With Madden 13, the juggernaut of digital athletics already out, the numbers don’t particularly thin out from here on in. here are the most notable releases of the forthcoming months. For these, I’m keeping it short and sweet, one paragraph each.
The NHL series has been riding it’s revitalized image for quite a few years now since they released a truly revolutionary title with the new skill stick implemented seamlessly. From there on it has become year after year of smaller tweaks to the gameplay, doing more to refine it than reinvent it. This year seems to be the year they take another big step up however. There is a slew of new things to be excited about in this game, and much like with Madden the presentation itself will be upped and reinvented according to the staff. Stuff like True Performance Skating (adding over a 1,000 new animations), EA Sports Hockey IQ (promising most customizable and deepest hockey experience). The most exciting development here is the new and improved goalie AI and set of animation. This has been the weakness in previous titles with goalies remaining stiff and non-lifelike, this year seems to change that giving them more freedom, athleticism and realism. Connected careers also enters the fray. To beef up it’s commitment to other content following the release EA also added NHL Moments Live which will allow you to relive a legendary moment or one that just happened last night in the league (if there is a league this year). You can check out the demo on PSN And Xbox Live now.
*video courtesy of IGNEntertainment and EASports
This is the sports game I am looking forward to the most. Much like with NHL, over the last few years FIFA series has seen a renaissance introducing a more realistic and at the same time fun version of digital footy. First Touch Control is the new feature this time around and it seems like a purely genius concept. This new system accounts for the ability of both the passer and the player receiving the pass, in addition it takes into consideration the quality of the pass, such as placement spin, velocity and positioning to create for a more realistic first touch control, which is big in soccer (just ask Dimitar Berbatov). There are even more gameplay improving features such as Attacking Intelligence (kind of like Hockey IQ for NHL), Complete Dribbling (giving even more control to the player over the actions of his team) and Tactical Freekicks (for the purists who will want to explore everything in this game). Overall there seem to be enough improvements to justify picking up a new copy. If only they could finally licence UEFA Champion’s League, Europa League and Ukranian Premier League (that last one is more for me). Stay tuned for my demo quick look when it comes out on Xbox Live, PSN and PC September 11th.
*video courtesy of EASportsFootball
Since we’re already talking about soccer (football, my European friends, I’m just trying to make sure everyone in NA doesn’t get too confused) we might as well mention PES. In the past, the Konami product has had a lock down on soccer simulation games, but after EA reinventing FIFA everything changed. Every since then Konami has been playing catch-up. While they have been improving steadily, the lack of many licences teams is still hurting the series (even though it has the UEFA licence). Even so, there are a number of things to be excited about this year such as PES Full Control. This system gives you full control over every aspect of your game from passing to dribbling (Deft Touch Dribbling is supposed to be very similar to Complete Dribbling Control). In theory this should allow for the most controlled experience yet as you are literally in control of every action. Player ID looks to capture the characteristics of some of the greatest players to make each one of them a true individual in their game with personalized moves, celebrations, etc. ProActive AI system should take care of AI responses and interactions on the pitch. Finally. The most welcome addition is the full tutorial mode for all things PES. Given the games deep and complicated control system (especially when it comes to dribbling) it is a very welcome sight indeed.
*video courtesy of Konami and GameNewsOfficial
With EA out of the basketball game, 2K Sports have seized on the opportunity and have become the new kings of the hardwood. From introduction of Michael Jordan and other Superstars to refining what already is the most realistic basketball sim on the market the studio has no equals. The most notable change this year will be the use of the right stick. Fans of the series will readily tell you that it is used for shooting the ball, and they’ll be right, but only if they mention you have to hold down LT/L2 at the same time. This year, the right stick will be used primarily for dribbling controls, taking something from the EA Sports‘ long deceased (and awaiting revival) series. Now, you will have more control over the player with the ball than ever before without sacrificing the shoot stick controls either. There will also be manual bounce passes in the game, a long needed addition that will hopefully contribute to more highlight reel plays and less turnovers. Finally, 2K13 will also finally feature the full All-Star weekend AND both 2012 and 1992 Dream Teams, so gamers can finally answer the question they’ve debated for a month now.
*video courtesy of 2KSports
Now, I will come clean here, I am not a big wrestling fan, never have been, so I wasn’t much interested in the game. When I talked to a few of my friends however, they were truly excited for WWE 13, and I figured what the hell, might as well check it out. This years game promises to build on an ever expanding series by bringing the true experience home. With WWE Live and the new dynamic audio system the players will be able to create their own showtime moments and live through their wrestling superstars as they play the game. If its anything like the previous games, a number of story modes and progressions will also be available off bat. In addition, the true fans will get to relive one of the gold ages of the sport with the Attitude Era single player campaign mode with all your favorite superstars (Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Rock for example) ever present. Predator Technology engine graduates to 2.0 giving players more fluid control over their superstars with a better fighting system and more refined response animations. Similarly, you’ll still be able to create almost everything in the game from arenas, entrances, moves and even story lines. What’s more, you can also share it online with your friends and compete for supremacy as the best show runner out there.
*video courtesy of THQ and LegendarySkiLLeD(Youtube Channel)