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Rocket League photo
Rocket League

Rocket League free for Steam Hardware preorders


In celebration of over 1 million sales
Aug 27
// Darren Nakamura
Rocket League has been an out-of-nowhere phenomenon. I had assumed its large player base was made up mostly of users who downloaded it for free through PlayStation Plus. As it turns out, it has sold more than a million copies...

Review: Madden 16

Aug 25 // Steven Hansen
Madden NFL 16 (PlayStation 4 [reviewed], Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)Developer: EA TiburonPublisher: EA SportsReleased: August 25, 2015MSRP: $59.99 Madden 16 makes an interesting opening gambit, once again going right into a game, this time a fabricated Super Bowl 50 starring the Cardinals and Steelers. No one wanted to watch that match up seven years ago (except me because of the Kurt Warner), but EA insists on framing this nostalgia-less, fake match up with Any Given Sunday editing, close ups on players, and even tepid, badly-acted football dialogue, the kind of jawing written by someone who has not played sport.  Fuck, is it boring. It introduces new (very simple) catching mechanics in painful slow motion setting up situations (oh, one of the teams is trailing!) we're supposed to have emotions in, like I have any stake in Fake Super Bowl 50, like I'm supposed to feel something when alleged rapist Ben Roethlisberger (who narrates later tutorials) tells his mates, "It's time to be the team we're supposed to be right now. Believe in the man to your left and to your right. It's our time right now" like he's reading commercial cue cards. At least the San Jose 49ers' digital Levi's Stadium field hasn't turned to pudding like the real one. This is what Madden is, though. In past years I have creatively ripped on the series for aggressive advertisements of real-world products, which this one seems to have toned down significantly (unless they're coming dynamically as updates post launch). But! Madden is a yearly advertisement for the NFL. From the start menu it encouraged me to share my information with the NFL, promising digital playing cards as a reward. This is what it means to have exclusivity rights to the only meaningful football league (because no one internationally gives a shit), the commodification of players. It is cool to see the increased likeness of Arizona's head coach whose fascinating neck folds and face-scanned pores have him looking like a corrugated version of Dana Carvey's turtliest member of the turtle club. [embed]307755:60128:0[/embed] In 2006 (that would make it Madden 07) I distinctly remember when I fell into the habit of abusing slot receivers instead of number one and number two wide receivers. This meant a lot of balls to the perfectly serviceable Kevin Curtis instead of two of the greats, Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt. The worst thing about those slot receiver posts, or crossing routes over the middle, has always been linebackers undercutting the passes for picks. Here is the scenario: a player looks reasonably open for a pass. It is a pass any NFL quarterback could make. It is a pass I, an idiot with bad knees, could make. You throw it with a nice arc over the front defensive layer and before the safeties. Madden has never wanted to give you that pass and it has taken near 10 years for the series to introduce "touch passing," a double tap that lets you drop balls into open zones. Ten years. Low and high throws are executed by holding L1 (high) or L2 (low) while passing. The passing game has seen the most new features added this year. Aside from the aforementioned quarterback stuff, there are three types of catches, done by holding one of three buttons while the ball is in the air en route to the receiver. The Aggressive catch (triangle) is for leaping catches and bodying cornerbacks. RAC (square) encourages the player to make a catch in motion and continue running up field, provided they're not about to be clocked. Possession catches (x) are for keeping feet in-bounds or making sure the receiver hangs on to a first down. These useful buttons encourage more user interaction during catches and also speak to a refined interplay between defensive backs and receivers. On the other side of the ball, you can have defenders play the ball (hold triangle) to go for an interception or deflection, or more conservatively play the receiver (hold x) to ensure you make a tackle and possibly knock the ball from them. There is much more realistic jockeying for body position and faithful physics so long as you don't stare too closely at the instant replays. Eventually you'll notice some similar, more dramatic catch animations (a particular one-handed one stuck out), but it is a plus on the whole for verisimilitude, for giving weight and feeling to awesome athletes interacting in a confined space. That's about it, though. There are some neat presentation additions (statistic graphics overlaid on players) and the menus are well laid out, though they are also pretty slow. Load times, too, are still a bit of a problem (and intrusive presentation elements are bothersome when running a hurry up offense). The insistence towards microtransaction-laden Ultimate Team and the new fantasy football-cribbed Draft Champions modes is useless. Throwing, catching, and defending throws have seen some welcomed, long-ignored additions that get a couple yards closer to faithful simulation. You can decide if that's enough. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Madden reviewed photo
Mildly deflated
I do feel, some, for Electronic Arts and the people responsible for making Madden every year. This is only my 4th year (out of  27 releases) covering it and I fear I may have peaked with last year's review. But like a fr...

NBA 2K16 photo
NBA 2K16

NBA 2K16's latest trailer is predicated on a four-year-old hashtag


A bit late
Aug 24
// Brett Makedonski
"Winning!" That's what some marketer with tiger blood in his veins thought when he saw this NBA 2K16 trailer. "This is bi-winning. It wins here, and it wins there. This, now this makes all other trailers look like ...
Madden 16 photo
Madden 16

EA goes way over the top to promote Madden


We didn't see this coming
Aug 21
// Brett Makedonski
EA Sports' promotion of Madden has largely been the same for years now. Gameplay trailers, new features, interviews with developers -- we've been there and done that. This is different. This is...weird. And, kind of amazing....

Rocket League pro match photo
Rocket League pro match

You need to watch the Rocket League grand finals


The best match you have ever witnessed!
Aug 21
// Patrick Hancock
Major League Gaming (MLG) just completed hosting its first Rocket League tournament, and the grand finals was one of the most exciting things I have ever witnessed. The two competing teams were Cosmic Aftershock an...
First screens photo
First screens

Bikinis, volleyball confirmed for Dead or Alive Xtreme 3


First screens
Aug 21
// Steven Hansen
Just in case you were concerned that Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 would not feature Japanese women in bikinis playing volleyball on the beach, I am here to reassure you that Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 will in fact feature Japanese wome...
Rocket League photo
Rocket League

A high-flyin' reverse aerial Rocket League goal GIF


No teammate screwing it up, either
Aug 18
// Brett Makedonski
What do you do if this goal gets scored on you right off the bat? Do you just rage quit? Is there even any rage, knowing that this opponent clearly has you bested? Do you just hang your head and walk home? Really, its upside...
Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 photo
Dead or Alive Xtreme 3

Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 may come west after all


Provided there is enough demand
Aug 18
// Kyle MacGregor
Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 is in development for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita, the latest issue of Famitsu reveals, while also giving fans in the West some hope of seeing a localized release. Though Koei Tecmo currently onl...
Rocket League cars photo
And why isn't it the Merc?
Rocket League is the new hotness. The newest update added in some new cosmetic items, and I'm sure most of you have been playing around with the new toys. The new cars, Takumi and Dominus, are easily the most used at the...

Rocket League DLC photo
Rocket League DLC

Rocket League's Supersonic Fury DLC is cooler than I expected


Love that new pearlescent paint finish
Aug 14
// Darren Nakamura
Rocket League just released two DLC packs: Utopia Coliseum is a new arena to play in and is available for free while Supersonic Fury contains a host of new car customization options and runs about four bucks. The two new cars...
NHL 16 photo
NHL 16

Patrick Kane taken off NHL 16 cover during sexual assault investigations


No new cover announced
Aug 12
// Brett Makedonski
Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane has legal troubles, as he's the subject of a recent rape allegation. The incident allegedly took place at Kane's lakefront home in Hamburg, New York last week, though he has not yet been c...
KONAMI photo
KONAMI

Konami is killing PES 2014 servers in November


Better buy this year's version
Aug 11
// Kyle MacGregor
In case you were looking for another reason to curse Konami's name (as if there weren't enough already), the publisher is shutting down online support for Pro Evolution Soccer 2014. It's not a very good reason, mind you,...
eSports photo
eSports

ESPN has a genuinely positive discussion about The International


A bit out of touch, but still positive
Aug 10
// Joe Parlock
Last week saw Dota 2’s annual championship The International take place in Seattle, with a huge $18 million being up for grabs in prize money. It is by far one of the biggest events in eSports, and recent years have se...
FIFA 2016 photo
FIFA 2016

FIFA 2016's FUT Draft mode gets a trailer


Oh that banter what cheeky legends
Aug 05
// Joe Parlock
Want to see two footballers have some incredibly forced “top quality bants”? Want to have your soul ripped out of your eye sockets and fed to a swarming flurry of crows? Well don’t worry, EA has you covered...
gamescom photo
gamescom

'Xbox players love their fut' and crappy FIFA deals


Xbox One bundle, week early access
Aug 04
// Steven Hansen
That is FIFA Ultimate Team, the thing EA uses to somehow make more money than just releasing a new FIFA every year (two when it's a World Cup year). "FUT fans this is a deal for you." Xbox One folks get FIFA 16 one week early...
Rocket League ports photo
Rocket League ports

Psyonix eying other platforms for Rocket League


Y'all should play this
Aug 03
// Jordan Devore
Today's the last day to download Rocket League on PS4 for free through PS Plus. Jump on it! Success on PlayStation and PC has enabled developer Psyonix to grow its small team. That means good things for the future of Rocket L...
DOAX3 Beach Volleyball? photo
DOAX3 Beach Volleyball?

Get your balls ready for Dead or Alive Xtreme 3


Exclusively for the Asian market
Aug 01
// Jed Whitaker
Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 is in development, Team Ninja's Yosuke Hayashi announced today at the Dead or Alive festival. The Dead or Alive Xtreme series is best known as the volleyball game all about unlo...
StarCraft II mod photo
StarCraft II mod

Not even StarCraft II is safe from Rocket League


Aqua League mod
Jul 28
// Jordan Devore
I wasn't kidding when I said that funny goal gif convinced me to download Rocket League. Psyonix's driving/soccer game is brilliantly designed, and now I'm obsessed with it like the rest of you. My infatuation even extends to...
NHL 16 photo
NHL 16

NHL 16 goalie trailer shows none of the best things Patrick Roy ever did


Home of the Roypper
Jul 24
// Brett Makedonski
Goaltenders have exactly one job: tend to the goal. Don't let the puck hit the twine. Accomplish that through whatever means necessary. Force them to the glove side where you make web gems like Willie Mays. Flash the five-ho...
Madden tricks photo
Madden tricks

Madden 16 screenshots lie about Marshawn Lynch dick-grabbing mechanic


I'm just here so I don't get fined
Jul 23
// Steven Hansen
Madden 16 used the above photo for Marshawn Lynch in its running backs player rating reveal. He is, naturally, number one at 96 overall. He cannot, however, grab his dick in defiance, as he is wont to do in real life. Seriously, watch this.
Pro Evolution Soccer photo
Pro Evolution Soccer

PES 2016 will run at 1080p on Xbox One


PES 2015 was 720p
Jul 23
// Vikki Blake
Konami has confirmed that Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 will run at 1080p on Xbox One. Despite its predecessor PES 2015 running at 1080p on PlayStation 4 last year, its Xbox One sibling could only muster 720p.  Now, it ...
Rocket League gif photo
Rocket League gif

This might be the best/worst goal in Rocket League


That's it, I'm downloading the game
Jul 22
// Jordan Devore
Rocket League is inescapable. Everywhere I look, people are praising the game, a fusion of soccer and cars, for being accessible, rewarding, and endlessly entertaining. I have resisted. I'm not much of a gearhead, and the cl...
Alongside Messi photo
Alongside Messi

Women's national team players grace FIFA 16 cover


Alongside Messi
Jul 20
// Steven Hansen
FIFA 16 marks a first for the series with its inclusion of women footballers in the form of 12 playable women's international teams from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Swede...
Xbox One bundle photo
Xbox One bundle

This Xbox One bundle has Madden NFL 16 and a year of EA Access


Good head start
Jul 20
// Jordan Devore
Microsoft is rolling out another Xbox One bundle on August 18, 2015 and if you're into sports games, it's worth a look. For $399, it comes with a 1TB hard drive, Madden NFL 16, and a year subscription to EA Access. The latter...
NHL 16 photo
NHL 16

NHL 16 video shows off the literal small steps the game's taking


On Frozen Pond
Jul 15
// Brett Makedonski
Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon isn't always going to zoom up ice, spin around Blackhawk blue-liners, and leave Corey Crawford looking for his jock in the rafters. I mean, that'll happen a good chunk of the time, but not ...

Review: Rocket League

Jul 14 // Zack Furniss
Rocket League (PlayStation 4 [reviewed], PC)Developer: PsyonixPublisher: PsyonixMSRP: $19.99Released: July 7, 2015 Rocket League is Psyonix's follow-up to Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars, which had entirely too many hyphens. By dropping the hyphens and making every facet of their concept as simple and accessible as possible, they've made something undoubtedly focused. You are a car, and you must knock a large ball into the opposing team's goal. It never gets more complicated than that. You can play one on one (though I can't imagine that'd be terribly fun), or up to four on four with players around the world or bots. There are different modes available: Exhibition is for local games with four-player split-screen or bots, Season allows you to set up consecutive bot matches over complete with playoffs, and Training teaches you the basics of movement. Starting with Training is a swell, yet ultimately unnecessary idea since you'll have a feel for the driving by the end of your first match. You can accelerate, reverse, jump, double-jump, and boost all over the field and it all feels crunchy and responsive in the best way. The arenas all have just the right amount of friction to feel like you're completely in control of your vehicle at all times. When you try to boost into the ball to score a goal and you careen right past it, you have no one to blame but yourself. The perfectly-tuned controls lend themselves to a desire to acquire mastery, a feeling that seems rare as of late. If you master one skill, proper use of boosting is the one to pick. Since boost juice is finite, you have to drive over boost pads to keep it topped off. Whether you use said juice to dart from the goalie to position to attempt a risky goal or you boost long enough to crash into someone to temporarily destroy them, you'll learn to love judiciously tapping and holding that circle button. Exploding a member of the opposing team only takes them out for a second but can be a viable strategy when things get hectic. While you can play with four players per team, it tends to be too chaotic. You'd think with more players that one person would designate themselves as the goalie, but instead each person gets caught up in an offensive. With a dedicated team it'd probably be a viable mode, but I was playing mostly pick-up games. 3 on 3 seems like the definite sweet spot and is recommended when playing online. Since Rocket League has cross-platform play between the PlayStation 4 and PC, I was always able to find a match within a minute or two. The loading screens are always brief so it's a little too easy to find yourself starting up another match even after telling yourself it's 2 in the morning and you need to texture a patch of drywall tomorrow (that's a normal thing, right?). There's also a carrot on a stick to keep you playing in the form of car customizations. By playing well, you can enter the garage to customize your car's body type, decal, paint job, wheels, boost trail color, antenna, and topper. I rocked a pirate hat on my little pick-up truck for the majority of my matches. These are all purely cosmetic so as not to distort game balance. It would take quite awhile to unlock all customizations, but they're a nice little bonus for the already fun core gameplay. There are seven arenas (though a few of them are the same, with different weather) that are all gorgeous. Watching your little car zip over billowing grass as it rains down on you all in a crisp, smooth frame rate is more aesthetically pleasing than you'd expect from soccer car smash fusion. Though I sort of expected different obstacles or boost pad placement on each arena, I ended up appreciating that these changes are only cosmetic. You always know exactly what you're playing with. I didn't go in expecting much from Rocket League since I'm usually not a huge fan of driving and sports games. Instead of walking away with a confirmed bias, Psyonix's laser-focused concept gave me something fun to whip out the next time I have friends over. I imagine with a bunch of awful beer and willing companions, we'll have a great time. What's next, will I enjoy a game that mixes Metroids and Soccer? We'll see. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Rocket League review photo
I will only call it 'soccar' once
A good chunk of today's onslaught of complex games has convoluted controls, alienating lore, and feature creep that can sometimes be overwhelming. Every so often, a developer comes along and makes something that just seems nice and digestible -- no need to research the best character build or wiki-scan to catch up on the plot. And sometimes that tasty little morsel is a driving/soccer sandwich.

Tony Hawk trailer photo
Tony Hawk trailer

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 trailer darkslides a powerline


Pop shove-it into your eyeholes
Jul 13
// Darren Nakamura
Yep, that looks like a Tony Hawk game all right. There are highly technical tricks on absurdly dangerous terrain. Grinding that increases speed instead of decreasing it. Just the right amount of jank in aerial maneuvers, as ...
PGA Tour photo
PGA Tour

I didn't know a golf trailer could be so annoying


Making me LMFAO TBH
Jul 06
// Brett Makedonski
Even with its new Battlefield infusion and nighttime mini-games, golf is mostly a low-key and quiet affair. Everyone stays really quiet and still; when something good happens, we'll all golf clap -- a really quiet and s...
Canceled Mario photo
Canceled Mario

Spikers: Canceled Mario was a volleyball/wrestling hybrid for Wii


Super Mario Spikers
Jun 29
// Steven Hansen
Next Level Games developed two fun soccer games, Super Mario Strikers, then a bunch of other junk before the excellent Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon. Somewhere after the Wii version of Strikers, though, it was working on some u...
Metroid: Blast Ball photo
Metroid: Blast Ball

Metroid: Blast Ball is, y'know, alright I guess


It's not awful!
Jun 18
// Zack Furniss
I waited an hour or so to touch the filthy New 3DS that was running Metroid: Blast Ball, a chunk of the new Metroid Prime: Federation Force. I spoke to the friendly Nintendo rep and even shook my butt a bit whenever a ne...

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