploring a shadowy mystery. We are excited to see more details for this one as the 2019 release date comes closer. 

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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EA Announces Command and Conquer: Rivals

EA announced a new entry in the venerable Command and Conquer series during their EA Play event on Saturday. The catch is that Command and Conquer: Rivals is a mobile game. It eschews its grand scale and full video cut scenes for a simple, touch-based interface and two-player real-time combat. 

Command and Conquer is a series built around massive stories and huge battles. It has a rabid fanbase as well. This, unfortunately, has a chilling effect on the announcements. Journalists and fans alike were somewhat negative about it.

I think that is more of an issue with misplaced expectations though. Fans were hoping for a large-scale, real-time strategy game like they remember. But, what they were shown was a very stripped down two player game where the entire map fits on your phone.  

The demo was well presented, and it showed off a game that distilled a lot of what makes real-time strategy games fun down to a small screen with touch controls. At the same time, seeing a popular title going fallow for so long only for it to be brought back as a mobile title feels very weird.  There is at least some hope that EA will use this as a test to determine if a full-fledged sequel is in the cards for the future. 

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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