Tuesday, April 25, 2017
09:30 AM - April 25, 2017. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Ben Vollmer
Among the many nuances of baseball is recognizing the importance of the count. Knowing when to swing, when to hold back and when to just let it rip no matter what the circumstance is often the difference between a good hitter and a great hitter.
Need evidence? How about Barry Bonds. In his record-breaking season, in which he hit 73 homers, Barry Bonds had an astounding 27 percent walk rate. That means that in just over a fourth of his at bats, Barry Bonds made it to first base free of charge. Taking walks, and the ability to utilize the count in his favor, was a major factor in his ability to hit homers.
Read More - MLB The Show 17: Work the Count As a Batter to Increase Your Hits
Thursday, March 16, 2017
02:05 PM - March 16, 2017. Posted by Steve_OS. Written by Ben Vollmer
There is no worse position in basketball than to be mediocre. You lack the hope of a potential NBA Championship, and you can't pin your hopes on snagging a top three pick in the draft.
The Knicks could find themselves firmly planted in that sort of territory if they don't get lucky in the Lottery and end up in that 6-8 pick range. Long term, they might be unable to climb the standings for a playoff bid and too stubborn to sink the ship altogether.
So what can we do to fix the Knicks in NBA 2K17? It might be time for a full-on rebuild.
Read More - How to Fix the New York Knicks in NBA 2K17 (Written by: Ben Vollmer)
Thursday, February 23, 2017
12:30 PM - February 23, 2017. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Ben Vollmer
Building a NBA championship-caliber team in NBA 2K17 is a tall task. Outside of just accumulating as much star talent as possible, itís hard to find a whole lot of precedence for successful franchises (in the modern era) outside of the San Antonio Spurs (and even they had obvious stars). Weíve see teams like the Philadelphia 76ers try and go outside of the box, hoarding draft picks and stockpiling young talent. Weíve also seen teams like the Bulls and Knicks utilize a revolving door of players, hoping to find a few that match with their stars in Anthony and Butler.
If weíve learned anything, itís that thereís no one strategy in particular that builds a champion. In the last 10 years alone, weíve seen 11 different teams reach the NBA Finals. Even the glorified powerhouses donít make it every year. Thereís hope for the underdogs in the NBA, itís just a matter of getting out in front and finding an edge.
Read More - Building a Championship Team in NBA 2K17
Thursday, February 9, 2017
08:34 AM - February 9, 2017. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Ben Vollmer
There are so few players who transcend pace of play. Guys who can beat you in the halfcourt just as easily as they can beat you on a break are rare, leaving most teams scrambling to find a pace that works for them.
NBA 2K17 does a wonderful job mirroring these different types of players. Take, for instance, Marc Gasol. What Gasol (92 strength) lacks in speed and agility, he makes up for in strength and awareness. Slowing down with Mike Conley Jr., a similarly crafty player in the halfcourt, and running a play to utilize Gasolís strengths is a winning strategy. Itís slower and often eats a ton of clock, but it works. Memphis has built a team that grinds out wins via low-scoring affairs.
Unfortunately, dictating pace of play isnít as easy as it sounds. Game flow, a phrase that doubles as pace of play, is an idea being recognized by coaches everywhere. Oftentimes, youíll flip on a game of basketball and find two teams butting heads over the tempo of the game. One team, like Memphis, may wish to slow things down while another team, letís say Phoenix, wants to hurry things up.
Read More - Mastering Pace of Play in NBA 2K17
Saturday, December 24, 2016
11:03 AM - December 24, 2016. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Ben Vollmer
Off-Road Paradise: Trial 4x4 attempts to capture that same response, but has a hard time doing so. It's important to note that the game is in Steam's "Early Access" phase and is an evolving product. Some of the issues that existed a week ago are less of a problem now, so it's hard to see where the game might be a month from now. Regardless, here are impressions of how the game plays as it currently stands.
Read More - Off-Road Paradise: Trial 4x4 Early Access Impressions
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
04:37 PM - November 9, 2016. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Ben VollmerIt's hard to believe that 13 NBA franchises have never won a NBA title. The Cleveland Cavaliers (who hadn't won an NBA Championship before 2016) were the most recent to be crossed off the list of teams plagued with a drought of titles. But are there any other teams that seem to be on the cusp of breaking through?
A common theme in recent years has been surrounding a superstar or two with excellent role players. Examples of this can be found in the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers, the 2015 Golden State Warriors, the 2012 and 2013 Miami Heat. The 2011 Dallas Mavericks and 2014 San Antonio Spurs were slightly different, but still had at least one all-time great to go with a host of other Hall of Fame or all-star level players.
Looking at this formula and matching it with the 13 NBA teams that haven't won a championship (a list of which can be found below), there are only three teams that fit: the New Orleans Pelicans, Los Angeles Clippers and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Which of these three has the best future and the best shot to cross themselves off the list?
Read More - Which Beleagured Franchise Has the Best Future in NBA 2K17
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
02:14 PM - October 11, 2016. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Ben Vollmer
October is often considered the best month for sports in the calendar year. Sports fans find themselves in the thick college and pro football season, on the eve of basketball and, perhaps most excitingly, playoff baseball.
While MLB: The Show players will surely be firing up their PS4 during the month to come, itís hard to see them hanging around much longer than that. While it's a fantastic franchise, The Show doesnít have any gripping features that make it worth playing out of season for anyone but the most dedicated fans of the sport. So what could the game do in future iterations to change that?
Here are three things that could keep me playing MLB: The Show once October ends...
Read More - How MLB The Show Could Stay Fresh After October
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
12:26 PM - August 23, 2016. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Ben Vollmer
Did you catch Ben's review of Madden NFL 17? If not check it out here!
The more we submerge ourselves in any specific sports video game, itís almost impossible not to notice the tiny details that either make your jaw drop or linger like a festering wound. Madden 17 might be the cleanest football game to date, but it isnít without its share of frustrations. Though, perhaps now more than ever, the ďlittle thingsĒ are nice surprises instead of disappointing ones. Here are the three best and worst things about Madden 17.
Read More - The Three Best and Worst Things About Madden NFL 17
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
11:41 AM - August 17, 2016. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Ben Vollmer
Madden 17 begins with an authoritative stamp: Youíre thrown in Memorial Stadium, right in the thick of a NFC playoff game against the Washington Redskins. The crowd is ferocious, the commentary is well timed and filled with chemistry, and everything that is happening on the field has a manic pace to it. Before you know it, your heart is beating in the same way every sports fan has felt as the clock winds down.
Fortunately, just about everything that makes Madden 17ís intro so great carries itself over to the base game. All at once, Madden boasts improved presentation, feel and gameplay. From the moment the game kicks into gear, a sense of overwhelming confidence on the part of EA Tiburon sets in. Madden 17 may be the best football game put out by the studio this generation.
Read More - Madden NFL 17 Review (Xbox One)
Thursday, July 7, 2016
07:20 AM - July 7, 2016. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Ben Vollmer
As we approach the beginning of a new year in the NFL, it's finally time to speculate about the slew of players joining a new team in the 2016 NFL season. Whether it be through the NFL Draft or free agency, almost all available players have found a landing spot for the upcoming season. Some will make a gigantic impact, others may not even make the field. So which players, of those that will be playing with a new team, will be making the biggest impact in this year's Madden?
Read More - The Best Players on New Teams in Madden NFL 17
Friday, June 24, 2016
04:56 PM - June 24, 2016. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Ben VollmerVideo games didn't begin as a medium for narratives. Within the last decade, you would be hard pressed to find games without a story or character arc.
Even sports games, which long neglected story telling before the likes of Fight Night, have come around. NBA 2K16 boasted one of the most discussed narratives in all of video games just last year. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that EA is testing the waters with its most popular franchise, FIFA.
Read More - Sports Gaming And the Art of Storytelling
Monday, May 23, 2016
08:20 AM - May 23, 2016. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Ben VollmerLast week EA announced there would be no version of NBA Live released on consoles in 2016. For fans of the series, or perhaps even fans of the sport, this is the latest in a series of heartbreaks.
The last time NBA Live went on hiatus, there was hardly a whisper in the wind as to its whereabouts. This time around, the announcement of a mobile version of the game (which, if EA is to be believed, is intended to expand the franchise to a "global" market) is most likely a move to keep the name alive and in circulation. Given the mostly sour efforts from NBA Live in the recent past, it's hard to believe the game sold copies on anything but name recognition. With that in mind, it would certainly behoove EA, if they ever intend on bringing the series back, to keep the name alive.
Read More - What's to Become of NBA Live?
Thursday, April 14, 2016
03:30 PM - April 14, 2016. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Ben Vollmer
Perhaps the best element of MLB: The Show is its ability to get into the head of its player. The CPU A.I. is designed to toy with the player just as a pitcher would on the mound. A fastball here, a curveball there, and before you know it, you're watching your player walk back to the dugout empty handed.
Not all pitches were created equal, however. Kershaw's curve is unfair, Harvey's fastball is practically invisible and Sale's slider is just downright scary. With that in mind, what are the toughest pitches to hit in MLB: The Show 16?
Read More - MLB The Show 16's Hardest Pitches to Hit
Monday, March 7, 2016
08:59 AM - March 7, 2016. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Ben Vollmer
There is an argument to be had that UFC 2 is bringing more than enough to the octagon but still not nearly enough outside of it.
EA's UFC debut was an interesting one. The fighting is fast paced, complex and ruthless. If you miss your window of opportunity, you can expect to have your bell rung and possibly even be knocked out. Having to stay on your toes at all times is what made the experience such a genuine one.
The variance and multitude of different ways to end a fight was the best thing about UFC. UFC 2 seems to be on a mission to continue the trend. With standing and chained submissions, the game's single-largest gameplay flaw (the lack of a need to use submissions), seems to have been addressed.
Read More - Is EA Sports UFC 2 Doubling Down on Its Strengths and Ignoring Its Weaknesses?
Saturday, December 19, 2015
09:17 AM - December 19, 2015. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Ben Vollmer
NBA 2K16 is one of the best sports video games to have come out in the last decade.
It is not easy to hand out claims of greatness when a game has only been out a few months. College Hoops 2K8 wasn't given legendary status until people were still playing it years after its release. NBA 2K16 won't have the "benefit" of being the last game in the series, so there's no real reason to keep playing it long after its release, but it's sure to be the title that all future sports games can be measured by.
Read More - NBA 2K16 Is the King, Has Only Gotten Better