EA Studio Showcase 07
Posted on Wednesday, September 12 @ 00:00:00 PST by Chris_Hudak
EA Family Play Feature
Fortunately, that made me the perfect guinea pig.
In keeping with the "approachability" that EA believes its games need to have on the Wii console, "EA Family Play" is just as it sounds. Everyone in the house can pick up and play the mini-sports title without having to memorize complicated button presses or understand why buttons have shoulders.
Using the "Family Play" control configuration, shooting the ball is as easy as doing a mock jump shot: flick the Wii-mote toward your body and then curl it forward. Every move on the court, like passing to your teammates and driving into the paint towards the basket, requires one-button presses and simple swipe motions with the controller. Hardcore players can switch to the more intricate Nunchuk configuration for more control over the movements of the players, but not so much that your grandma couldn't whoop your ass with some luck.
It's a concerted effort to even the playing field between hardcore players and newbies who don't want to go through being owned and embarassed for trying. Sure, there's something to be said about having to suck it up and learn. But when the ones sucking it up are your mother, father, and those who can make your non-virtual life hell, you start thinking about fairness.
At least let them think they know what they're doing.
As we surpassed 70 straight hits during our Wall Ball rally, EA Playground producer Thomas Singleton and I started to crack up. All we were doing was swinging the Wii Remote to slap a tennis ball against a wall - it's racquetball as simple as can be. And yet here we were, locked in a mortal battle that lasted over two minutes, just hitting this ball.
Even though it targets younger players, is EA Canada slipping the next Wii Sports past our ultra-high-tech American teenagers?
In EA Playground, you choose one of two dozen unlockable avatars that come right out of a Wednesday afternoon yogurt commercial, then partake in one of seven core games or one of the other simple mini-games, strewn across four locations. The games vary from guiding paper airplanes to the aforementioned Wall Ball and good old-fashioned dodge ball.
Along the way, you collect stickers (notice a pattern in casual games yet?) and take on schoolyard bullies to become the king of each zone. Or you pass everyone a Wii-mote and play Wall Ball for two hours.
I can't tell if Playground will be too demanding for Grandma, and it's going to be a hard sell to anyone besides preteens, but EA Playground consistently felt at least as smooth as Wii Sports, which would be a hell of an accomplishment regardless of your age group.
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