Madden 25 and Infinity Engine 2.0

As many sports fans finish watching the Final Four tomorrow there will be a new direction for their attention to go in the coming weeks (assuming they are NFL fans).  The NFL Draft is this month and while there aren’t any real high profile ‘must draft’ prospects out there there is plenty of hype to be started for some teams and especially for Madden 25.

NCAA Football 14 just announced through their typical trailer promo that it would have Infinity Engine 2.0.  While this isn’t much of a surprise as Madden had it first (last year), it is something that should make Madden fans wonder what is coming this year.  Now that EA has started to push yet another cover vote (as if it really matters) they are once again pushing the old players into the mix with a bracket that seems to be played out after the Peyton Hillis cover debacle – why I voted for him to curse my

I wonder if they will still keep brittle QBs damn-near invincible...?
I wonder if they will still keep brittle QBs damn-near invincible…?

Browns is beyond me.

Now that the Madden 13 cycle is almost over (most Madden fans will put this game on the shelf until July, when NFL Camps grab their attention and they can’t help themselves) we are looking to the next iteration of the same game we buy in droves every August.  With NCAA’s announcement there are some things we can all but assume for Madden 25’s improvements.

Better tackle physics are something that happen incrementally every year for Madden.  However, now that the NFL is making rules against certain player centered moves (tucking your head when running the ball – IE, The Truck Stick) we will most likely see a trend for Madden to be even more toned down as time goes forward.

Another hope for Madden is better O-Line/D-Line interactions.  This has as much to do with physics as it does with how the game is programmed.  It has been shown on numerous occasions that Madden’s blocking system is broken at best.  There have been multiple occasions in the past where I have had a punter or kicker mysteriously jump into the O-Line and easily handle a 350 lb defensive lineman.  While this goes beyond the infinity engine, it is something that should be made apparent regardless.

Pass Interference has been non-existent in Madden for almost the entire generation of 360/PS3 titles.  There are high hopes that Madden 25 and Infinity 2.0 will actually have this often-called penalty fully functional this year (on both sides of the ball).

As far as gaming goes in 2013, it has been a surprisingly dull start with little to look forward to in terms of games and even the new consoles.  It seems that we have hit a bit of a lull when it comes to this generation’s games.  Everything is a sequel, prequel or some other sort of half-assed effort with a big name company stamp on it (I am looking at you SimCity).  I always start out my year by saying I won’t buy Madden because it is the same game every single year.  Now that we are firmly set to start draft season, I am sure my tune will change for a few months before we are once again asking for patches the day after the game comes out.

As more Madden info comes out we will have it here for you – with completely honest opinions and reactions.

If you are curious about the roster update for Madden 13 – it is in progress and will be out in a couple weeks.
The draft is often a busy time for roster updating, so it will be a good time to get that work started.

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Gears of Boredom – Why Gears of War Judgment Isn’t Worth Your Time (or Money)

Once again, we are entering the realm of yet another sequel prequel.  The Gears of War saga has been one of the best selling franchises during this generation of consoles.  If you never played the series it can be best summed up as a cross between the 1980s movie Tremors, Predator and The Descent – with more blood, GOWTREMgore and chainsaw bayonets.

Epic Games and Microsoft did an amazing job of supporting the game with patches and developing it into one of the most compelling storylines in recent shooter-game history.  Much like the original Star Wars Trilogy was enough to keep fans satiated with what many consider to be the best cinematic story/opera of all time, it is being plagued with the corporate desire for profit rather than creativity and finality to a great story in the form of the godforsaken prequel. 

Quite a bit has changed at Epic since the conclusion of the Gears trilogy as well.  Primarily the departure of Cliff Bleszinski and other longtime members of the development team.  While it isn’t surprising that people come and go in the world of gaming and game development it isn’t exactly boding well for a series that has really lost a lot of its luster now that the story is over.  Not to mention the fact that the ‘improvements’ and tweaks being made to GoW Judgment seem to be cosmetic at best.

Looks more like a member of GWAR or the Legion of Doom than a Locust.
Looks more like a member of GWAR or the Legion of Doom than a Locust.

If you are a fanboy/girl of the series none of what has been mentioned will convince you to part with your favorite franchise.  It is one of the things that makes you what you are to corporate gaming studios – the dedicated lemmings that also populate the Call of Duty and Halo sales charts are the same… numbers on a graph.

This is why it isn’t surprising at all to see Epic pushing out one final (or first?) chapter of a game that has had a conclusion for awhile now.  They are coming up on the end of an entire generation of consoles; and there isn’t much time left before they start pursuing some sort of new blood-soaked trilogy that will impress us graphically, theatrically and monetarily.  It is almost a certainty that Epic will design some sort of new GoW-esque title for the next generation but that isn’t going to stop them from milking their cash cow one more time before laughing their way to the bank with the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

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.

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.