It was a pretty good sports weekend – playoff hockey and basketball, mixed and mingled with some English Premier League Soccer and baseball. Sports offer a different kind of drama from the stage and screen. In my opinion, because matches in sports are unscripted, they are so much more thrilling and enthralling than any work of fiction.

I spent the weekend with family and working around the house, but the few minutes of free time I did have was spent playing FIFA 14 on the PS4 with matt and another buddy. We had a thrilling last minute tie (basically a win in soccer terms), and a great overtime goal for a win in another game. I have always loved FIFA games, and the beginning of a console generation is usually when sports games (including racing) are my go-to titles.

What are your thoughts on sports games? Like maybe big titles, they’re annualized – does that make it tougher to justify a purchase each year?

Thursday, 8:11 am – Ricky

Good points Gavin – I think one of the reasons I fell off of buying sports games every year was because I don’t really like playing them by myself, and if I do play by myself, it may as well be a version of the game I already know. For multiplayer, and especially couch co-op, it’s just easier to have a version of the game people already know and understand.

Plus, they’re like $70 a pop each year.

I played maybe 30 minutes of Child of Light yesterday, just for a taste. It’s a really good looking game, and I’m interested in the turn-based combat mechanics. The only thing that threw me off was controlling the “sidekick” with the right thumbstick while move Aurora (the main character) with the left. I’m sure it’ll just take some time to get used to.

I also played more Diablo 3. It’s addictive, and Adventure Mode is absolutely perfect for my bite-sized-gaming lifestyle. I can hop into the game, play one or two bounty missions in 15-20 minutes, and then bounce out. Or, I can play for an hour, complete all 5 bounties in an act and get bonus loot. Plus, there’s always a chance of getting great loot, even when I only play for 5-10 minutes. I turned on the game this morning to run a quick bounty mission and found a legendary quiver for my Demon Hunter that markedly improved my damage, toughness and healing. Just like that, I became beastly. I’m currently playing on Expert difficulty (3rd level of difficulty), and can’t wait to see how my character will do at Torment 1 now.

Ah, shades of 2012! Where all I talked about on the site and podcast was Diablo 3. I promise to keep it varied…. or at least try to.

Tuesday, 2:32 pm – Gavin

Sports games?  NHL 94 MASTER RACE.

I was never much for most sports games.  Even though I quite enjoy watching hockey, I even found most hockey games to be a bit dull.  I suppose it all boils down to my preference for single-player.  Even though the permutations of player and AI movement are effectively infinite, I found that there really wasn’t enough variety to keep my interest.  In the end, I was still doing pretty much the same thing over and over again.  Sometimes I’d be up in the scoreboard, sometimes I’d be down. I suppose I found I’m better with (team) sports on a passive level than an active level.

As for “solo” sports games, I’m definitely better with those.  Amped 2 was a highlight of 2005, and I’ve slogged through Mario Kart 7 to its effective completion – gold trophies on every challenge level.

I end up disliking sports games when you need a damn encyclopedia just to get through them.  The UFC Undisputed demo for the Xbox 360 was a prime example of this.  There were only two fighters on the demo roster – enough to get you interested.  Holy hell though, the mechanics were insane.  Gone are the days of memorizing four or five moves for 12 fighters.  You could see each move in the pause menu, but it broke the flow horrendously by having to check to see what you could do in that particular situation.  The complexity of the sport was such that the game was complex to the point of not being fun.  I appreciate the effort, but I likely will never pick up another combat game like that (yes, that includes Smash Brothers – not really my bag).

I took a dive into Assassin’s Creed IV on Sunday.  It’s entertaining and looks great on the Wii U, but the fact that I have never played an AC game before certainly hindered me, as the tutorials are minimal and there’s no instruction booklet.  I accidentally unequipped my swords and found myself stuck in combat situations with only my fists, leading to frequent deaths.  Also, I ended up stuck in certain situations as the free-running option, which is effectively your spring option, can stick you on perches for visibility.  I’m sure I’ll figure it out as I go, but as it stands, it’s not without its flaws.  Of course, I’m only an hour and a half into it, so I have no doubt that I’ll forget all about this.

Tomorrow is the release date for Child of Light, the new RPG from Ubisoft done with the UbiArt engine (Rayman Legends).  Holy hellballs, this game looks gorgeous.  I will probably need to get past my “no turn-based games” principle just to experience the art of this game.  The reviews have all been extremely laudatory.  Plus it’s only $15, and considering the UbiArt engine was optimized for Wii U before others, there’s a good chance that this will end up on my must-play list sooner rather than later.

Monday, 12:15 pm – matt

the epicness that was the overtime goal cannot be put into words, mostly because it was the second leg of overtime and our virtual counterparts had absolutely no stamina left to even talk about the game afterwards, as virtual hamstrings were pulled and virtual dehydration set in. but man it was awesome, and the sort of thing that streaming services were built for in order to share the awesomeness with the world.

…and of course none of us were recording/streaming at the time…

so speaking of sport titles and the assassin creed effect (new year=new game) tradition of a new sports titles to accompany the new sports year, this FIFA title is the first soccer I have ever bought, and as long as still being played by people online will probably the one I keep for a bit. most Canadians have no problem picking up the yearly release of the NHL franchise (even when a lockout cancelled the entire season), and despite buying a few hockey games I have never jumped from one release to the next annually.

however the same cannot be said for basketball, where I have purchased a new game every year to correspond with the new season since the Sega Dreamcast when my love for the NBA was rekindled by getting my ass kicked with Ricky online and receiving in-game messages from our opponent that they just dropped another three ball “in our eye”…


I received an email announcing the “all new” Madden game. this year takes the number sequencing back to ’14, so we had madden’13, madden’25, and now back to ’14.

…makes sense.

Monday, 8:28 am – Ricky

No words need be spoken: