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Monthly Archives: August 2007

Never before have I jumped out of my seat and celebrated a goal in a video game…..scored by the computer. A shot from the point by Chris Pronger that was redirected down low by Todd Bertuzzi on goal sent my goalie scrambling for the loose rebound. Scott Neidermeyer comes flying in and absolutely nails the puck into the top shelf for the goal.

So I’ve played the demo about 20 times now, tried new things every game and have finally come to the conclusion that the true sequel to NHL 07 has fixed nearly every aspect of the game.

Here is my list of positives and negatives:

I’ll start with presentation:

+ 60 Frames per second in 1080i. Holy cow this game looks good. It’s smooth with zero choppiness.

+ A lot of new commentary from Gary Thorne and Bill Clemment. I hate Thorne, but it’s nice that everything didn’t get recycled from last season.

+ Replays have your exact controller movements on the screen as they happen. Don’t know how you did something? It will show you! Nice touch.

– Again the opening and ending of the game is lame. This could be just for the demo though.

Offense:

+ The most important thing in a hockey game ever for me is passing. You can finally cycle the puck. Keeping the puck down low and continuing to play behind the net is such a treat when the CPU has someone there to receive it. Defensemen don’t leave the zone anymore so you can send it up high to them and utilize an intragal part of your offense.

+ Super Deke’s aren’t overdone. In fact, I have trouble succeeding with non-superstars. They aren’t over the top and work quite infrequently. Even when they work, you don’t gain a huge advantage.

+ Powerplays. Oh my goodness, talk about earning a powerplay goal…7 passes putting the defense out of position and a shot from the point with a perfect screen makes you feel pretty good.

+ Good looking goals. Not a huge improvement here, but the goalie are MUCH better mainly because there are few if any of those goals that trickle in after a few seconds. There have been a couple weak goals, but in many cases there was a screen. Besides, bad shots go in on occasion in real life right?

+ I use classic controls and they do EVERYTHING that regular controls do. The main difference is the shot button mapped to A instead of RT. But this year they added a saucer pass button to the RB. Excellent.

+/- Shootouts seem different. Perhaps it’s the high default game speed, but I seem to get to the goalie awfully quick when trying to deke. It seems like the use of the right thumbstick becomes noticably different in the shootout. I can’t pinpoint it. However, placing shots on wristers is much more effective this year. I’ve scored several goals, namely with Teemu Selanne where I reared back and put a shot above Emery’s glove.

– Players seem TOO good about staying onside. Sure it’s annoying when the CPU jumps offside, but it happen in real life wheras in never happens in this game. Could be attributed to the default settings.

– Passing might be too good. Again, this could be the easy difficulty, but I shouldn’t be able to make 30 tape to tape passes in a row with no problems. I tried it out and was able to hold the puck in the zone for nearly 10 game minutes.

– At the same time, why can I not pass the puck EXACTLY where I want it. I’ve tried to send it off the boards to get it back to the point, but it either shoots in straight into the boards back to me, or straight to the pointman. There is no inbetween. How about some sort of 2kish pass aim assist slider?

Defense:

+++ This is where the new skating engine really shines. It should no longer take a novice to NHL 07/08 50 games to figure out how to survive defensively. You can now hold out your stick and move it around on the ice, similar to NHL 2k’s game. It’s not as effective as 2k, but it’s still good. Players now glide when you let up on the left thumbstick as well. Defensive placement is very important as well.

+ Hitting is way down. Again, a lot of this can be credited to the new skating engine. Lining up a body check is tough. If you don’t have the right speed and timing, you don’t hit your opponent or you bounce off of him. The NHL isn’t a 200 hits per game checkfest, so why have video games continued to make them that? Thank you EA for making this realistic. This is definitely one category that the sliders will be interesting to play around with.

+ Penalty Killing. The CPU is smart. They pass it around and look for the open man. If you have a player out of position, the CPU exploits it. I’d suggest icing the puck on the PK whenever possible. Not only does the clock now go at normal speed when it’s in the other end of the ice, but you can get a much needed line change. I can only imagine how hard you have to work on the PK on a harder difficulty setting. I’m getting excited just thinking about that.

+/- Quick whistles. I don’t know why, but sometimes the goalie will catch the puck, or grab it on the ice, and the whistle will blow immediately like it’s supposed to. There is no way to get rid of it. Other times, there will be no whistle for several seconds. In both situations I’ve had opposing skaters near me and far away. It seems random. Obviously I’d prefer the quick whistle because that’s much more realistic. I hate being tempted to drop the puck when there are two opposing players hovering over my netminder.

– What’s with the CPU making your player controlled skater go backwards automatically? Even at center ice? This is probably the biggest problem defensively. I’m trying to skate back to have a 3rd guy help out, and he’s turning to skate backwards? What? I thought that’s why the left trigger was there on defense!

– Protecting an empty net is near impossible now. All of a sudden when there is an empty net, everyone becomes freaking Gordie Howe from center ice. Last year it was tough to score an empty net unless you were in the zone. Now they don’t miss at all. If you don’t hack the puck handler when you have no goalie, you’re screwed.

Other parts of the game:

– Fighting. What the hell happened? Why did these rock em sock em robots replace the guys who were supposed to go at it? The fighting in 07 was pretty good and could’ve used a slight improvement, mainly in difficulty. The fighting in 08 turned into something a monkey can do. Why must these game companies make something good a significant downgrade???? NHL Hitz turned the best fighting engine ever into a button matching sequence mini game. Definitely a huge let down EA. Thankfully fighting is always optional and must be mutual.

+ Playing as the goalie was actually quite fun. Try it for a few games. The controls are pretty easy, but it could take awhile to master. I can see this being loads of fun online.

+ Sliders. Though they can’t be changed in the demo, there are a plethora of them, most of which are the same as last year. This game NEEDS to be slowed down to 0 first and foremost. I cannot wait to play around with these slider sets.

Remember that this is a demo, and a few things in the actual game may be slightly different. I think with the ridiculously fast game settings, combined with the fact that it plays great, we’ll be able to tweak the game to play a near perfect version of simulation hockey for the first time ever in the history of video games. What I need to see improved the most are the defensive A.I. being more aggressive and closing down the neutral zone. I’d also like to slow the game down yet maintain the ability for players to move around at a quick pace where necessary.

This is a video game so nothing is going to be perfect. Judging this demo, I’d say that EA officially nailed it this year.

Remember that there will be the three Elite leagues and the AHL in this game as well. I cannot wait to have a true minor league system with the actual jersey’s of AHL teams and their players. Now I can beat the Rockford Icehogs in the virtual world too!!!! YES!!!

EGM already gave this game scores of 9.5, 9.0 and 9.0. By the way, that’s better than Madden got.

I think this is the runaway sports game of the year.

This has been building up for 6 months, which coincidentally is when we moved to Cincinnati. I would also like to preface this commentary by saying that I am speaking SPECIFICALLY to Time Warner Cincinnati and not other TW outlets.

When the wife and I moved to the Nati, I knew what was coming. It meant dropping Comcast and going to the dreaded Time Warner Cable which I had only heard negative things about. Comcast wasn’t anything great in Fort Wayne. It didn’t have a Fox HD channel because WFFT didn’t want to pay for something they’ll have to in 2009 anyway, a digital signal. It was expensive and it didn’t have many HD channels.

However, Comcast DOES have a channel called Versus (formerly OLN). Versus is the now well known main hub for the National Hockey League here in the United States. It has 57 regular season games and nearly ALL of the playoff games. Oh yeah, all of them are in HD as well. That’s my main gripe with Time Warner, but it certainly goes beyond that.

Time Warner simply doesn’t care about it’s customers. There are a limited amount of channels on it’s basic digital lineup compared to Comcast. It doesn’t care that you can’t get the NHL AT ALL without paying out the wazoo for it (NHL Center Ice). You can get 50 or so games on a channel called ND NET, but that channel along with ND NET Movies, MOJO, and Universal HD, costs $7!!!!!!!! WHA???? Yeah, that’s per month. Even worse, they recently took ESPN HD off that tier and replaced it with nothing.

Other channels that I used to watch that were free on a digital package were G4 and GSN. Nope, now it’s $2.95 more for those. It doesn’t seem like much, but this money adds up and I refuse to give these idiots more money.

Now for the first time since I moved here, remember that’s 6 months, they added two channels…ESPN U and ESPN 2 HD. Both are free with digital cable. But being the morons they are, they took ESPN Classic off the basic tier and put it on digital only. Therefore I can’t watch Classic in my bedroom now. I wonder how much the cable bill for a non digital subscriber goes down? Yep, you’re absolutely right, zero.

I thought it was cool they added ESPN 2 HD, but until this morning, I received a screen that said “To Subscribe to ESPN 2 HD, call this number”. I THOUGHT IT WAS FREE???? So I was on the phone with some girl who clearly doesn’t know what’s going on (how typical) for 34:07…yes I timed it. She said that I didn’t subscribe to the digital tier anymore. I told her I was aware of that but the website AND the phamplet that was sent in the mail to me to inform me of channel changes says otherwise. She didn’t believe me. I seriously had to take her to THEIR OWN COMPANIES WEBSITE, and try and explain that to her. I’m wondering how many other people have this problem?

Ok, so they added new channels, great, now why is it so hard to get channels that nearly EVERYONE else has? Like Versus? I did some research and nearly every other Time Warner outlet has it!!! Again…WHA????? How is that possible? Not only does Columbus, and Dayton have it, but Oxford Ohio has it. By the way, Oxford is less than an hour away and are considered the SAME TIME WARNER OUTLET, Southwest Ohio. Their claim? They don’t have an agreement and are in negotiations. Of course that was six months ago, and to this day they have the same claim. I continue to email them weekly and ask about it everytime I call them. I get the same form letter via email and never get an intelligent response. Am I the only one who thinks it makes no sense for other TW’s to have it and not us?

How about the Big Ten Network? Ha ha ha ha no.

How about FSN Ohio HD? The Reds games are in HD but you can’t watch them in HD here.

How about TBS HD for the baseball playoffs? Not likely.

Versus HD? Nevermind.

100 HD channels out there, and Time Warner doesn’t care.

Apparently you get what you pay for, and even though my cable bill is much cheaper than Comcast, I actually want Comcast back in the worst way.

Why don’t I get DirecTV you ask? I have a blanket of trees out back that completely block the SW sky, or else I guarantee we’d have it by now.

Congratulations Time Warner, you are the biggest idiot ever.

I don’t know when these came out, but I found out the NHL 2k8 achievements came out and they looked pretty much the same as last year.

The NHL 08 achievements are completely different than 07 and some may be impossible.

Here’s the compete list

Some notable toughies are as follows:

– 25 shots in one period on Superstar mode.

– Don’t take a penalty in a Superstar mode game.

– Score a goal with your goalie in Superstar mode.

– Play 25 ranked shootout mode games online.

– Beat someone in the top 50 online.

NHL 08 Cover

Since I play with sim settings, namely speed all the way down and settings where they resemble ACTUAL hockey, and I try to play as realistic as possible, getting 25 shots in a period on the hardest difficulty won’t be easy.

Score a goal with the goalie??? How the hell do you do that? Unless they tweaked how the goalie sends the puck, that won’t be possible unless the other team carries the puck into my net for me.

The online achievements are pretty straightforward, but who is going to play 25 games in just the shootout mode online? So i’m gonna play someone in a game that takes more time to load up than actually play?

However, beating someone in the top 50 might be easy early on, but once you idiots online start finding all the cheap tactics and glitches and start abusing them, it will be much more difficult. I’ll stick with playing a sim game and beating those morons who can’t play real hockey. Plus I’ll hopefully have teammates like Keller who know the game well and also tries to play real hockey. We were near unstoppable in NHL 2k3 so this shouldn’t be much different.

Of course none of the online play matters if EA didn’t make it so there isn’t that 1/4 second delay as in last year’s game.0

American¬†GladiatorsThe late 80’s early 90’s game show/physical competition is set to make a return according to Cynopsis. We’ll see how it goes, but hopefully the gladiators are a bit more focused on the athleticism rather than being a great steroid shooter…errrrr body builder.

As an American Gladiator fan when I was young, I saw the live qualifying show twice and even met up with Thunder afterwards and got his autograph which I still have somewhere.

Hopefully they’ll maintain the show’s signature event, Powerball, but stay away from ridiculous events like Skytrack and The Maze.

No, I did not review this game. But a PS3 super fanboy did. As you might expect, he didn’t give it a great review.

You need to check this review out and see if it was written by someone over the age of 12. Either that or he is blind, stupid, unaware of facts, unaware of the 14 other PROFESSIONAL reviews that gave this game exceptional praise….you know i could go on but I’ll stop right there. If you have not read his “review”, do it now.

I’ll wait.

Not after you are finished laughing, then finished commenting on his page about his ridiculous bias, then finished laughing again, we can continue.

I only have two things to post:

1) The average of 9.8 by the press thus surpassing Ocarina of Time as the highest average score ever.

2) Madden PS3 vs. 360

One word for this idiot many times over…

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

Holy freaking crap. I have the 1.3 GB sized demo and I must say that words can’t begin to express how incredible this game is. There is no wonder this game is getting 10’s across the board on many video game website reviews.

The demo gives you a very small taste of the “never the same game twice” type game. You can venture off to see the amazing textures, you can look for health, ammo and other things, and you can beat the hell out of a dead cat with a wrench.

Among guns and a wrench, in the demo you are given electricity (called a plasmid) that you can fire at someone or at water. This will shock enemies and then you can kill them.

I couldn’t believe some of the things I heard and saw in this demo. It was kind of freaky the way it was delievered. I can see this game having multiple “Halo flood” moments that are scary as hell.

Another major part of this game is hacking cameras, auto turrets, and bots. You can hack these things with a “Pipe Dream”-like minigame to make the camera alerts go against your enemies instead of you.

Despite this demo being quite linear, I missed a few ways I wanted to go and they became closed off, so I may have missed quite a bit. You’ll want to search everything before moving on where possible.

At the end of the demo there is a somewhat lengthy trailer for the game that shows just how little the demo actually contained.

According to many reviews there are 3 difficulties and multiple endings for maximum replayability. No multiplayer, but so what.

I can honestly say I’ve never praised a game based on the demo this much. I WILL have this game Tuesday and I recommend everyone who likes FPS’s or likes scary stuff, or likes RPG’s to get this game because it’s a great mix of the 3.

Apparently I am one of the few sports gamers who are not completely brainwashed by the “Madden Nation”.

Let me start out by saying that I think college football is better than the NFL by a slight margin. But I think NCAA 0x is a much better game than Madden 0x. It’s been true for years now.

I’m sure most people will tell you they prefer the NFL to college FB. Therefore, it seems logical that most people will buy Madden over NCAA 08. Look, I love football, but I’m going to pick the better game. I’ve given Madden a chance every year for the last 4. This year I will NOT be making the Madden purchase that everyone else is.

Perhaps if EA figured out that everyone who plays online, wants Online Leagues. Why is that so difficult to grasp? EA has made great strides in many aspects of their games, but they cannot figure out that online leagues are the way to go. Playing random people in most sports games only brings out the cheesy players with their unrealistic, win at all costs playstyle.

Either way, I’m halfway through season 2 of my three team dynasty in NCAA 08 and I am simply having a blast. I’ll be playing this game until NHL 08 comes out on September 11.

Meanwhile, what exactly is the appeal of Madden 08 or the new Madden in general every year? It’s been little more than a roster update for the last few years so what is the point of shelling out 60 bucks for it? Until there is a complete overhaul, I won’t be buying another Madden game for awhile.

Well if you know it or not, I have a huge Indianapolis Colts fan and this will be our 3rd year with season tickets.

The Super Bowl Champion Colts will kick off the NFL season at home against the New Orleans Saints on Thursday, September 6 at 8:30 pm. It will be the only game that night and will be a national game. Just another perk to being the champs.

If you are going to be in Downtown Indy that day/night, you’ll be able to bask in glory one last time with fellow Colts fans starting at 11:30 where the Colts in Motion traveling museum will be around with the Cheerleaders and Blue, Colts mascot.

At Monument Circle at 5:00pm, Faith Hill, Kelly Clarkson, and Hinder (you have heard of all of them), will perform.

Inside the RCA Dome prior to the game, John Mellencamp will perform as well.

Of course there will be the traditional banner raising ceremony for the Colts to celebrate the victory that was Super Bowl 41.

I’ll have a full report of every Colts game this season right here.

Well you knew it would happen sooner or later, unless of course his knees fell off or someone took a shot at his moon sized head, Barry Bonds hit his 756th career homer in front of the only 40,000 people in the world who care about it. The fans at AT&T Park seriously want to shove the overwhelming near certainty of cheating under the rug and cheer, admire, and recognize Bonds as MLB’s new home run king.

Thankfully, I and everyone else with a brain, am smart enough to understand that he clearly cheated. The symtoms have been said numerous times so there is no need to talk about his massive head, his giant body size over the last decade, his improved muscles after age 40, his new shoe size, his extreme allegations, Victor Conte, Jose Canseco and so forth. There is NO need to mention anything like that.

Take it for what it is and go ahead and respond with the obvious posts like:

“Show me the proof”, or “Let it go, he did it, move on”, or “Other players do it”, or “But he can recreate the moon landing on his dome”.

Here is my updated Home Run List as of today:

1. Barry Bonds 756*
1A. Henry Aaron 755
3. Babe Ruth 714
4. Willie Mays 660
5. Sammy Sosa 604*
6. Ken Griffey Jr. 589
7. Frank Robinson 586
8. Mark McGwire 583*
9. Harmon Killebrew 573
10. Rafael Palmeiro 569*

* Indicates known cheater, or alleged with overwhelming evidence.

As you can tell, I love this game. I’ve thus far played one full year of dynasty mode with 3 teams.

Now I had a struggle in season one but have landed some big recruits, especially with Notre Dame.

Here are my video highlights:

BSU @ #14 Nebraska

There’s a great look at the scoreboard, but yeah, Ball State beats Nebraska at THEIR place. Easily the highlight of the Cardinals season who finished 5-7.

BSU @ W. Michigan

This is a play by Western Michigan late in the game, but it’s still incredible what happened. 4th and goal from outside the 10 yd. line and less than 40 seconds remaining to tie it. I still managed to win prior to overtime however.

Notre Dame @ #17 Michigan

80 yard touchdown pass which helped in the defeat of Michigan on the road.

Notre Dame @ #17 Michigan

Game over, this tipped interception sealed the win for the Irish.

Let me know what you think of these videos. I’ll post more of them when I get them.

UPDATE 2: Just like yesterday, this thing is falling apart in the top half of the 9th. The Mets have scored 4 runs off of Ryan Dempster (why Kerry Wood didn’t come in here, I don’t know). Very upsetting to say the least. Barring a miracle finish, we’ll have to hope for yet another meltdown by the Brewers tonight as they host the Phillies.

==============================================

UPDATE: Now in the 9th, the Cubs squandered an opportunity when Derrick Lee stole 2nd, advanced to third and had Aramis Ramirez up with 2 out. Ramirez flied out to center and they go to the 9th tied at 2.

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Well this game has been interesting. Carlos Zambrano left early with heat exhaustion. Derrick Lee hit yet another bomb, and Orlando Hernandez has continued to be hot.

Jason Kendall just hit a game tying double off the left field wall to make it 2-2.

Currently after 7 innings they are still at 2-2.

The battle for sole possession of 1st place is on.

“It’s Gonna Happen”

It’s official, the Cubs are now in first place in the National League Central division. Everything has been coming together over the last 6 weeks and it has been fabulous to watch.

Derrick Lee is finally beating the snot out of the ball. Aramis Ramirez is continuing to hit home runs and Ryan Theriot has been a huge surprise during this run. Carlos Zambrano is unstoppable with 14 wins and the list goes on and on.

Even better news is that Kerry Wood should be with the team and in the bullpen this weekend. He looks completely different after losing 1/3 of his neck. Hopefully the weight loss translates to some good relief appearances.

The road to the playoffs continue.

“IT’S GONNA HAPPEN”