EA is one of the biggest publishers in the Western gaming market. They employ thousands of developers across dozens of studios to create games of nearly all sizes, types, and genres. Being around since nearly the beginning of the gaming medium itself, their catalog of games is one of the largest in the industry, and it only continues to grow as their teams produce more and more titles. However, they have earned a somewhat poor reputation in recent years among gamers for how they have treated some of their studios and franchises.
- 1. Mass Effect: Legendary Edition
- 2. Titanfall 2
- 3. Burnout 3: Takedown
- 4. Dead Space
- 5. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
- 6. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
- 7. Apex Legends
- 8. FIFA Soccer 13
- 9. Dragon Age: Origins
- 10. Rock Band 3
- 11. The Sims 4
- 12. Medal of Honor
- 13. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
- 14. SSX Tricky
- 15. Madden NFL 2016
As much hate as the company gets, there’s no denying the fact that some of gaming’s greatest games and franchises come from EA. In recent years they’ve even managed to start repairing their image in many gamer’s eyes thanks to pulling back on predatory business practices, supporting and improving games that were not well received at launch, and even giving us some traditional single-player experiences. EA might have a few series they’re most known for, but they make games for just about every market. Here’s what we consider to be the best EA games of all time.
Call it cheating, but the compilation of all three Mass Effect games in one package really is about the best deal you can get in terms of three good to amazing games in one bundle. Developed by BioWare, EA took the reigns on publishing this incredibly ambitious project that would not otherwise be possible. There was so much risk involved here that it can be hard to see now that the series has reached a legendary (pun intended) status. For one, it was a new IP, but even more than that was the pitch of it being a planned trilogy that would allow players to carry over their decisions from game to game. The fact that this series even crossed the finish line, let alone as strong as it did, is still amazing to reflect on.
Mass Effect: Legendary Edition not only bundles the trilogy together, we don’t speak about Andromeda here, but updates them as much as they can for the PS4 and Xbox One consoles. Mass Effect in particular got a lot of love, helping the clunky but beloved game hold up a bit better. Plus all story DLC was included, with the only somewhat notable missing feature being Mass Effect 3‘s multiplayer mode. That minor complaint aside, this sci-fi epic stands as some of the best sci-fi writing, world-building, and role-playing ever developed. This new edition just makes it that much easier for new players to finally experience it, and returning players to replay it in a new way.
This is where a distinction needs to be made. Titanfall 2 is an absolutely amazing game made by Respawn Entertainment. Everything about how this game was marketed and released, which EA controls, was an absolute trash fire. Not only was it set to release during the busiest season for games, but EA seemingly set Titanfall 2‘s release date specifically so that the game would fail. Not only was it put right up against EA’s other, more well-established shooter franchise in Battlefield 1, but also the series games actively try to avoid releasing around, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. Granted, that year’s Call of Duty wasn’t the most popular entry in the series, there’s still no excuse for putting this gem between these two titans (I’m on a roll today).
Titanfall 2 is the whole package. The single-player campaign, which has become mostly an afterthought in modern FPS games, is considered one of the best FPS campaigns since Half-Life 2. That’s a big statement to make, but it’s true. You obviously have the same fluid and creative movement options and tight shooting that you’d get in the multiplayer mode, but the creativity of the levels is amazing. From a factory level where you’re navigating through buildings as they’re being built around you, to the infamous time-shifting level, there’s no wasted moment in this story. That’s not even touching on the multiplayer, which combines the fast-paced action of a Call of Duty with advanced movement options and, of course, the titular Titans that create matches that ride the line between feeling too out of control and empowering.
Read our full: Titanfall 2 Review
Racing games, along with sports games, are some of the oldest games ever made. In the racing genre, there is somewhat of a split between racing sim and arcade racing, with the absolute peak of arcade racing being Burnout 3: Takedown. Rather than try and replicate what a real street race would be like, the Burnout games embraced the over-the-top, high-speed, high-action potential of cars going fast. You aren’t racing on designated tracks here, and traffic is just as much a part of the course as the turns. The punishment for crashing is also toned down to a major degree, with a quick cut to a cinematic shot of your crumpled vehicle flipping down the road and shooting up sparks before shoving you right back in the race at 100 miles per hour.
Because Burnout 3: Takedown was already bending the rules of reality in its driving mechanics, the developers figured they may as go all the way with it. The boost meter isn’t unique to arcade racers necessarily, but the way you build it is perfect for the way the game is meant to be played. By doing risky maneuvers, such as driving on the wrong side of the road, nailing a tight drift, and taking out other racers, you build up your nitro boost to hit blistering top speeds. If you somehow got tired of the addicting racing modes, there are also extra ways to play, such as driving your car into a busy intersection and detonating yourself to try and cause as much damage as possible.
Out of the three Dead Space games, it really comes down to the first two for which one is better. We personally think Dead Space is the stronger game, but not by much. What edges it out, at least in our opinion, is the stronger emphasis on horror compared to the more action style the sequel adopted. Plus, at the time, Dead Space was kind of the only good survival horror game around. The Resident Evil series had gone full action with the fifth game, not to mention the sixth that came later, and Silent Hill had been struggling ever since the PS2 days. Dead Space was, in effect, the real sequel to Resident Evil 4 we all wanted, but even that comparison kind of sells this game short for everything unique it does.
Playing as space engineer, not Marine, Isaac Clark, you and a small team are sent to investigate the goings-on in a giant mining ship called the USG Ishimura. Naturally, the problems you encounter once onboard are way more dire than any mechanical failings, but you’re still only armed with your repair tools to defend yourself. The game’s true selling point was how you used these tools to fight the twisted necromorphs. Unlike almost any other shooter, horror or otherwise, aiming for the head won’t do you much good. Instead, Dead Space was all about limb dismemberment. Only but cutting off legs and arms were you able to effectively stop these monsters from ripping Isaac apart.
Being one of the longest-running FPS franchises on the market, it is a big task to even make a list of which Battlefield game is the best, let alone pit them against all the other games EA puts out. When it comes down to it, though, we never had as much fun with the franchise as we did with Battlefield: Bad Company 2. The original Bad Company was the first to really push DICE’s Frostbite engine by introducing a level of destructibility never seen before. It may be commonplace today, and has even become far more dynamic and involved, but blowing holes in buildings, or even causing them to completely collapse, was mind-blowing.
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 also marks the last time there was, in our opinion, an actually decent story in a Battlefield game. While not quite as lighthearted as the first, it still gave us actual characters on a pretty interesting mission through tons of varied locations and situations. But it’s the multiplayer most people come to Battlefield for, and man did they ever nail it here. You have the usual class system, with RPG style unlock mechanics that felt fair and not overly grindy, large scale maps, fun modes, and that chaotic action of a tank blowing a hole in the wall beside you, causing the sound to drop out as someone else hits it with an RPG and you pick off an enemy who managed to jump out just in time.
For the majority of the time, EA held the exclusive rights to make games based on the Star Wars license, gamers were not happy with their treatment of the beloved IP. The original Star Wars: Battlefront was okay, but very light on content, had no single player, and only really excelled in being a visual and auditory feast for fans of Star Wars. The sequel, well, the problems with that game would take almost too long to cover. DICE did manage to pull back and undo a lot of the mistakes that game made, but the consensus had already been set on that game and there was little that could be done to repair it. Enter Respawn, appearing for the second, but not last, time on this list, finally delivering what fans have wanted for years: a single-player, story-driven Star Wars game.
Set between the prequel and original trilogy, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order delicately balances itself between some of the most hated and beloved moments in the franchise. Thanks to the smart decision to not interfere with either of these sides much at all, this new adventure has been welcomed into the cannon with open arms by most fans. In terms of gameplay, it is about as good as it gets for a Star Wars game. Taking elements from Souls games, plus some set-piece cues from series like Uncharted and Tomb Raider, with a splash of Metroidvania, this is just a fun lightsaber swinging adventure. The game was a little buggy, but is a promising start to a new series, and hopefully revives the traditional single-player Star Wars experience in games again.
Read our full: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order review
Back to Respawn Entertainment, after EA sent the fantastic Titanfall 2 out to die, there were a lot of people who feared that would spell the end of this amazing studio. Thankfully that wasn’t the case, but, at least for now, it did mean the death of the Titanfall franchise. Instead, we got the surprise launch of a new free-to-play battle royal set in the Titanfall universe, Apex Legends. The name may be generic, but this is one of the most polished and influential battle royal games on the market. While not quite as extensive, the fluid movement options from Titanfall 2 gave this game a great sense of speed, the individual characters with their own abilities added a new level of tactics, and the ping system made everyone wonder how it took so long for a feature like that to be put in a game.
Another unique feature Apex Legends brought to the table was launching exclusively as a three-person team game. Rather than try and balance their roster, maps, and guns for all types and sizes of parties right off the bat, Respawn elected to make a tight, squad-focused experience before branching out into other game types. They also innovated on the respawn (I can’t be stopped!) mechanic by letting teammates bring back fallen friends if they can deliver their respawn banner to a beacon on the map. With cross-play, seasonal updates that spice up the map, new weapons, and characters, Apex Legends earns its spot as one of the better battle royal offerings on the market.
Read our full: Apex Legends review
EA and sports go hand in hand, and one of their most popular series, alongside Madden, is the FIFA series. Soccer, or football depending on where you live, is one of the world’s most popular sports, and EA has mastered the videogame interpretation of the game over many years and iterations. FIFA Soccer 13 straddled the line between generations when it came out in 2012, still coming out on the PS2 and Wii as well as the PS3, Xbox 360, and WiiU, but was still an amazing graphical showcase. It was also the first game to use Kinect and Move, but that’s not really a point in its favor.
Why FIFA Soccer 13 stands the test of time so well, despite yearly entries coming out, is for a few reasons. Sure, the newer games blow it out of the water now in terms of graphics, AI, and physics, but they are also riddled with microtransactions. FIFA Soccer 13 rides that fine line where most of the most beloved game modes and options exist, such as Ultimate Team and a robust online suite, but without those pay to win and gambling mechanics. The game does have flaws, and doesn’t really do anything to push the series forward much from past games beyond aesthetics, but as a pure soccer simulation free from EA’s greed, this one sticks the landing.
Read our full: FIFA Soccer 13 review
Another BioWare classic, this time they set their sights on creating a brand new fantasy world after successfully introducing their very own sci-fi universe in Mass Effect. The team certainly had plenty of experience developing games in this setting, having worked on multiple Dungeons and Dragons games, so when they struck out to do their own thing with Dragon Age: Origins, they naturally knew what they were doing. It was slightly less ambitious as the Mass Effect trilogy, even though the series did get three sequels, and in a lot of ways shows its age more as well. Even though it came after Mass Effect, Dragon Age: Origins feels more like it was made for PC than consoles.
The story is mostly standard fantasy fare, but with the BioWare twist of strong characters, great world-building and lore, and of course choices that can influence the game. This is also where a stronger emphasis was placed on romance options, a system that would bleed into the subsequent Mass Effect games as well after being fairly limited in the first game, but did have one aspect that didn’t show up later we wish had. Unlike Mass Effect, in Dragon Age: Origins, different moral choices in the game were not color-coded or labeled in any way to tell you whether they were “good” or “bad” options. As gamers, seeing those indicators, and having points and stats related to them, often make us want to stick to one style of choice once we pick one rather than choosing naturally. Hiding this system helped us make choices on a case-by-case basis and allowed us to roleplay a more complex character more easily.
Long before EA ran this entire genre into the dirt by annualizing a game that required such expensive peripherals, the original Rock Band was a revelation in the music genre. Before this, music games were almost all identical in mechanics where you would simply tap a button on your controller in time with the corresponding symbol on some kind of track. A few games got a little creative with it, substituting the actual buttons with things like hazards that you had to avoid to the rhythm, but for the most part, the genre was mostly stale and not all that popular. Enter Guitar Hero and its plastic instruments, and suddenly this dormant genre was catapulted to the top of the charts.
As good as the Guitar Hero series was, it was only a matter of time before the next natural step was taken to allow all the major instruments to be played. Sure, that meant even more expensive peripherals, but the approachable, party style, fun of gathering some friends to play your favorite songs was enough for millions of people to put down the extra cash. Rock Band 3, the last one EA published developed by the masters of music games, Harmonix, remains the peak for the series. The included playlist was great, but grew and expanded with more songs added as late as 2015, and players could also import any songs from previous Rock Band games. All told, there are thousands of available songs for this game, assuming you have the cash and space for the plastic instruments.
The Sims is a strange series with even stranger spinoffs, but the core titles have always managed to draw in a massive audience of both hardcore and casual gamers. This life simulation game hasn’t really changed so much over the years as it has simply gotten bigger and better. Upon initial release, we probably wouldn’t have given this spot to The Sims 4 over one of the older games because they always tend to launch light on content when compared to one another. However, EA treats The Sims more as a service rather than a singular product, and over time The Sims 4 has become the most full-featured entry in the series.
Thanks to all the DLC, simply called stuff and expansion packs, The Sims 4 can easily take priority over your own life. They don’t just play it safe with these packs, either, including things like a paranormal pack, knitting pack, and cool kitchen packs alongside ones for toddlers and pets. The expansions are much larger, adding things like snowy mountains, islands, and even colleges to add to your world. If that wasn’t enough, the community mod support for this game rivals that of Skyrim. If you love the core Sims experience, The Sims 4 is the best it’s ever been. If it’s not your style, this won’t do much to change your mind.
Read our full: The Sims 4 review
Back in the days when the majority of FPS games were all set during World War 2, Medal of Honor was the Call of Duty franchise before Call of Duty. The first entry hit way back on the PS1 in 1999, with the next 11 sequels, that’s right 11, all taking place in World War 2. Even Call of Duty switched up its setting faster than that. Still, that first game was well before the fatigue set in, and also had Steven Spielberg as one of the writers. Coming off his hit film Saving Private Ryan, he wanted to help work on a game that could be fun and informative. The educational part remains to be seen, but the game was fun at least.
Playing as a member of the OSS, you go on various missions during the tail end of the conflict, such as rescue missions, undercover ops, and general sabotage. It is a very linear shooter by any standards, and will feel dated in a lot of ways, but at the time was basically the next best console shooter after the N64’s Goldeneye. Graphics were a major leap up on the PS1, the enemy AI felt dynamic, and it had a truly epic soundtrack. It can be hard to play today, and the series only lost steam over time until the dreadful Medal of Honor: Warfighter, but this early entry helped solidify realistic FPS games on consoles.
Movie tie-in games, especially in the early 2000s, have always been notoriously bad. All too often they’re rushed cash-grabs looking to capitalize on a film’s success. The Lord of the Rings wasn’t immune to this, either. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring were seriously bad games, but once EA got the license for the adaptation of the remaining two films, things turned around. The Two Towers surprised everyone with how fun it was. The hack and slash style, with minor RPG elements, fit perfectly with the large-scale battles and adventure seen in the film. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, however, turned all that up to 11.
Naturally following the events of the film even though it came out just a bit before it, the campaign was broken up into three paths, each following the different groups of the film. The path of the wizard follows Gandalf, the path of the king follows Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli, and the path of the hobbits follows Frodo and Sam. Each character has their own set of combos, ranged attacks, a parry, charged attacks, special abilities, and more. You can level each of them up, upgrade their abilities and combos, and even unlock a few secret characters. This game stands as not only one of the best Lord of the Rings games there is, but one of the best movie tie-in games as well.
A lot of imitators tried to jump in on the extreme sports phenomenon started by the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series, and basically all of them failed. There were BMX, inline skating, and even surfing games, but the only one that managed to stick the landing was the snowboarding arcade action of SSX Tricky. This was EA’s second entry in the SSX series and was a similar leap as seen between the first two Tony Hawk games. Unlike other clones, SSX Tricky managed to be close enough to skateboarding to borrow the massive jumps, intuitive grinding, and ridiculous speeds you felt while carving your way down the mountain found in those games but transplant them into winter sports.
SSX Tricky was where the iconic Uber moves first showed up. If you were able to fill up your boost meter to the max, you could pull off one of the game’s most ludicrous, yet satisfying, tricks. Manage to do this six times on a level and you’d get an infinite boost. Plus you get to hear that iconic song the game was named for. Aside from the soundtrack, which alone is worth a spot on this list, the game was just exuding personality. You had a diverse range of characters to play as with unique histories and interactions with the rest of the cast, bright and colorful graphics, awesome level design, and tons of reasons to hit the slopes again and again. The last game in the series came in 2012, and wasn’t bad, but there’s a reason fans clamor for a sequel, or even a remaster, of the original SSX Tricky.
To be fair to those who love Madden games, there are probably people out there who only know EA as the people who put out the yearly football game. Based on the sales charts, it’s obviously not an unpopular franchise, but it just doesn’t happen to be our particular genre of choice. Still, there was no way to ignore this juggernaut of a sports game on this list. Based on our limited experience, and the consensus online, Madden NFL 16 is probably the most innovative and modern iteration the series has had in a long time, which is saying something for an annual franchise based on a sport that doesn’t really see any major changes.
This entry was when a lot of major gameplay improvements were made, specifically to the passing system that gave players way more control over their plays. You had new quarterback systems and throws that would change depending on the situation, plus more options to pull off more clutch passes when the defense was closing in. There was also the Connected Franchise mode where you would build up your team to be the best in the league by essentially leveling up your players with training points. Being on the modern systems, you obviously had plenty of online options as well to keep the game going. Unlike most previous, and some later, games, Madden NFL 2016 isn’t just a fresh coat of paint and roster update in a full-priced package.
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