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New in Sports

3:00 PM on 06.09.2014

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

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...

Brett Makedonski

10:00 AM on 03.26.2014

Multiplayer fun with Mario Golf: World Tour

Mario Golf: World Tour features four player multiplayer via online, or local play with just a single cartridge. As it should, but you know the best part of all this? Everyone is playing simultaneously. You don't have to wait...

Hamza CTZ Aziz

1:00 PM on 03.20.2014

Musclecat Showdown is a game where you strike beefy cat poses

Along with Push Me Pull You, I got to finally see what Musclecat Showdown was all about. And. It. Was. Glorious. You and another muscle bound cat have to strike your owners requested poses, and the person that's able to do th...

Hamza CTZ Aziz

11:30 AM on 03.20.2014

Push Me Pull You is sumo wrestling meets soccer meets WTF

Last night I got to play a round of Push Me Pull You during the Venus Patrol party here in San Francisco. It was, without a doubt, the weirdest and best time I've had with a videogame in a long time.  So here's the basic...

Hamza CTZ Aziz

11:30 AM on 02.13.2014

MLB 14 The Show gets a big visual boost from PS4 power

We had a chance to take a peek at the PS4 version of MLB 14 The Show this past week at a preview event, and it was clear from the get go that the game benefits greatly from the power that the PS4 provides. Now, it's not like ...

Dale North

1:00 PM on 11.07.2013

Powerstar Golf: full of RPG-like systems, cloud features

Xbox One golf launch title Powerstar Golf didn't gel with me the first time I played it, but after seeing the depth of some of its systems last week I feel better about it. Its RPG-ish leveling system and cloud-based competitive features sound like something I could really get into. 

Dale North

12:30 PM on 11.06.2013

NBA Live 14 fighting for relevancy

Sports, television, videogames. NBA Live 14 is the Xbox One trifecta. The NBA Live series has long been dormant, finally reviving itself on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 this month.  The key word I kept hearing was "relevan...

Steven Hansen

11:30 AM on 11.06.2013

Madden 25 CoachGlass may be the best way to call defense

Stats run sports. Yes, we have heartwarming stories of moxie and upsets and unexpected onside kicks right after the Super Bowl halftime show and they make for great narratives, but numbers are invaluable at easily quantifying...

Steven Hansen

8:00 AM on 07.20.2013

Powerstar Golf is in the rough

Powerstar Golf is a launch title for Xbox One. It's an arcade golf title, but it's no Hot Shots Golf. On the surface it seems like it's par for the arcade-y golf course, but a few issues have it stuck in the sand traps. If yo...

Dale North

11:45 AM on 06.14.2013

FIFA 14 feels a bit more methodical

The "step-based locomotion technology" behind FIFA 14 makes the game feel grounded, putting a greater emphasis on the fluidity of movement. It's cool to see, because dribbling and positioning are paramount in soccer/football...

Steven Hansen

10:10 PM on 06.13.2013

NHL 14 fight system revamped, collision physics happening

One of the weird things about NHL 13 was its newly implemented first-person fighting system. Well, that system is getting removed because it takes the player too much out of the game. In its stead, some of the tech from EA's...

Steven Hansen

9:20 PM on 06.13.2013

NCAA 14: Better with physics

When I previewed NCAA Football 14 earlier this year, I noted that the best news about the game is that it uses the Infinity Engine 2, the original iteration of which made Madden 13 the best entry in the series in many years. ...

Steven Hansen

10:30 AM on 04.16.2013

Preview: NCAA 14 getting physical, getting physics engine

NCAA Football 14 is going to be a much better game than NCAA 13. I can assure you that much because it has implemented a physics engine, the Infinity Engine 2. If the name rings familiar, the first iteration of the Infinity E...

Steven Hansen

10:00 AM on 01.30.2013

MLB 13: The Show focusing on bringing the fun

October was a hell of a month here in San Francisco. There’s nothing like sports to shore up the bonds of comradely in otherwise disparate, eclectic pockets of the world. Just look at how the Olympics create a national ...

Steven Hansen

8:00 AM on 11.01.2012

Preview: Madden NFL 13 gets serious on Wii U

When one thinks of buying the latest installment of John Madden football, one typically goes the route of either the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 version, instantly shrugging off even the thought of playing a year of pigskin on ...

Keith Swiader

2:00 PM on 08.04.2012

Preview: FIFA 13 Wii U has some fly new features

Madden 13 isn’t the only EA sports title launching alongside Nintendo’s incoming Wii U, as FIFA 13 will be too. Much like how the Vita’s FIFA Soccer was built on the framework of FIFA 11, FIFA 13 on the Wii ...

Steven Hansen

7:00 PM on 07.10.2012

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD feels like classic Tony Hawk

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 were the bomb. Hard to believe the former only came out in 1999. Unfortunately, the series quickly spiraled away from being the bomb and, in more recent years, toward being ...

Steven Hansen

7:00 PM on 06.28.2012

NBA Baller Beats: A lesson in humiliation

Despite what my vampiric complexion and freakishly strong arms would have you believe, I'm no sportswoman. In fact, as this video clearly demonstrates, I can barely dribble a basketball much less dribble one on beat with fou...

Tara Long

2:30 PM on 06.11.2012

Preview: NHL 13

EA’s NHL series has been pretty damn great for a while now, and the latest entry in the franchise shows no signs of mucking up its track record. The team is sticking to making great hockey games. No plans to just skate ...

Steven Hansen



E3: FIFA 13 subtly iterating on FIFA 12 photo
E3: FIFA 13 subtly iterating on FIFA 12
by Steven Hansen

The last FIFA game was pretty well received. Accordingly, much of what I saw for FIFA 13 seemed to be more of a refinement of FIFA 12 than a complete overhaul, although I’m sure this is what most players are expecting.

The last FIFA I’ve played extensively was FIFA Soccer on Vita, which I’m told is based on FIFA 11’s mechanics. Though I’ve only played a few matches of FIFA 12 among friends, I was shown a presentation that highlighted some of the changes between last year’s game and FIFA 13, all of which point to an even more realistic soccer experience.

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E3: Madden NFL 13 feels better because of physics photo
E3: Madden NFL 13 feels better because of physics
by Steven Hansen

Another year, another Madden. We’ve probably reached a point in time where there are Madden fans who have forgotten than John Madden’s goofy mug used to adorn the games. As a big, stupid football fan, I’m always hoping Madden makes that quantum leap into the upper echelon of sports games, along with MLB The Show, NBA 2K, and EA’s own NHL and FIFA franchises.

After playing just a game of Madden NFL 13, I can't proclaim that Madden has made that turn; it will take a lot more play time to judge that. Still, the game feels a lot more organic, largely because it seems to have legitimately moved away from canned animations in favor of more realistic, physics-based collisions.

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Preview: Going deep in Madden NFL 13 photo
Preview: Going deep in Madden NFL 13
by Keith Swiader

With summer almost here, I'm sure die-hard football fans are already packing their coolers and mixing their magical sauces in preparation of pre-season football... which starts in late August. But before any real pigskins fly in the NFL, the true kickoff for football season starts with the annual release of Madden NFL, allowing armchair quarterbacks to test their might and wits against their chest-painted brethren as chunks of salsa fly in the midst of the action.

With this year's installment, Madden NFL 13, EA is looking to offer a much more realistic presentation to the game, harping on the visual style and camera angles one would find in an actual broadcast. On top of that, the passing game has been given a buff, and the GameFlow play-picking mechanic looks to be more useful this time around.  

Oh, and if you're a fan who always thought play-action plays were useless, this year may finally fix that.

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Preview: MLB.TV on Xbox Live photo
Preview: MLB.TV on Xbox Live
by Steven Hansen

Baseball fans know the season officially kicked off on Tuesday, with Ichiro Suzuki and the Mariners dispatching the equally lowly Oakland A’s in extra innings in Suzuki’s native Japan. Man, Ichiro really deserves a World Series ring. I feel bad for him, wasting away on a talentless Mariners team for so long.

Anyway, this means the long baseball season is starting anew, and that there are plenty of baseball games that will need watching from now until October. Thousands, actually! Of course, people are cutting cable these days, and not everyone’s favorite team is local, making it hard to watch games. What’s a fan to do? Well, a subscription to MLB.TV is as good an option as any, and now you can access it through your Xbox 360 and Kinect.

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Preview: Swinging away with PS Move in MLB 12 The Show photo
Preview: Swinging away with PS Move in MLB 12 The Show
by Samit Sarkar

Sony San Diego experimented with motion controls in MLB 11 The Show last year, implementing basic PlayStation Move support in a fringe game mode, Home Run Derby. The inclusion of Move controls in a casual party game and nothing else seemed to speak volumes about their viability as an input method for a sports simulation. Of course they couldn’t get Move controls to work in the actual game; it’s just not feasible, I thought.

But the talented folks behind The Show have made a name for themselves by defying expectations, somehow making a beloved game better every year. This time, they’ve managed to make Move controls work throughout MLB 12 The Show. I recently spoke with senior designer Eddy Cramm, and when I asked him if he actually played MLB 12 with Move, he said without hesitation, “Oh, absolutely. I prefer it.”

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Put your body into it: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 on Kinect photo
Put your body into it: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 on Kinect
by Samit Sarkar

Most core gamers saw Microsoft’s Kinect sensor and scoffed, dismissing out of hand its potential for use in anything but kids’ games and casual experiences. The people at EA Tiburon, however -- having already implemented precise motion controls for their Tiger Woods PGA Tour titles with Wii MotionPlus and PlayStation Move -- saw a chance to make their golf videogame more realistic than ever before.

I discussed Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13s Kinect support with executive producer Brent Nielsen at a recent EA press event in New York. Kinect’s cameras are able to track an entire body, and that gave Tiburon an idea: “Instead of just simulating the swing of a club [...] we thought, ‘You know what? We actually have an opportunity to simulate the full golf swing.’ Because the golf swing is not just about the club in your hand; it’s your hips turn[ing], your shoulders, it’s the [swing] plane, and how your hands come through.”

Tighten up your swing, amateurs. You wouldn’t want to look silly in front of Kinect.

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Preview: SSX is looking totally gnarly photo
Preview: SSX is looking totally gnarly
by Becca Roberts

It’s been a long time in the making, but the time has almost come for EA Sports to grace us with another title in arguably the most successful snowboarding series out there. SSX is known for its addictive arcade-style gameplay, egotistical characters, sweet tricks, and of course a pumping soundtrack.

The game's demo is out now for you all to try. But as SSX moves towards a more realistic take on the action-packed sport, will fans of the series end up disappointed that some of the more ambitious gameplay elements have been taken away?

Well, did I mention you can jump out of helicopters and fly across mountains in a wingsuit?

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Make the shot you want in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 photo
Make the shot you want in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13
by Samit Sarkar

Imagine yourself on Tea Olive, the first hole of the famed Masters course at Augusta National. Trying to avoid the bunker on the right side of the fairway, you aim your tee shot to the left -- but alas, you push it a bit too far, and it ends up in the trees. You can play conservatively and dig the ball out of the trees onto the fairway before trying for the green, but you're a pro golfer, and you can't afford the extra stroke against the stiff competition.

The more risky and difficult choice is to close your stance, stand with the ball near your back foot, and take an inside-out swing that curves the ball around the trees. With your skill and a healthy dose of luck, that will push the ball up the fairway and onto the green in regulation.

You couldn't pull that off in EA Sports' Tiger Woods PGA Tour -- until now.

[Editor's note: I played the Xbox 360 version of the game, which offers full Kinect support. I'll cover the Kinect integration in a separate article. --Samit]

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Preview: Mixing it up with MLB 2K12 photo
Preview: Mixing it up with MLB 2K12
by Samit Sarkar

This is the third year in a row that 2K Sports is holding its Perfect Game Challenge for its MLB 2K series. They're changing the format this time, but previously, the first person to throw a verified perfect game would win $1 million for doing so. In 2010, the contest's inaugural winner was 24-year-old Wade McGilberry of Semmes, Alabama.

I discussed the specifics of his feat with him when 2K Sports flew him and his wife to New York to present him with his winnings. I specifically remember him telling me that he gamed the game somewhat: MLB 2K10 let him get away with throwing the same pitch to the same location -- down and away -- every time, to each of the 27 batters he faced.

If you try that in MLB 2K12, hitters will eventually make you pay.

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Preview: UFC Undisputed 3 turns me into a bro photo
Preview: UFC Undisputed 3 turns me into a bro
by Ryan Perez

I'm not an athletic person. To me, exercise if the farthest thing from fun, and exhausting myself half to death is akin to self flagellation. Even the never-changing world of sports is something that I find quite uninteresting. But that doesn't mean I don't respect and admire the effort and hardship required to be great at any physical activity. Unlike the mongoloids who make the vacuous (and overdone) claim that cage fighting is "homoerotic," I commend professionals of the sport for doing something that I have no problem admitting I wouldn't be able to do...ever.

Which is why games like UFC Undisputed 3 are just as meant for people like me as they are for fans of the sport, and for two very important reasons: Gamifying anything makes it easier for dunderheads like me to learn, and I love to pretend like I have the ability to beat the holy sh*t out of almost anyone. I'm a bit of a pansy and don't know a thing about UFC, so games like these are great for people like me.

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Preview: UFC Undisputed 3 photo
Preview: UFC Undisputed 3
by Dale North

The best thing about mixed martial arts is that it brings together several disciplines of fighting to make one brutal sport where fighters have to be well-versed and extensively trained so that they can hold their own in all disciplines. Anything goes. That very openness makes for a fine foundation for a videogame, but translating that wide range of physical freedom to controller input could be difficult. 

THQ nailed it right out of the gate with UFC Undisputed. They've since tuned the control formula over the past titles to a point where players can explore the sport's full range with confidence and still have a pretty good time. Now, with UFC Undisputed 3, they've made control even more accessible with a new entry level control option. But don't write this title off as a dumbed down version of the last one. It's bigger, better and more accessible. Everyone wins. Well…you know what I mean.

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FIFA Soccer on PS Vita is a full-fledged FIFA game photo
FIFA Soccer on PS Vita is a full-fledged FIFA game
by Samit Sarkar

At a recent EA showcase in New York City, the publisher trotted out just one PlayStation Vita title -- a bit surprising, since the handheld is set to launch in North America, Europe, and Latin America relatively soon, on February 22, 2012. It happened to be a sports game, which, in light of the lackluster Madden title that was rushed to meet the Nintendo 3DS's launch, momentarily gave me pause.

But then I saw that the title in question was a FIFA game, and one developed in-house at EA Canada, no less. That gave me a measure of confidence. Then I got my hands on the Vita to play the game, which producer Matt Prior bills as "the most complex and complete handheld game EA has ever produced," and my faith in the studio -- home to EA's perennially outstanding FIFA and NHL franchises -- was reaffirmed.

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Preview: Hustle Kings (PlayStation Vita) photo
Preview: Hustle Kings (PlayStation Vita)
by Steven Hansen

Developed by the small, UK based VooFoo Studio, Hustle Kings released on PlayStation Network in early 2010, receiving a positive review from us. Though I didn’t play that release, I’ve always been a bit of a pool fan and I have played a number of pool games in my lifetime.

The well received pool -- or billiards, if you prefer -- game is being now being brought to the PlayStation Vita, utilizing the Vita’s touch and other capabilities in ways that work well with the core gameplay mechanics in conjunction with what is the deepest billiards game I’ve ever played.

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Hands-on with Virtua Tennis 4 on the PlayStation Vita photo
Hands-on with Virtua Tennis 4 on the PlayStation Vita
by Keith Swiader

[Editor's note: Say hello to Keith Swiader! He's joined our New York preview coverage team and is starting off with some previews on upcoming Sega games. -- CTZ]

Of the launch titles that will accompany the PlayStation Vita's release, Sega's Virtua Tennis 4 is one that many of you should keep your eye on, whether you're a sports fan or not. Utilizing nearly every aspect of the Vita's specs, Virtua Tennis 4 is quite frankly the complete package. Everything from the Vita's graphical power to its gyro sensor and accelerometer are used here, and to full potential.

Sega hopes that they can offer a seamless port from Virtua Tennis 4's console brethren to the sleek, new Sony device. After my brief time with it, I'd have to say that Sega is stepping in the right direction. 

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Preview: UFC on Xbox Live photo
Preview: UFC on Xbox Live
by Wesley Ruscher

Think you know the more about the Ultimate Fighting Championship than any of your Xbox Live friends? Starting December 1, you will be able to put your mixed martial arts knowledge to the test when the UFC on Xbox Live superman punches its way onto the dashboard.

At its core, UFC on Xbox Live is just another way for MMA patrons to watch UFC pay-per-view events from the comfort of their couch. You won’t find any special exclusive matches on the service since the Xbox Live platform is being treated the same as all PPV providers in terms of fight content. Basically, this means all the pre-PPV fights that happen on Spike or Facebook will stay on those services to keep the market as balanced as possible.

So that begs the question: why should UFC and Xbox Live users alike care about this service?

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Hands-on: Winter Stars on Kinect photo
Hands-on: Winter Stars on Kinect
by Steven Hansen

Were your aspirations towards professional athletics deftly crushed due to injury or ineptitude? Have you ever wanted to partake in the fanciful, snowy events that are popularized when the Winter Olympics roll around ever four years? Well, thanks to 49 Games’ upcoming Winter Stars, your dreams of hibernal glory can come true.

That’s right -- you can be an off-the-couch-but-still-inside-where-it’s-warm Winter Champion. You might even burn a few calories with this motion peripheral-based title, so ready your Kinect, bust out your Move, or dust off your Balance Board. (I’d be even more impressed if you can play all three at once.)

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Becoming a freak with NBA 2K12's My Player mode photo
Becoming a freak with NBA 2K12's My Player mode
by Wesley Ruscher

They call me "The Great." I'm a 6'3'', Mohawk-rocking, inked-up point guard out of Cal State University Fullerton. I have a killer crossover and can drain triples all day. Oh, and one more thing... I'm a future NBA Hall-of-Famer.

Well, that's the dream, anyway, for NBA 2K12's revamped My Player mode, just one of the myriad ways to enjoy possibly the most in-depth basketball simulator ever created. Having covered all of the new tweaks to the game's mechanics and the awesome NBA's Greatest mode previously, the folks at 2K Sports thought it was time to unveil their bread and butter of 2K12.

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Going old-school with the NBA's Greatest mode in NBA 2K12 photo
Going old-school with the NBA's Greatest mode in NBA 2K12
by Wesley Ruscher

It's hard to know exactly where the NBA would be today without the onslaught of game-changing superstars that shaped one of the country's most dynamic sports. Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird defined the era of the game we have come to know and love, but they too were influenced by their predecessors. With last year's NBA 2K11, players experienced the thrill of lacing up a pair of Jordan's Nikes, and this year's game looks to up the experience even further. NBA 2K12 isn't solely focused on basketball’s past or present; instead, it looks fondly upon the entire history of the NBA, and really, what better way to celebrate the sport than with 15 of the most dominant athletes to ever pick up the old round ball?

The game's "NBA's Greatest" mode brings the nostalgic b-ball feeling, from camera angles and overlays to those oh-so-styling short shorts of yesteryear, but really, that's only the tip of the iceberg. When it comes to 2K12's attention to authenticity, I really can't think of any game that has scrutinized every last detail in its subject matter as thoroughly as this year's sim.

While I could rehash what Steven said in his preview back in July about all the great new dynamics 2K12 has added to this season's game, I'm instead going to focus more on all the time 2K Sports put into giving fans a sort of history lesson.

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Preview: UFC Undisputed 3 photo
Preview: UFC Undisputed 3
by Wesley Ruscher

It's time! Time for another installment in THQ's mixed martial arts fighting franchise, UFC Undisputed 3.

UFC Undisputed took the gaming world by storm in 2009, but its follow-up UFC Undisputed 2010 didnt quite reach the same sales echelon as its predecessor despite critical acclaim. Maybe it was the fact that the game was touted as more of a refined version of 2009 rather than a full-fledged sequel (that's the reason I skipped out.)

Whatever the case, THQ is throwing in the kitchen sink with this year's update to not only attract a wider range of players but also provide those who did pick up 2010 a reason to travel back down a familiar road.

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Playing MLB Bobblehead Pros at Dodger Stadium photo
Playing MLB Bobblehead Pros at Dodger Stadium
by Chad Concelmo

After the days of the Super Nintendo, I stopped playing any and all sports games that did not feature Princess Peach in a tennis skirt. Not that I don't think sports games are good -- I just think they got too realistic and complicated for my taste.

But at a Konami event this past weekend at Dodger Stadium, I got to play MLB Bobblehead Baseball Pros, and I have to say: I think I may like sports games again! Well, at least ones that star players with hilariously large bobbleheads.

And, yeah, you read that right: I got to play Konami's just-released XBLA sports game (available as of July 6th for 800 Microsoft Points) at Dodger Stadium.

It was a pretty awesome experience.

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Preview: Madden NFL 12  photo
Preview: Madden NFL 12
by Steven Hansen

The yearly appearance of the Madden franchise seems to be a constant in the videogame industry, acting as a reminder to football fans everywhere that the new season is right around the corner. Except, potentially, this year, when the fate of a full NFL season still hangs tenuously in the balance.

After six months of hearing about CBAs, lockouts, and the inability of business professionals to find an agreeable model with which to split billions of dollars, getting my hands on Madden 12 at EA’s Summer Showcase was like receiving a warm, comforting hug.

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