My Degree In Maddenology: Madden 25 Review

Madden 25 2Finally a week has passed so I get to do another game review! Now normally I am pretty heavily focussed on reviewing the cheap and easy, but I love American football way too much to leave off reviewing the latest instalment of Madden. In its 25th year, EA Sports have decided to call this game ummm … Madden 25, for obvious reasons.

Madden 25 3

One of the biggest complaints of EA sports yearly repeating engines (FIFA, NHL, NCAA etc etc.) is that they are more concerned with updating the rosters and teams, rather than improving the gameplay itself. This is not the case with Madden 25. In Madden 13, as a result of the new physics engine, there were several problems including: running backs clumsily tripping over offensive linemen, receivers getting held up on routes because they were busy running headlong into defensive backs, and the weird sex acts that started on the floor after every play (see: No More Orgies In The Backfield -Madden 25 Demo). Happily these issues have been fixed with the addition of smarter running backs and all round better run-blocking.

Madden 4

I’m not going to bang on too much about the gameplay because I have already pretty much covered that in my previous article No More Orgies In The Backfield -Madden 25 Demo, let’s just say it is better. Much better. Unfortunately that is pretty much where the improvement ends. The connected franchise is largely the same, save the introduction of the new Owner mode which re-introduces the control freak aspect of owning a team. This is a cool feature, but be prepared to commit a substantial amount of time into the game if you want to give this mode a go.

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The head coach and player modes are pretty much the same as in previous games, which is good, but not great. Ultimate team has the nifty new addition of head-to-head seasons, allowing you to compete in a fictional league in an attempt to make the play-offs to earn more coins. However, EA, have decided to make it just that much harder to avoid spending real money on card packs, with much less selection in the packs that you can buy with “Madden coins” and packs must be bought one at a time. Drag.

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All in all though, this game is a substantial improvement on the previous title, with impressive gameplay additions and the addition of Owner mode, it is well worth a buy for fans of the franchise.

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The Liebster Award

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I have very flatteringly been nominated for a Liebster award by The PewPew Diaries. Subsequently I urge you to take a look at their blog because it is pretty darn awesome!

Let’s Get Cracking!

The rules for receiving this award are…:
1. Post the Liebster Award graphic on your site.
2. Thank the blogger who nominated your blog.
3. The nominee is asked to write 11 facts about themselves.
4. Answer the 11 questions from the post of the person who nominated them.
5. The nominee will nominate 9 other blogs.
6. The nominee will then create 11 questions of their own for their nominated bloggers to answer in their Liebster post.

My 11 Facts:

1. I am currently studying for a degree in English Literature with Plymouth University. This is testament to my ability to write a great deal about the blurb and occasionally the introduction of a classic text.

2. I am a big American Football fan. Whilst I am sure this is the norm for most of the bloggers that I follow/follow me, in my native England, this fact generally ensures a lengthy and depressing debate about “how much better rugby is than American Football”.

3. I love pretzels to a point where I am pretty sure that I am going to wake up one day, brown and crispy on the outside with little salt flakes adorning my skin.

4). One time, as a freshman, I managed to arrive at my house in nothing but my Jeans, having lost the rest of my clothes and shoes and socks on the night out. Amazingly, my wallet, phone and keys were all returned to me the next day by kind strangers.

5). My favourite hangover cure is watching Inglorious Bastards.

6). I have completed all the Halo games on solo legendary with the exception of Halo 4. This is mostly because it is devastatingly difficult and I value my sanity slightly more than 100 gamerscore.

7). My favourite game of all time is Pokemon Red/Blue. NOT yellow.

8). I have frequently toyed with the idea of buying the complete pokemon animated series box sets and watching them start to finish.

9). I have broken all of my fingers except my left thumb at one point or another.

10). I was once knocked unconscious by a tennis ball. Didn’t even think that was possible.

11). Recently as part of a rebuttal to a child’s cruel ridiculing of my Halo 4 performance, I used the phrase “I’ve been playing this game since before you were born”. I then realised that not only was that not an excuse for me being crap, I also realised it was probably true. Go figure.

I will now answer the questions set by The PewPew Diaries. 

1. Tell us about one of the most embarrassing moments you’ve ever been through!

I once decided that I could do ‘the worm’ in the middle of a crowded club. I face-planted and cracked my tooth in the centre of the dance floor. Epic fail.

2. What is your favorite cereal?

I am all about Wheatos!

3. Zombie apocalypse, what would you do?

Find Woody Harrelson and Emma Stone, obviously.

4. Your friend struck lottery, and decides that you and your friends are not cool enough for him. What would you do and why?

Go back to finding Woody Harrelson and Emma Stone.

5. Pizza or Pasta?

Pizza. I do however, consume vast quantities of both!

6. What made you start your own blog?

It serves as an outlet for my ridiculous ideas that cannot be inserted into an undergraduate essay.

7. You find out that vampires are real, and the Twilight story is unfolding itself in one of your female friends. What would you do?

I am only vaguely aware of the premise of Twighlight. Thusly I will assume that my female friend is now much stronger than me and wants to cut my throat. This is similar to my relationships with most females so very little would change.

8. If you could only eat 1 dessert for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Ben and Jerry’s cookie dough. The rule does not have to be enforced for this to be the case.

9. Favorite quote?

“Brick where did you get a hand-grenade?” – “I don’t know”

10. What is the weirdest moment in your life?

The day I realised I could switch between computer programmes by pressing Alt + Tab. My mind was blown.

11. Internet is down for the entire weekend, your friends and family are out of town. What would you do?

Two days out of town with my family and friends would probably end up looking like The Hunger Games. 

My Nominees: Tried to Pick a few lesser-known folks out that I liked to read. Check out their blogs, they’re all great.

awesomesloth

Obelion13

Slick Anthology

Drakulus

The RepubliKa

Game Chronicles HD

this cage is worms

DonCharisma.org

Game Over

League of Mediocre Gamers

And finally the questions for my nominees.

1). What was your gen I starting pokemon?
2). What is the longest amount of time you have spent playing a game?
3). What’s your favourite cheesy joke?
4). If you could play one games console for the rest of your life what would it be?
5). If you could invent one thing, what would it be?
6). Black or blue ink?
7). Rock, Paper, Scissors?
8). If you could swiftly end the career of one music act, which would it be?
9). What is the funniest thing you have ever said/thought that nobody heard?
10). If you could talk to your five year old self, what one piece of advice would you give them?
11). If you could high-five a celebrity who would it be?

I look forward to your responses! Be sure to comment below with a link so I can check them out!

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Get addicted to crack, It’s easier to kick than Xcom: Game Review

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So I’m finally all moved into my new student place and have spent plenty of my hungover hours playing Xbox. That means I have another review for all you lovely people.

From 2K games, we have a remake of the 1994 classic UFO: Enemy unknown. Xcom: Enemy Unknown is a turn based strategy shooter set in the not too distant future on planet earth. Some pesky aliens have begun invading our little planet causing our world leaders to activate the Xcom initiative. You are charged with creating a global hub to deal with the foreign invaders, from intercepting their UFOs to sending strike teams to deal with aliens terrorizing a whole cities, your job is to keep ET and his buddies from turning the world’s population into glowing green mush. 

The combat system is pretty straight forward, advance your squad carefully, making sure to keep them in cover wherever possible. When a decent line of sight is created between you and your enemies you get a chance to wipe their alien faces off the planet in a hail of laser fire and bullets. As your squad  racks up the kills you get the chance to upgrade their abilities depending on their class. Just like Pokemon was in the 90s, this simple system is ridiculously addictive and keeps you coming back for more.

Half of the game is spent developing your base and deploying satellites around the world to monitor alien activity. On ‘Classic’ difficulty this can be really hard and is damn near impossible on your first try. I have had to restart several times as I found myself in an un-winnable situation later in the game. However, when you get it right and start developing the ordinance available for your troops it is incredibly satisfying and addictive. 

All in all Xcom is great fun and is well worth the ten pounds it will set you back. Be warned, once you start, you can’t stop. My degree is at serious risk as a result of this game.

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Gaming: A Bonding Experience – Games for University

Apologies to my regular readers for my current inconsistency. With my next term/semester starting at university in the next couple of weeks I have been crazy busy with other publications and writing projects. I’m taking this opportunity to reduce my blogging. My reviews and articles will be hitting the press on Fridays and I’ll still be chucking up random videos and the occasional rant as and when I get the time, but playing through two games a week was never going to be viable during term time! With that out of the way, I’ve decided to include an article that I have submitted to my University paper. Let me know what you think!

Great University Games

When you come to moving out of halls and living in your own place at university, you have to make the decision pretty quickly: ‘Do I allow my games console to be shared with the people I live with?’ Whilst the pitfalls of such a move include broken controllers, scratched discs, stolen battery packs and the occasional fist fight, the rewards can be great. Here are some great  games to play with your housemates at uni.

Mortal KombatMortal Kombat -A firm favourite in my house, this remains one of the most brutal games I have ever played. Designed to be hilariously graphic, Mortal Kombat allows you to work as a team, if you want to live in a harmoniously, or to pit your wits against each other in a brutal death match. Either way the results are hilarious and satisfying.

Fifa 13

Fifa/Madden/NHL Etc.   Finding a sports game that everyone likes is a good idea. If everyone in your house likes football, pick up the latest Fifa and watch the competitive spirit, horrendous goal celebrations and shameless taunting commence. If you have some American football fans and/or you just want to drive all the girls out of the living room, grab Madden NFL and watch everything feminine mysteriously disappear.

Mario Kart

Mario Kart – A game that everyone enjoys, partly because it’s designed for five-year-olds, and thus the ability to control a car, or any advanced motor skills, are not strictly necessary. Easy to get to grips with, this game can fill many an evening with frustration as you try to complete a game that the average seven year old could master.

Halo 4Halo 3/4– These are not so much for the campaigns (which are brilliant) as the ability to customise maps and game types. With infinite variety in both, anyone who enjoys a first person shooter can create a suitable game type that your housemates can use to fight it out. For increased awesomeness, try using two monitors and linking two consoles together with an Ethernet cable. This increases the available players to eight and makes for a much more strategic matchup. A similar experience can be had using Call of Duty, albeit with slightly less customization.

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Total War: Rome II – Naval Combat

A look at the Naval combat in the highly anticipated, Total War: Rome II

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Stop Invading My Fictional Llama Farm! – Tropico 4 Review

Tropico 4

“By definition, as a Prime Minister I cannot be a liar.”
Silvio Berlusconi

“Politics is when you say you are going to do one thing while intending to another. Then you do neither.”
Saddam Hussein

“If surviving assassination attempts was an Olympic event, I would win the gold medal”
Fidel Castro

The loading screens give you pithy political quotes to inspire the vast corruption with which you will not (often) rule.

For a bit of variety in my gaming diet I decided that this week I would have a go at a Civilisation game. Based on minimal research on the available titles, there were only two real contenders: Tropico 4 and Civilisation Revolution. I liked the name ‘Tropico’ slightly more than ‘Civilisation’ and thus my extremely logical and fair choice was made. 

What’s the situation?

You are ‘El Presidente’ ruler of the tiny island nation(s) Tropico. Your goal is to raise your tiny nation into a globally recognised centre of….. well, pretty much anything you please! In the campaign, various challenges are put in front of you as part of a brief but effective story-line as you try to develop a successful and independent country.

How much is it?

I managed to pick up a copy for 10 pounds, if you have a little hunt on amazon, ebay etc. I’m sure you will find a similar offer. Or if you can’t be bothered with the whole ‘wait around for 2 days for the post to arrive’ you can download from the Xbox Live marketplace for a rather pricey 25 pounds.

Is it fun?

Yes, undoubtedly. Fans of civilization games will enjoy the wide variety of options with which you can develop your treasury. Slightly sadistic wind-up merchants will enjoy annoying the various other nations on the planet until the proverbial hits the fan and they invade. Of course, if the USSR actually get round to invading your tiny island, you lose instantly which is kind of anti-climatic. Although given that your population is usually around 500, the odds were never great.

How’s the Gameplay?

The gameplay on the whole is good. It is easy to adjust the pitch and rotation of camera angles, the construction wheel is easy to navigate and the various menus are logically placed. Tropico uses an ‘almanac’ to provide an overview of your island from which you can adjust imports and exports, view specific citizens and generally get a feel for the progression of your developing nation. To start with, the number of options for developing your economy can be a little overwhelming, but with a little bit of game time, the system all falls into place and is relatively easy to use after a couple of missions.

How does it look?

Actually very good. Considering the size and density of some of the islands you can create, the attention to detail is incredible. The graphics are pleasing and detailed, the layouts of the maps are well conceived and the Llamas are displayed in glorious high definition. All the key events are visible from the sky including rebel attacks, protests and full blown political uprisings.

Highlights of the game

Haemimont Games evidently have a sense of humour, and the  various characters you encounter throughout the missions are generally hilarious stereotypes of the respective countries that they represent. Your minister of education informing her new high school recruits that the punishment for the attempted and successful murder of classmates is a spanking Never got old.

Overall

I really enjoyed this game. It is very addictive and I found myself having to drag myself away to do important things like eat and sleep. It is probably best not to try and complete the whole thing in a week like I did (No one can say I’m not committed!) as it can become a little repetitive and the music in particular can really grate on your nerves! But enjoyed responsibly, this game will provide many hours of fun and is well worth the ten pounds it cost me!

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I Went Grey, Then Bald, Then Died, Then My Kids Died, Then Their Kids Died, And The Credits Were Still Rolling

Assassin's Creed III

Today I was originally going to do a review for Assassin’s Creed III, but then I thought beings as a-million-and-one-people have already reviewed it and sung its praises, adding my blunt and abrasive opinions might be a little futile.

If you haven’t already, buy the game. It’s great fun, you can get it for a tenner and it is a worthy instalment in an already popular franchise.

There is however, one thing I would like to take issue with. HOW LONG ARE THE FREAKING CREDITS!? Holy shit were they long. Being an Assassin’s Creed game I was expecting some credit-rolling epilogue like at the end of AC2. What I got, was arguably the biggest waste of time in my life so far. And I have done some seriously pointless shit. Me and a housemate once spent several hours making a concentric circle of cups, in the middle of exam season, to avoid doing any work. I once saw two of my housemates learn how to make cheese for no other reason than to avoid doing any revision. These things are practically biblically enlightening seminars compared to the pointlessness of the ending of Assassin’s Creed III. 

Once you have trawled through over twenty minutes of names, quite possibly listing the entire population of the earth, you are rewarded with two “missions”, which are actually thirty second cut-scenes, which serve to tell you how the American War of Independence worked out. Okay, cheers Ubisoft, thanks for clearing that up for me. Being as I am alive, I had already worked out that America was eventually going to gain independence, but thanks for letting me sit through twenty insanely boring minutes of names, which you can’t skip, to help me figure that out.

Other than that AC3 is great and I highly recommend it. Play it again and get ready for Black Flag because it is going to be awesome.

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