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FIFA 16 photo
FIFA 16

FIFA 16 includes women's national teams (finally)


Four top players did motion capture
May 28
// Brett Makedonski
The FIFA video game series has been around for two decades, and in that time, it's been a boys only club. There's been outside pressure to reform, notably in 2013 when Spanish player Vero Boquete started a petition to u...
Madden 16 trailer photo
Madden 16 trailer

That Odell Beckham catch looks way less impressive in Madden 16


Another year another Madden
May 14
// Steven Hansen
In case you were concerned, yes, there will be a Madden this year. Madden 16, so expect it to feature a lot of One Direction and complain about how it wanted the 7 series BMW, not that poverty-lined 4 series. It seems the on...
Gawlful photo
Gawlful

EA's PGA Tour gameplay trailer is just as boring as watching real golf


Look at that grass, though!
Apr 24
// Brett Makedonski
Golfing is fantastic. Reckless cart driving, endless jokes about "ball washers," and your friend puking in the rough on the 14th hole because he's somehow on, like, his 14th beer. Swat a tiny sphere a few hundred feet every ...
Rory McIlroy PGA Tour photo
Rory McIlroy PGA Tour

Rory McIlroy replaces Tiger Woods on EA's PGA Tour


Rory McIlroy PGA Tour
Mar 17
// Steven Hansen
Tiger Woods' name has gone from being synonymous with golf to being a different kind of pop culture reference. I'm not even sure if he golfs anymore. I just know he shows up to places missing teeth. Of course, EA's PGA Tour ...
EA Vault photo
EA Vault

Madden NFL 15 latest EA Vault addition


Boom!
Mar 04
// Robert Summa
EA Access continues to prove itself worthy as Madden NFL 2015 has just been added to the current lineup of available games in the The Vault. It's a shame Sony turned down this service. Despite their concerns, it appears to be providing plenty of value -- at least it would for me.
NBA Live 15 photo
NBA Live 15

NBA Live 15 added to EA Vault


Kind of like when gramps gets shipped to a nursing home
Feb 24
// Robert Summa
Times have never been so low for those of us who love basketball and the games the sport inspires. While the NBA2K series may appear to be good enough for the majority, there is a growing minority that has become fed up with ...
EA Sports UFC photo
EA Sports UFC

It's now easier to unlock Bruce Lee in EA Sports UFC


Old-school cool via free download
Dec 23
// Jordan Devore
Martial artist Bruce Lee is in EA Sports UFC, somehow. You can play as him after besting Career Mode on Pro difficulty or higher, or instantly if you pre-ordered the game. Because money. That's how it was, anyway. Electronic ...
EA Access photo
EA Access

EA Sports UFC (and Bruce Lee!) joins EA Access on December 18


Seventh game in The Vault
Dec 11
// Jordan Devore
Damn. Started my last post about EA Access by admitting I keep forgetting the service exists, so it'd be poor form to do that again despite my continued forgetfulness. And now I've muddied this post by calling attention to th...
NHL 15 photo
NHL 15

NHL 15 predicts entire hockey season, probably gets it horribly wrong


L.A. Kings again?
Oct 01
// Brett Makedonski
EA Sports used NHL 15 to simulate and predict the upcoming NHL season which begins next week. The results are most likely terribly wrong because nowhere does it anticipate that the Colorado Avalanche will be crowned Sta...

Review: NHL 15

Sep 24 // Brett Makedonski
NHL 15 (Xbox One [reviewed], PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)Developer: EA CanadaPublisher: EA SportsRelease: September 9, 2014MSRP: $59.99 The direction of EA Canada's focus on developing a hockey title for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 is clear -- prioritize the actual game of hockey. Through a thorough revamping of the physics system, the action's more convincing than ever. With the puck acting as a puck and not a spherical ball, small quirky plays happen with regularity, such as a pass hopping over a forward's stick. Likewise, the new physics make their impact on the 12 players on the ice. Crashing the net has never been so fun, as the huge pileups can lead to plenty of sloppy scoring chances. It's also a joy to watch the goaltenders make save after save in differing fashion as they react to the chaotic nature of both the players and the puck. It's tough to estimate exactly how nuanced and deep this physics rehaul goes -- like if the boards at Joe Louis Arena are livelier than other rinks -- but it's enough to make a noticeable and constant impression. For all the work that's gone into physics, it'd be a moot point if NHL 15's AI didn't act like hockey players would. Fortunately, they do. Defensemen will almost always stay at home, making it incredibly difficult to go coast-to-coast alone. Forwards will immediately jump on the backcheck after a turnover, getting the headstart on regaining control. Everyone usually just feels like they're in the spot they should be. [embed]281559:55723:0[/embed] This AI competency means that there really isn't anything in the way of a consistent scoring glitch or strategy that I could find. Maybe wristers halfway into the attacking zone went in more often than they necessarily should, but there's no wraparound trick or one-timer combo that will almost always work. Despite its mostly spot-on gameplay, NHL 15 isn't without its occasional moments that remind you this is just a videogame. In Be a GM mode, I lost Gabriel Landeskog for an extended period of time, but not before he skated up-ice flawlessly and scored a goal immediately after the commentator declared that "he looks shaken up." Likewise, I once surrendered a penalty shot for an infraction along the wing, despite having another defenseman directly in front of the net. Moments like these are staunch reminders that even though the gameplay is good, it's still far from perfect. Really, the one thing that may go the furthest toward tying together NHL 15's illusion of "this is real hockey" is the presentation. Featuring a commentary team of NBC Sports' Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, and Ray Ferraro, fans would be hard-pressed to ask for a better line-up calling the game (except for you, everyone in Canada). The beginning of each match-up starts with a "live broadcast" that genuinely makes each game seem more important than it really is. What's most impressive about the presentation is how in-depth and dynamic it is. The team will talk about different angles to the game, profile certain characters, or discuss who's on a recent hot streak. Even though you think you know what they're about to say, the commentary's almost always a surprise, as there's a bevy of lines for many situations. Adding to that effect is the mid-game contribution from Ray Ferraro, who's at ice level, and will periodically analyze a player's game, whether it's showcasing his big hits or chronicling his tremendous saves. Of course, this excellence in production translates to the visuals, as one would expect from a game on current consoles. Everything that's happening is sharper and more detailed. The player models look fantastic, and give plenty of reason to watch post-goal celebrations. When you watch the ice shavings as the goalie carves up the crease after an intermission, well, you get sort of nostalgic for that trademark hockey rink smell. But, for everything it does right on the ice, NHL 15 missteps horribly off-ice. This year's iteration is simply stunningly lacking in game modes and options, especially compared to NHL 14. Fans of the franchise will likely be affected in some way, as the list of things nixed is too great to ignore. Just as a sample, gone are EA Sports Hockey League, GM Connected, Winter Classic, Be a Legend, and regular old season mode. Those are just some of the greater examples. Even for the modes that remain, many are scaled back in inexplicable ways. For instance, in Be a Pro, it's no longer an option to simulate to the next shift. You're just forced watch mindlessly from the bench. Unfortunate enough to take a penalty? Then you might as well just go make a sandwich or take a restroom break. Be a GM is similarly stripped. For a mode that thrives on control, NHL 15 gives you next to none. The AHL affiliate teams have been done away with, and players in the minors don't accumulate any season stats -- they just sort of exist without any progress that you can control. There are no longer any goals to aim other than winning (I guess). Probably most egregious, the year-end draft is completely run by the CPU, and the preseason and fantasy drafts are gone. Predictably, the Hockey Ultimate Team mode is plenty intact. After all, EA looks at it as a central piece to making $1 billion from extra content this year. However, the only way to earn pucks now seems to be from playing online -- no longer picking up a few from time spent in singleplayer modes. Or, (as EA would surely like) just open up that wallet of yours. For what it's worth, EA's patching some of these missing features back into NHL 15. Already added are a playoff mode, coach feedback in Be a Pro, and the three stars of the game (how the latter was ever overlooked, I'll never know). Coming soon are online team play and the aforementioned ability to control the draft in Be a GM. That's the extent of the plans that EA has outlined thus far. It's all such a shame because at its heart NHL 15 is a very solid hockey game. It just doesn't do any of the non-hockey stuff right. Honestly, newcomers to the franchise might not even notice. But, series veterans would feel incredibly cheated. If nothing else, this is a great foundation for EA Canada to build on as it gets more comfortable developing for Xbox One and PS4. There are undoubtedly great things in the pipeline for the NHL franchise, but NHL 15 isn't a part of those plans.
NHL 15 reviewed photo
On-ice first star, off-ice distraction
With regard to sports games, the most important facet of any given title should always be the actual playing of the sport. That's how NHL 15 is. It mostly shines when you're on-ice, leading the charge through the neutral...

Soccer suckers photo
Soccer suckers

FIFA 15 PC glitch just runs everyone to the center of the pitch


Good job, EA
Sep 24
// Steven Hansen
FIFA 15, just released yesterday in North America and yet to be released in Europe and the UK, is already having some troubles. Maybe you're in luck if you buy it on Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, 3DS or Vita (and b...
Madden GIFerator photo
Madden GIFerator

We had entirely too much fun with the Madden GIFerator


No one uses this thing for trash talk
Sep 06
// Brittany Vincent
EA Sports had this crazy idea that sounded as though, in a perfect world, it just might work. They empowered football fans to create their own GIFs complete with player animations, backgrounds, and smack talk with an impossib...

Review: Madden 15

Sep 05 // Steven Hansen
Madden NFL 15 (PlayStation 4 [reviewed], Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)Developer: EA TiburonPublisher: EA SportsRelease: August 26, 2014MSRP: $59.99 It is interesting how strong perspective is at making Madden NFL 15 brought to you by Under Armor™ Dental Dams (Protect THIS house!) feel different. It's a trick, really. The new default camera zooms in and angles more towards your players' line of sight than Tim Tebow's God's bird's-eye view. Thankfully, the camera angles can be adjusted via the directional pad and you can go right back to that series standard view and think, "Good, things are familiar and that makes me feel safe." If you are feeling radical, though, try out the new defensive camera (while on defense) for a third-person, behind the back angle from your defender's point of view. I also recommend locking yourself as that player so as to avoid disorienting camera angles when you try to shift to a DB after a throw, unless you must get every hit yourself (fumbles are in vogue this year). Me, I mostly stuck to playing on football's best defensive line (St. Louis). Hitting sprint at the snap gives you an indicator of your timing ("perfect" or "late") and now you know one button is for finesse moves and to disengage, one button is for power moves. This new camera does make defense fun. Piling up three to five sack per game (with one player) is fun, though maybe cruel. [embed]280704:55570:0[/embed] The defensive view can gum up Madden NFL 15 brought to you by Tang™ (make SPACE in your pantry), particularly when opponents are running the hurry up. Rather than default to your last play (on offense or defense) and requiring you audible out, the hurry up zooms in on obscuring close ups of the quarterback and offers you three other plays (like the traditional play call screen), or the option to opt out and return to your original play. You have to pick one of these four options before you can see all the players lined up proper. Occasionally this led to, when I finally got back in position, the camera view switching back 180 degrees, which is disorienting. A couple times I found myself offsides. Small price to pay, though, for making defense fun. The close up perspective, combined with a tackle cone (like the QB vision cone, but good) also makes it easier to judge distance, not whiff on tackles, or effectively disengage a blocker to drag down a running back (or mobile QB).  The other thing Madden NFL 15 brought to you by Bengay Spermicide™ (Nukes the swimmers AND burns the glans!)  does right is offer a decent, albeit annoyingly branded Skills Trainer, which it forces you into immediately (though you can skip it). Combined with additional information on the play call screen (suggestions for what type of plays work against what types of defense, notes on how often team's run certain sets on certain downs and distances, etc), there's a decent attempt at teaching new players the systems, buttons and rules of football.  Then of course there are niggles and legacy issues. Defensive backs are turned up in the Richard Sherman era, making a lot of picks, especially undercutting shallow routes. This is partly because receivers (still) won't try to muscle toward the ball. The only time I remember one coming to the ball was when he was sitting -- completely uncovered -- in a curl route in the endzone. The one time I want a receiver to sit there and catch the ball, he ran out of the endzone (on 4th and goal) to catch the ball, locking me in an animation and leading him to get tackled before I could turn him back into the endzone.  The first thing I do in Madden brought to you by Verizon Wireless Prison Cells™ (Your inmates will be LOCKED IN to these plans!) is go into the settings and turn the commentary volume off because it is (still) horrible. At least it is a passive assault on the player. Worse is the forced pageantry, the "presentation" elements that slow the game for no reason. When I jump offsides, I don't need (or want) to see my player look grumpy for 7 seconds, and then the coach look angry for 5 seconds, and then the referee do stupid hand gestures for 13 seconds, and then the two possible results of the penalty for 6 seconds, and then an opposing coach look happy for 3 seconds, and then be asked to call another play. I just want to play a football game. Don't even show me replays. There's an Instant Replay feature if I want to see something again. Don't make me mash the X button and stare bug-eyed at whomever's in the room with me for 30 seconds until the stupid halftime pageantry is over. Halftime is one of the parts of football nobody likes because football isn't happening. Why don't you put a commercial after a touchdown, then another 15 seconds later after the 2 yard kick return while you're at it? (Please, don't.) NFL Blitz just had an Extra Point play that you'd press and it'd immediately say "Here's another point!" for a second and then the opposing team would already be receiving a kick off. You don't have to be that quick, but show some hustle. I'm sorry some underpaid, under stimulated artist had to realistically render Andy Reid's mustache bristles, but I don't ever want to look at him.  Madden NFL 15 brought to you by Crazy, Concussed Joe's Discount Corporate Billionaire Wig Refinery™ (We PASS the shavings onto you!) also makes a big deal about putting quarterback accuracy "at a premium," but I ran into the weird happening of QBs, even junk ones, regularly fielding completion percentages in the 90s against me. Maybe all the sacking and run-stopping led to too many short, high completion percentage plays, but I found it odd how I'd dominate games, but the opposing QBs would be 19/20. And I, rarely using top QBs, didn't have accuracy issues (just hawking DB issues). Actually felt a little easier to put certain kinds of touch on the ball.  Mostly, offense feels the same. Running on friends seems to work fine, but running on the computer is a nightmare unless you a) do the bad-football-thing of running laterally and turning a corner up the sideline, or b) catch the defense in a bad set and then no-huddle call the same play over and over, picking up ten yards at a time and going all the way down the field. You don't have to be Jon Bois to break Madden. Someone already figured out how to stand still and not get tackled for over a minute. More will come. I also recommend leaning on tight ends, five wide sets, and general open field manic running (nothing as bad as playing against old school Mike Vick, but, still). I still want nothing to do with microtransaction-laden Ultimate Team. Connected Careers is still dull in Owner Mode (halfhearted management sim) and filled with unnecessary gimmicks in the rest (don't worry about Confidence, just dump XP direct into player stats and win games). Load screens and game sims are still long (I don't even watch the pre-season; I don't want to play it), though at least the cluttered UI doesn't hitch at every button push in the PS4 version like it does in the PS3 version (makes upgrading players and everything else a nightmare on last gen). Madden NFL 15 brought to you by the NFL's classist, uncaring, voracious appetite for profit and general moral failure as a multi-billion dollar business built on the backs of broken, mostly forgotten workers™ takes its existing defensive framework and makes it not suck. This lets me hit quarterbacks more and release the aggression that wells up when I see any of the in-game advertisements. The rest is Madden 25, but less hideous.
Madden review photo
There's a team called the 'Redskins' in this game, which is super racist!
Madden 15 on PS3 and 360 is bad garbage that EA shouldn't get away with releasing. Alright then, onto current-gen.

GIFs photo
GIFs

Ah, so that's where those silly Madden GIFs are coming from


Create your own monstrosity
Sep 04
// Jordan Devore
I don't care at all about Madden, but GIFs? Damn you, Electronic Arts. You've won. The company has created a GIF maker for Madden NFL 15, "designed to help fans celebrate their favorite team's biggest plays and challenge thei...
NBA Live 15 photo
NBA Live 15

Not enough basketball in this NBA Live 15 trailer


And 2K is still streets ahead
Sep 02
// Steven Hansen
After taking several years to reboot NBA Live and still stumbling out of the gate with a crummy NBA Live 14 last year, EA isn't winning anyone over with a Visuals video or a face scanning video or a cover star announcem...
EA's DLC photo
EA's DLC

EA aims to make $1 billion from extra content this year


Sports franchises being big contributors
Aug 26
// Brett Makedonski
Everyone knows that downloadable add-ons for videogames have become a profitable trend in recent years. This year, EA's aiming high and hopes to rake in a record amount of revenue from DLC. According to an article on Bloomber...
NHL demo photo
NHL demo

NHL 15 demo is up on PS4 and Xbox One


Play it if you want. Or don't. I'm not a cop.
Aug 26
// Steven Hansen
You can play as either the New York Rangers or LA Kings, test out that new skill stick they're flaunting, or go into a free skate practice mode if you're new. 
EA Sports photo
EA Sports

The EA Sports Season Ticket has ceased to exist


Same with Sports Arena
Aug 21
// Chris Carter
As was expected with the advent of the EA Access program, the EA Sports Season Ticket and Arena initiatives are phasing out. If you have a Season Ticket it will run until the end of March 2015, at which point it will expire -...
Madden tries 'weird' photo
Madden tries 'weird'

EA spent tons of money on this 'kooky' 'viral' Madden trailer


Dueling celebs, Lady Gaga jokes, women in hot pants, hologram football players
Aug 15
// Steven Hansen
I bet the people involved had a lot of fun shooting this offbeat Madden 15 commercial. It's also an obviously expensive production (beyond the celebrity costs) meant to be "weird" and, hopefully, shared (viral) over the Net....
Madden 15 bundle photo
Madden 15 bundle

Xbox One Madden 15 bundle throws in a copy of the game for free


Not a bad deal if you're the football playin' type
Aug 04
// Brett Makedonski
Madden 15 is getting a special Xbox One bundle for its August 26 release. Like any offensive lineman worth his salt, it's larger than average. However, unlike any all-star caliber player, it sort of comes at a discount. ...
NHL 15 photo
NHL 15

NHL 15 flaunts its alliteration with the Superstar Skill Stick


See how the system's changed
Jul 24
// Brett Makedonski
Slapshots from the point, cheeky tip-ins, and wristers through traffic are all perfectly fine, but when you play an NHL game, you want to embarrass your opponent. You want them going to get their jock out of the rafters...
#brands photo
#brands

Team USA's Clint Dempsey loses Xbox shirt for PS3/PS4 FIFA 15 cover


#brands
Jul 21
// Steven Hansen
Lionel Messi will grace the cover of FIFA for the third year straight year, but FIFA 15's North American release will see team USA's Clint Dempsey creeping behind Messi, wondering why his lighting is so different.  ...
FIFA 15 photo
FIFA 15

FIFA 15 puts priority on emotions and giant dogpiles


Everyone looks so happy!
Jul 18
// Brett Makedonski
Last month, I did my best to tell you what EA Sports wanted to put emphasis on for its three big sports titles this year. Then, it went and undermined me by releasing videos that say exactly what I wrote. In the unfortunate ...
NHL 15 photo
NHL 15

Pucks and players are more chaotic in NHL 15


All thanks to the laws of physics
Jul 18
// Brett Makedonski
About a month ago, I explained how EA Sports' big focus for NHL 15 was physics. In the event that you didn't believe me (or hate reading), this video adequately sums up the studio's intentions. Watch it to learn how pucks bounce or to see Matt Duchene crash the net like a total badass.
Madden Gauntlet photo
Madden Gauntlet

Who is yelling in this Madden trailer and why, why, why


Sorry! O V E R
Jul 11
// Steven Hansen
I wanted to fit a "Red Warrior is about to die" joke in this trailer for Madden's new Gauntlet mode. I got as far as "Redskins is about to die" before I started watching this video and was greeted with an over eager, discordant voice over. Bosssssss levelsssssssssssss. Who thought this was a good idea?
NHL 15 photo
NHL 15

Be as arrogant as you want in NHL 15


But you have more respect for the game than that
Jul 09
// Brett Makedonski
Who doesn't want more control in their videogames? EA Sports explains that in NHL 15, players have been rebuilt from the ground up to give players unprecedented control. That includes the ability to choose your own goal celebrations. I'm sure everyone will respectfully skate back to the bench so as to not show up their opponent.
NHL 15 cover photo
NHL 15 cover

Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron to grace the cover of NHL 15


Beating out Canadiens' P.K. Subban
Jun 24
// Brett Makedonski
[Update: EA Sports has sent along the cover art, which can be seen below.] At tonight's 2014 NHL Awards in Las Vegas, the winner of the NHL 15 cover was revealed. The athletes went through a fan voting process, begi...
Madden 15 photo
Madden 15

Madden 15 cover wants you to stop in your tracks, or something


Seriously, what's he doing?
Jun 20
// Brett Makedonski
Seattle Seahawks star cornerback Richard Sherman won the vote to be on the box art of Madden 15. What exactly he's doing on the cover, well, that's anybody's guess. Does he want a high-five? (If so, gotta go higher, Richard.)...

Review: EA Sports UFC

Jun 19 // Ben Pack
EA Sports UFC (PS4 [reviewed], Xbox One)Developer: EA CanadaPublisher: EA SportsReleased: May 20, 2014MSRP: $59.99 This is the biggest MMA game release since EA Sports MMA in 2010. The game features a roster of 97 UFC fighters, as well as two DLC characters: former UFC superstar Royce Gracie, and Bruce Lee. The first time you start, it presents you with an 18-step tutorial which shows you how to do everything from throwing punches on your feet to breaking submission holds on the ground. Unfortunately, right after the tutorial, you are presented with your first fight. I hesitate to use the word fight, however, as the opponent had knocked me out within 30 seconds. Not a submission tap out, or a win by decision, just a cold hard knockout. The tutorial at the beginning is both too dense and not specific enough. It is too dense as it presents you with several options on how to win, but if you forget the specifics of one you are out of luck. If you want to be refreshed on, say, how to start a submission hold while you are on top of your opponent, you may think to access the player handbook from the pause menu. However, when you select this, you are just prompted to visit the EA Sports website for a digital version of the guide. Pressing start to look at your controls is something that has been in not only fighting, but boxing games for years and it could have really benefited UFC. There are also dozens of moves you can use at any time which can be very overwhelming. Each punch or kick (controlled by the four face buttons) can be modified by holding any direction or a shoulder button, and are different depending on if you are holding your opponent or not. It's not unlike in a fighting game, where without playing around with one fighter for hours you will not know which move to use in which situation. Unlike fighting games, however, there is no accounting for frames or combos you need to practice, so a lot of the time you will find yourself in a situation where you and your opponent both try to punch each other and both awkwardly miss. There is also a minigame when trying to put your opponent in a submission hold that is fun when it is two human players who understand it, but incredibly easy to manipulate against the AI, leading to easy wins. [embed]276769:54505:0[/embed] When you're on the ground after getting pummeled, you really start to notice how beautiful this game is. Everything from the glistening sweat dripping down characters, to the detail of the muscle -- this game is beautiful. UFC really shows off the power of the current-gen consoles. I think it's the best-looking sports games out today, and definitely high on the list of all games. The career mode does a much better job at teaching you how to play than the tutorial. I would suggest starting it immediately after you get beat up by the AI for the first time. You can choose one of the game's fighters or your own and take it into a simulation of one man's rise from nothingness to Spike TV celebrity. Before your first fight, you get a more detailed version of the tutorial which breaks things down into simpler, repeated commands that you have to master if you want to stand a chance. There are also frequent FMV cutscenes from UFC president Dana White, which is really goes at odds with the game because it looks so good, but obviously not as good when you're just seeing video of the humans the simulation is trying to emulate. The character creation process in UFC goes above what you would come to expect. You can make everything from the typical scary-looking UFC dude who unironically wears Tap-Out clothing and walks into the ring to “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons to a dreadlocked giant with the same chicken tattoo seven times named Turducken Hammerfist. It has stat manipulation like other EA Sports games, with attributes based on a style of fighting you can select like boxing or greco-roman wrestling. It also has a sort of perk system where you can have three different loadouts for your character, and different abilities based on standing offense, ground game, or defense that you can set up and choose before a fight based on your opponent. After completing a career mode, the versus mode is where you will be spending most of your time offline. The way it operates is smooth and easy, and great for both MMA fans who want to see their favorite athletes duke it out to fans of the game who want to test specific matchups. The online is completely functional, and presented a mostly lag-free experience for me. EA Sports UFC is an odd package. It might be too deep for fans of MMA to get into, and not cohesive enough for fans of fighting or boxing games to get into. Walking away from the game, I have no desire to go watch an MMA fight anytime soon, but I am not turned off from it completely. I can understand why it is only growing in popularity. I would recommend anyone with a little bit of interest in the sport and a lot of patience check out EA Sports UFC. There is a fun game in here somewhere -- it's just behind a lot of barriers.
EA Sports UFC photo
Causing brain damage never looked so good
Usually when I'm watching two grown men beat each other up, their names are Ryu and Ken. I am a fan of a good fight in games, but aside from the occasional boxing match I have never been very interested in MMA. After watching trailers for EA Sports UFC, I figured now might be the time to start to learn the sport through the game.

EA Sports has one big focus for Madden, FIFA, and NHL this year

Jun 09 // Brett Makedonski
Madden may have been the franchise that's received the most love and care from EA for more than a decade, so it might be the one that's seeing the most nuanced changes. A lot of the upgrades to Madden 15 deal with presentation. There's no question about it: EA Sports wants you to feel like you're watching a football game when you're playing a football game. As soon as a game starts, that level of immersion begins to take effect. As we were shown a match-up featuring the recent NFL champion Seattle Seahawks in their home venue, we couldn't help but be impressed by the attention to detail. Wide-angle shots of the stadium, close-ups of the coach, the camera shaking from the intensity of the crowd -- it all positively smacked of watching a playoff game on television. That degree of presentation depth extends throughout the entire experience. New to Madden 15 is a full-fledged halftime show, explicitly tailored to the game at hand. Apart from detailed discussion about trends and certain plays in the first half, there's also on-field entertainment, statistics, box scores -- again, all the stuff that you could expect from a Sunday afternoon broadcast. [embed]275792:54268:0[/embed] There's also a bit of refinement taking place with regard to gameplay. One of EA's biggest priorities was to get away from using the skill stick to wiggle through plays, but instead concentrate on authentic strategy. Working toward being as close to a true simulation as possible, Madden 15 puts more emphasis on wise play-calling than unrealistic juking. However, Madden 15 will offer a bit of hand-holding to help acclimate those that haphazardly select plays like they're pointing out names in a phonebook. An updated approach to the play-calling screen shows players a strategic pick, a community pick, and a personalized pick. The strategic pick outlines what the opponent is likely to do, and hopefully reinforces your actions by teaching you about the game. The community and personalized selections don't sound as if they'll be as strategically refined, but, just like Madden, sometimes the popular choice is popular for a reason. If the improvements to Madden 15 hold a central theme of presentation, the one relating to FIFA 15 is undoubtedly emotion. Soccer is a game that brings out the passion and emotion in players and fans alike, after all. That's going to be nowhere more evident than in FIFA 15. EA set the framework for this feature last year; this year it's fleshing it out. Emotion and intensity of all 22 players on the pitch will be tracked at all times and constantly changing. The victim of a hard tackle might become angry at the opposition, and his teammates might too. A player that skies a ball in the box might be disappointed with himself, and react as such. Something as ridiculous as a keeper letting in an own goal might destroy team morale, at least temporarily. Of course, the emotion all translates to the players' other statistics, effectively acting as a boost or hindrance of sorts. Even though the emotion system will affect matches of FIFA 15 at its deepest level, it will have plenty of opportunities to become the star of the show. The greatest example of this may be after important goals are scored, as celebrations are now more grand than ever. Ten player dogpiles and elated sliding and hugging are sure to add an appropriate exclamation point to important moments and monumental wins. The emotion doesn't just stay on the pitch, however. It bleeds into the stadium. Rowdy crowds that hang onto every corner kick and through ball know how to act for any circumstance that might arise. Further, supporters are represented by the specificity that they're known for, and well, it's tough not to get goosebumps watching all of Anfield sing "You'll Never Walk Alone." EA's third major sports title for the year, NHL 15, focuses its intentions toward something much more integral than presentation or emotion. NHL 15 aims to revamp its physics, an aspect that affects the core of the hockey experience. Now that development of these titles has moved to its fourth generation, EA Sports stresses that consoles are equipped to do things that were never before possible. One such thing, and maybe the most notable improvement to NHL 15, is that the puck acts more like a puck and less like a ball. It may seem silly at first, but it's a sizable upgrade. Pucks are nothing like spheres, and being able to recreate their true movement adds that layer of realism that EA Sports yearns for. Expect more awkward bounces off of the endboards, funny hops over sticks, and deflections past goaltenders that weren't possible before. All because the puck acts like a puck now. Obviously, the puck is far from the only thing on the ice. There are also 12 athletes, 10 of which are skating about at breakneck speed. The physics improvements extend to them as well. The collision and hit detection for them has been overhauled in an effort to make every bodycheck unique to the forces being applied. In theory, because of the great number of influencing factors, each check will be like a snowflake -- no two the exact same. That's where EA Sports' intentions lie for Madden 15, FIFA 15, and NHL 15. The focal points may appear to smack of more subtlety with each passing year, and maybe it's because that's exactly the case. That's a luxury that EA Sports has on its side as it inches ever-closer to realism.
EA Sports photo
EA Sports round-up!
EA Sports is in a good position with its athletic franchises. The demand for annual iterations in each series is high enough to warrant frequent releases, but sports don't really change. This allows the developers to focus on...


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