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Is EA Access worth the money?

Updated on October 16, 2014
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Many years ago during the 8-bit and 16-bit eras, we used to walk into video rental stores and had the option to rent video games. It was a weekend ritual (renting a game on a Friday night and returning it on a Sunday morning). EA recently partnered with Microsoft to give us a similar service without having to leave our home. This service is named EA Access, and it could change how we purchase games.

But what is EA Access and is it worth your money? I can answer the second question straight away with a resounding "yes". It is excellent value for money.

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What is EA Access?

EA Access, in essence, is an app available on the Xbox One. The app, however, unlocks some pretty cool gaming content will save you money in the long run.

Once you have downloaded the app, you will be asked if you would like to subscribe to the service. You can pay a monthly fee of $4.99 or $29.99 annually. With your subscription you will receive the following:

  • Early access to all EA games (purchasable before release day)
  • EA game trials which are not available to non-subscribers
  • Discounts on EA games and DLC
  • Access to the Vault, which includes full game downloads

The Vault is where the magic happns. Games are added to the Vault (at irregular times, there is no exact release schedule) and you can download these full games to your Xbox One and enjoy the full experiences that these games offer.

This means, for $29.99 a year, you can enjoy complete AAA titles. As of today, there are 6 games in the Vault. Games will not be removed from the Vault but games will be added (so the value for money will only get better).

This means, at present, you are basically renting each game for $5 a year!

What games are in the EA Access Vault?

You are now thinking that the games on offer must be sub-par. Granted, the choice of games and their quality will come down to personal preference. However, the list of games on offer are full fledged AAA titles. Some of these games still retail at $40 in retail stores.

The games on offer in the EA Access Vault (as of 16th October 2015) are :

  • Battlefield 4
  • Peggle 2
  • Fifa 14
  • Need for Speed : The Rivals
  • Madden 25
  • Plants vs Zombies : Garden Warfare

As you can see, there is something for everyone. Hardcore FPS fans can enjoy Battlefield 4 while racing fans can enjoy Need for Speed. If there are youngsters at home, Peggle 2 offers some nice easy gameplay. There are also 2 sports games in there for football / soccer fans. For $29.99 a year (and the promise of more games being added to the vault) this is an absolute steal.

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Breaking down the Vault Games

Some might think that the games are still lackluster. Lets look at the metacritic scores for each game :

  • Battlefield 4 - 81%
  • Peggle 2 - 77%
  • Need for Speed Rivals - 75%
  • Fifa 14 - 88%
  • Madden 25 - 73%
  • Plants vs Zombies - 76%

As you can see, every game scored well above average (according to critic scores). To be honest, I don't play Peggle 2 much. I also don't play Madden 25 often as I am not a big American Football fan. I am, however, a massive Battlefield and Fifa fan. If these were the only 2 games on offer, I still would have subscribed!

Plants vs Zombies really took me by surprise. I wasn't expecting much (the game seemed very childlike in the screenshots). However, with Plants vs Zombies I found a game filled with strategy. The multiplayer mayhem is loads of fun, and it is even better with friends.

Need for Speed is OK in my opinion. I experienced a few online disconnections while playing the game for long periods. The open world map isn't huge either, but this is still a fun game to waste some hours on.

No EA Access for PS4

Sony have publicly stated that the service would not be value for their consumer base. EA Access, therefore, will not appear on Sony's console. Sony, who have their own "streaming rental" service (PSNow) refused to add EA Access to their console. Personally I find this a bad move. Playstation owners should have been given the option themselves.

Last thoughts on EA Access

I'll be honest, I can not afford to pay big money every other week for new games. EA Access has given me the chance to play games I would never have bought. The price is phenomenal and it really feels like I am getting value. With the current gen consoles, a lot of money has to be spent to enjoy a full experience. EA Access has allowed me to experience the current gen at an affordable price.

I have subscribed for a year and I am really enjoying the Vault games. What's more, I can look forward to more games being added in the future (I am sure that UFC and NBA 2014 will be added to the Vault soon).

The DLC discount codes are nice, but it isn't something I am really into. I might purchase some DLC in the future for Battlefield 4. If you tend to buy lots of packs for your Fifa or Madden Ultimate Teams, then you will save some money by subscribing to EA's service.

The game trial option is nice too, though I have only used it once. A 6 hour trial of Fifa 15 went online days before the official release of the game. I played for an hour or two, and I still have a few hours left if I decide to move onto Fifa 15 (I still enjoy Fifa 14).

To wrap things up, this is a great service. I recommend all Xbox One owners to try it (even for just 1 month) to experience the content.

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EA Access Poll

Do you think EA Access is value for money?

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