Electronic Arts

The Xbox One is overflowing with downloadable games lately thanks to the ID@Xbox program. Last week we got Outlast and Sixty Second Shooter Prime, and today Zombie Driver Ultimate Edition had a surprise launch. But when the new console launched last year, players only had a few downloadable games to choose from. The first such title to qualify as a hit was undoubtedly Peggle 2 from Electronic Arts and PopCap. The game later arrived on Xbox 360 as well.

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Electronic Arts announced a bevy of core games during its E3 press conference earlier today – check out our full write-up. But EA's sports franchises are just as popular as their core franchises. And EA Sports UFC will have a great deal of crossover appeal thanks to its impressive one-on-one fighting gameplay and amazingly lifelike graphics.

Although EA publishes games based on a variety of sports, the driving theme among all of their sports titles (especially the yearly entries to the core series) was emotion. New-gen consoles like the Xbox One will allow each game's characters to express greater emotion than ever before. These extra-emotive characters will populate FIFA 15, Madden NFL 15, NHL 15, and EA Sports PGA Tour. Full impressions after the break!

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Following Microsoft's great Media Briefing this morning, Electronic Arts put on a press conference of its own. EA did a fine job with their conference last year, the highlight of which for me was the announcement of Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare for Xbox consoles. Could this year's announcements hope to compete with that?

The 2014 presentation was handled by Andrew Wilson, Electronic Arts CEO. Disappointingly we didn't get to hear from fan-favorite Peter Moore this year. But we did learn about a ton of incredible games, including Star Wars Battlefront, Dragon Age Inquisition, a new Mass Effect, The Sims 4, Mirror's Edge 2, Battlefield Hardline, and more. Full Impressions after the break!

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This March 11, PC and Xbox One gamers around the globe will be suiting up for Titanfall; the game that will mark the largest launch thus far for Microsoft’s Xbox One console library. Unfortunately, if you live in South Africa and have preordered Titanfall, you will not actually get to play it, as Electronic Arts has canceled the game’s launch there.

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Peggle 2, PopCap’s long-anticipated follow-up to their casual hit Peggle, launched as a timed Xbox One exclusive back in December. As I mentioned in our review, the multiplayer features weren’t quite ready at that time. The online Peg Party mode simply didn’t work for me and many other players, nor was the promised local multiplayer mode available. Still a great game, but players definitely missed the multiplayer.

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Time was we posted an article about a new Xbox Windows Phone game (or games!) every week like clockwork. Those days are long behind us, never to return again. But I do get to write about the weekly Xbox console releases, which is almost as fun. And this week we actually do have a new Xbox Windows Phone game, on the unusual day of Friday: FIFA 14 from Electronic Arts! We hear a last-minute bug kept it from releasing on Wednesday.

FIFA 14 is the latest in EA’s extremely popular football/soccer sports series. Last year’s FIFA 13 was originally a Nokia exclusive, and only just became available to all Windows Phone users a month ago. Now all of us (with phones that have 1 GB or more RAM) can enjoy this year’s rosters and new features. And unlike FIFA 13 – which sells for $4.99, this year’s game is free to play. More details and Store link after the break!

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On top of a stellar Red Stripe Deal this week (Chaos Rings), Windows Phone gamers have another Xbox game sale to tempt their wallets. 10 Electronic Arts games are on sale for 30-40 percent off.

The most exciting discount comes in Plants vs. Zombies, a terrific game that hardly ever goes on sale. Both it and Bejeweled Live are three bucks. A slew of games that regularly sell for $2.99 will ring up for $1.99 instead this week, including: Battleship, Blobster, The Game of LIFE, iBomber Defense (ugh), Jet Set Go, Spy Mouse, Tetris, and Yahtzee.

Descriptions and Store Links after the break!

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One of the greatest tragedies in Windows Phone gaming is that PopCap’s original Peggle never made it onto the platform. Originating as a PC game, Peggle eventually made its way to practically every platform under the sun except for Windows Phone – including the Xbox 360.

Still, at least we know PopCap loves Xbox consoles. The long-awaited sequel Peggle 2 launched earlier this month as a timed Xbox One exclusive. The new console needs games and Peggle 2 happens to be one of the most enjoyable games around. A bit of polish got lost in the rush to launch, but the new Peggle still deserves your attention.

Detailed review with video after the break!

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Not long ago, we published an in-depth preview of Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare for Xbox One and 360. Electronic Arts had invited us to play the game’s competitive Team Vanquish mode, which proved to be tons of fun. Somehow, the transition from tower defense to third-person shooter works really well with Plants vs. Zombies.

Of course, most decent shooters have more than one game type. Garden Warfare is no exception. This week, PopCap revealed a gameplay video and new details about the game’s “Gardens and Graveyards” game type. The capture and defense-based mode will require serious teamwork in order for one of the game’s rival factions to succeed. Check out the video and our impressions after the break.

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This has been a terrible year for Xbox games on Windows Phone. Microsoft has all but dropped support for the Xbox branding on phones, developers have stopped releasing Xbox games en masse, and new Xbox games are basically a rare occurrence nowadays. Don’t you wish the Windows Phone team cared a lick about gamers?

The latest sign of the inevitable demise of Xbox on Windows Phone comes with last week’s Tetris Blitz update. The game launched in a bug-ridden state (see our review). But to Electronic Arts’ credit, the publisher has released a steady stream of updates to improve its product. The latest update certainly packs some improvements, but it sort of looks like it removes Tetris Blitz’s Xbox branding. Could this be the end of EA’s Xbox support or just a snafu?

Update: EA's official response after the break!

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A few weeks ago, a bunch of Xbox Windows Phone games (mostly Nokia collection titles) went on sale at once. Nokia, who seems to have organized the sale, also announced that several more games would be discounted in early December.

Those titles (and a few more) are now on sale. We’ve got Contre Jour, Flight Control Rocket, Spy Mouse, Storm in a Teacup, Vampire Rush, and Zuma’s Revenge are all on sale for 99 cents. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, which regularly sells for $4.99, has been marked down to $2.99. All seven games come from Electronic Arts and/or its subsidiaries Chillingo and PopCap.

Head past the break for descriptions and Store links!

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The Xbox One launched in 13 countries last Friday, and early adopters (including much of the Windows Phone Central staff) have a fairly robust selection of launch titles to enjoy. That doesn’t mean we’re not already looking to the future, though. When you buy a console during the first month of its release, you’re investing in the games that will come later even more than the first wave of titles.

One of the most exciting early post-launch releases will be Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare from PopCap Games. Garden Warfare now has an official release date of February 18th, 2014 for both Xbox One and Xbox 360. I actually played the game during our visit to Electronic Arts headquarters last week and came away highly impressed. Head past the break for impressions, gameplay footage, and our video interview with Garden Warfare producer, Brian Lindley!

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The Xbox One launch is fast approaching, with many game publishers lined up to publish launch titles for the new console. One of those publishers is Electronic Arts, who have Battlefield 4 and Need for Speed: Rivals ready for Xbox One.

In celebration if the impending launch, EA invited us to their headquarters in Redwood City, CA to check out a couple of Xbox One exclusive titles they have coming in the months ahead. We can’t talk about those games just yet, but I can share my experiences and impressions of the gigantic publisher’s sprawling base of operations.

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The Sims FreePlay was a very big game when it arrived on Windows Phone 8 in September. So big that we published a two installment Achievement guide and an In-App Purchase guide on top of our usual review. But even then, our version lacked some content from the iOS version, including all social features. The iOS and Android games received a new update on October 11, pushing even farther ahead of our version.

Only one month after its initial release, The Sims FreePlay has just received a massive update. Windows Phone players now have access to the Mysterious Island area, teenage Sims, a whole new quest system, tons of new items, and much more. However, the update also makes a few Achievements much more difficult and time consuming. Head past the break for detailed descriptions and screenshots of the many changes!

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Russian computer engineer and game designer Alexy Pajitnov created Tetris for PCs way back in 1984. But Tetris first caught the public eye when Nintendo packed it in with the original GameBoy portable console in 1989. Since then, a number of companies have licensed the game and put their own unique spin on it, with the versions from Nintendo (especially Tetris DS) and Sega (Sega Tetris for Dreamcast) standing above the crowd.

Publishing giant Electronic Arts has also produced several Tetris games, including the 2011 Tetris which appeared on Playstation 3 and Windows Phone 7. This year’s Tetris Blitz is EA’s latest version, marrying the time honored Tetris gameplay with the frantic pace of Bejeweled Blitz. Tetris Blitz arrived on Windows Phone 8 a respectable four months after iOS.

Does this version deserve a spot on the list of best Tetris games? Read on to find out.

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Less than a week ago we reported that two former Nokia exclusive Xbox games: Dream Track Nation and Tiny Plane become available to all Windows Phone users. Several more former exclusives have just followed, right in time for the weekend: Vampire Rush from A-Steroids, Storm in a Teacup from Cobra, and The Sims Medieval from Electronic Arts. Okay, The Sims Medieval actually went non-exclusive a little earlier but we’re just getting to it now.

With three more Xbox games available to all Windows Phone users, the list of Nokia exclusive Xbox titles grows ever shorter. Head past the break for details, Store links, and an updated list of the remaining exclusives!

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We’ve poured on The Sims FreePlay coverage lately, and why not? Xbox Windows Phone games have become relatively scarce this year (though September saw plenty of new releases). It’s also a massively sized mobile entry in one of gaming’s most popular franchises… Not to mention, it’s free to play so any Windows Phone 8 user with 1 GB of RAM can get it (internet connection required).

Then again, the ‘free’ feather in a title’s cap can also be a thorn in its side from a gameplay perspective. The Sims FreePlay embodies many of the free to play trappings typically perceived as negative by users, from time-based mechanics to dual currencies. Can the joyful simulation aspects of The Sims survive all those grabs for players’ wallets? Read on for our evaluation.

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Welcome to the second half of Windows Phone Central’s Sims FreePlay Achievement guide! In this installment, you’ll learn how to bust ghosts and feel good, make babies, and get your kids’ grades up on high. We’ll put you on the long, long road to completing 1,000 goals as well.

In case you missed it, please note that The Sims FreePlay MUST be connected to Xbox Live in order for an Achievement to unlock. Sometimes it drops the connection during gameplay – without warning the player. If that happens, any Achievements you unlock won’t count.

To avoid unlocking Achievements while offline, always save and exit the game by pressing the Save and Exit button at the bottom right corner of the main menu. You can also do this right before you expect to earn an Achievement. That way, whenever you restart the game you’re sure to be connected.

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Last week Windows Phone Central brought you a guide to the In-App Purchases of The Sims FreePlay for Windows Phone 8. Today we’re back with part one of our exclusive and thorough Achievement Guide! It will take many, many hours to get The Sims FreePlay’s 200 GamerScore, but we’ll help you do it.

Before we get to the strategies, note that Sims FreePlay does have some Achievement glitchiness. The game MUST be connected to Xbox Live in order for an Achievement to unlock. Sometimes it drops the connection during gameplay – without warning the player. If that happens, any Achievements you unlock won’t count.

To avoid unlocking Achievements while offline, always save and exit the game by pressing the Save and Exit button at the bottom right corner of the main menu. You can also do this right before you expect to earn an Achievement. That way, whenever you restart the game you’re sure to be connected.

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While the flow of new Xbox games for Windows Phone has slowed this year, the number of free to play games in the Xbox lineup continues to grow. These titles rely on In-App Purchases (IAPs) for revenue. Users who enjoy a game and feel motivated to purchase content can do so, while other players can simply play without spending.

We’ll be profiling the In-App Purchases of each new free to play or IAP-heavy mobile Xbox title that comes along. We’ve already looked at the IAPs of Six-Guns from Gameloft; this week we explore the purchases in Electronic Arts’ The Sims FreePlay for Windows Phone 8. Read on to learn exactly what IAPs the game has in store and which offer the best values.

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