Madden NFL15

Am I the only one having trouble getting into Ultimate Team on the PS4?

Madden NFL 15 Impressions

Now that I’ve had a bit of time to play with Madden 15 for the PS4, I wanted to detail a few of my impressions for the game.

The first thing that I want to address have to deal with the loading times.  It seems like as the years have gone on, games load more and more slowly, and Madden seems to be no different.  Having said that, here are the loading times that I’ve experienced to this point.

- From starting the game from the PS4 dashboard to the “Press any button” title screen: 36.7 seconds

- From the “Press any button” page to the actual game menu (This second loading period is filled with loading your profile, the community gameplay recommendation, etc.) : 36.8 seconds

- Time to launch an actual game: 50.5 seconds to the pregame

- Time to skip to the kickoff from pregame: 16.7 seconds

- Time to get back to the main game menu when exiting after the completion of a game: 14 seconds

None of these loading time issues make the game any worse, but I do find myself walking away from the system or getting distracted by my phone just due to the fact that there is that waiting time built into the game.  The loading time that is probably the most frustrating is the one right at the start of the game.  Why send you to a screen where you have to press a button just to launch the game?  There is nothing else that you can do from that page, so it just seems to be a page to send you to just to break up a single longer loading time that you cannot avoid.  It’s just a silly and frustrating thing to start each game session with.

Beyond that, once you get into an actual game, there are some really nice changes on the defensive side.  For starters, the defensive line gameplay changes (along with the new camera angles on defense) really make the defensive side of the game a great deal more enjoyable.  As a person who almost always takes a defensive lineman, the snap-jumping and the new abilities to shed blocks are well received changes and add a great amount of depth to a segment of the game that seems to have been neglected in the past.

The tackle cone is another new feature that was added and while it may have seemed like a good idea, I found myself turning it off after a few games because I just found it distracting and haven’t felt that I was having a hard time judging when to make a tackle in the past.

If you are looking for large changes when you are in control of offense, you really won’t find too many differences from previous revisions as it seems that the lion’s share of the work in the game was spent on defense.  The one thing that you will notice when throwing a pass is that the passing accuracy for the QB’s has been adjusted so that some of the “lesser able” QB’s will tend to throw more incomplete (and erratic) passes than someone like Peyton Manning or Tom Brady.  That change alone makes the game a bit more realistic, but I have already noticed a few times where good QB’s make some terrible throws when WR’s are wide open, so there is probably some tuning and adjusting that needs to be completed on that new feature before it’s all dialed in.

Another change is the newly added community recommendations that you can see during play selection.  When you go to select a play, the game presents you with data that they have collected to show how effective that particular play has been for you, along with how effective it has been for the entire Madden community.  While that feature does add to the loading times when you launch the game, it is a nice addition to see some of the data that EA Sports collects being presented back to the user.

Beyond the gameplay changes, the presentation for the game has gotten an overhaul and those changes are a bit of a mixed bag.  New sequences before and after plays really give the game a much more realistic broadcast feel and are nice additions, but what I didn’t care for was all of the new pregame and post game show material.  For the first few games they feel fresh and interesting but, like every sports game that I’ve ever played, they become tiresome and annoying after playing 10 or 15 games.  The halftime show in particular stands out because it can’t be skipped easily with a simple button press as you have to wait until it starts the highlights for the first half, and then press a button, before you can skip to the beginning of the second half.  Not a huge issue, but it is just another moment that adds more time to your game that wasn’t there in the past.

The connected franchise mode, which is probably at the heart of most people’s game experience with Madden, as it lets you play online or offline leagues, has been adjusted to include player confidence as a means increase or decrease player ratings as the season wears on.  Confidence is impacted by how well or poorly you play on the field as well as by the new Game Prep feature.  The Game Prep allows you decide which players or parts of your team that you want to focus on before each game.  In theory it seems like an interesting concept, but once I played a few games I started to let the CPU handle it for me because I just wasn’t seeing the value in it.

I can’t say too much about Ultimate Team changes, as I have some internet issues due to my move, but there seem to be more ways to collect cards outside of purchase that haven’t been there in past editions due to new objectives in the mode.  Those might be worth a look if you’re more of a solo player.

Based on my time with the game, I would say it’s definitely worth a rental, but if you really like the defensive side of the ball, you might want to pick it up as the changes there really make the game worthwhile.  If your main focus is Ultimate Team or the Connected Franchise, you might want to take a pass on it this year and stick with last years game.

MLB.TV is awesome

So, now that I’m in Atlanta, I finally bit the bullet and signed up for MLB.TV knowing that I could finally watch Brewers games on my PS4 or on my laptop or phone.  I signed up on Monday night at a time when the price was $24.99.  I figured, even for one month it was worth it for that price.  Little did I know that the next day they would drop the price to $12 for the 12 year anniversary of the service.

I sent them an email asking for a refund of the difference, figuring that it would go nowhere, but amazingly they sent me back an email with a credit for the entire $25 and let me sign up for the service for $12.

That is just awesome customer service and has probably won me over as a customer for next year as well.

Oh, and it is great to be able to watch all of the games now (except probably Braves ones, but I wouldn’t have been watching those anyway.)

Best Buy DOTD: UFC for XB1/PS4 $44.99

If you like UFC, you might want to get on this Best Buy Deal of the Day.


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Greetings from Georgia

Well, I have made my way down to Georgia after a 13 hour drive on Saturday and have started the process of living in the South.  I loaded up the Prius with almost every bit of clothing that I own, along with 3 TV’s (2 are small spares,)  my PC and monitor, and just about every gaming system that I’ve ever owned (I am a gamer after all) and began bachelor life.

The family won’t be joining me for a few months, but with some luck (all based on getting our house sold,) they will be down here sooner.  To this point, that has to be the greatest challenge of being down here.  When I am at home with my family, there are always times where you can find some quiet time by yourself, but now that I’m here by myself, I find that I want none of that and just want to hear my girls call out “Daddy” or come and give me a hug.  I know that I’ll be seeing them again soon, but each night has been a challenge to this point.

At this point, I’m living out of a hotel room, but am trying to find an apartment (or a house if that can happen quickly enough,) so I can start putting together a place for the family to join me.

I have absolutely no regrets about making this change, but I know that it will probably be the greatest test that I’ve ever had to withstand as far as my family is concerned.  With luck, they will all be here soon and life will get back to normal.  Until that time, I’ll do my best to keep upbeat and write as much as I can.



Tap Sports Baseball

Remember a while back we did a podcast featuring Mike Saperstein regarding Your Turn Football. Unfortunately that game is dearly departed but the company was purchased by Glu Mobile and they just released a new game called Tap Sports Baseball.

It has the same crack-like addiction as Your Turn Football does and with baseball it seems to be more geared to turn based playing. You only play offense and it’s fun. It’s a free to play game so check it out in the iTunes App Store.


Monday Thoughts

Kudos to Steve “Steve_OS” from Operation Sports for getting the coup that those that have early access to Madden 15 on Xbox One will have it — for six hours. Granted, I am unsure if I’d play it for six hours, but still in the words of Jimmy Fallon,. “eww.” I liked the Season Ticket model. This isn’t it.


In other news, check out the podcast about Madden if you haven’t already.

Anyone watch WWE Summerslam? That Bella turn was a surprise for me, but it makes sense. The Lesnar-Cena match was as boring as you thought it would be. Matches of the night was Stephanie vs Brie and Paige vs AJ. Although the RKO given to Reigns was pretty decent.

Anyone try the WWE card game for iOS, it’s pretty addictive…


Riding the Pines – Interview with Seann Graddy – Madden NFL 15

Today we bring to you an interview that I conducted with Seann Graddy, Senior Producer for EA Sports Madden NFL 15.

Here are a few of the topics that we covered in the interview.

- Changes in NFL involvement with the title over the years
- Camera changes
- Differences between Tackle Cone and Passing Cone
- The focus on defensive changes for this season
- What sorts of information they get from their telemetry that helps guide the game in the future
- Changes to the presentation for the game
- Ultimate team/Connected franchise changes

We hope you enjoy the interview!

Sports Shorts

  • New NHL 15 video posted with Bergeron (suck it, Subban) taking a penalty shot. Check it out here. Awesome that they use Kernkraft 400 for the Bruins goal celebration. Just wish it was against the Habs rather than Ottawa
  • A PES (Pro Evolution Soccer) demo will hit consoles September 17, with the full release coming November 13. Uh, what? Two months? Yeah, I’ll be playing a lot of FIFA before that.
  • NBA 2K15 will be releasing across most platforms on October 7 and the big news is for PC players – it will be a new game that resembles the Xbox One / PS4 versions! So that means it may even be better. We’ll see.
  • Finally if you remember a bunch o’ podcasts ago, we did a spot on Your Turn Football for iOS. That game is gone because the company was bought by Glu Mobile. GluMobile has released a new game for iOS called Tap Sports Baseball. It’s a Free to play game and so far has been pretty entertaining. Check it out!

Thursday notes

- So, we put in an offer on a house down in Georgia yesterday.  Hopefully we’ll hear something back on it shortly.  One week until I make my way down there.

- Dan beat me in the twitter race.  He hit 100 followers last week, while I’m still at 92.  This makes me sad in some way, but Dan rants about the NE Revolution a lot, so people probably enjoy that sort of thing.

- I started playing Fez this week, due to it being available for every Sony platform under the sun via Playstation Plus and I have to say that it is a very charming puzzle/platforming title.  The cross-save capabilities for the game are awesome as I can transition from the PS4 to the Vita version without any issues.  I love that feature and pray that Nintendo can put something like that together eventually for the WiiU and 3DS, but I won’t hold my breath on that happening (since there is only one Cross-buy title available at this point for Nintendo.)

- Tomorrow is my last day at work, so I’ll probably do a bit more posting next week as I have some more time during the days, but I am sure that I will end up sitting around eating Bon Bon’s and watching “my stories” instead.

Madden 15 deal at Best Buy (starts on 8/10)

Stick with me on this one kids, it does involve a few steps.

Next week, Best Buy will be offering $25 in trade-in credit for Madden 25 (for the PS4 and Xbox One versions,) plus a $10 coupon to be put towards Madden 15.

So, if you already have a copy, you can acquire Madden 15 for $25.  Good deal, huh?  It gets better if you do a few other things.

If you pre-order Madden 15, you can receive a $10 reward certificate when you pick up the game, so that takes it down to only paying $15 for the newest version of Madden for the PS4 or Xbox One.  If you have Gamers Club Unlocked, you get the game for $48 (after the automatic 20% off,) plus the $10 reward certificate, so you get the new version for only $3 after the trade-in, coupon, and reward certificate are all factored in.

Probably the best deal I’ve seen for getting a new version of a sports title in a while.

Less console , more mobile

As I get older (read lazy), I have been tending to play more games on my iPhone & iPad than having to go all the way to my home office to play console or PC based videogames. For starters, the games are much cheaper (RBI Baseball is $4.99 on iPad vs $19.99 on Playstation 4 and pretty much the same thing).

Outside of that, the I’m waiting in a line at Subway so I’ll fit in a quick game of Flick Kick also makes it entertaining.

There are quite a few sports games on mobile and they run the gamut from “quick and easy” to “complex as crap.”

Here’s what I’m on now:
Flick Kick 2014: This is a new free to play game that is the latest version of the field goal kicking game. You need to account for distance and wind – swipe to kick. Addictive as heck. New for this year you can earn/buy “power ups” to extend your game or turn off the wind. You can also “team” up daily by picking a city, your survey questions and earn points for your team.I enjoy it.

basically any game by PikPok is fun (soccer, football, etc)

The MLB Home Run Derby game is much more fun than RBI baseball – the title speaks for itself — it is very difficult in my opinion. Also Cepedes is still in an Oakland uniform. LOL.

New Star Soccer – this is the one that is as complex as can possibly be but in a good way. You play as a created player and you start on a crap team, try to make a name for yourself and then move on up. You can pick any league in the world. Pretty cool stuff.

So there’s my quick take on sports games for mobile. I didn’t get into the other F2P games by EA (FIFA, Madden) because well…playing a game like that is very difficult IMHO on an iPad.

Monday notes

- Well, it continues to be a bit of a whirlwind for my family as we attempt to buy a home in Atlanta and sell our place in Wisconsin.  As a result, gaming time has been greatly diminished for me, although I have been able to spend some time playing a few WiiU games with my daughters.  It has been fun watching them grow into little gamers and hope that they continue to enjoy the hobby as much as I have throughout the years.

- In site news, I think I finally have resolved the server issues with the site.  It took a long time to figure out what was happening, but I think I have the specific circumstances that cause the issues that bring the database down.  It hasn’t been fun to troubleshoot, but I’m happy that I seem to have finally gotten the site up and stable.

- For game stuff, we have Madden releasing at the end of the month, and while I’m curious about how the tackling cone feature will work out, most of the game improvements seem to be solid ones.  I’m hoping to be able get a developer interview before the game releases, so we’ll see how everything lines up for that.

- After that, we’ll have NHL and FIFA releasing less than a month after Madden.  Should be a pretty busy month.

- Have a good week!

Sony thoughts on EA Access

Today Sony came out to answer a question on why the new EA Access program was not available for PS4. Sony responded that they didn’t feel it was a good enough value for their console owners.

Sounds like it’s great that a company is taking a stand against money grabbing. Then you remember this is the same company that released GameDay ’99 for PC.

My guess is that they wanted EA to give them the games free on PS+ and they said no. Just my speculation but since when does a console maker bitchslap a partner in public like that? Ouch.

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