XBox 720, Playstation 4 and Madden 14 – Why They Could All Disappoint

The latest rumors of Microsoft having intentions of announcing the XBox 720 during E3 are almost as surprising as the fact that Madden 14 will be announce during the Super Bowl.  A lot of gamers like to sit on the edge of their seats waiting for the next big thing to happen in gaming.  The issues that comes with this latest set of next-gen console rumors are many, but we will start with just a few.  After that we will pour some sugar on top for the hopes that many people have for what could prove to amaze gamers.

Happy New Year – Here Comes The Rumor Boom!

What Could Disappoint?

1. Poor Hardware Design – The Red Ring of Death and the Yellow Light of Death are now synonymous with bad console design and ventilation for GPUs (video processors) that get more powerful and hotter as they run.  While both consoles (the XBox 360 and the Playstation 3) were able to eventually fix some of the design issues the numerous consumer issues will not be easily forgotten.

2. Release Day Games Will Be Bare Bones – For those of you unfortunate souls that got Madden 06 on the XBox 360 it will be fairly fresh in your head how terrible bare the game was as it came out for the 360.  The worst part about the excitement of a new console is that once you start paying more attention to what is lacking in sports games the more you will resort to playing the game  on your older console.

3. More Lazy Gaming Development – If the 360/PS3 generation will be remembered for anything it will be for the complete dependency on patches for almost every game.  Some games were rendered unplayable by some bugs.  Other games were had glitches that simply made gamers laugh.  The moral of this sad story is that now that many gamers have the ability to download patches console developers are using this as a crutch to release half-cocked efforts for millions of consumers.

Madden 14 – You Already Know It’s Coming

We will start with the acknowledgement that Madden 13 has been the best Madden game released this generation.  While there have been numerous issues with broken CPU AI and some of the animations – it has been a decent game after all is said and done.

The Madden series has proven to be one of the more hit or miss titles during this generation of consoles.  What should worry Madden gamers the most is how much the game has started to fall into the depth of corporate decision-making and microtransactions.  Madden 13 had some new physics added but it was so overexagerated at times that it could almost make you wonder if you were playing some sort of war game with small nuclear explosions.

Madden 14 will be announced during the Super Bowl as it always is and that is really the downfall of sports gaming (and now even FPS games).  Developers know that many gamers will be okay with some annual polish to the same game they have played for years.  EA Sports is starting to become the first of what will be many studios to move to a complete assembly line structure of putting a new stamp on an old product.

What Could Be Great?

The one thing many people are hoping for is a movement towards smarter AI and better physics in games as they come out.  While no one should expect release date games to be among the best that the console will ever have, there should be hopes for new consoles to come out with games that will make us put our old consoles in the closet (or on eBay).

We will talk more on some of the hopes and dreams for the next console once they start leaking more than just pretty pictures.

Madden 13 Demo To Feature Two Match-Ups & Full Four Quarter Games

In case you haven’t joined the madness that is the Madden forums on numerous sites – it is official… you will have a chance to play a full game with 5-minute quarters for the Madden 13 Demo.

Here’s hoping that RG3 isn’t to Madden 13 what Mike Vick was to Madden 2004.

The match-ups?

  1. A rematch of the NFC Championship between the San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants.  This should be fun for people that want to check out how much fun it is to play defense with the likes of Patrick Willis.
  2. A game between the Seahawks and the Redskins… otherwise known as an opportunity to see how fast Robert Griffin III is and how much you will want to play with him online.  In case you were wondering why that seems a little sarcastic – check out our old article about sports gaming online.

The opportunity to play a full game of Madden is really what you should be excited about.  It isn’t very often that publishers (especially EA Sports) give you a chance to play more than a half or a quarter of a sports game.  You can expect full video coverage and reviews pouring out from the sports gaming community and NoobTubeTV will be no different… other than the fact that we won’t be fanboys and we won’t be haters when it comes to reviewing a game and much less – a demo.

Keep in mind that Demos are not always the latest ‘build’ of a game.  There might (and probably will be) glitches that make you wonder if it is worth your time to begin with but we are hoping for the best.

*On a personal note, I am extremely excited (like Tim Tebow)  to get a crack at some Madden 13 action before the official release on August 28.

 

Our Next Generation Console Demands – Part 1

Hoping for advances in technology is like hoping that tomorrow will come.  While it is a 99% certainty that it will happen, we really don’t know how it will turn out.  We usually hope for tomorrow to be amazing.  It is human nature to desire more and better for the future.  As we get closer to the next generation of gaming, we will be talking about some of our favorite parts of this generation’s games and what we hope to see in the future.

In Game Graphics Vs. Screenshot Graphics

If you have read any of our coverage of Madden 13 and real time physics you will see that it is one of the more important parts of gaming at this point. Players and characters have ‘looked like’ their real-life counterparts for a couple years now. While EA Sports has taken awhile to get more face scans, it is something that will indeed improve for the next generation. However, physics and processing power are going to be more important than something just looking pretty.

Take Battlefield 3 for instance – not only do you see guns and enemies, but you see buildings and vehicles that can easily explode and remind you that some things look cool but they just aren’t ‘super real’ just yet. That is where the physics and actual graphical ‘processing’ are going to be more important than some sort of glorified screenshot that we see even this generation.

PC games aren’t necessarily held back like console games in this way. Well, they aren’t held back ‘as much’… and it is something that PC gamers are always happy to point out to console gamers. Console gamers shouldn’t expect ‘real life’ realism yet. If you take a look at the game from id Games that made everyone see just a glimpse of the graphical future of games – Rage certainly amazed gamers on PC and consoles alike. Even with a bunch of driver problems on PC it is still a great benchmark graphically. The issue XBox 360 users got to see as they opened the game for the first time was the fact that it came on 3 discs. While PS3 owners got to snicker and laugh because they have Blu Ray playback, XBox 360 gamers simply had to enjoy Rage with a couple swaps of the disc.

Other gamers might even recall having to switch discs on their 360 while playing Rockstar’s L.A. Noire. This game, while running on the same engine as Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption pushed a new era of facial structure and movement in games. Never before have you had to interpret whether someone was lying to you based on their facial expressions, but in this case it made the game incredibly innovative even if it was quickly disregarded as a must have title. L.A. Noire still ranks as one of my favorite titles that came out during this generation of consoles because while it was in development for what seems like forever (nearly 7 years) it was still incredibly innovative and risk taking from a graphical and gameplay perspective when it game to interrogating suspects. There is still something to be said for games that take a chance to amaze you and that will never go away.

Even with these amazing achievements in graphics, there is still something to be desired. The PS3 was marketed almost solely on ‘The Cell Processor’ and its amazing 7-Cores. Yes, it was and is an amazing processor, but the funny part of this really goes back to the fact that many developers actually stated that games were easier to develop for the XBox 360 (which had issues with their own processor – RROD). Metal Gear Solid 4 was delayed on numerous occasions and if you pay close attention to Solid Snake during a cinematic scene you will notice that his hair still moves around in little chunks. While details like a character’s hair are something that some people might scoff at, take a look at some of the things people are getting caught up about with Madden Football. (wrong facemasks, helmets and shoestrings, etc.)

Real Time Physics (aka – The Sports Gamer’s Pipe Dream)

Perhaps one of the most famous hits in NFL history is the one that Lawerence Taylor put on Joe Theismann. While this is an extremely gruesome hit (please don’t watch this video if you get queesy) – it is a fine example of something that isn’t in Madden NFL football – real time physics with real time injuries.

Perhaps one of the most desired and denied wishes of gamers is realistic ‘real-time’ physics. This basically means that if a character is moving at a high rate of speed and tackles someone going a different direction you should see a collision that makes you go “oooohhh!”. What we have been seeing instead are animations that are ‘canned’ and play out in an expected fashion almost every time.

Even if you don’t play sports games it wouldn’t be hard to imagine a fighting game or an action game that had better real-time physics. Games like Assassins Creed or Mortal Kombat could become some of the most amazingly technologically advanced console games ever made (from the standpoint of physics). However, where many people want to see this drive improvement is in sports games.

The current generation of consoles has been pushed to the limit with physics processing. Many games look good in this fashion (All Pro Football 2K8) and others look simply ‘overblown’ (Backbreaker). What we are really hoping for is something in-between that will give us true physics in regards to player size, speed and strength (with other such variables). It is our hope that someday we will be able to play a game of Madden, MLB, NHL or NBA 2K and see hits, throws, catches, shots, passes, interactions and injuries that genuinely make us feel like we are watching/playing a real game of football.

 

How Should Sports Games Reflect The Happenings of Real Life?

Today the NCAA decided to pass down a punishment on Penn State that would essentially cripple the football team and university for years.  It does raise a question about how much video games should or shouldn’t reflect what happens in real life.  For instance, in NCAA 11 and 12 you will notice that teams like USC and Ohio State are given terrible ratings as far as Championship Caliber and Coach Ratings matching those of Luke Fickell (eventhough they aren’t really those coaches… riiiight).

When game developers gloss over the realities of the sports they are trying to reproduce they are short-changing their creativity and the consumer’s ability to take part in a true simulation of the sport itself.

Now we are in the midst of a USC team coming off of a ban, an Ohio State team starting a one year ban and last but not least – Penn State.  In NCAA Football 06 you would have to deal with players violating team rules and all sorts of things that brought real life situations to the game.  Why have these things been taken out of games this generation?

Madden NFL Football doesn’t have late hits, real-time injuries or even contract holdouts.  Are sports games being held to a different standard somehow?  We have shooter games that allow for some of the most gruesome actions to take place but when it comes to sports titles we can’t have late hits or concussions?  We can’t have bowl bans or shady recruiting?  We can’t have team rules violations by players that have questionable motivations?

You can’t say we never had these things before…  we did… but  now they are gone with the winds of political correctness or some sort of false societal demands.