Tuesday, September 15, 2015
09:52 AM - September 15, 2015. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Glenn Wigmore
It's a post–NHL 15 world, folks, and EA is looking to right the wrongs of last year's game. Much has been said about where NHL 15 went off the rails and how it happened, but the bottom line is that it will forever be known as an entry in the series that broke new ground for presentation while forgetting all of the features and modes that make the series great.
Enter NHL 16, a version of the game that has been developed with something of an "enhanced" 12-month schedule, with pre-production starting earlier than ever before. There's also been added accountability to producers during development and slightly more interaction with the fans in recent months. Further still, the GameChangers, a group of 12 fan liaisons, have been deeply involved in development of the EASHL and other core NHL features.
But does all of this fix what ailed NHL 15? In a word, yes.
Read More - NHL 16 Review (PS4/Xbox One)
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
01:36 PM - September 9, 2015. Posted by ChaseB. Written by Glenn Wigmore
To an outsider, it feels like it must have been a strange offseason for the folks at EA Canada who shepherd the NHL franchise. After NHL 15 was generally lambasted by critics, they still had to plow forward, developing the next iteration in the series without much of a breather to take stock of what happened. However, that does not mean they have not "rebuilt on the fly." In my time visiting the developers up in Burnaby as well as checking out the game at E3, it’s clear to me that the team has taken many steps to right the ship.
This is not to say that any of these moves guarantee a successful product this year, but they at least demonstrate an awareness by all levels of the development team (design, presentation, marketing, post-launch support) that things need to be different going forward. I was one of the many who felt disillusioned by last year’s product, as it seemed to want to reset expectations for content while finally improving the long-stagnant presentation. This resulted in a game that started to look the part of a next-gen game, but it didn’t have the content to back it up. Gameplay was buffed by some new parts under the hood, but they were clearly first-year efforts -- with puck physics and collision physics being the focus.
Even with the black eye of last year’s release, everyone on the team has a good poker face. There’s still a quiet confidence in the Burnaby office, as it’s a core group who experiences very little turnover and who has, by and large, done right by the NHL brand. But one thing is clear: NHL 15 is not a product that represented what that team is capable of, and those folks have taken many steps to change the language of development, add accountability to their staff and reconnect with all types of fans.
Read More: Changing the Game - EA's New Approach for NHL 16 (Written by Glenn Wigmore)
Monday, August 3, 2015
09:49 AM - August 3, 2015. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Glenn Wigmore
Now that the NHL 16 EASHL beta is officially out, we can see how it plays in the wild. There have definitely been some technical issues -- this is a beta after all -- but when things have gone smoothly, the action has been pretty enjoyable. Here are some quick thoughts on how things have gone for my squad so far...
Read More - EASHL Beta Impressions: Glenn's Take
Monday, July 27, 2015
09:54 AM - July 27, 2015. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Glenn Wigmore
If you’re anything like me, you are probably having a heck of a good time with Rocket League on the PS4. My review summarizes my thoughts in a more full manner, but the game just continues to provide that “just one more” feeling every time I play it. From the ease of which you can get in and out of matches to the party system to the customization to the dedicated servers, Rocket League just shines online.
Now, I won’t profess to be some master at the game like you may have seen on Youtube, but I’ve picked up some tricks along the way that have allowed me to generally do quite well when I play. Hopefully I can add a weapon or two to your arsenal so that you’ll be a more complete player on the pitch. Here are my ten tips to implement the next time you’re in Rocket League...
Read More - Ten Tips for Rocket League Success
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
12:13 PM - July 14, 2015. Posted by ChaseB. Written by Glenn Wigmore
It’s very rare these days to see an indie developer get the resources, platform and timing they need to make their game a success. We’ve seen some zeitgeist around titles like Super Mega Baseball last year, and the Trials franchise has received some additional development and support that enabled it to reach a wider audience. But with Rocket League, developer Psyonix has been able to take its singular rocket-car soccer idea -- which originated with Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars -- and turn it into something with a high degree of polish and a lot potential users.
Read More: Rocket League Review
Thursday, June 18, 2015
03:30 AM - June 18, 2015. Posted by ChaseB. Written by Glenn Wigmore
The main offering at Microsoft’s E3 booth for sports gamers is Forza 6, which looks to keep moving the needle for this mostly simulation franchise. This wasn’t the most extensive demo, as there were only a couple of options for race types. I chose to try out the night racing and rainy weather racing, both of which were touted as high-level features for this version.
Read More - Forza Motorsport 6 E3 Hands-On (Quick Look)
03:20 AM - June 18, 2015. Posted by ChaseB. Written by Glenn Wigmore
Tucked away at the Sony booth at E3 is the soccer-car craziness that is Rocket League. This PS4 and PC title looks to bring a whole new spin to arena-based car action. The basic idea is that a mix of up to eight human and CPU racers can speed around an arena using customizable cars, all the while trying to knock a crazy-looking soccer ball into the opposing team’s net.
The wrinkle is that while you speed around the course, you can double-tap the cross button to execute end-over-end flips. It’s even possible to ride up the side of the course or fly around if you time your spins right. The team that scores the most goals wins, of course.
Read More - Rocket League E3 Hands-On (Quick Look)
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
02:40 AM - June 17, 2015. Posted by ChaseB. Written by Glenn Wigmore
For now what we'll be doing here at Operation Sports is posting a quick look detailing some of our initial thoughts on sports titles at E3. Once we play more of these games throughout the week we will post more fleshed out hands-on impressions this week and next.
In addition, if you have questions about the game you would like us to ask developers, feel free to post them. We can't guarantee we'll get them answered -- and it's probably better to not get too crazy specific -- but what we do get answered we'll post here on OS as well at some point. The same goes for if you just want to hear more about something we talked about in the article(s). For example, "hey dude, you talked about how the dribbling feels different, can you talk more about that?"
Does EA like Frostbite? Yes they do. And Rory McIlroy PGA Tour looks to bring the company back into the golf conversation with that powerhouse graphical engine. With The Golf Club controlling the narrative right now, EA seems focused on delivering a deep gameplay experience with lots of customization and great looks. This might come at the expense of some golfer and course depth, but they had to (re)start somewhere.
Here are my quick impressions from the demo that is on the E3 show floor:
-I’m really digging the new difficulty of the Tour Pro setting. With the removal of the ability to zoom in down the course, you actually have to use the overhead view to get a sense of your yardages, which change after each shot. The removal of zoom-in and the sensitivity of the analog swing create some challenging holes.
-Speaking of courses, they have all been designed with varying firmness and feel based on the terrain, which aims to create something distinct when moving between locations.
-The course selection seems relatively good, if a little sparse. No Augusta, which isn’t great. I’d like to get some time in with the fantasy courses and fictional “real” courses, as some of those are used in the challenge-based Night Club mode.
-The golfer selection is definitely on the paltry side, but EA seems poised to add many real and novelty swingers via paid DLC.
-Still, they said no “Day 1” DLC.
-Bag and club customization is deep, with 14 clubs and the ability to change heads, shafts and grips on each one.
-Frostbite does look sharp on the golf course. Golfers have some striking detail in the clothing and faces, and many of the fly-ins and intro sequences look spectacular in their mirroring of The Golf Channel’s broadcast.
-The loading times now match that of The Golf Club, with multiple rounds playable on the same course with no loading times. Even when you pause the game, the menu just goes over top of the course geometry, allowing you quick access back into the game. The only loading times occur when you boot up a new course.
-The analog swing meter now visualizes the exact path of your shot, and there’s a pulse meter that represents the timing and pace of your swing.
-This pulse meter is mirrored across all shot types, including putting. Putting seems challenging on Tour Pro, and the new “putt read line” seems helpful while not being quite as automatic as the putt preview of the past. Still, putting is not quite as devious as the stuff found in The Golf Club.
-The hospitality settings seem very robust, with added assists and customization options so that you can set any difficulty and then tweak each setting to what you want.
-Online looks to have daily and weekly tournaments, and up to four players can engage in simultaneous play, with all golfers and equipment represented on the course at the same time. There is a vote system to decide on the next course/challenge as well, which sounds like a smart wrinkle.
Chase Becotte: As the golf noob of the group, I came away thinking Rory McIlroy PGA Tour was a beautiful game I would like to dabble in more when it comes out. It's not something that grabbed me and made me believe I had been missing out on playing golf games these last couple years, but it's something I thought I could immediately turn on for friends to impress them with its visuals before telling them to hop in for a round.
Glenn Wigmore: The customization seems to be there, and the gameplay was challenging in the right ways. While players won’t have the course creator or challenging putting found in The Golf Club, PGA Tour looks to bring some impressive visuals and gameplay depth to the fore.
02:28 AM - June 17, 2015. Posted by ChaseB. Written by Glenn Wigmore
Based on what NHL 15 offered, it’s fair to approach NHL 16 with some caution. The gameplay of NHL 15 generally satisfied, with a few caveats in penalty logic, wacky collision physics and some holdover elements from previous years. The bigger issue was the feature set -- or lack thereof. While the new hardware generation resets the bar somewhat, it doesn’t allow for the jarring lack of modes and features that NHL 15 displayed. The good news is that things can only go up.
Read More: NHL 16 E3 Hands-On Impressions (Quick Look) - (Written by Glenn Wigmore)
02:26 AM - June 17, 2015. Posted by ChaseB. Written by Glenn Wigmore
The folks at EA and Ghost Games are very confident in their latest incarnation of the Need for Speed franchise, which they have allowed to stand on its own (i.e. no subtitle). The game features the kitchen-sink approach to game design, with footholds for casual and hardcore players alike. This is a “reboot” -- in the exact words of the developers.
Read More: Need For Speed E3 Hands-On (Quick Look) - (Written by Glenn Wigmore)
Friday, June 12, 2015
10:57 AM - June 12, 2015. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Glenn WigmoreWe can always count on E3 to bring us all sorts of surprises and reveals, even if some of them end up getting leaked weeks or months in advance. All of the big hardware manufacturers and publishers want to wow the media and fans with a balance of new and exciting offerings as well as some properties that play on nostalgia.
The sports game space has had quite a few positive and negative developments emanating from E3 in the past, and I thought it would be fun to look back at some of the crazier moments from the past 15 years as well as look forward to the 2015 version of the annual hype machine.
Read More - E3 Surprises From the Last 10-Plus Years...
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
The FIFA name keeps coming up in the news these days, for good and bad reasons. We’ve had the nice addition of women’s international teams to Electronic Arts’ FIFA 16 — about time — and we’ve seen the FIFA organization rocked by indictments of high-level officials, stemming from alleged offenses of racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering. It’s not often that the sports game world gets crossed up with big stories like this, but it’s fascinating to see how companies navigate these waters when it does.
Read More - EA and the FIFA Brand
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
The Electronic Entertainment Expo is just around the corner, and there’s always a great deal of hype and zeitgeist generated by the teased, shown and playable games. It’s one of those times where it’s easy to get kind of swept up in the moment, losing sight of the fact that you are being messaged the whole time. Developers and publishers want you to think of their game above all others, and they also want to show you their games in a very favourable light. This can lead to hyperbole during the show and then a crashing reality once the game actually ships (or is delayed). It doesn’t mean games at E3 won’t end up being great games. On the contrary, many games at E3 will end up delivering the goods. But we all have to understand that E3 is a big marketing machine, first and foremost.
Read More - E3 and the Hype Train
Thursday, May 21, 2015
09:44 AM - May 21, 2015. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Glenn Wigmore
I really miss Super Spike V’ball. There was something that just really clicked with the four-player action offered by that game all the way back on the NES (and in arcades). The simplicity of the gameplay leant itself perfectly to couch co-op, but there was a layer of strategy that enabled players to get really good at blocking, spiking and misdirecting. The unique characteristics of each team also added some strategy, as the various attributes required players to emphasize strengths while concealing weaknesses.
Enter Gunsport, a futuristic retro game that looks to scratch a similar itch with its two-to-four-player action.
Read More - Volleyball and Guns Collide in Gunsport
Monday, May 11, 2015
09:51 AM - May 11, 2015. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Glenn Wigmore
With E3 on the horizon, we’re likely going to hear a lot more about all of the usual suspects in the sports genre. One of the outliers to this standard cycle is the EA Sports UFC franchise, as EA has admitted that the game won’t have a standard annualized release schedule. This has become obvious by the fact that June is nearly here and we know nothing about the next game in the franchise. Random message board posts and tweets from the dev team have confirmed that development is underway on the next game (EA Sports UFC 2? EA Sports UFC 2016?), but it’s hard to say when we’ll hear more about it.
Read More - EA Sports UFC: Five Things The Sequel Needs to Include