Not In Madden – Big Trades Still Don’t Exist

With the recent trades leading up to the NFL Draft I really have to wonder what makes it so difficult for EA to add things like this to Madden’s Connected Franchise Mode.  This isn’t the first time we have had the exchange of more than 3 picks/plays from one team to another.  In this case it even involves a pick from the 2018 draft!

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Madden has unfortunately been an annual addition to my gaming library every year since Madden 2007 (I skipped out on Madden 06 because I was broke and just out of college among other things).  Now we are looking at an NFL that doesn’t allow legitimate real-time injuries to take place in the NFL video game.  Nor do they seem to allow player morale or other such depth into a game that holds a monopoly over football gaming.

The more I see how front offices work in the NFL the more I realize how broken Madden has been for a rather long time.  I don’t expect ultra-realistic things to happen, but seriously – when can we trade more than three draft picks at a time?  When will they make trade logic a thing?

Maybe I am asking the wrong question.

When will 2K make a football game again?

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What Happened to Great Stories In Gaming?

During this generation of consoles I have beaten more games than I give myself credit for.

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Say what you want about hating Call of Duty, but this rendering of Kevin Spacey alone made me want to buy the game months ago.

I don’t mean getting all the trophies or achievements either.  I mean playing through the story or campaign.

I wish I could say I remembered them, but there are only a few I can recall that have been memorable experiences.

Here are my brief summaries of the PS4 games I have beaten the stories and campaigns

–          Watch_Dogs was the first game I bought ‘new’ for my PS4 and it was interesting and enjoyable for what it was at the time.  The story was okay, but in the end it felt like it should have been more.  Sadly, it wasn’t anything worth buying DLC for then or after.

–           Killzone Shadow Fall was a game that I wanted to play strictly because it was a PS4 exclusive and the visuals were stunning (especially when that first trailer hit… whoa!).  The story seemed interesting, but by the end I felt like someone had left me out of a few chapters and the story kind of ended with me killing some guy… every FPS, ever.

–          Destiny… Seriously?  This game was supposed to be so deep and have so much to do and in the end it was about 7 hours of gameplay for a non-existent story and a bunch of grinding for weapons and loot that only really mattered in the Crucible.  I will probably never buy another Bungie game because of this.

–          Battlefield 4 didn’t disappoint me because I knew to expect garbage.  It hasn’t had a meaningful campaign since Bad Company 2 (and even that was mostly because of interactions within your squad rather than something interesting in the story).

–          Wolfenstein was somewhat enjoyable as it was strictly a campaign full of nostalgia for those of us that missed killing a bunch of Nazis and weird robots, etc.  The villains were rendered well and they were on par with what I expected from Wolfenstein… over the top and weird and worth every wonderful bullet in the end.

–          Knack – Meh, it’s a kids game and the story played much like it should.  Adventure meets story meets terribly hidden antagonist meets basic platform game with a kitschy ability for the protagonist.

–          Grand Theft Auto V – I played through this game on the PS3 and then bought it again and played through again on the PS4.  It remains one of the games I will probably not delete from my hard drive (as it was my first digital purchase and took over 9 hours to download and install… not joking).  The story was like every other GTA, a bunch of people need to get shot or run over somehow and then you watch the credits roll before turning the city into further chaos because you are bored.

Call of Duty Advanced Warfare was just like every other Call of Duty but this one had jet packs and exo-suits.  The only enjoyable aspect of this game and the story involved was the acting of Kevin Spacey.  He has rarely done something as far as his acting goes that was sub-par.  I won’t remember the story as much as I will remember the fact that Spacey was a great villain and did a great job with his performance in this game.  Otherwise, this was just as lame as every Call of Duty since the Modern Warfare Trilogy ended.

–          Metal Gear Solid Ground Zeroes was a prologue that offered more than enough reason for a hardcore fan such as myself to pay $30 for it.  The only thing about it that leaves a sour taste is that it was a pre-cursor for the disappointment we’d feel in the Phantom Pain.

–          Metal Gear Solid V – The Phantom Pain was probably the one game I looked forward to the most out of any over the last five or six years.  Then it came out and blew my mind with Chapters one and two only to basically kick me in the balls with a chapter three that was missing.  I will never forget that and might not look at Konami or Kojima the same way again.

–          Fallout 4 is a game I figured I’d put 400 hours into and totally forget about the disappointment of Metal Gear.  Wrong.  Fallout 4 let me basically discover mysteries I’d figured out about 3 hours into the game and then when I found new places for settlements I’d get to play post-apocalyptic Sims with a bunch of idiots that somehow managed to forget how to feed themselves or sleep without a bed.

Now I find myself looking at a few games I have yet to finish in my library.

The Witcher 3 – It is coming up on the one year anniversary for this title and I think I will beat this game just before that point.  It remains at this point one of my favorite experiences as the story is relatively interesting and the world is enormous – almost too big to be honest.  I find it hard to complain about this because it at least has an astounding amount of content and originality.

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Bloodborne – I bought it at launch a year ago or so, sucked at it so bad that I sold it online and then bought it again in January.  Why?  Because it is one of the best games ever.  It is legitimately difficult and unforgiving.  I often wonder why we as gamers settle for anything less than what Bloodborne provides us with strictly from the gaming level of challenge.  The story is almost invisible, but somehow it still manages to grab me through the amazing artwork and design.  I could just stare at this game all day and be a happy gamer.

Call of Duty – Black Ops 3 – I have prestiged a few times in multiplayer and have yet to get even a quarter of the way through the campaign.  The only other Call of Duty games I have never played through are COD 3 and World at War.  Both of them are Treyarch titles and I must say I don’t worship them as much as others seem to.  Black Ops and Black Ops 2 were okay at best, but with Ghosts, Advanced Warfare and now Black Ops 3 going in whatever MLG post-millennial direction they are – I wonder why in the hell I bought the digital deluxe version of this game.

Metal Gear Solid V – The Final Theory

MGS V – SPOILERS AHEAD!  YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!!!

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The next Colonel?

After my last article about getting over what seems to be a terrible ending to a game that we have put far too much thought into I started to look away from Metal Gear Solid V – The Phantom Pain and back towards Ground Zeroes.  I have come to realize a couple things about these games and how we are looking at them from the wrong perspective (figuratively and maybe even literally).

Bear with me on this ride, it might get a bit silly as far as theories go.
There Are Three Chapters to MGS V
Ground Zeroes, Chapter 1 and Chapter 2
are all a part of the story we have played through, assuming we played both pieces of software.
That said, if you look at the story and think about them as a stand-alone multi-disc game you will see that they are certainly a complete story in many regards.  They aren’t a great story in any sense, but it is also the nature of the beast with games anymore.  Now that we have seen the fallout of Konami/Kojima, I am sure there was a lot left out as well.  Regardless, it doesn’t take away from the fact that if you look at both games you can see that it really is a rather full story in most cases.
The Deep Theory
Naked Snake- AKA, Big Boss was never a part of MGS V – Ground Zeroes.
I have come to look at the story as a whole in a new light.  I believe we have all been lied to since the beginning of MGS V (Ground Zeroes).  It is my theory that Big Boss was never present in either game.  Venom Snake (AKA ‘Boss’ in MGS V – GZ & TPP) was set up from the beginning to undertake what turned out to be a strange mission of vengeance against a faceless enemy.
This rings of all sorts of metaphors and such if you let your mind wander down the ‘rabbit hole’. or maybe it’s a snake hole?
Ground Zeroes Observations and Points
From the beginning we have an eye patch (much like Snake in MGS 3 – Snake Eater).  We also have two functioning arms, as far as we can tell.  The intro sees Skullface interacting with Chico and Paz in Cuba as prisoners/torture victims.  Snake goes on to rescue both of them and evacuate on a chopper.
A few things to note –
+ We are on good terms with Huey.
+ Skullface seemingly appears out of the blue as far as storylines go.  They say he secretly commanded for Cipher and such, and that is likely true.  However, it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense for Big Boss to have any beef with the guy.
+ Chico and Paz both react strangely to Snake rescuing them.  They almost don’t fully believe it is him – sounds quite similar to what happens later, no?
+ The entire mission and aftermath of the destroyed Mother Base, etc. seems manufactured to me.  Afterall, Big Boss is supposed to be building a nation in Africa, not the ocean.
Ground Zeroes Theory(ies)
I believe a few things about Ground Zeroes that will make sense of the entire MGS V experience.  The first is that from the beginning Big Boss was never under our control.  I believe Venom Snake was being brainwashed and sent on this mission from the beginning.  He wasn’t a medic on a chopper protecting Snake from some explosion on the platform.  He was in the chopper with Miller on a mission that was supposed to play a part in him being tested as the doppelganger for Big Boss.  We have always been Venom Snake as far as MGS V goes. V isn’t 5 in this case, it is V for Venom Snake.  Roman numerals were never used for the other MGS games and I believe there is a good reason for that.
GZ – Off the beaten path Theory – There are a few other things that happen in Ground Zeroes that make me question everything as well.  The Déjà vu mission is both a flashback for us, but also a strange flash forward for Venom Snake in the supposed time of MGS V (around the early 1980s).  This makes me wonder if the snake hole is even deeper than we thought.
Maybe this is all a weird experience within a strange AI.  Maybe none of this is happening, from GZ through TPP.  It would make sense for this to be a total mindf**k if Kojima wanted it to be.  If you played through MGS through MGS 4 you can see that nanomachines and mind altering have been integral within the entire experience.  Maybe we are simply experiencing the created memories given to a clone of Big Boss?

The Phantom Pain Theory –
        Every other complete Metal Gear Solid game (1, 2, 3, Peacewalker and 4) has had numerous boss fights and interactions.  In TPP we also have boss fights, but they aren’t set up to feel that way.
        We have to fight Quiet, Eli, The Man on Fire and Sahelanthropus (on a couple occasions).  I think a lot of what we experience in this game as far as feeling like something was missing is when we consider two characters that we never really fight – Skullface and Psycho Mantis.

These aren’t important interactions in the sense of the overall story. I believe Kojima made these all rather forgetable because this isn’t meant to be a Big Boss story or Solid Snake… it’s Phantom story… a ghost story. It is supposed to blow away like ashes.

Also… nuclear disarmament and Peace (The elusive Chapter 3) will never happen. Why? Because if they happen there is no MGS – MGS 4. Sure they reference the tech being there in the future… but it is a losing battle.

Ocelot Protects The Man He Will Become. Eli (Liquid Snake) –
There was so much potential for holes to develop in the story that I believe Kojima was brilliant in this way.  Ocelot didn’t seem like the Ocelot we have known in every other MGS title.  Every other title has him acting incredibly arrogant and sometimes even foolishly.  He is so even-keeled in MGS V – TPP (Keep in mind, he isn’t to be seen or heard from in GZ.?) that it makes me wonder if he is on Xanax.
        The only time Ocelot really shows his true colors is in the torture room. interesting.  Considering the game ends with a discussion between the two men about the future roles of David (Solid Snake) and Eli (Liquid Snake) in the fight for dominance as the real ‘Big Boss’.  I think the real reveal is yet to be known. I believe there is something bigger on the horizon and it involves Solid Snake.

Kojima’s Good Bye To Metal Gear –
More than anything else with the Metal Gear Story from Snake Eater through Metal Gear Solid 4 as far as literal story timeline goes – Kojima has completed the circle/spiral.  He started it all back in the Early-Mid 80s and then MGS grabbed us and put us on this wild ride.  It is my belief that Kojima wanted to finish any of the holes in his timeline.  I believe TPP was an effort to if not explain every detail maybe fill the gaps with something. anything.  He had referenced on many occasions a wish to move on from Metal Gear.  As selfish as I am for more Metal Gear from Kojima, I also understand how much it sucks to work on the same thing for a long time. let alone being an artist that has to work on the same art for decades.  It sounds dreadful when you think of it that way. does it not?

Final Theory –
Metal Gear Will Go On And David Hayter Will Return As Snake
This might be more of a hope than a theory.  However, there is something to consider with all of the Metal Gear Solid Storyline finished through MGS 4.  Solid Snake is still living at the end of MGS 4. and Big Boss has made it to be alongside his clone as well. 
Metal Gear as a series is now owned by Konami without the presence of Kojima. 
It is my belief that Solid Snake has been cloned and they will find a way to develop a way for him to go on fighting with Hal by his side in the future.  Before The Phantom Pain was announced, I posed a theory as to whether or not there would be another MGS game after MGS4 (see here).
I believe we will see Solid Snake once again and it will end up being around the year 2032-2040.  This is because I believe Naomi took Solid Snake’s DNA (while probably possessing that of Big Boss and perhaps even Liquid Snake/Ocelot) midway through MGS 4.  She seemed to be full of so much regret for having taken part in what turned out to be the brief life of Solid Snake that I think she wanted a chance to for lack of a better phrase – pay it forward.
Solid Snake isn’t dead by the time MGS 4 rolls credits, and Hal is still alive and kicking with Meryl, Johnny and Sunny.  It is my hope that we will see Meryl become the new Colonel and Solid Snake’s clone enter the future world of stealth espionage when he reaches the age necessary to learn the skills that are waiting in his DNA.

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