This week in DSM Fact or Fiction we tackle issues such as whether EA Sports should be worried about slower than expected Madden sales, which football game really was the best this year, and a bit of NHL as well. This week we have Bryan "Hellisan" Clark and Patrick "BigWill33" Williams squaring off against each other for Fact or Fiction supremacy...or something like it.
Bryan "Hellisan" Clark: FACT: "Worrying" isn't a bad idea when you're talking about the #1 gaming franchise of its kind. You have to protect that. I think Madden is a good game that plays well. The thing is, the little glitches, bugs and things that add up to hurt franchise mode badly wouldn't necessarily be as big of a deal if we weren't in the online era. Also the bugs maybe are happening a bit much since back then they had to get it right the first time. Now, they can just patch it. But the fact that there is no patch yet really gives me pause. The future - and present - of video games will include 1) creation 2) online features and 3) support. If you're only doing 1, and 2 is a little messed up, and you aren't coming anywhere near number 3, then yes I think you should be worried.
Patrick "BigWill33" Williams: FICTION: How could a billion dollar franchise with an exclusive NFL license be in trouble? Sure there will be years that the market is a little lower than in the past, but Madden will rebound. The biggest advantage EA has is possession of the NFL license. However, when competition comes out it will be a good thing for EA. What will end up happening is EA copies the competition's ideas and kills them off in a timely fashion. For now, other games will never sell well without NFL teams and Players in the game, no matter how great those games are.
0 for 1, We have some disagreement here
2-With the franchise bugs among other things, NCAA clearly was the best football game on the market from EA Sports this season.
Bryan Clark: FACT: NCAA plays very solidly. The new recruiting engine is a good start. In fact, many of the features in NCAA portend an even better future, and the game is also very solid and playable right now. I much prefer the running animations in Madden to those in NCAA, however that isn't enough to offset the fact that most people are waiting until next year to run a franchise.
Patrick Williams: FACT: It is not uncommon for NCAA to be better than its big brother, and such is the case this year. NCAA had improvements in leaps and bounds in gameplay and framerate. With major issues in the other games College football clearly was head and shoulders above the rest, while not a perfect game it was fun and less buggy for sure.
1 for 2, Seems like these guys are onto something
3-College Football's new version of the spread offense will be a major focus of EA Sports for next year's NCAA Football.
Bryan Clark: FACT: They say the NFL is a copycat league. Well, just look at this. The new spread is already in the game to a large extent but they're probably going to keep tweaking it and it will be a big deal for a few years to come. The difficulty in stopping the thing is that it puts so much pressure on a defense while keeping the reads very easy for the quarterback, and doesn't have a huge learning curve for your offensive team, etc. Plus by the time the QB actually drops back to pass, the defense is stretched so thin at the line of scrimmage to stop everything that the receivers are wide open.
Patrick Williams: FICTION: EA games run in two year cycles for features. The past year had major focus on gameplay and playbooks, the next will most likely be focused on other issues, like fine tuning off-season things with coaching and training. Not to say they will neglect the playcalling and formations, just highly doubt they will focus any real attention for the consumer on this.
1 for 3, Definitely not agreeing on things today
4-EA Sports' NHL game won convincingly this year quality wise over 2K Sports' NHL 2K8.
Bryan Clark: FACT: I'll say right up front that I'm not a hockey afficianado and I have a sneaking suspicion that the games are somewhat similar to your rear view mirror: closer than they appear. Yet the rousing reception received by NHL and the continued support from the community leads me to believe that EA has clearly won this year's battle with NHL 08.
Patrick Williams: FACT: This wasn’t something you couldn’t see coming by any means. EA’s game was improving the last two seasons, and becoming more realistic. 2K was always behind graphically and at times in the fun department. There is a lot these games can learn from each other still though, and combined you might have a near perfect hockey game, but there appears to be a new king of the frozen pond, and that would be EA, finally taking back it's frozen crown.
2 for 4, Seems like everyone agrees on this one
5-Right now if a champion had to be crowned, NHL 08 would be named sports game of the year.
Bryan Clark: FICTION: Forza 2 is the game I'd give it to. However, of the conventional sports games released so far this year, it would have to be considered the favorite.
Patrick Williams: FICTION: And this is a tough one. While the game is great out of the box with a fun factor hard to beat, and a potential true sim style gameplay, there is probably something a little better in most gamers' minds. A lot of people loved MLB 2K7 along with NBA 2K7, then you have the racing games for sure. The hardest part about naming NHL the best game of the year in mind is the simple fact that it has only been out for a few weeks. There are still a lot of things that could potentially go wrong as people spend more time with the game. I do have a feeling though, that by the time it is all said and done, NHL 08 will be my favorite sports game of 2007.
3 for 5. These two finish this round of fact or fiction 3 for 5! Be sure to tune in next week for another edition of DSM Fact or Fiction!