June 12 Can’t Come Fast Enough

To prepare for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, ESPN is doing a very nice job at covering every team until the tournament begins (32 Teams in 32 Days). Additionally, some cool, specialized artwork has been created for every team (you can see all of them here) and I’ve added some of my favorites below. The teams I’m rooting for, in no particular order: Italy, because I’m an Italian and and have greasy hair.  The Netherlands because I like their style of play and because they win the prize for brightest color in the tournament.  America, because, well….I live in America and the poster features a guy who looks like me (a bald tough guy). Can’t forget France, because I didn’t think it was possible to make French people look so intimidating.

 

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.

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 Career Mode, Episode 1

What a start for Napoleon (ed note: Who? Follow from the beginning here)! But Napoleon will be the first one to tell you that it’s not how you start it’s how you finish.  With a miniscule budget of only 1.5 million Euros, AC Ajcaccio are so far undefeated 3 games into the season.  After various attempts at signing some low-level prospects in hopes of bolstering up his team, Napoleon was forced to stay with his current squad and work with what he had.  What’s he have? Not what, but who: an unhappy striker name Andrei Murgu.  He is a Romanian born talent who has jumped all around Serie A before landing with Ajaccio prior to the 2012 season.  Napoleon thought it would be best to unload some aging talent in hopes  of acquiring younger players for the future.  This upset the 33-year-old striker and although his form is OK he is not the happiest as the season gets underway.  Having recapped the major storylines so far let’s get to the action.  Followed by each game summary will be a short (unfortunately really short) video of the goal highlight.  Since EA only allows 5 videos at a time these will be available until the next update.

GAME 1 – Ajaccio pull away with a narrow 1-0 victory over OGC Nice after a nice right footed shot from the right side of the box by the Mali native Sigamary Diarra. ACA 1 – OGC 0

GAME 2 – Sigamary Diarra scores early to put Ajaccio on the board.  What looks like to be huge early upset and a nice statement game for Ajaccio, PSG silence the home crowd with a late goal by Guillaume Hoarau in the final minutes to tie the game at 1-1.  Both teams go home with a point but Napoleon is surely disappointed knowing that he was minutes away from going home with all three points. ACA 1 – PSG 1

GAME 3 – A thrilling game where Ajaccio answered each time Evian scored. The final goal being a killer left footed shot in the upper 90’s by Frederic Sammaritano.  With a final score of 2-2 Ajaccio remain undefeated in the opening three games of the season and currently rank 5th.  ACA 2 – ETG 2

Coming up on the Ajaccio schedule is an away game at Valenciennes FC followed by the opening round of the Coupe de Ligue, which is a knockout tournament involving the top three tiers of French football. The first opponents are Toulouse FC.  Be sure to check back next week for all the latest updates as Napoleon tries to avoid relegation and keep Ajaccio in a tight battle for the Ligue 1 crown.

VPH: Hey Bethesda, Thanks for Not Telling Me About Dishonored feat. Impervious Rex

How did ANOTHER game that is getting great reviews sneak under my radar? Clearly the marketing attempts of the various video games companies are not reaching me. IGN has got my hook up though, giving Dishonored an AMAZING 9.2 review score.  Maybe this will take the place of the Skyim DLC issues that the PS3 has been having, which based on the latest Twitter update from Bethesda, isn’t coming anytime soon. Bethesda’s even said “It’s our issue to solve, not the PS3’s or Sony’s“.

Now I’m following Bethesda on Twitter to find out what new games they’re releasing. Not going to let another gem slip through my net (ed. note: mixed metaphors much?)! I just don’t know how I can fit Dishonored into my rigorous schedule of FIFA13 and Borderlands 2. I may have to take an extended sabbatical…from life.

Damn you Bethesda and your open world, incredibly addicting, life sucking games.

IMPERVIOUS REX TAGS IN!

*A-hem* I really do want this game.  After Borderlands 2, it’s the game I am most looking forward to this Fall.  My previous M.O. has always been to try and track down a street-date breaking early release (which is actually fairly easy here in NYC) and just play a game ’til the wheels fall off.  However, this runs into direct conflict with my other video game M.O.: No New Games Until You’ve Finished The Current One.  I admit it: I can’t multitask my entertainment. I can’t play two games at the same time, I can’t read two books at the same time, I can’t date two girls at the same time (such a problem, believe me). So how do I reconcile my freakish, OCD-esque level of need to buy a game early with the fact it’s just going to sit on my shelf for an indeterminate amount of time until finishing whatever the current game of the moment is? Intense Therapy.

But it also helps when its a Bethesda game. Look , I love Bethesda. Fallout 3 is one of my favorite games of all time. But that shit was broken. Fallout: New Vegas was broken. Skyrim was broken. How could Dishonored be any different? I want it to be, I need it to be. I just don’t think it will be. So until I can gather a consensus that the game is playable for more than 15 minutes without it locking up, I’ll be content ranging across Pandora, picking up bazillions of guns.

Modern Borefare: What We’re Looking Forward To in October

ImperviousRex
Well, definitely looking forward to New York Comic Con ’12! Speaking of, look what arrived today:
it's mah badge

The best part of the Pro badge is being able to access the show floor on Thursday before a large percentage of NYCC attendees,allowing me to  roll around the floor in a barely controlled frenzy, grabbing everything that isnt nailed down and gawking at everything before it’s been spoiled by the masses on Friday. I’m a Con snob, I’M SORRY.

Two weeks after that I am surrending my singlehood and getting married then jetting off to exotic locales for my post-wedding vacation (honeymoon is a dumb name. Deal with it).
In between, I am definitely looking forward to the end of Marvel’s AvX, the start of Rot World in DC Comic’s Swamp Thing and Animal Man, and Dishonored & Assassin’s Creed 3 on the PS3 while trying to wrap up Borderlands 2. Are you playing Borderlands 2? If not, you should be. We’re going to attempt another Modern Borefare Game Club for Borderlands 2, so grab the game and participate!
Perhaps my iPhone 5 will show up. (UPDATE: It arrives tomorrow! Fuzzah!). Also, I’m fairly excited for Looper, one of the few movies this year that I’ve actually been looking forward to (the others being, Cabin in the Woods, The Avengers, The DarkKnight Rises and The Master).
Adam
What am I excited for in October? Oh, nothing much, just EVERYTHING.
As I do every year, I’ll be celebrating the Halloween season by completely ignoring my family and friends in favor of watching 31 scary movies and blogging about every unholy one of them at 31 Flavors of Terror. I’m setting myself up for a letdown but I’m particularly optimistic about SinisterFrankenweenie and maybe even Silent Hill: Revelation. Last year I overextended myself by mixing in three weekly TV shows and a bunch of other random crap. This year I don’t have time for that nonsense because the wife and I recently produced our very own little monster, who I’m excited to see turn 6 months old in October. But, yeah, mostly excited about the movies.
thegreekdog
I’m looking forward to my second child.  Before that happens though I’m literally working day and night in the office (regular work) or at home (getting ready for Baby #2 work).  Definitely looking forward to playing Madden more (yeah right) and the return of the Joker in Batman (the only comic I get monthly).
Vicious Pjurahead:

On the game front I’m pretty solid right now until the end of the month. I’m playing Borderlands 2 and FIFA 13. I don’t know why but I just rented Tekken Tag 2 but I can’t see playing it much as long as my FIFA career is thriving. Towards the end of the month we have Medal of Honor and Assassins Creed 3. Also, sneaking might be the possible PSN download of Jeopardy. Knowing that its connected to the PSN it might have multiplayer and it might also update its questions (or answers in this case) often is appealing. That’s  await and see though.On the music front nothing other than Muses The 2nd Law. As for movies Argo looks solid and hopefully next week I will be checking out The Master and Looper. Anyone wanna come to England with me the end of October for the Skyfall premiere? If you buy the flights, hotels and pay for me to miss school those days I will buy the movie tickets and a small popcorn we can both share.

And finally, my boy ImperviousRex is getting married and I’m a groomsman! Couldn’t be happier for him. Drop him a line and make sure to congratulate him.

The Rise and Reign of Napoleon Bonaparte….in FIFA

The day FIFA gets released is always a great day for me.  Watching live matches for the past month or so gets me itching to get my hands on the latest edition of FIFA and this game so far has not disappointed.  The level of depth in the Ultimate Team, EA Sports Football Club, and Career modes have me so sidetracked today I’ve only played a handful games over the four to five  hour span that I’ve actually had the game.

Aside from the Ultimate Team which will be taking up a majority of my time, I have decided to start a career and give updates as I work my up from the lowly ranks of a Ligue 1 French team to the head coach of a World Cup squad.

As a history teacher by heart (this year I’m teaching third grade) I will play as one of my favorite historical figures.  A man whose strategy is studied at military academies all over the world.  Hopefully some of his strategies will have a successful translation from the battlefield and onto the playing field.  The man who will be leading the charge is none other than Napoleon Bonaparte.

From the humble beginnings in Ajaccio in Corsica where our dear leader was born (you can visit his house), Napoleon will set out to first prove his dominance of the French Leagues against the likes of PSG, Olympique Lyon, and Lille. But soon he will set his eyes on bigger prizes like he did almost 200 years ago.  Austria, Spain, The Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, and finally strive get revenge on the country that decimated his army…..Russia.  As the newly appointed general…er..coach, Napoleons sole objective in the first season is simply to avoid relegation.  Working with only a 1.8 million euro budget, time will tell if his financial strategy of getting good players is as good as his strategy on the pitch.  Season starts tomorrow with games against OGC Nice and the oh so dangerous PSG….

P.S. – Don’t forget that ImperviousRex and I are huge online and multiplayer competitor.  Check out our PSN IDs in the righthand column and join for some ass kickin’!

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

And Then There Was One……

August and September is a sports lover and video gamers dream. Where the NFL, NHL, and soccer fans from around the globe get to watch their favorite teams in HD and then step into the of those teams when they switch their television settings over to Input 2.

As the years go by my time to play video games is becoming more precious. Whereas I used to buy every Fifa, Madden & NHL title that EA released and play all them until all hours of the night, this year I’m thinking it would be smart if I only focus on buying and mastering one game.  And the lucky girl is (ed.note: Oh, the suspense!)FIFA ’13! Playing Madden ’13 helped make my decision very easy. Not that Madden 13 was bad, far from it.  The graphics were crisp, gameplay was smooth and the commentary by Jim Nance and Phil Simms was actually not zombiefied.  It’s just that…it was so boring.  I felt more and more like I was going through the motions of the game play instead of actually getting invested in wanting to win and improve my game.  I understand that this years Madden changed a lot of its focus to Connected Careers and online game play, but I just don’t think that’s enough to keep my interest, especially when the thing that I have become addicted to more than anything is the FIFAs Ultimate Team (FUT) game mode.

Yesterday at Gamescon, EA announced a plethora of new features in FUT including single player seasons, Team of the Week Challenges, and many more. Check out NowGamer for the full list.  The one thing I’ve always wanted in FUT is for player’s careers to expire after a certain number of games played.  I feel this would be beneficial to people that don’t spend money to get packs and it make games that are played between humans much more even.  Once someone gets Lionel Messi, that person is going to use him until the cows come home or he gets erased from The Matrix.  But limit the number of games he can play and using him becomes much more strategic.  Younger players, such as Messi and Ozil get 100 games or so while older players, such as Drogba and Di Natale, get 30 or so.  Playing with those older would make the games much more exciting you want to end their career on an absolute high note.  NHL Ultimate Team introduced this feature a few years ago and it always something that has stuck with me.

My time with the Madden and NHL franchise has been wonderful, (don’t even get me started on MLB The Show) but the time for me to focus on one sport that I can try to master and dominate has come.  Unpredictable is the key word, and if the USA’s victory in Mexico last was something to go on, it certainly was….unpredictable.