Saturday, May 14, 2005

BOOM! Are you a Dog or a Cat?

Here are the highlights from a great IGN Article about the upcoming Madden 06:

First up, Superstar mode, looks to me like a carbon copy of the NCAA Heisman mode, here are the highlights:

Ever wondered what it would be like to get under the helmet of a college all star and try to make it in the pro game? The agents, the endorsements, the scouts, the workouts, the fans who cheer your every touchdown but are nowhere to be found when you suffer that career ending injury.

Madden NFL 06 is about to show you those highs and lows of what it's like to be a polygonal playmaker.

This is NFL Superstar mode, the biggest addition to the Madden single-player experience since the introduction of Franchise, and a mode that will give gamers a taste of what it's like to be an NFL star.

Nature vs. nurture is a question for the ages, and in Madden, creating your superstar encompasses both aspects. It all starts with your parents DNA, including IQ scores, hobbies (dad's into karaoke, mom loves antiques), and careers (dad's an actor, mom's a corporate exec). Don't like what you get, how about pressing a button and selecting a new set of parents.

If only it was that easy.

From there, you sculpt your body, find an apartment, sign with an agent, and yes, sit down and take a test that closely resembles the famous Wonderlic test given to the NFL prospects.

Are you a dog or a cat? Do you like obscene jokes?

This is an actual timed test in the game, and your answers will influence your draft position.

And this is only the beginning.

Your Superstar journey will take you from the draft to the NFL field to even Hollywood. There is so much to Superstar mode that this is really just a teaser of what to expect as EA Sports doesn't want to give too much away about the mode this early in development

Whatever, I only want to play with the right players on the right teams in the right weeks, I know, I'm nuts, but dammit, thats the way I want it, it seems gaming is going away from reality, who knows, maybe I need to try it out.

ADAPTIVE AI: I love this! I swear EA use to put this in games WAY back in the day, I remember seeing this as a feature as far back as Genesis Madden, Here goes:

There are plenty of other new features in Madden that we can talk more in-depth about. The first of these is Adaptive AI, where the defense doesn't simply adjust if you call the same plays, but the same routes. For example: In past games, if you played as the Falcons and the Price Option was your money play where you liked to hit Alge Crumpler across the middle in the post, by the third time you called it, the defensive would see it coming and swat down the pass. They knew your play and adjusted to it. But if you went through your playbook and in the same formation found Crumpler running that exact post pattern but from a different play (SE Post Flag), he would be wide open again.

Same route, different play.

It was a clever yet simple way to manipulate your game plan and take advantage of the defense. But that's where Adaptive AI comes into play for 06. The defense will now sniff out that you like to throw the post to your big tight end, so it doesn't matter how you try to mask it through different play calls or formations. If you keep calling the post, the defense will now adjust, even playing to the shoulder you like to lob the ball to.

MORE DEFENSIVE ASSIGNMENTS: Hopefully you can do whatever you want against whomever, because ESPN NFL kicked the shit out of Madden in this regard, here are the details:

Pre-snap on defense, you can click down the right analog stick to see specific player assignments, you can shade safeties in directions other than simply to the right or left, charging them both up the middle to support against the run. There are even new ways to disguise your defensive coverages as you can now send your defensive backs to follow receivers in motion even when you are playing zone. And once the ball is snapped you can quickly adjust your defense by calling out to your teammates whether it looks like a run or a pass by simultaneously pressing L2 and the right analog stick.

NEW QB FAKE MOVE: The screen actually moves, Damn, my old reflexes will not allow for this! I will be 30 by the time Madden 06 releases, can I do this? Hopefully

But the improvements aren't limited to the defensive side of the ball. Quarterbacks will have a fake snap button that slightly moves the screen back to attempt to draw the defense offsides. You can call offensive line audibles to slide your protection, spreading out or pinching the line to stop nano blitzes. The offense will in turn be rewarded for their improved protection as man coverage will inevitably get worse and start to break down the longer the play lasts and the more cuts the receiver makes in the open field.

NEW WR ROUTES: Sounds ok, doesn't make much sense yet, gotta see it in action:

In terms of the passing game, receivers will now run smarter hot routes. When you select your receiver for the hot route and hold down on the D-pad, the receiver will run the desired route, but he'll run it so that he's just past the first down line or into the end zone (when in the red zone). This can work to either extend or shorten the route to reach the desired spot on the field. And when making the catch, there are even new aggressive catch animations where the receiver will screen the defense and come back to get the ball. In addition, there are 35 new offensive formations to help you spread the ball around, including new split receiver sets.

Last but not least THE TRUCK STICK: Oh boy, another novelty, but it doesn't sound too bad, can't wait to maul with Brian Westbrook

And once you have the ball, forget the Hit Stick, this year it's all about the Truck Stick. That's right, Truck, not Trick, as in "I'm about to run you over and leave footprints on your helmet if you don't get out of my way". Hand the ball to TJ Duckett this year, and forget the juke, press up on the right analog stick to attempt to lower your shoulder and run over the defender, knocking bodies to the side as you keep rumbling down the field. Obviously, Warrick Dunn would be better off using speed than the Truck Stick, as if Dunn tries to run over someone like Ray Lewis, Dunn might be seeing stars, and I'm not talking about Ron Mexico, I'm talking knocked out, laying flat on the turf, another victim of the Hit Stick. One move Dunn will be able to take advantage of though, is the quick back juke runners can now take by pressing down on the right analog stick. This way, the big backs can run over defenders, and the smaller backs can hop back and run around them. Just don't hand the ball to the same back all game long this year or progressive fatigue will set in, causing players to tire over the course of a game. Gone are the days of Ahman Green carrying the ball 50 times and still being fresh in the fourth. Players will even see their overall ratings start to slip when their energy dips.


NEW ONLINE MODES: Where are the leagues dammit!

In terms of online play for the PS2 and Xbox, you will now be able to join online clubs where you can meet in your own private room to chat, play, and compete. Private leader boards will even keep track of who is the best player in your crew as you can trigger rivalries that are auto tracked by playing against a particular opponent seven times in seven days. Each club can form 10 rivalries, battling for trophies that reset every week. And while each club starts with only five members, through participation, club activity, and wins, you can open up new slots for people to join, eventually reaching up to 100 members if desired.
When it comes to finding opponents, you'll see a five star rating system that looks similar to eBay in terms of tracking positive and negative feedback from opponents. Your EA Rep info is tracked and displayed for everyone to see. You'll also be able to build and maintain your level for future games, so if you have an impeccable rep in Madden 06, it will carry over for 07. This will also help in EA's new matchmaking system which promises to find another player of the same skill and rep instantly, although you'll also have the option to search chat rooms or find opponents by level, club, or even country

This one is HUGE: ONLINE ROSTER STORAGE! You can just log on, see my profile and download rosters from me directly if you don't have a sharkport or are just f'n tired of blue disc errors! AWESOME! Hopefully this means using custom rosters online a la MVP 2005.

But the feature that will turn the most heads is the new EA Sports locker, a virtual online locker where you can actually store files, from replays to rosters and even franchises. You can then share these files with friends or backup those crucial files you don't want erased. Think of it as an online memory card that that you can make accessible to friends, swapping replays and highlights to future or past opponents, as polygonal pictures speak 1,000 words of smack, and that's the truth. No better way to taunt then to send someone to a saved replay of the time you high-stepped down the sideline or made Favre twitch on the frozen tundra.

Can't wait for Madden this year for some reason, usually I'm like this for NCAA or NBA Live, also, I can't wait to get my xbox 360, which is a must with next gen Madden on the horizon. I won't even hold that MTV Special unveiling debacle against them, what a cluster-Eff that was.

Oh yeah, and to answer the final question, I'm most definitely a dog, a dog with huge balls.


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