LOS ANGELES — EA remains the fan-pleasing factory of gaming titles to entice both new and hardcore gamers alike. At this year’s E3, there weren’t any huge surprises, other than Crysis2 not sucking. (because, admit it, we all thought C1 totally did.)

I had the chance to demo a few games, and was escorted to “family games” before I got a chance to get my hands on the beef.

Some of the family-oriented games, like Monopoly and Hasbro Family Game Night 3, are right on cue for ages 4-444, with bold graphics and customizable characters based on your Mii or XBLA avatar so any member of the family can own their pwnage. A newer version of the classic Risk was on show as well.

One rising star in the all-ages genre is a new game by EA Bright Lights, the team responsible for the newest title in the Harry Potter series, Spare Parts. Part WALL-E -meets-Spyro, it will be one that kids play and awaken the inner-gamer in mom and dad. (Yes, I do want to play it; no- it has nothing to do with me being a girl. Shut it!) It may become the secret guilty-pleasure for many gamers. Who doesn’t like Robots? EA dubs this a “cooperative action adventure”, trending toward the online co-op capabilities that is becoming the norm these days in the gaming scene.

The Need for Speed franchise made a comeback with a return to it’s roots- a classic cop-chasing-bad guy game, complete with Lamborghini cop cars in Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. The cars are typically unrealistically hard to handle, but what do you expect from a memorizable game? In the realm of graphic quality I’ll hand it to them, however. The cars are rockin’, and the hot rod shown at E3 to catch our attention was one hot tamale.

When the boys finally let me come to the yard, I have to admit, I totally got schooled in the Medal of Honor demo. I was just too distracted by how fast and smoothly the game rendered, a sign of a great engine, and well thought out gameplay. I was happy to sit back and watch the diehards go at it, and contribute to the death of an insurgent or two. Electronic Arts los Angeles is handling the single-player action, but DICE stepped it up for the online co-op. You die fast and hard, thanks to what DICE calls “faster bullets.” Remind me to thank them for my lesson in humility.

Crysis 2 is a vast improvement on the original, but I have to shame the developers in picking NYC as it’s location of destruction. As much as I love the idea of NYC as the futuristic dystopian gamer’s paradise, it is, perhaps, too soon to see iconic New York City fall to the ground in a blaze of alien-gutted glory. The gameplay is rich, thrilling and maybe this will be the redeeming title for the still neophitic development team of Crytek who didn’t quite walk the walk with Crysis the first time around. The big news with Crysis 2 is the expectation of 3D capabilities. The gameplay is engaging and frenetic, adding to the overall atmosphere of doom and destruction; AI placement has been done well, and those aforementioned icons of NYC are easily recognizable with a nice depth quality.

All titles will be released between the fall and holiday seasons. Family titles will be available for about $39.99.

Other titles expected for release include sports giants like Madden NFL 2011, FIFA 2011, NCAA Football, and NHL/NHL Slapshot. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Pt 1 — which grew up with the apprentice sorcerer into something close to a third-person shooter — and the Sims3 round out the mid-range, with killer titles like Dead Space 2 and Bulletstorm rounding out the hardcore gamer genre, and are expected to be well received, leaving EA living up to its reputation as a powerhouse publisher.

About The Author

Carly Erin O'Neil is a Blast staff writer, and photographer hailing from the NYC-DC Corridor, but she's a gypsy at heart.

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