Need For Speed: Rivals Gets a Date For PS4 & Xbox One

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Need For Speed: Rivals has finally been dated for next-gen consoles. For weeks now, we have known that the current-generation versions would release on November 19th. However, today it was finally revealed that the PS4 and X1 version’s will debut on November 22nd. This day also marks the launch of the X1 as well. This will also mark the first game that Ghost Games will be releasing a title (they are a new team within EA Sweden). For a full description of the game from a company rep, see below.

Need for Speed Rivals puts gamers behind the wheel of both sides of the law, daring them to cross the line as either a cop or racer in order to gain any advantage in the street’s ultimate rivalry. Players will choose between two distinct career experiences, each with their own set of high-stakes challenges, rewards, pursuit tech and cars. The intensity of the action is at an all-time high thanks to AllDrive, a revolutionary new feature that destroys the line between single player, co-op and multiplayer. Through AllDrive, friends will be seamlessly connected to one racing world where their races and chases can collide at any time, creating the ultimate edge-of-your seat experience.

[via segmentnext]

Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare Launch Price And Details

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EA has confirmed that Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare will be an online only affair. Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare will be a pure online shooter powered by the Frostbite engine. The game will sport a 24-player multiplayer and 4-player co-op. Creative director Justin Wiebe stated that the game’s price will be inexpensive when comparing it to other games releasing on consoles.

Garden Warfare debuts on Xbox One at $39.99 as both a retail and downloadable title. The Xbox 360 and PC versions will be cheaper, retailing for $29.99. There will be exclusive content for the X1 version however. To reiterate, there will be no single player campaign, as the entire campaign relies on multiplayer. “We definitely want to build on the game once it’s launched, we’re definitely taking a cue from Plants vs Zombies 2. Using DLC and new content updates, we want to keep players engaged in the long haul,” Wiebe stated. Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare will launch on X1, Xbox 360, and PC in early 2014.

[via Shacknews]

EA, Ubisoft Explain Lack of Wii U Support

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Wii U owners are likely frustrated over the lack of support from bigger developers and publishers compared to the PS3 and 360, from delayed patches and DLC to outright absence of certain games on the console. It’d be easy to cast the blame on corporate greed and money-hungering, but as EA and Ubisoft have recently pointed out, in this case it’s a legitimate concern.

EA Labels President Frank Gibeau elaborated, saying a limited number of Wii U sales is bottlenecking their game sales.

“Look, the only thing they can do to fix it is to sell more boxes… The Wii U, we shipped four games. We shipped Madden, FIFA, Need for Speed and Mass Effect. In fact, the last Need for Speed shipped 60 days ago had a pretty good Metacritic. It was a good game. It wasn’t a schlocky port, we actually put extra effort into getting everything to work. And it’s just not selling because there’s no boxes.”

Gibeau went on to say that Nintendo is a “good partner” and in spite of focusing on Xbox and Playstation for now, EA will continue to keep an eye on the Wii U and as soon as the situation changes, they are ready to jump back in and support it.

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot had a similar sentiment, saying that the onus falls on Nintendo to increase Wii U sales before they’ll be ready to continue making games for the console. “We need more sold. They are coming with five of their biggest brands ever. And the Yen went down. So maybe they will take steps that will increase the number of consoles sold.”

Thankfully it seems Nintendo is keenly aware of the Wii U’s lower sales numbers, and they are hopeful that an assortment of quality first-party titles being released over the next year will boost console sales, providing the framework for third parties to boost their sales on the Wii U and justify resources spent on developing for it. Beloved franchises like Mario Kart, Donkey Kong, Smash Bros., Mario, and Zelda are on their way to the Wii U this holiday season and beyond, and many are sure to want to jump on board and get a Wii U of their own.

Charlie Scibetta, head of Nintendo of America’s corporate communications, had this to say: “We feel that’s our job to help drive that install base, and we haven’t had the software so far in 2013 that’s going to do that. But we’re confident between now and the holiday and again in 2014, we do have the software that’s going to grow that install base. And when that happens, we think that Wii U will be a far more attractive platform for third parties to want to publish on. The same thing happened on Nintendo 3DS that we think will happen on Wii U, which started off slow, but when the software came around, the hardware sales came. We’re looking for the same dynamic for Wii U.”

Star Wars: Battlefront E3 2013 Teaser Trailer

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For years, fans of the Star Wars: Battlefront have eagerly waited for a new installment in the much beloved franchise. Today, at EA’s Press Conference, they showcased a teaser trailer for the new Star Wars: Battlefront. Check it out below!

EA Takes a Step Back from Nintendo for the Moment?

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Electronic Arts has announced that it won’t be bringing this year’s Madden NFL  title to Nintendo’s Wii U. This is the first time in 22 years that the football series will not release on a Nintendo home console. “We will not be releasing a Wii U version of Madden NFL in 2013,” EA said in a statement obtained by Nintendo. “However, we have a strong partnership with Nintendo and will continue to evaluate opportunities for delivering additional Madden NFL products for Nintendo fans in the future.”

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It is no secret that the Madden series is among the top selling sports titles annually. However, last year’s Madden ’13 failed to sell enough on the Wii U according to EA. It is worth mentioning that the the Wii U version came out on the launch day of the system last fall, which was a whole four months after the console release of the game on the PS3 and 360. Additionally, EA has been promoting their relationship with Nintendo, however it’s hard to see this as anything other than a PR cover up to what they just did, by pulling out Madden from Nintendo. Six months ago, EA supported the Wii U’s launch with ports of some big titles such as Mass Effect 3, FIFA Soccer ’13 and Madden ’13. Fast forward to now and their relationship seems somewhat strained within half a year.

Thankfully, Ubisoft just released another demo of Rayman Legends, which should be a fantastic title when it releases this September. The Wii U needs to be part of every third-party developers’ plans this coming E3 if Nintendo plans on fixing the misconception of the Wii U being an “upgrade” to the Wii. At the moment, developers, nor publishers, are rushing to release their top titles on the Wii U. The stakes will get higher as Sony and Microsoft ready the launch of their new consoles this fall. EA’s “Madden 25” is currently set for release on the Xbox 360 and PS3 on August 27. For more news on this, stay tuned to GamersXtreme.

[UPDATED] Criterion Games IS NOT Rebooting Need for Speed: Underground?

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Rumors are starting to fluctuate that Criterion Games’ “Unannounced Racing Game for 2013” may not be a new Burnout, but rather a reboot for the much beloved “Need for Speed: Underground”. According to a source that shared some info and a logo with EGM, the game will take place in the city of Bayview (which is where Underground 2 took place). However, the city will be completely rebuilt and reimagined from scratch.

Criterion Games has already successfully rebooted two NFS titles, Hot Pursuit and Most Wanted, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that they’d be involved in this as well. It’s intriguing to hear that Underground may finally be returning, as one of the game’s hooks was supping up your cars to look as slick as possible.

What do you guys think? Ready to return to the racing underground?

[UPDATE: According to VideoGamer, it appears the rumors are being dismisses as completely fake. Alex Ward from Criterion Games had this to say via Twitter:

“Totally fake. Remakes and Reboots? #movedon”

It makes sense that it would be fake as Criterion Games just completed Most Wanted for PC/PS3/360 in October of 2012, and the Wii U version just last month (our review here). If they were to reboot Underground, one year’s time may seem a bit rushed.

Thanks for the tip @LayeredGamer!

More Triple ‘A’ Titles Skipping The Wii U Due to “Playing It Safe”

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Earlier last week, it was announced that developer DICE was not going to be bring Battlefield 4 to the Wii U because they wanted to “play it safe”. However odd the statement seemed, it was also the final word. They also stated that they are just focusing on the new Frostbite 3 engine for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 at the moment. Now it seems that both “Dragon Age III: Inquisition” and the next “Mass Effect” game will be powered by DICE’s Frostbite 3 engine. This could mean that these two will never see the light of day on Nintendo’s platform.

“For everyone who’s been asking after the BF4 reveal, DA3 and the next Mass Effect are also using Frostbite 3. It’s awesome, and it’s made possible on Sony, Microsoft, and PC platforms.” said BioWare Edmonton and Montreal general manager Aaryn Flynn. It is common knowledge that the Frostbite 3 engine does not currently support the Wii U. However, it is idiotic (to say in the least) that EA is abandoning Nintendo’s latest console. The Wii U is statistically more powerful than both current consoles, which leaves us to wonder why EA would not only skimp out on Battlefield 4, but Mass Effect 4 and Dragon Age 3 as well? It seems to me that developers are not willing to take a risk and become creative, but rather in their words “play it safe” or “avoid risk”. That is a shame, being that I am a proud owner of the Wii U and just completed a truly terrific, superior multiplatform title, Need for Speed: Most Wanted U (read my review). Criterion’s NFS:MWU beautifully demonstrates what a fraction of the Wii U’s power can do when it is put to the test against the PS3 and 360, and even PC. Both Dragon Age III and Battlefield 4 are due to release in Q3 of 2013.

For more news on this topic, stay tuned to Gamers Xtreme!

Need for Speed: Most Wanted U Review (Wii U): “Criterion Fires On All Cylinders”

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“Need for Speed: Most Wanted U” is an open-world racing game, developed by British games developer Criterion Games and published by Electronic Arts. Need for Speed: Most Wanted U caught a lot of attention when it was first announced; Particularly when Criterion stated they would be putting a tremendous effort into it and not just throw a game on the system to get some extra sales figures. Criterion has made it their duty to show other developers just what the Wii U is easily capable of. However, is this racer the true definitive version of the game? Let’s find out!

Gameplay: 5/5

Need for Speed: Most Wanted U takes place in the open-world city of Fairhaven. The city has a healthy variety of locations, with Manhattan-style bridges and parks, and skyscraper sections that mirror downtown Los Angeles. It also has beautiful picturesque wooded areas that take equal inspiration from the northwest country side of the Washington state forest. Inside this extensive union of American urban landscapes are three types of races. Sprint Races are novice point A to point B trials, a single straightaway dash against your opponents where you try to be the first across the finish line. Circuit Races are more customary multi-lap activities, where you memorize the pattern of a course, learn shortcuts and try to achieve a high enough finishing score. Logically, knowing the design of Fairhaven will help you take advantage of faster routes. By getting first or second place in these events, you’ll unlock upgrades that can be instantly applied to the car you are currently using. Upgrades can consist of nitrous boost increase to chassis body kits and off-road tires. Whatever the appetite for customization, NFSMWU has you covered. Lastly, you’ll have Speed Runs, where you try to run a course while maintaining the most intense high speed average possible. While doing this, you must keep from wiping out or smashing into barriers and obstacles at rapid speeds.

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If that doesn’t grab your attention, then you have Ambush and Most Wanted races. Ambush jolts you off, fleeing from a pack of the game’s exasperatingly, tenacious Fairhaven police force. In a mechanic very similar to Rockstar’s GTA4, you must escape a flashing circular area and try to lose the police as soon as possible. As your “heat” level rises (due to hitting into police cruisers), it does become significantly tougher to escape the cops. However, when the cops do finally pin you into a corner or sandwich you between their cruisers, you are busted! Understandably, the objective of Ambush is to get away as rapidly and stylishly as imaginable, with extra points granted for those who disable some police cruisers or those who quickly lose a high heat level. There are only ten Most Wanted races in the entire game and with good reason too. The “Most Wanted” list is a roster of rival speed maniacs. If you manage to beat one of these rivals in a one-on-one race and a horde of police in hot pursuit at both of you, then you’ll unlock this rival’s car. And from experience, I can say all these rides are quite sweet! You’ll really need to bring your skills, and your fastest car, to defeat these speed demons. Personal advice from me, I wouldn’t even attempt to try these races within the first three hours of gameplay. Learn your roster of cars first and see how they handle, then upgrade them. Thankfully, all of your unlocked cars, races, upgrades, customization, multiplayer and other options are available from the in-game “Easy Drive” pop-up menu (which fans of Burnout Paradise will notice immediately). Hit Right on the D-pad and Easy drive comes up, making menu navigation in NFSMWU extremely convenient with just a few presses. From here, you can restore your car, alter its color and manage unlocked upgrades for each vehicle. You will also have access to your complete car list. This is constantly updated with any new cars you unlock. Players can also check new races, their difficulty and rewards, and set each one as a specific objective on your map, all with the D-pad. There is also the refined Autolog 2.0 system that compares your every move against your friends, which usually creates heavy competition.

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Doing all of this from a simple pop-up menu and a click of one button clearly simplifies life, and makes the game a much more enjoyable experience. It lowers the frustration and lets you see the pros and cons of each vehicle, minute to minute. If you lost a race and seriously couldn’t keep up, then maybe the solution is a different car you haven’t tried yet. The game’s car list can certainly keep you occupied comparing and contrasting. Players can drive everything from a Ford to the Lambo, and even an Aston Martin Vantage. Cruising through Fairhaven, and getting a feel for all the various cars is a true treat. Considering that you can crash into things without any real consequence and repair your car instantaneously, either from the Easy Drive or at one of the many body shops is awesome. The one problem I had is that a good number of the single player progress such as mods, paint jobs, and various performance boosting upgrades, do not transfer over to multiplayer portion. This is a shame because the online is where the true tournament lies. Competing against your friends online is supposed to be the highlight. The semi-solution instead is that players will have to unlock most of the upgrades again in online ranked matches. In multiplayer, you can drop into a random game pretty quickly, which puts you on a playlist of five eight-player events. These are similar to the solo races, sprints, circuits races, but also include stunt/trick competitions, and brief races as you drive from one event to the next.

Most Wanted U is perhaps the most accomplished version of bunch, with the GamePad functionality being fully utilized in this title. The gyroscope feature (which is used to drive with motion controls) really doesn’t help in high speed chases, but is rather something used for a fun free-roaming ride. With the GamePad, players will have more control of the environment and objects within it. Having a God-like ability to remove traffic or police off the streets of Fairhaven with the press of a button is truly incredible. It has created greater possibilities and convenience. Whether you are using a GamePad, Pro controller, or Wii remote for Co-Driver mode, the gameplay remains a thrill ride. It’s the same great game we saw last year, shifted to Wii U. All of the control options work well, but personally preferred the Wii U Pro Controller over the GamePad. Overall, these new additions have created a deeper experience for Most Wanted on the Wii U.

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Graphics: 4/5

Graphically, NFSMWU is one of the sweetest looking titles on the Wii U, hands down. Taking the PC version’s textures (due to the Wii U’s superior RAM to the PS3/360), everything looks ultra-sharp with enhanced lighting effects optimized for the console. The city of Fairhaven absolutely glistens with sparkling sunshine and reflections. The world itself is immaculately modeled and drawn out. The main highlight are the cars though. Each vehicle, from the BMW M3, to the Audi S8, has been rendered in devoted detail with some truly gorgeous images and terrific mapping.

The whole experience was refreshing and much welcomed on the Wii U platform. Considering the Wii U has been inundated with some underwhelming ports thus far, I have to ponder what secret development skills Criterion is using to make such a boldly stunning game run so effortlessly on the Wii U. On second thought, this should be a wake-up call for other developers not exploiting the power of this console. If there was one complaint that detracted the visuals for me, it certainly was the frame rate. Throughout my 10+ hour single player campaign, every now and then I would notice dips in the frame rate, but very few. However, once I would jump online with friends of mine, the ugliness would rear its head. Frame rate drops were every couple of minutes or in some cases, seconds, depending on the amount of crashes going on at once. I could not overlook the frequent visual drops when playing online, being that the large draw of this game is to be competing online with friends.

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Sound: 4/5

The good news here is that audio design is just as good as the graphics. First off, I must state the soundtrack does an overall decent job of aiding in the excitement. However, it certainly is not the highlight of the game. There are a couple of licensed hits that give you a charge while playing the game but they are few and far between. For those really struggling to find a good track, you can shuffle through the songs with a tap of the R button. Unfortunately, there’s no way to customize the playlist of songs in-game. The sound effects are where the audio thoroughly blossoms, and as you’d imagine, Criterion has authentically captured each car’s signature sounds perfectly. From the silent purr of the Maserati to the powerful roar of the Aston Martin, it’s all here. Lastly, it’s worth mentioning the addition of hearing the police scanner via your GamePad, which really lends to the thrill of the game. Blasting through the city, I had a level 4 wanted level, and all throughout my GamePad is firing off crystal clear police chatter. It was very reminiscent of playing ZombiU (read our review here) and hearing the “Prepper” speak through the pad with the booming, yet clear audio.

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Replay Value: 5/5

Most Wanted U’s campaign will keep you busy for well over 15+ hours, on top of tackling the Milestone objectives, free-roaming Fairhaven, and competing with friends over Autolog. NFSMWU’s online multiplayer flourishes in the most imperative side of any modern day multiplayer title. The game replicates the old school atmosphere of playing online with buddies. Creating bitter challenges and on the opposite spectrum, creating teamwork to take down a challenge. One minute you will be neck and neck during a tight race, and simultaneously trying to form some wild rooftop jump the next. It’s great to have this kind of online experience on the Nintendo’s Wii U, and I am truly excited to see the Miiverse community for NFSMWU continue to grow.

If that wasn’t enough, the off-TV play on the GamePad is truly a fantastic way to play the game as well. Couple it with Co-driver mode and I feel the hours can be endless into this game. Letting that second player jump in and affect your gameplay, while the first player drives using a Wii remote or Wii U Pro Controller, is addicting and dubious. You can aid your first player friend or try and destroy them. No matter what, the attractiveness is there.

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Overall Score: 18/20 = 9.0 out of 10

In the final analysis, Criterion has brought NFSMW to Wii U in a seemingly painless way. Behind the scenes, I know there was a great deal of work put into this version and they deserve a giant kudos for that. The game looks and feels better than the prior home console versions, standing side-by-side with the PC version in terms of graphics, if not better at some points. Coupled with the added Wii U features and it just sweetens the overall package. Need for Speed: Most Wanted U screeches into your home like a muscle car drag race. Criterion has once again set a standard, and I hope other developers learn how to mimic this success and bring their talents to the Wii U as well. Bottom line is, Need for Speed: Most Wanted U is a true delight full of motoring anarchy, an exciting landscape and the sexiest garage for any arcade racer out there. It’s one of the superior Wii U titles, and a class act on how to bring a multiplatform title over to Wii U with both quality and horsepower.

PROs:

+ Fun and varied multiplayer racing modes

+ Challenging racing system that values skill over luck

+ Great Autolog stats and rivalry

+ A visual powerhouse delight

CONs:

– Soundtrack is underwhelming

– Frame rate takes a hit when playing online

Enjoy the review? Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter: @GamersXTREME for all the latest in gaming news and reviews!

Battlefield 4 Leaked Trailer – “Prepare 4 Battle”

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It appears the Battlefield 4 trailer has been leaked on YouTube and looks legit. Check out the 30 trailer below!

What do you guys think? Sound off in the comments below!

EA Origins 50% Off Sale – NFS: Most Wanted U, Mass Effect Trilogy, Crysis 3, Dead Space 3 for $29.99

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The EA Origins store is having a huge discount this week as part of their “Fan Appreciation Sale”. Starting today, and lasting until March 26th, gamers will be getting phenomenal deals. The sale includes digitally distributed games for the PC and Mac. More enticingly, they are also offering physical copies of games too for the PC, Mac, Wii, Wii U, PS3, Xbox 360, 3DS and PS Vita! Battlefield 3 is now just $12 for a physical copy. Amazingly, Dead Space 3 (read our review) which just released last month at $59.99, is now cut in half and down to $29.99! Need for Speed: Most Wanted U for the Wii U has been dropped from $59.99 to $29.99 as well (which just released yesterday). Additionally, gamers can pick up the entire Mass Effect Trilogy for only $29.99!

There are tons more offers just like these (Crysis 3 is going for $29.99 as well) and I would advise all gamers to go to the EA Origins store online as soon as possible. Hands down, this is probably the best sale on games in recent memory, and a true value for any gamers to check out. For more news on future deals and sales, stay tuned to GamersXtreme.