What Kind of Life Will YOU Live?!?!

EA Sports NHL 2014 has been dropping videos and information like nobody’s business about this year’s offering.  An AI Improvements statement here, a goalkeeping improvement video there.  EA seems to be really getting us ready for the last major NHL game before the jump to next gen consoles and are just tossing out everything they can think of, Today there’s a brand new video highlighting the Be a Pro mode which made its debut in NHL 09.  More than just being a player in NHL 14, you also have this life outside of hockey.  Your personality will shine through and your formative trials n’ tribulations as a young lad growing up in the mean streets of Manitoba will show itself once you step on the rink.

Now its not just what you do on the ice that determines your progression to worlds greatest toothless guy who can probably squat around 690 pounds, its how you handle yourself off the ice which determines your career progression.  Thinking about carrying an unlicensed gun in a nightclub wearing sweaties? I wouldn’t do that.  Wanna go home with that stripper from the club while you’re wife is at home with two kids? Probably not a good idea (ed.note: Says you).

During your life as a professional you’ll have to learn how to handle the media.  You can be of the Tom Brady/Peyton Manning breed and constantly just say the right things and always do whats best for the team.  Or…..you can take the Sean Avery route. You decide.

You’ll be interviewed before you enter the draft. You’ll be interviewed about pre-game jitters and post-game regrets.  You also better watch out for those off the field instances that fell many a career.  Do you really NEED to have a dog fighting ring in your backyard?  Do you really NEED to bring weed on an airplane on the way to a music festival?  You love wearing Unforgiveable cologne by Sean John?  Play well enough and Diddy will be begging you to be the face of his product along with all other sorts of endorsement deals.  Finally, Likeability meters detect (ed.note: WHAT DO THEY DETECT??) how well you are like by your teammates, management, and most importantly, the fans.  You can be like Mariano Rivera/Derek Jeter and have people begging you to be their teammates.  Or you can completely isolate yourself like A-Rod and management will want nothing more then to get you out of the clubhouse.

Enough with the real life comparisons, I know.  On a serious not there are actually some pretty interesting concepts and ideas that are integrated in this completely overhauled mode.  My personal favorite is that if you’re a bad teammate, your teammates won’t pass you the puck as much.  A hockey regular season is 82 games plus the playoffs.  I believe it would be very hard to find time to enjoy 10-15 seasons of this.  My approach to these types of modes is simply just to not play every game, Play the important games and the playoff games.  Tight race for first with the three games to go…  Hop on in.  Middle of the season and playing a last place team… I’ll pass.  My one question, and this will determine if I do this…. Do I have to control just my player or can I play as the whole team like you can in the FIFA franchise?

For die hard hockey fans this really is an awesome and time consuming mode which gets you really involved. This, coupled with the plethora of new improvements to gameplay, shows that the NHL franchise on current gen systems is leaving it all out on the ice.

Final Fight

EA Sports today..er yesterday..( a bit late sorry) released their 3rd and final video highlighting the improvements made to the latest installment of the NHL Franchise.  This one highlights the newly implemented Enforcer Engine, created for use in the Fight Night franchise.  These fights now have a 3rd person perspective and it will use a physics-based punch targeting.  Player size differentiation, user-controlled celebrations afterwards, and damage that remains through the entirety of the game round out the litany of changes.  EA announced that NHL won’t be coming to any next-gen consoles.  Is this a bad thing? Maybe not.  I don’t know how many next-gen titles people are going to buy right off the bat. You can only play one game at a time right?  EA is doing the smart thing here.  Put all your energy into this generation and make it an awesome experience.

Now that all three videos are available, here is a classic fight starring the great Patrick Roy facing off against Chris Osgood.

One-Touch Dekes and True Performance Skating

In this, EA’s second of their three part series showcasing new additions to NHL 14, we see one-touch dekes and an improved physics-based skating engine.  The one-touch offer a more user friendly way of pulling this maneuver by just using the left stick and one button.  As for the physics engine EA says it has “improved balance between speed and momentum, quicker pivots and enhanced lateral skating”  I added a video that Sportscenter made highlighting the best dekes.  Here is hoping that the NY Rangers can coerce Marek Malik out of retirement and use some of his magic against the Bruins.

I’m Gonna Make Gretzky Bleed..or Just Fall to the Ground In the Most Realistic Way Possible

No more bleeding in sports video games anymore. Sad I know, but that doesn’t mean all the fun and hard hitting is taken out of sports games.  EA today released a new trailer highlighting their improved collision physics that will be used in NHL 14.

While you’re at it hockey fans, head on over to the cover vote website and vote for who you want on the cover of NHL 14.

VPH Looks Ahead: NHL 14

The 2012-2013 NHL season hasn’t even reached the playoffs yet but EA decided to reveal the announcement trailer for NHL ’14 anyway.  All I have to say is WOW.  One of my first posts for MB was about the lack of effort put into welcoming first time gamers into the world of an NHL game.   Not to say that EA would concern themselves with the plebes this time around either. The WOW factor is entirely based on the trailer.  The way it moves from live to in-game action is  stellar. Sometimes I couldn’t even make out which one was which. (Check out the Semin to Tlusty doozy at the :39 mark)  EA revealed a few of the new gameplay mechanics and features as well.  With sports game I usually take a 1 year break between titles.  I mean, how much can actually change in a year?  Perfect example: the MLB 2k13 fiasco.

“We’re very proud of the history of innovation that the EA SPORTS NHL franchise has produced on this console generation, and this year we’re amplifying that innovation by leveraging technology from teams like FIFA and Fight Night.  We’re very proud of the history of innovation that the EA SPORTS NHL franchise has produced on this console generation, and this year we’re amplifying that innovation by leveraging technology from teams like FIFA and Fight Night,” says Dean Richards, General Manager, NHL, EA SPORTS. “This year fans will feel the speed, skill and aggression of NHL hockey like never before, powered by some of the best EA SPORTS technology to create the best game we could ever imagine.”

According to Joystiq, the game will have a ton of new additions and tweeks to both offline and online modes.   The list includes new collision physics (used in FIFA), the Enforcer Engine (used in Fight Night), True-Performance Skating, One-Touch dekes, updates on Be a Pro, and updates to the Hockey Ultimate Team and EASports Hockey League. EA Vancouver will be using said physics engine for the first time although it was first utilized in FIFA 12, by EA Canada.  Since then some  of the kinks have been hammered out, here’s hoping we see none of this:

Fifa 13 Soundtrack Revealed

Talk about massive.  Never have I seen a sports game line up so many great artists and great songs for a soundtrack like I have today when EA Sports today revealed its soundtrack for Fifa 13.  Its a missive collection of 50 songs from artists both popular and obscure.  Heres the list along with some of my favorite below.

Animal Kingdom Get Away With It
Ashtar Command Mark IV feat. Joshua Radin
Astro Panda
Atlas Genius If So
Band Of Horses Feud
Bastille Weight Of Living, Part 2
Bloc Party We Are Not Good People
Cali Outta My Mind
Clement Marfo & The Frontline Us Against The World
Crystal Fighters Follow
deadmau5 feat. Gerard Way Professional Griefers
Django Django Hail Bop
Duologue Get Out While You Can
Elliphant  TeKKno Scene feat. Adam Kanyama
Featurecast Got That Fire (Oh La Ha) (feat. Pugs Atomz)
Fitz And The Tantrums Spark
Flo Rida feat. Lil Wayne Let It Roll, Part 2
Foreign Beggars & Bare Noise See The Light
Hadouken! Bliss Out
Imagine Dragons On Top Of The World
Jagwar Ma What Love
Kasabian Club Foot
Jonathan Boulet You’re A Animal
Kimbra Come Into My head
Kitten G#
Kraftklub Eure Madchen
Ladyhawke Black White & Blue
Madeon Finale
Matisyahu Searchin
Metric Speed The Collapse
Miike Snow Paddling Out
Passion Pit I’ll Be Alright
Reptar Sweet Sipping Soda
Reverend And The Makers Shine The Light
Rock Mafia Fly Or Die
The Royal Concept Goldrushed
Royal Teeth Wild
Santigold Big Mouth
St. Lucia September
Stepdad Jungles
The Chevin Champion
The Enemy Saturday
The Heavy Don’t Say Nothing
The Presets Ghosts
Two Door Cinema Club Sleep Alone
Walk The Moon Quesadilla
Wretch 32 Blur
Youngblood Hawke We Come Running
Young Empires Rain Of Gold
Zemaria Past 2

How I Would Improve EA Sports NHL ’13

(ed. note: Intrepid contributor ViciousPjuraHead is spending the summer in Italy and will be filing dispatches of a gaming or comic related nature, when he gets around to it.

Every year sports games try to add innovation to keep their titles fresh, something innovative and interesting to play. I’ve been playing the EA NHL games for the last three years but I think this is the installment I skip, even with the improvements they’ve made to  Hockey IQ (via Digital Trends).

Look, I’m a HUGE hockey fan whose always looking to see the game itself improve alongside the game franchise.  Every year the new version of NHL is one of the games I’m most interested in playing.  However, during these past few years I have found myself getting more and more frustrated keeping up with the strategy it takes to play these games.  Even though the playbooks, general controls and strategies of the Madden franchise are much more complex, I am more familiar with the sport and can hold my own against both  computer & online opponents.  NHL is the complete opposite. If the game’s complexity keeps rising and even avid fans can’t play it anymore, who are these games for?

Now I understand that these games are more and more being made for the die-hard fans of the sport and the series.  You would think that, by my earlier description, that would be me.  Yet it’s not.  Then when EA swings the other way, like they did with Madden 11, it’s equally terrible. EA tried to make the game more for casual gamers and it actually ruined the experience for me because the game was way too easy, incredibly unrealistic, and the online scores were in the range of almost 100 points between both players. The dilemma for EA is how do they straddle those two worlds, between the diehards & hardcore and the casual, “Hey, I used to play NFL Blitz” crowds? Judging by their recent releases, I’d say that the casual gamer is being left in the dust with nary a look book.  Forget it Jake, it’s just videogame sportstown.