EA Shows Off 'Mirror's Edge: Catalyst' Gameplay, Aerial Battles In 'Star Wars: Battlefront' At Gamescom Press Event

With its popular lineup, Electronic Arts also held its own press event at Gamescom on the first day of the show. The publisher will definitely show off more information about some of the biggest titles shown at E3, but there's room for some surprises as well.

Impress The Best

CEO Andrew Wilson kicked off the event by introducing Marcus Nilsson, executive producer of the new Need for Speed. Specifically, he bragged about the game's vast customization options. Next was a live action trailer featuring real-life racing icons and their various expertises such as drifting, evading police, and customizing vehicles, all of which are part of the five ways to make a name for yourself in the game.

Driving fast throughout the world attracts Magnus Walker; stylish driving on straights and corners gets the attention of Ken Block; giving your ride the best looks will give you access to Nakai-san; perfecting your drift will make the Risky Devil crew notice you; and increasing your notoriety in the police rap sheet will earn an audience with Morohoshi-san.

For the first time in the series, the game's cutscenes combine live action footage with digital assets. For example, you can have a cutscene with real actors, and your digital car appears in the background as if it were actually a part of your garage. A new trailer was shown, once again highlighting each of the five methods to win the game. Capture the attention of the top icons to earn a spot among the street racing greats.

Jump Around

Faith's back in Mirror's Edge: Catalyst. Unlike the first game, which made waves in its debut, this game will not incorporate guns as weapons, leaving you to only use your agility and speed to outrun your opponents and quickly take them. Additionally, it seems that gameplay is based on an open-world map, giving you more choices for routes of infiltration and escape.

We also were treated to some gameplay footage, showing Faith sneaking into the Elysium building in an attempt to steal valuable information. However, she finds something more sinister and encounters a new enemy pursuing the same goal. She eventually fights her way out of the building and jumps into the open air.

Choose A Side

Up next was the Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO. Just like E3, emphasis was placed on the new expansion, Knights of the Fallen Empire. With new characters in the storyline, players will have access to the first nine chapters of upcoming episodic content at launch. Additionally, you can experience the new story with your currently existing character, or create an entirely new person for the journey. When Knights of the Fallen Empire comes out on October 27, it will be free to all players, and as an extra incentive to try out the game, those who subscribe during the week of Gamescom will gain access to the cowboy-like outlaw Nico Okarr as a companion in the game.

Party On

Next was a break in the action with The Sims 4. Since its release last September, the latest game in the series has been the subject of controversy, due to a noticeable lack of features that were implemented in previous titles. But this hasn't stopped the team at EA from making expansions to game content.

The latest add-on is called Get Together and will focus on Sims hanging out in a European-style town featuring games, clubs, and outdoor parties throughout the city. It will be available for players in November.

Turning The Tide

The team behind Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 took some time to show off more content from the game. At E3, three new zombie characters were introduced, so it's only fair that three brand new plant units would be revealed at Gamescom.

First up is Rose, a sorceress using the abilities of magic to wreak havoc on enemies, with one of her powers being the ability to turn zombies into harmless goats. Kernel Corn (get it?) is a military-focused unit who can call on air support and use his cob busters to shoot down hordes of enemies. Finally, there's Citron, an orange that can shoot lasers and blast its EM Peach to disable enemy abilities.

There was also talk of the Backyard Battleground, an environment that players visit before entering the main game. In this location, you can take on challenges, quests, interact with other characters, and set up a party with up to three other friends before joining the battle.

The franchise is also partnering with Bioware to promote the Z7 Mech from Grass Effect, a spoof of the popular Mass Effect series. Players will be able to play the unique unit if they pre-order the game before it arrives next spring.

Unravel Returns

A surprise reveal from E3, Unravel, the side-scrolling platformer featuring Yarnie, a cute yarn-based character, is back at Gamescom. More gameplay was shown, featuring a level called The Sea, based on the development team's home of northern Sweden.

By using its yarn to connect two nut bolts, Yarnie can make a bridge to cross large gaps, and also use it as a trampoline to jump to otherwise unreachable ledges. Because Yarnie is so small, it's vulnerable to dangers such as large waves, as we saw Yarnie die a few times in the demo. However, Yarnie was eventually able to reach the other side of this seemingly large beachfront and finish the level.

Get Ready To Fly

As always, Star Wars Battlefront is the main attraction for EA. At the beginning of the show, Wilson teased three playable modes to play at Gamescom, unlike at E3, where we only saw one kind of gameplay. One of these new modes is Fighter Squadron, a 20-player battle featuring aerial vehicles.

Gameplay was shown on a new volcanic planet called Sullust. In the scenario, Rebel forces, consisting of X-wings and A-wings, had a mission to intercept an Imperial transport. However, the transport included an escort of TIE fighters and other ships spewing from the Empire's large fleet of Star Destroyers in the atmosphere. Just like Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader representing both sides as playable heroes on the ground, the Millennium Falcon and Slave I briefly showed up during the game.

We're still not sure what the other two playable modes are at Gamescom, but considering that we've already tried one at E3, and the recent announcement of Blast Mode last week, these three modes could all be available at this week's show.

Improvements To The Beautiful Game

EA Sports had a very low profile at the event, only showing off more of FIFA 16, featuring a brief video with former Liverpool player Jamie Carragher and former Manchester United player Gary Neville. The crux of the presentation was about FIFA Ultimate Team, specifically a new feature called FUT Draft. Players must choose from five players for each position on the team and then test the squad against other players to gain rewards, which can also be used on your main FIFA Ultimate Team.

There was also talk of improvements to the single-player experience. In Career Mode, you can now choose from nine pre-season tournaments to test your team before the regular season begins. Player training was also introduced through 30 new drills to help improve the new and young talent in each club as well as your own custom character.

In addition to improvements on every player position in the field, the developers added another level of authenticity to the German Bundesliga league, so small details such as the graphics played before the match as well as the scoreboard is identical to what German viewers see on their TV during soccer matches.

One For The Future

The show only took one hour, but that was more than enough to show some of the company's biggest franchises while also giving the spotlight for a couple of casual games. There are many  games from EA coming in the next few months, and we'll be staying on top of each one at Gamescom and in the months leading to their releases.

Follow Rexly Peñaflorida II @Heirdeux. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

  • cats_Paw
    Looks good, but since it EA, im most likely gonna pass.
  • gggplaya
    Reminds me of back in the day play Xwing Alliance. I can't wait to do huge space battles, taking down destroyers and such.
  • SirGCal
    Looks good, but since it EA, im most likely gonna pass.
    Ditto, I don't care about the title, etc. but if EA is publishing it, I pass anymore. Just not worth it.
  • Joker41NAM
    According to The Old Republic's website, only subscribers get free access to the expansion, not all players.
  • dstarr3
    Mirror's Edge is looking pretty good. Can't wait until three years from now when I can pick it up for a fiver.
  • hitman400
    Looks good, but since it EA, im most likely gonna pass.

    Not if the game gets good ratings...Then your boycott mission fails lol
  • jerdle
    Looks good, but since it EA, im most likely gonna pass.

    Not if the game gets good ratings...Then your boycott mission fails lol

    You're assuming that if the game gets good ratings we're going to automatically buy it. I don't care if it gets rated "the best game of all time"

    The ratings are all BS now anyway. AAA titles all get *stellar* reviews even if they turn out to be that substance which you would find on toilet paper. Mass Effect 3 comes to mind. 9.5 or so "rating" by the "professionals" and a week later it gets a more accurate 2.5 by the users.

    I just wont buy any game on origin for more than $10 anymore. Makes things easy.

    Published by EA, made by a developer they own, that they refuse to put on steam? $10 or less.