Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Madden about to get some competition?

It appears that the folks from 2KSports are planning to launch a new professional football game, based on a fictional league called the PFL.

As you recall EA Sports, owners of the Madden franchise, signed an exclusive rights agreement with the NFL so that it would be the only company licensed to use NFL players, logos and stadiums in its games.

It essentially wiped out the competition.

Now 2K, which was nipping at Madden's heels with its excellent 2K series of NFL titles, is apparently planning to get back into the game with teams like the Miami Hammerheads, Pittsburgh Iron Men and New Orleans Soul.

Now we know the folks at 2K make an excellent sports game. In many ways their NFL games, when fully licensed, were a more immersive experience than Madden titles, and 2K's NBA line is clearly better than what we've seen on NBA Live lately.

But will gamers play with fake teams in fake stadiums? We know they're willing, to a degree, to have fake names, as we've witnessed from college games. And true gamers know who No. 89 from the Panthers is or who No. 12 for New England is.

This might get interesting. All that said, I'm not allowed to release my official review of Madden '07 until Aug. 22, but after first blush, the game is the best Madden ever, so 2K7 or 2K8, which I'm hoping comes out, will have to be on point. I think competition makes everybody better.

Sudoku Gridmaster: Dude, I love puzzle games, especially this mindless game which has you arrange numbers in order. It's like Seinfeld, a game about nothing. Like Seinfeld was (at least to some people; I never saw a single episode), it's terribly addicting.

Do a google search on Sudoku and you'll find hundreds of games to play on your PC. You can find them in papers and paperbacks to play on the road. Played on the Nintendo DS with this game, you don't need a pen and paper anymore and you don't need to sit at your computer table, either.

There's four difficulty settings and hints (really cheats) plus more than 400 Sudoku puzzles to keep you busy. I am enjoying this one. Mindlessly (Rating: 3.5/5)

Barnyard: This is based on an upcoming movie that I'd heard nothing about and it is really one of those life-based games where you just walk around and talk to people, or in this case animals. You solve a few puzzles and check out your 'hood, sometimes on a bike.

I wanted more action, and the worst news of all, my 6-year-old son, Trey, didn't go for it, either. His response after five minutes? "Dad, where Tiger Woods?" (Rating: 1.5/5)

Magnetica: Kind of like pinball for your Nintendo DS. You use the little stylus thingy on the DS to deal with this game, called Puzz Loop, in the arcade.

Your mission is to fire marbles at each other and make them blow up, while not letting the chain reach the end of the line.

This is one of those games I usually play while I'm waiting for my barber, Bernard Monroe, to call me to The Chair. I got so into this thing, beeping and buzzing and exploding, I almost lost my turn. It moves fast and sucks you in. It's one of those, "I can't believe I'm into this but I am" type of titles. Give it a shot (Rating: 3/5).

Dead Rising: Now, this is a great looking title on the X-360 system. You play as a freelance photographer chasing a big story. He lands in a sleepy town only to find out it's Zombie-ville. OK you've heard this before.

What's cool is you find safe haven in a shopping mall and have to try your hardest to keep the bad guys out of South Park and figure out how all of this started. The zombies are truly gruesome looking and just about anything you see in the game can be used as a weapon. We're talking lights, poles, books.

Time is key. Zombies are stronger -- and faster -- at night. Time moves on even if your character is at rest. Inside the mall, you'll find a variety of stores with a variety of weapons to help you stay alive. You'll also find some other survivors who may help you out.

The time tool used here is really cool. You have a set time to solve the mystery and if you're not careful you'll miss key plot developments. Oh, and you got to eat, too, to replinish your strength (rating: 4.0/5).

No comments: