Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Madden, The Crew Beta, Movies

Madden 15

Another year the same old crappy Madden. Just kidding that line was for Brent.  This year I am happy to report that Madden is finally next gen and it's really fun to play.  I'm of course a NFL 2k5 fanboy and haven't been too happy with the Madden series for years, I've felt without competition they never were pushed to make the best football game as some flaws were there year after year.  This year something changed and they improved almost every area and made one of the best football games. 

  • Last years version really didn't look that great which I could somewhat understand because of the new consoles.
  • This year Madden truly looks next gen especially in motion. The cut scenes have always looked good but the game in motion wasn't as detailed and this year they fixed that issue. 
  • The lighting looks great and dusk to nighttime games look awesome.
  • They don't rotoscan every player/coach so some don't look that great especially Jason Garrett he looks really bad.

  • Madden has made some massive improvements this year.
  • They hired someone from NFL films to direct the presentation and it really shows.  When I'm playing it actually feels and looks like the real games I watch each week.  From the camera angels before and after plays to the overlay graphics they really did a great job.  I especially like the down and yardage graphic.
  • They have a half time show which is decent but is still a bit clunky.  The replays aren't long enough and although I like the guy doing the voice over it isn't detailed enough.  Also during the season they don't show any plays from other games.
  • You can change your camera angle at any time by pressing the d-pad which is extremely useful instead of going to a menu.
  • The worst part is the announcing, it didn't take long before Jim Nance and Phil Sims got on my nerves.  Phil Sims has some great things to say but he's a bit boring especially after 3 straight games.  They also aren't always in sync with the game either as I've had multiple times their comments didn't match what was happening on the field.  I eventually muted them.
  • Defense is extremely fun to play this year and you can play with the camera directly behind your player which makes a huge difference. 
  • I've always had trouble playing defense because I would always overrun tackles I just couldn't get the depth perception.  This year they have the tackle cone that lets you see the direction you are facing and it really helps in making tackles. 
  • The Defensive Line play is amazing.  Each snap feels like a mini-game to get to the QB.  Right at the snap you hit R2 which engages you to the offensive player then you can steer him right/left or do a swim move to get around him.  It works really well and I'm finding I playing the DL exclusively.  It's very satisfying getting around your guy and sacking the QB.
  • The kicking game also has some major changes as you have more control over accuracy and power. The kick meter is divided into 3 areas of power and they show the actual arc the ball will travel for each level which makes it much easier to kick towards the sidelines and pin your opponent.  The CPU kicker is actually smart and has pinned me down multiple times. 
  • The passing game seems a bit tougher as zone defenders play better so your timing must be exact. 
  • The physics are much better but I still see on just about every play some weird player animation that is impossible for the human body to make. 
  • The skills trainer is very good at teaching you the new systems and it has some football theory mixed in to show you how to deal with various defenses which is a nice touch.  There is also a Gauntlet mode where you have various challenges and you are scored by how many you can complete without failing 5 times.  My first score was 7 can you beat it?
  • There have been some complaints over the new play call screen.  I'm fine with it but I can see where it can be improved. 
  • I have read reports where the PS4 version runs smoother and has better colors than the Xbone.   
The Crew (PC Beta)

I found a beta key from the Steam forums so I was able to test the game out for a bit.  It's an arcade racer so I wasn't sure about wheel support. I was surprised as there was a ton of wheel setup options and even though it's not as precise as a racing simulator after a bit of tweaking it felt great racing with my Fanatec.  The premise is that you can race all of America and of course it's not every road but the map is huge and full of different cities with paved and offroad streets to race on between them.  You start in Detroit and the game feels like other Ubisoft open world games where there are a ton of markers on the map to denote side quests which are car challenges.  Some have you maintaining a top speed without veering off the road or jumping over a river, the amount of these is a bit overwhelming, they do earn you money that you can spend on cars and upgrades.  It looked like there was a ton of options to upgrade your cars with different parts having different levels. 

So far the story races have been linear tracks meaning the there is a set way to race and not like in Burnout Paradise where you could take any route you wanted to get to the finish line.  The game is always online so you will see other racers while you are free roaming so you can challenge them to races or help you beat story missions by having them join your Crew, which is a major focus of the game that I didn't get to try in my first hour of playing. It is a beta so there were a few bugs, like losing the force feedback a couple of times and some frame rate issues but other than that I had a great time and hope to spend more time with it while the beta is running this week. 

Quick Movie Reviews

Worth It.
Bad Words - Funny movie, Jason Bateman is awesome.  A little vulgar at times though.   Don't look at me!!!!!
Need for Speed - Unbelievable stunts but a pretty decent racing movie based on a game with good special effects.
Van Helsing - Decent blu-ray version and the movie holds up pretty well. 
Mummy 1 & 2 - Decent Blu-ray version and both movies are still fun to watch.  What happened to Brendan Fraser.

The Purge - A cool plot that degenerated to a silly horror movie with illogical decisions. 
Divergent -  Decent movie with a bad ending.
Non-Stop  - I've not been impressed with the recent Liam Neeson movies and I wasn't a fan of this one either. Too many unbelievable sequences. 
Rushmore - Older highly rated movie but only mildly entertaining. 

New Releases - It's Madden time and the end of summer which means a ton of games are being released which doesn't make any sense because so many people that had time to play are now in school. 


The Walking Dead: Season 2 - Episode 5 (download - $25)  - Finale so I'll probably pick it up now.
Super Time Force Ultra (download - $15) -  Been waiting for this one looks great was an Xbone Exclusive.
Metro 2033 Redux (download - $25) -  Really good game that has been updated to the Last Light Engine.
Metro: Last Light Redux (download - $25)
Pinball FX2 - The Walking Dead Pinball (download) - Getting this as well.
Lethal League (download)
Toast Time (download)
Draconian Wars (download)

PlayStation 4

Madden NFL 15 - Pre-purchased but I'm not going to the midnight release.  I think anyway????
Metro Redux (retail)
Metro 2033 Redux (download - $25)
Metro: Last Light Redux (download - $25)
Pinball FX2 - The Walking Dead Pinball (download)

Xbox One

Madden NFL 15
Metro Redux (retail)
Metro 2033 Redux (download - $25)
Metro: Last Light Redux (download - $25)
Pinball FX2 - The Walking Dead Pinball (download)

Xbox 360

Madden NFL 15
The Walking Dead: Season 2 - Episode 5 (download - $25)
Pinball FX2 - The Walking Dead Pinball (download)

PlayStation 3

Madden NFL 15
The Walking Dead: Season 2 - Episode 5 (download - $25)
Pinball FX2 - The Walking Dead Pinball (download)

Wii U

Pinball FX2 - The Walking Dead Pinball (download)
SteamWorld Dig (download)
The Fall (download)
Donkey Kong Jr. Math (download)


Hyperdimension Neptunia Re:Birth 1
The Walking Dead: Season 2 - Episode 5 (download - $25)
Pinball FX2 - The Walking Dead Pinball (download)

Nintendo 3DS

Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
Azure Striker Gunvolt (download)
Mighty Gunvolt (download)
Thorium Wars: Attack of the Skyfighter (download)

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