Last week during E3 2014, Electronic Arts showcased three upcoming games: The Sims 4, Dragon Age: Inquisition and Battlefield: Hardline. The last game was the only one that was playable, throwing gamers into a new multiplayer mode called Blood Money.
However, let's start with The Sims 4. A rep from Maxis said that the Sims 4 team focused on improving the Sims from the inside out. They're smarter in this fourth installment, more emotionally aware, meaning their actions are based on how they are feeling and what they are thinking. Their behavior is also affected by their aspirations, skills and traits.
For example, in the demo, the main Sim became quite angry, which was apparent through his facial expressions and body language. To put him into a better mood, the Maxis rep made him do "peeved push-ups" ("sit-ups of fury" was also a selection). That didn't work, so the Sim was sent to the gym to work off the anger. There the Sim met Chuck Norris, who whipped that bad attitude into shape. They became good friends, and Norris was invited to a party taking place later that day.
Maxis also worked on making the Create A Sim and Build Mode a lot easier. For instance, the player no longer uses sliders to define the Sim's overall size. Just click on the Sim and drag the mouse in any direction to make it thinner, taller and so on. In Build Mode, users can now simply pick up a room and move it to another part of the house, raise the foundation on the fly, adjust the height of walls and so on.
Players can also access the integrated galley to simply drop a user-made room into the Sim's house. "In the all-new integrated Gallery it's easier than ever to share creations with the world," reads the product sheet. "With just a few clicks The Sims 4's wealth of community generated content can be brought directly into the game."
In addition to the tools, The Sims 4 offers a more robust (vibrant) neighborhood. Sims can go to the park and converse with other Sims, go fishing, cut flowers and plant them in the back yard, and so on. Maxis indicated that there are plenty of places to explore and keep your Sim busy as he/she expands his/her social circle.
The Sims 4 is slated to arrive on Windows PC and Nintendo 3DS on September 2, 2014.
As for Dragon Age: Inquisition, the press didn't have any hands-on time with the game. Instead, executive producer Mark Darrah explained what was going on while someone else from the Inquisition team played in the background.
Players assume the role of the Inquisitor, the sole survivor of a blast that killed thousands of his/her people. However, he/she didn't emerge from the destruction unscathed. There's a scar-like mark that allows him/her to seal various rifts that allow demons and other entities into the Dragon Age world. The Inquisitor is tasked to save the world from itself, to end a destructive war waged between the Mages and the Templars.
Darrah said that the area shown in the gameplay demo is larger than the entire Dragon Age: Origins world. The areas are also dynamic, meaning that if a player slays all the bears, they will not respawn. He also said that mounts will be available in the game, a first for the series, so that players can quickly reach other's areas of the world. Both of these traits point to more exploration than in the previous Dragon Age games, possibly on a Skyrim scale.
Combat is different than Dragon Age 2, providing a tactical mode that allows players to pause the game and give each party member a specific task. Players can also take the easy route and simply click on the auto-attack button to let the AI decide what's best to use in the encounter. These gameplay options should appeal to both the hardcore Dragon Age gamers and newcomers to the series.
Dragon Age: Inquisition will be available this October 7 for Windows PC, the two PlayStation consoles and the two Xbox consoles.
Finally, we have Battlefield: Hardline, a Battlefield game that sheds the previous military roots for a "cops and robbers" storyline. This was actually playable, allowing the press to experience a new team deathmatch mode called Blood Money. The setting, called High Tension, was downtown Los Angeles, meaning there were lots of tall buildings for your sniper to claim.
In Blood Money, two teams have a vault filled with money. There's also a secondary central money vault located elsewhere on the map. The object was to not only protect your vault, but to steal money from the other team and grab the cash out of the standalone vault. Whoever had the most money when the countdown timer finished won the match. This was definitely a real blast.
Battlefield: Hardline will hit the two Xbox and two PlayStation consoles (sorry, no PC) on October 21.
Overall, Electronic Arts provided another great show of new titles. The Sims 4 looks like it will be the best ever, while Dragon Age: Inquisition promises exploration that matches Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. We would have liked to have played a demo from the single-player aspect of Battlefield: Hardline, but the multiplayer nugget was tasty enough to have us wanting more.