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FIFA 17 by
published Thursday, Oct 06th

UK Chart: FIFA 17 Flourishing At Launch

The launch of FIFA 17 is the most successful ever, leading it to the top of the chart. Up 18% over the launch of FIFA 16, it also surpasses FIFA 13 to top the previous series best. Xbox One hardware bundles cannot stop a 53% share of sales on the PlayStation 4.

At second, Forza Horizon 3 launches to pass Forza Horizon 2 by 12% to third in both the Motorsport and Horizon series.

Promotions boost LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens (+127%) to third from ninth.

Following two weeks at the top, Bioshock: The Collection (-43%) falls from the top of the chart to fourth.

After a February PC release, the console release of XCom 2 ensures the re-entry hits the top five.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 drops to sixth ahead of Destiny: The Collection (-24%).

Rocket League and NBA2K17 land at eighth and ninth respectively.

Grand Theft Auto V completes the top ten.


FIFA 13 Messi by
published Wednesday, Aug 15th

EA Send Draft FIFA 13 Email In Error

A few hours before taking to the stage at Gamescom 2012, Electronic Arts (EA) sent out an email to avid FIFA fans giving them a sneak peek at a new trailer — however it seems the message went out just a bit too early, as it still contained some fairly obvious placeholder text.


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published Tuesday, Apr 10th

Stephen Fry & Charlie Brooker Back Electronic Arts Following Anti-Gay Protest

Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry

Charlie Brooker

Charlie Brooker

High profile British celebrities Stephen Fry and Charlie Brooker have joined thousands of people to defend Electronic Arts’ use of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender content in its games.

EA has faced criticism from anti-gay protestors, the majority coming from religious groups in the United States, reportedly receiving ‘several thousand’ letters.

Titles such as Mass Effect 3, in which players can enter into a same-sex relationship storyline, and Star Wars: The Old Republic, which offers similar possibilities have been the focus of the anti-gay protestors criticism.


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published Monday, Mar 05th

Future Of Retailer GAME In Doubt After Latest Supplier Backs Out

The ongoing GAME saga took another twist as a source ‘close to the situation’ claimed the retailer will close its doors should more suppliers stop their support.

The situation seems more dire than ever as the report from Eurogamer states that the companies owners, the GAME group, are close to “pulling the plug” after the stores failure to stock upcoming Electronic Arts releases cast doubt over its potential long-term future.

“There is a real risk that GAME’s directors will pull the plug because they can’t be sure that the company can survive through the next trading season, and then insolvency becomes inevitable,” the source said.


by
published Tuesday, Mar 15th

Dragon Age II Review

Dragon Age II isn’t a direct continuation of 2009’s Origins title but does happen to be set in the same world. The focus this time is on the adventures of Hawke, a former resident of the land of Fereldan, who players join as he flees the deadly Blight with his family. He then takes up residence in the nearby town of Kirkwall where events unfold further.


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published Tuesday, Nov 02nd

EA Sports MMA

With its growing popularity, it is almost no surprise that sports gaming giants Electronic Arts (EA) want a slice of the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) action. It’s been two years in the making but finally this year they’ve released EA Sports MMA into the ring to go toe-to-toe with the superb UFC Undisputed 2010.


Medal Of Honor (2010) by
published Wednesday, Oct 20th

Medal Of Honor Review

The Medal of Honor series started way back in 1999 on the PlayStation and blew gamers away with its graphics, gameplay and intense portrayal of action during World War II. A number of successful sequels followed, but it wasn’t long before the war setting lost its appeal. Plus with the first title of current generation consoles, Medal of Honor: Airborne — released the same year as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare — the series was quickly eclipsed. However this year Danger Close and DICE are determined to bring it back to life with a bang.


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published Tuesday, Dec 08th

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Beta Preview

The first Bad Company became quite a surprise hit for most people. Especially the kick-ass destructible environments which allowed the flow of gameplay to constantly shift and the way in which the multiplayer had huge maps with a large variety of vehicles, from golf carts to helicopters. After playing the Beta, I’m glad to see that DICE have made something even more enjoyable than the first.

First of all, the graphics of the game have had an overhaul – they have a much more detailed look – especially in the guns and character model department. Plus, with this being a demo from a game that still has around four months development time before it is actually released, it’s expected for them to be even sharper than they are now. In addition to the impressive graphics, the map (that is available to play in the demo) is much more detailed than those of the original, with a lot of variety thrown in too. Offering an open highway with bases at each end, it’s a tanks dream. The CQC of the town’s streets also make it an infantryman’s dream.

The gameplay has also seen some changes in the beta. Everything was much smoother in terms of movement and actions, such as the melee – which is now a simple button press, instead of the previously required equipping action. Tanks are no longer the indestructible vehicle that was guaranteed to get you a kill streak, they are now much more vulnerable to a few well placed RPG’s, or of course the Engineer class’ drill. Two new vehicles have also joined the ranks, a quad bike, and a UAV. The latter is a remote controlled helicopter, which has the ability to call in airstrikes on enemy positions and is also very good for recon, spotting where enemy snipers are hiding. However, it is very vulnerable, so keeping your distance is advised if you want to keep up a barrage of airstrikes.

DICE’s destructible environments have also had an overhaul. Unlike the previous game, whole buildings can now be destroyed and you can now use your guns to chip away at walls and fences instead of completely destroying them. This opens up new ways the game can be played, as you can move around using fences and walls only for temporary cover.

The classes of the game have also seen some changes, and most definitely for the better. The basics are all still in place with the Assault, Engineer, Medic and Recon, each with their own perk. These perk’s include such things as the Medic’s revival tool and the Engineer’s drill. However unlike the first game, you unlock weapons during the course of playing the game, and they then become immediately available for you to choose. So if you’re tired of sniping halfway through a game, why not switch to your unlocked shotgun and get some CQC time, before going back to making the enemy team’s day that much worse?

Overall, DICE have seriously managed to build upon the success of the first Bad Company and really turn the sequel into something potentially awesome. Even though the Beta contains one map and no single player action. If the multiplayer is anything to go by, you won’t be disappointed. So will this beat Modern Warfare 2? It could be, but we’ll have to wait until March 5th to find out.


by
published Friday, Sep 18th

EA Sports, Are They Stubbon Or Sensible?

Sports titles flood the market, there is no escaping it. In 2009 alone EA released the next iteration of a range of titles, including NASCAR, NCAA, NHL, Madden NFL, Tiger Woods PGA Tour, FIFA and several others. It could be assumed that due to the sheer volume of titles, that some of these releases may not offer the high quality experiences gamers have come to expect; quite the opposite in fact. Fight Night Round 4 received top marks right here on Gamebrit, while Madden NFL 09 and FIFA 09 also scored favourably.

However despite being quality gaming offerings, this is where the problem makes its grand entrance. When 2010 rolls round, without doubt we will see yet more countless follow-ups to the majority of the popular sporting titles. So are gamers being taken for a ride year in year out, paying out for a few small additions here and there, or are the sporting offerings truly worth the annual investment?

The developers would arguably tout their efforts as worthy of gamers pounds. Electronic Arts revealed that on average the Madden NFL series sells in excess of four million copies per year, an impressive amount given the consecutive annual releases. Other sports titles have shown similar annual success. Naturally, it goes without saying that a high volume of sales equates to high profit margins, so it’s understandable that EA would seek to keep a firm grip on the market.

By having a regular annual release, in addition to holding exclusive licenses, Electronic Arts are not only flooding the market, but are also saturating it, leaving little to no room for rivals to establish their own sports titles. Of course if Electronic Arts were not to release a franchised title one year, not only could they risk loosing ground to competitors, they could also risk confusing consumers who have become so accustom to these annual ‘re-releases’. So are Electronic Arts stuck in an release schedule that is religiously expected of them, and have they become a victim of their own success. Is it the expectations of the consumers that is holding back true innovation in sporting titles, or is it plain simple good business sense.

From the gamers perspective, whether Electronic Arts’ repetitiously predictable schedule is worthy of the annual investment purely depends on the individual. Does 09 offer enough changes over 08 to warrant that purchase? To the hardcore fanatics, the expected update can mark a true highlight in their gaming calendar, as they look forward to playing with all new team rosters and the various new alterations. But for many the lack of change and supposed drip feeding of features make the purchase unwarranted.

A decade ago the minor alterations and roster updates delivered through yet another instalment could be excused, however now with the prevalence of downloadable content and the infrastructure to deliver game patches with such ease, the reason for annual updates to exist is by no means valid.  A large number of developers have utilised this technology, fixing errors and providing new content through game patches. Even Electronic Arts have offered updates to their titles, fixing bugs, and offering new DLC such as the popular 2009 addition, Ultimate Team. Yet despite these updates, the company continue to push annual releases, whereas they could simply update changes via downloadable content. However, in one game at least, this stubborn practice could be set to change, as Electronic Arts have recently introduced a new service dubbed ‘My Season Live’. Available for both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, the weekly FIFA 10 service will provide gamers with updates to players information such as injuries and suspensions in addition to league standings, fixtures and game results. Of course this up-to-date season long information comes at a cost, priced at £3.99 for a specific league, or £7.99 for all available data. It could be argued however that paying this fee for current and relevant additional content provides a more attractive offering than forking out the forty pound price tag at retail.

Will this new approach to providing information on the fly to gamers change the future of sporting franchises? If Electronic Arts’ latest venture is a success then the potential impact could be huge, and not just to FIFA, but to the companies entire sporting catalog. Through offering minor alterations via download a weight would be lifted on the development teams, allowing them to make bigger and better strides between releases. As for whether this will happen though, is yet to be seen.


by
published Tuesday, Nov 25th

Mirror’s Edge Review

Parkour, you remember it. It was once the craze that had idiots running around town centres jumping on bins and swinging from bus stops. Well now you too can enjoy the wonderment of risking life and limb atop a roof and all from the comfort of your armchair thanks to DICE, the creators of the hit series of Battlefield games. Despite the Mirrors Edge taking place from the same first person perspective used by Battlefield, it represents something of a huge departure from DICE’s normal offerings, as you will come to see.

The most immediately striking thing about Mirrors Edge is its ultra clean, almost cel-shaded aesthetic.  The phosphorus whites of buildings burn into the over saturated blue of the sky. Neon lighting, impossibly clean glass and grids of gleaming pipe work are liberally sprinkled throughout. In a world where games are famously either brown or dark brown it is refreshing to play something that makes use of the primary colours, and with such style to boot. You play Faith a youthful free runner whose job would appear to be that of a courier, navigating from rooftop to rooftop dodging ‘blues’. You see, the world of Mirrors Edge is far from the modern utopia you might imagine, oh no. CCTV Cameras line the streets and people are ruthlessly kept in check by a big nasty totalitarian regime. Suffice to say that you become embroiled in a game of cat and mouse with the cops after your sister if framed for a murder. The plot, as a whole, sits loosely atop the game, and allows you to follow it or not, and you probably won’t. It’s not that it’s bad, it just not great.

With the graphics and script taken care of its time to turn your attention to the games other big pull: the gameplay. Mirrors Edge does away with the usual FPS mechanic of loading you up to the nines with guns and tasking you with the destruction of a whole town, and instead asks that you nimbly leap from point A to B, all whilst trying to avoid enemies. Should you be forced into a situation where you cannot escape said bad guys, you will find a number of disarming manoeuvres at your disposal. These allow you to take weapons from enemies, and even use them. To do so though will surely leave you feeling somewhat empty inside, knowing that you’ve failed as a free runner. You see, gunplay is not encouraged, as it removes you from the flow of the game. That and its downright mean to shoot people. The emphasis on fleeing rather than fighting is stressed even more so by the controls. Leap from a building edge and Faith will grab and clamber up. It’s possible to spring up off objects, vault over electric fences or onto zip lines. You can wall run, jump onto ladders, swing from monkey bars, and everything in between. For the most part the controls actually work very well, allowing you to build up incredible momentum as you run and jump across and over obstacles. True appreciation of the game comes when you manage to link together a number of these moves. In fact, every level presents you with a rhythm of sorts that must be adhered to. Hit your jump and crouch buttons with the right timing and you’ll be rewarded with a genuine sense of achievement, as you pick up speed and out run the enemy with ease. Break the rhythm and the momentum is lost, forcing you to take a breath, get your bearings and carry on.

Thankfully for Mirrors Edge, it gets more right than it does wrong. The control scheme works, which is saying something as it truly does sail into uncharted waters. The sense of speed can be exhilarating and the set pieces (unless you are forced to play them over and over due to their difficulty) are, in general, great.

Now for the obligatory negative comments. The combat system feels unfinished. Dice were faced with a difficult balance to try and maintain; a balance between encouraging the player to run or fight dependant on the situation.  The game is obviously skewed into encouraging you to run, and the combat system is indicative of this. Disarm moves feel clunky to perform and the bullet time effect that is available feels needless. Gunplay also doesn’t feel right, but again, this is probably due to the fact that you really aren’t supposed to use them. Trial and error can also be the order of the day for many of the games set pieces. In fact, often is the case where you will find yourself dropped into a level with no real clue as to where you are supposed to be heading.  Nothing breaks the games cool styling’s more than it forcing you to curelessly run and jump from various rooftops in a bid to find the correct path.  Runner’s ‘vision’ helps to alleviate some of this frustration, with key paths showing up red. This only seems to work around 90% of the time however; the rest of which you will spend hurling yourself onto the pavements below, wondering where you went wrong.

To chastise Mirrors Edge over its negatives too much would feel unfair. It’s a game that sets out to do so much more than the majority of run-of-the mill FPS games today. For this it should be rewarded. It is fun and the sense of movement, energy and sheer style it communicates are unparalleled.


by
published Friday, Sep 26th

Burnout Paradise – Bikes Review

It’s not often that DLC warrants a review all of it’s own, but it’s not often that DLC, or indeed a game, like this comes along. Since the game proper launched in January, Burnout: Paradise has established a solid reputation as the best hidden gem frequenting Xbox live and PSN. Shying away from the hyper competitive arenas dominated by the likes of Halo and Call of Duty, Burnout instead offers something entirely different to its fans. Inside the joyous concrete playground of the titular Paradise City, players are given the freedom to race, do a series of co-op challenges or play a variety of quickfire games- stunt runs, cat and mouse chases or just about anything else the host can think of. The result is an accessible, purely enjoyable multiplayer experience that at times, when all the players are screaming along winding mountain roads purely for the joy of driving the games’ series of preposterously amusing super cars, feels like a Sunday driving club for adrenaline junkies.

Burnout’s reputation for a unique online experience extends in to the games’ fantastic DLC offerings and this, naturally, brings us to The Point. It’s become customary for console gamers to expect to pay for their downloads these days, so it came as no small surprise to discover that Burnout would be sporting a massive series of upgrades to the core game for free, with a schedule spanning an entire year. The latest in the series, following the release of a content patch for the multiplayer modes, is the addition of Bikes to the heady roster of vehicles available. This is a first for the franchise and it’s nothing short of an absolute pleasure to find out that Criterion have pulled out all the stops for the event, making this update one of the best pieces of DLC this generation.

In short, this feels like an entirely new game as much as a mere freebie. Most developers would be content with adding the bikes to the existing game structure and letting you get on with it. Not so here: to welcome in the new rides, Criterion have included 38 single player time trial races and 70 new multiplayer co-op events to do with friends. Although this won’t take you too long to finish, especially on single player, the fact that it’s included at all, and that it’s so fun, deserves huge praise.

But more importantly, how do the bikes handle? The answer is ‘utterly brilliantly’, which is nice. Ridiculously fast, the bikes feel responsive, weighty and exhilarating to drive and, with a smaller profile on the road and reduced traffic in the streets, feel hugely empowering as you explore the city afresh, roaring through previously difficult short cuts and dangerous back roads with ease- even in the darkest hours of the game’s new and customisable day/ night cycle.

In fact, it’s arguable that the bikes make things a little too easy- for experienced players particularly the single player content is far simpler to complete than the challenge presented by the cars. All the events are time trials from A-B and the problem simply seems to be that the allocated time limits are too slack. In one instance, I finished an event with fifty seconds on the clock going spare- enough time to cover half the city in vehicles this fast. Multiplayer, however, feels more substantial with 10 tasks to complete for every different player count from 2-8. These are still quite easy, but they’re particularly well designed anyway. Criterion clearly know their city inside out, and quite possibly the driving habits of their players too so many of the challenges are cunningly designed to send you down particularly fun parts of the map to tackle on a bike- be it gently swooping mountain passes or hairpin city rat runs the team make sure you see it all and doing so with a host of other bikers on screen, racing as a pack, is pure gaming hedonism, sparking that old Paradise feel of driving for the pure pleasure of the experience alone.

Sadly, there comes a point where driving for the sake of it is all that remains of the bikes update- bar the challenges, the bikes do not come with any other kind of multiplayer game, and the single player does not include any other kind of event, either. Stunt runs and racing are conspicuous by their absence. Online players, then, will be left to their own devices. Perhaps we’ll see more modes and games in the ‘Eastwood’ update which will conclude the ‘year of paradise’ DLC extravaganza by adding a whole new island to the game. Untill then, Burnout Bikes provides a brilliant, if possibly short lived, alternative way of playing an already impressive title.