Friday, November 30, 2007

FIFA Player of the Year, why Kaka should not win

Poo Poo had a wonderful 6 months but since august and not playing Copa America, has shown that Poo Poo success has waned the last 6 months. If AC Milan wins the Club World Cup in Japan and Pu Pu performs well, yes the award should go to him.

Totti may think that Messi should be player of the year, but the young striker did not win any trophies this year. Barca floundered at the end of season, having oppurtunities to clinch the La Liga and losing emberessingly in the Kings Cup. Messi performed well all year around, but giving an award without any brass in the trophy room seems ridonkolous...(Messi may have renacted two of Maradona’s famous goals but the comparision only happens because they are both Argentinian. Ronaldo has taken 6, 7 players during his time with Barca, and was never compared to the Diego.)

My vote, would either go to Riquelme or Van Nistelrooy, both lead their team to trophies. Riquelme came back from international retirement (to show how much he is worth of course) and led Argentina to a second place finish in Copa America. Each Copa America game for Argentina, Riquelme played beautifully and was the main playmaker up until the final. Goes back to Boca Juniors, singlehandedly destroys Gremio in the Copa Libetadores Final, cementing himself as a demigod to Boca fans.

Van Nistelrooy, being shoo shoo away from Man U for their younger strikers and being kicked off the Dutch team and then reconcile with Van Basten, scoring two important goals during Euro 08 qualifying matches. Lead Real Madrid in scoring to secure La Liga (saving Beckham's legacy in Real) wins the Spanish scoring title even netting seven games in a row, (Ruud has won the scoring titles from Dutch Eredivisie, Premiership and La Liga.)

I do not consider the hand of god goals to be cheating, since the ref does not see, and there are other underhanded techniques used on the field. If FIFA and UEFA want to include instant replay, then the goals should be anulled, but the two federations are very opposed to instant replay. The whole Zidane-Matterazzi incident serves a great example of cheating. What Zidane did was wrong and rightfully deserved the red card, but what Matterazzi did and is known for baiting players is considered cheating but he has never ever been punished for any of it. The attitude has not change, just a couple of weeks ago, Tevez fell victim to the same “cheating” tactics in the Argentina-Colombia match, but no one makes a big deal out of it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Freestyle MC The Hip Hop Game

Guitar Hero and Rock Band are two of the biggest franchises in the music-game industry and it is only inevitable that a "Hip Hop Hero" is formed. Listening to the never aging, Dr Dre's The Chronic 2001, I came up with a game concept for the 50 Cent in all of us.

As with all video games, our Freestyle MC protagonist, starts as a lowly freestlyist trying to get into the rap/hip hop/battling scene. A practice session's are done with popular songs and beats but once you decide to venture into the game, a venue location is chosen within your urban area, and battle up and coming mcs from that area, leading into a boss battle with a major rapper. After defeating your first boss, you progress to other areas to "promote" yourself and album.

In each area your mc goes, one can enter the battle scene of another urban area or just perform hip hop songs at concert, radio or in a studio creating an "album." Of course there would be a trophy room, to view your "grammys, BET Awards, Soul Train awards, MTV popcorn awards, even oscars" including a garage of your "rides." With enough money and awards, the ending would be MTV doing a Cribs episode or VH1 "Behind the Music" based on your gameplay.
The Gameplay engine would borrow from different games, Guitar Hero, Singstar, and have a puzzle element.

The battling sequences would need to have voice recognition, to track rhymes, flow, pitch and street slang. The difficulty would increase with words populating on the screen, that need to be rhymed with and included in your battle rap. Creating albums would be more Guitar Hero, where you would perfect already released hip hop songs, and your album score would be base on how well you do in the "studio" perfecting the song. But remember, you get only a few tries, since "studio" time costs money.

When the game first starts, you create your avatar, like in Sony's Home, or Mass Effect and choose what City and State you reside in. Based on this criteria, you are placed within a city, ala Virtua Fighter 5, and go to a club (based on game difficulty) to start battling opponents. The boss battles would be against hip hop figures of the area, for SF, it could be E-40 or JT the BIGGA FIGGA, in LA, EAZY E or XZIBIT. To Detroit and NY, imagine, Insane Clown Posse, Ghetto Boyz, 3 6 Mafia, Eminem, Biggie Smalls and so on. There also could be thematic from era to era. We do not have to stay with the heavy hitters, we can find up and coming artists, or local veterans that never made it outside of their area. Also, if you choose to be a "white rapper" or "brown" one can choose to go that route and also battle the Kid Rocks, Cypress Hills of the rap world.

The hip hop beats can be a mixture of up and coming producers to classics, imagine freestyling over the famous "Hit em up" song that many freestylists have done. Album recording would be either from new unreleased or proven classics, and base on which songs you choose to record, song score, and how you advertise the "album" all takes into account how the public receives it. If you promote a gangsta image, and only Roots song, your album will flop.

The peripherals will include, Mics and.... only Mics. Why? All I need is one Mic...

For the first installment all the game will need is a mic, of course one can add a beat maker (to produce beats in the studio mode) or two turntables to do dj battles, but that can be added in the sequels.

Let me know what everyone thinks of this ambitious project, Actvision and EA here I come...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

FIFA 08 Review

FIFA has arrived, I have to give apologies to a series that I have ignore for its weak gameplay, and shameless licensing tactics. Having played FIFA 08 for two weeks now, my attitude has change for the better. The series that brought soccer to sportgamers, EA's football King has returned. Over thirteen years of multiplatform releases, FIFA 08 scores first and has the features to win the cup this year. The FIFA franchise has always been a cash cow for EA, what other videogame sport can handle three versions in a year every four years? EA dominated the soccer field in the 2d era, but always seem to behind a Beckham curve with Konami's Pro Evo/W11 3d dominance. FIFA's changes from previous installments create a simulated type of experience that makes FIFA 08 a go to player.

The most notable difference is the use of tactics, ie wall passing, through balls, and timed crosses helps FIFA 08 become more of a simulation sports game ala Fight Night than Konami's PES/W11 series. By slowing down the gameplay, FIFA 08 feels more authentic, plays like a real soccer game, takes tactics, smart passes, patience, all qualities found when playing soccer in real life, to succeed. One can learn how to play soccer by playing FIFA 08 on a game console.

Scoring has become harder, takes time, your passes accurate and well timed. Playing as countering team, one touch passes accurate through balls and crosses help your scoring chances as in real soccer. FIFA has removed the Maradona like gameplay of taking more than 6 players at once.

The be a pro feature is playable unlike other sports games. An immersive gameplay mechanic, be a pro, has bright spots but will need better AI. Favorite online feature, is the ability to save replays. Check out this awesome Eto GOOOAL.

FIFA 08 does need improvements in various areas. South american teams and tourneys need to be added, as well as, authentic chants, ref, and fans. The FIFA series can now start to delve into deeper tactics, by adding different through runs, such as; j runs, cut runs, and check in runs. With the slower gameplay, Pro Evo veterans will have a longer learning curve, but it is worth every second.

The beautiful game has arrived to your home game consoles, a must buy for any footie fan.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Madden 08 en Español

I just had to vent my frustration of EA and the NFL making a big deal about Madden 08 in spanish. I do agree it is a sign of the growing spanish speaking market in the two american continents, especially in North America. Still, I had to get a few things of my hairy latin chest.

Why does fifa, since the 2002 version, get both, english and spanish but madden in spanish has to be sold seperately and have its own "version"? Couldnt they just release both the english and spanish sets on one disc as they do currently with Fifa...

Also how is the game, "a high end educational tool for Spanish Speaking fans?" Is it released for North American spanish speakers or does include all the international spanish speaking countries, Argentina, Spain, or the Phillipines? Ingles con tu futbol americano?(It is confirmed to be only for the Americas)

Its kinda a slap in the face to native spanish speakers, saying that their english is so bad, that they need a videogame to perfect it. Especially when Spanish speaking countries are proud of their language. Do other developers release a game in French or German having the same spin?

Basically it is a no brainer that NFL have been edging bit by bit to win over Spanish speakers by bringing American Football for spanish speakers into videogames. Currently ESPN Deportes does show the monday night football game entirely in Spanish, which only lacks HD, since ESPN and ESPN2 are available to watch in 720P. Hopefully ABC/ESPN will implement HD Channel for their ESPN Deportes subcribers.

I believe the announcer, Álvaro Martín, His Blog on ESPN Deportes, does Monday Night Football and many other things on ESPN Deportes. ESPN Deportes is the Spanish-language service in the USA and other countries. He also does the Mexican Collegiate American Football(it is a tongue twister in spanish as well) announcing.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Fair play out the door. Konami at a crossroads. TGS Impressions

What's wrong with this picture?

Beside the odd picture of a ten man wall, PES/WE was the talk of Tokyo Game Show, with long lines and impressions from IGN to Gamespot. With a Xbox live demo in the horizon, already out in EU, impressions of the beautiful game will vary. With EA arguably the edge of licensed teams and the FIFA seal, Konami and its beloved franchise is at crossroads. With an updated AI, Teamvision, is what the developer describes as the AI will adapt to regular attack paterns and counter effectively agaisnt it. What can Konami implement in PES/WE, besides improved AI, to stay revelant and fresh? How can Konami use its lack of licenses agaisnt EA? Besides updating player models, or adding a 2K legends mode, Konami can add features that EA will never be allowed to do under the FIFA Seal.

Konami has announced two features that are equivalent to American Football's stiff arm, the dive and holding on a jersey. Diving, will be used to "win" referee rulings over hard or soft tackles. Typically despised in Barclays Premiership but often implemented worldwide. Tugging on other player shirts is a big deal, as it will probably be used to slow players down. Shirt tugging and diving, which is allowed on PES/WE (confirmed), is considered cheating and a agaisnt Fair Play rules. Diving is an automatic yellow! These features will never ever be allowed on a Fifa sanctioned game, basically EA will shy away from these features.
Can we expect this any time soon by EA

Konami has only announced two of these metagames, hopefully it only adds more depth to the game rather than grief to an online oppenent.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Bioshock GOTY and Why

"The more one is absorbed in fighting evil, the less one is tempted to place the good in question."
-Jean-Paul Satre
So, I was one of the lucky few to get Bioshock early and I can say with great passion, "best game so far." There is nothing else to say that has yet to be mention by the countless reviews, Bioshock does the little things right. The details to the art deco style, to the background music, AI chatter and overarching modern story are executed well.The art deco surroundings to the propaganda posters are influence by art in the 1940s and 50s. The statues, the slogans written on banners and walls creates the illusion of an era trapped in time. The art Images similiar from the Spanish Civil War propaganda posters brings an authencity to the enviroment where other developers fail to execute (Resistance: Fall of Man and Gears of War come to my mind).The intro of the game has you traveling through a submarine transport into the sea level City of Rapture. Through the descent, the buildings of Rapture are the first examples of art deco used through out the game. The first building is a lighthouse, illuminating in the fog. The imagery is fascinating, the viewer is used to seeing the skyskappers blocked by clouds, with airplanes and helicopters navigating in the skyline. Now we are allowed to see the art deco buildings through translucent water with whales and octopuses manuerving through the ocean. POUMAnother aspect of Bioshock, executed very well, is the music. A quick list of songs, La Mer- Django Reinhardt,Papa Loves Mambo: Perry Como, The Best things in Life are Free: The inkspots (as well as if i didn't care), How much is that doggie in the window: Pattie Page, The Party's Over: Noel Cowardand Bei Mir Bist Du Schon- The Andrews Sisters. The orchestra score,is also avaiable for free from 2k Games. The music in Bioshock, surpasses any game out there in the market, the orchestra and the pop music adds to the game that goes beyond cheesy gaming music and rivals premeire Hollywood Movies.The AI chatter is brilliant when compared to the awfulness of Gears of War (Cole train anyone). With AI chatter ranging from Spanish to French and Russian accents. The voice chatter mechanic adds to story. How? By listening to the diaries from characters of diverse backgrounds, Rapture becomes a character in itself. In Rapture, people were not turned away by the color of their skin or by the language of their native tongue. It is subtle, but minorities are featured Bioshock, which rarely happens for Triple A games. Bioshock uses, the meduim of what games are limited too, to expand its story tenfold with adding smart AI chatter and 50's era music. James DeanThe era of the 50s, sandwiched between World War Two and the Vietnam, is a pot of boiling water waiting to spill over. The 50s, coined the Golden Years, by some the Greatest Generation, know for its bubbly music, stars and starlettes, and the family boom. Bioshock argues, with all of those who believe in the 50's being the greatest years, that there was a underbelly ready to be ripped apart by social, economical, technological and military issues. Socially and economically, there was a big rift brewing between, the church and state, as well as, Socialism and Capitalism. Our Military in the US was ramping up, the Atom Bomb, the arms race, and the space race being pushed by technology and the hawks in DC.

The fall of Rapture begins on January, 1, 1959 where splicers waged an attack at New Year's Party. These stories are told via diaries that are spread around Rapture. The discovery of ADAM, used for genetic modifications, in Rapture causes a power struggle challenging the rule of Andrew Ryan.

EA and Konami Red Carded

EA and Konami match suspension, why do these developers drop the ball and how can they get a 10 on their jerseys.

El Diez

Ever since I first played GOAL!!!!! for the NES and I always imagined ways to improve the game, and have the same immersive feeling as live games. Here are my thoughts and rants on how FIFA and PES can make a comeback.

Since the name Fifa incoporates the word international, why does it seem the only "good" teams, national and club, are the european ones. The African and Latin American teams, who play a tu a tu (man to man), with any team in the world should not be ranked as low. Even the teams ranked by Fifa, For Fifa's Official Rankings Click Here, play musical chairs going up and down in rank. Ghana and Nigeria have been playing really well in the olympic and youth levels, so why the low rankings?

Thirty club leagues is good and all but when the leagues are second/third division teams in europe, and are ranked higher than Latin American and MLS club teams, shows EA's biased towards Europe. When one of the top leagues in South America is omitted (Argentina), then other Latin American clubs team will never make the cut. Including only River Plate and Boca Juniors, who by the way are two of the best club teams in South America, we miss the great teams of Colo Colo, Olimpia, Nacional and Once Caldas. Brazil did make the cut, for EA's Fifa 08, but the Five Time champions are not the only footballing nation in South America. Adding insult to injury, Boca Juniors, Copa Libertadores Campeones, are ranked lower than their UEFA counterparts. Foul play is involved, and should be banned from the game. EA and Konami need to add world futbol fans who do not have a bias towards Europe.

The music may be awesome in the loading screens and all, but what makes football so great is the fan chants. EA should put their attention to fan club sites and incoporate their team chants into the game. Cheering and jeering the home and away teams is good and all, but in the video game world of immersive atmosphere (Bioshock) lets add layers to the beautiful game.

Fifa and PES will never get a ten in my book, it lacks teams, especially from Latin America, authentic chants, and accurate rankings of the national and club teams. Omitting Ghana, who are one higher ranked African teams, missing from the line is a blemish to EA. Fifa and PES are a top sellers in Latin America, why not give them same treatment as Europe gets?

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