Next Gen Consoles = The Death of Gaming

You don’t have to do a lot of googling to find out some of the rumors pouring out into the interwebs.  The XBox 720 seems destined to be an ‘always online’ DRM machine designed to say, No you can’t take your new game to a friends house.  Make those cheapskates buy the game too.  We are entering what might be the twilight of console gaming as we have known it for the

ok... Maybe it wasn't ever really like this, but it has changed quite a bit.
ok… Maybe it wasn’t ever really like this, but it has changed quite a bit.

better part of 30 years.

Whether or not you want to take the incredibly negative interaction between ex-Micro$soft employee Adam Orth and upset gamers or the non-denial denial from M$ that their console will always be online, the fact of the matter is that this stuff has been a long time coming.

Many of you have iPods that have some sort of DRM protection from Apple (a company that is highly supported by hipsters the world over) and then there are others that have been playing games on the PC client, Steam.  Either way you roll with these different examples of DRM and online functionality it is safe to say that ‘The Matrix Has You’.

While the Playstation 4 seems to be what every angry former Microsoft fanboy is cheering for, it is interesting to see them flock to a console that hasn’t actually been shown to the public.  We have seen videos of games that don’t look much better than current PC titles (or even current console titles for that matter) and we also have yet to hear what type of paid service they will demand for their console.  Sony doesn’t exactly have the best record for internet privacy or security.

If you are set on getting a new console this holiday season there isn’t much I can do to stop you from spending your money.  I personally think you would be better off saving the $500 on a new video card for a gaming rig and never have to worry about consoles running your gaming world from an ‘always online perspective’.

Whatever happened to single player games and other people having some privacy?  In a world full of instagrams and shameful skynetspring break videos it really shouldn’t surprise my seemingly old-crotchety self that consoles are going towards this same style of social networking.  Afterall, it is vital for everyone to know exactly what you are doing at all times no matter when or where.  It seems that John Connor has failed after a long fight against the corporate machines.

Skynet will become self-aware this holiday season.

Madden 13 Review – CPU AI and Decision Making

Sports games are always going to be destined for flack from the hardcore fanbase of each sport they represent.  It is the nature of the beast in many ways – today we will be taking a look at ‘the beast’ behind Madden 13 and the CPU AI and Decision Making (esp. Play Calling).

In Madden, the AI can either be non-existent or omniscient. There isn’t much of a middle ground and we hope to fix it the best we can with sliders. Otherwise you might face an AI that will simple say “No.”

Sliders Need To Be Adjusted

Playing Madden 13 on All Pro difficulty (second hardest to All-Madden) one of the first things you will notice is how easy it is to stop the CPU running game while you play defense.  It is really a combination of issues that starts with the problems with OLine and DLine interactions (aka- Blocking).  I was able to stop LeSean McCoy for a majority of the game with only a couple decent screen passes and one impressive 20 yard scamper.  Outside of that, it was easy to stop the CPU’s running attack.  I suggest moving the Human Sliders for Run Defense down to 35 or 40 if you wish to have a more realistic experience.  I will be working on an initial slider set in the near future, but it is something that must be done incrementally because one game doesn’t exhibit what will ‘always’ hold true.

Regarding CPU talent on offense, after playing the Bengals it was apparent that the CPU Passing Accuracy needed to be increased greatly as Andy Dalton struggled greatly through most of the game.  Once we got to the end of the game he somehow used his Ginger Ninja powers to complete a couple passes and lead an amazing drive.  Moving CPU Pass Accuracy to 75 and then reducing the Human and CPU Interception sliders to 35 should be a good start.

Comeback AI – The Reason You Have Broken Controllers

During my game against the Bengals I was enjoying a great defensive battle for almost the entire game.  I was holding a 17-9 lead with under 3 minutes left.  Andy Dalton had completed only 9 of 28 passes and was intercepted four times in the game.  He was terrible.  Then, almost as if the Peyton Manning DirectTV fairy came down and sprinkled ginger ninja pixie dust in his digital jock strap he came out of no where to complete crazy passes to Brandon Tate and his other targets with ease.  Not only was it strange that he was so accurate, but my defensive backs (who had played a great game up until this point) suddenly almost stopped playing and let a Bengals receiver get wide open 40+ yards down field.  The game came down to the Bengals attempting a 2-Point conversion – which is where our last section will take over.

CPU Decision Making – If your coach sucks in real life, just assume he is a cyborg programmed with EA’s Madden Play Calling Logic.

The Bengals, like the Eagles – had a hard time running against my Browns team all game long.  Then, finally when they scored their first touchdown and were within reach of tying the game because of a sudden magical ability to pass the ball – they decided to run it up the middle.

I stuffed the attempt and then recovered the ensuing onside kick.  It wasn’t the worst playcalling, but it goes to show that some of the logic that you would like to see in sports games is still missing.  This isn’t only in Madden either – you can see it in almost every baseball game as well as basketball games that put in confusing line-ups at the end of a game.

Madden 13 is a solid game, but it still suffers from some of the same issues that have become a legacy with this game.  We are hopeful to see some of these things alleviated through tuner updates and slider settings.  Stay tuned for our slider set in the coming week.  Keep in mind that the sliders will change throughout the year.