Although EA might not be as respected as it once was in the industry, it remains a powerful publisher. It still competes with the likes of Activision and Ubisoft despite all its troubles. One of the main problems is that gamers have accused the company of not being innovative. With games like FIFA and Madden regularly selling millions of copies annually, EA has little incentive to be original.
Yet, that hasn’t always been the case. Throughout its history, EA has actually released some very unique games. Some of them are even more recent than you might think. Here are the top 10 most original EA games.
If there is one genre that EA is not known for, it is platformers. Although the company has dominated the market with shooters, sports games, and simulators, platforming has never been a strength. That changed somewhat with the 2016 release of Unravel, a cute but challenging 2D sidescroller. Full of original puzzles that utilize the unique physics system, you take control of a character made from yarn. Additionally, Unravel comes with a deep and emotional story that drives the action forward.
Black & White
The anticipation for Black & White was huge, steadily rising until its release in 2001 for PC. The work of Lionhead Studios and Peter Molyneux, it tasks players with assuming the role of a god. The ultimate goal is to defeat an evil being known as Nemesis while building up life on various islands. Featuring lots of depth in terms of gameplay and mechanics, critics and fans alike loved the creativity it inspired.
Dragon Age: Origins
When you think of EA, most people won’t immediately picture a fantasy RPG with deeply strategic combat. That is exactly what BioWare and EA released in 2009. The in-game world of Dragon Age: Origins is not only huge but also rich in detail with a feeling that it is a living and breathing place. In addition, strong characters and a great story ensure you want to keep playing until the end. Although later games in the series, especially the sequel, have not enjoyed the same success, the original is a classic.
Battlefield: Bad Company
It is hard to argue that a first-person shooter can be truly original. There are so many FPS games on the market that creating something unique is a monumental task. EA and DICE attempted to do that in 2008 with the release of Battlefield: Bad Company. Unlike previous games in the series, it was developed specifically with smaller scale squad-based combat in mind. In addition, it was also unique in the franchise for its inclusion of a single-player campaign. Most important, though, was the emphasis on humor and the highly destructible environments that later became a series staple.
American McGee’s Alice
American McGee’s Alice is a 2000 psychological horror game based on the children’s classics Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Acting as a sequel to Lewis Carroll’s novels, it is an action-adventure platformer that combines the best of each genre. Not only is it unique for its mashup of gameplay mechanics but it also has a distinctive visual style. Few games have managed to capture such a chaotic and bizarre atmosphere as this.
Fe is an action-adventure metroidvania game that EA published in 2018. Despite the fact that it wasn’t particularly well-received by critics, it was still a fairly original game for the publisher. Players take control of a Fox known as Fe attempting to defend his forest home from a mysterious group of enemies. It was the first game created as an EA Original, meaning we should see more innovative games in the future.
Fans have been begging for a new Skate game for years. There’s a good reason for that, with the series being one of the best skateboarding titles in existence. In fact, it might well be the best alternative and only viable competitor to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. Originally released in 2007, Skate utilizes a more realistic approach to skating. While challenging, it also made for a fun and rewarding experience. The addition of an actual story also made for a very different experience.
The survival horror genre was pretty much dead before the arrival of Dead Space in 2008. While some indies were trying to keep the genre alive, big publishers relied on jump scares in mainstream horror games. That all changed with Dead Space. Critics praised it for its psychological horror and excellent script. Dead Space proved it was possible to have a compelling story in a blockbuster game that was also truly terrifying.
A Way Out
2018’s A Way Out is a pretty unique game when it comes to co-op experiences. Developer Hazelight Studios took a different approach to most titles, keeping players separated most of the time. Instead of working together on the same tasks, two players have to complete different objectives before meeting back together. It’s an interesting take on co-op that often involves the two players having to think ahead and plan out their approaches.
Mass Effect 2
Mass Effect might have begun as a Microsoft Studios title but after EA purchased BioWare, they took over publishing duties for the series. While the first game was an atmospheric and expansive experience, 2011’s Mass Effect 2 was the ultimate sci-fi RPG.
Keeping everything that worked in the original game, ME2 also refined many areas of gameplay. The shooting mechanics and movement is faster and more action-based, creating a better overall experience. It’s just a shame that the fourth game lacked any of the innovation of the earlier titles.
What are your favorite EA games? Tell us in the comments below!