Game Review – All-Pro Football 2K8 [360] – By Dark Reyule

apfamazonTHE GIST: License? We don’t need no stinkin’ license! Visual Concepts and 2K Sports make their triumphant return to the gridiron with All-Pro Football 2K8 featuring over 240 of the best to ever hug the pigskin, innovative gameplay elements, and immersive realism. Some thought that the 2K brand of football games died when EA secured (read: took away your options as a consumer) the NFL and NFLPA licenses… well, it’s time to think again. 2K Football is back, better than ever, and stands today as the best football game I have ever played.

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Share your NCAA 08 Videos with your friends!

Ok, so I’ve been pretty harsh to EA lately, so I figured I should give a little back. Sure, their online presence with NCAA 08 leaves a little to be desired, but they’re trying. They’re even doing things right. So I decided to put up a little how-to on sharing your uploaded videos of NCAA 08 with your friends. Hit the jump to read on.
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EA makes me cry

This is getting ridiculous. I mocked EA earlier because they weren’t able to deliver on the on-line community promises. Turns out the data was handled by a third party, and their systems were fried. My bad. They still could have put up a notice about that.

So is now accessible and so is my NCAA 08 profile. Funny thing is, I still can’t find a way to share my uploaded videos with friends. I don’t even know how to send them a link to my EA Sports World profile. It’s ridiculous. Unfortunately, it gets worse.

I went over to their forums, hoping that someone else was able to figure it out. Surely I’m not the only one who wants to do this. Besides the fact that the forums are populated by 13 years olds who love to use the Caps Lock key, the forums were completely worthless. No one had a straight answer to the question, “How do I sure my uploaded videos?” Simply worthless. So nothing could be worth less than that, right?

Wrong. The forum search is atrocious. I did a simple forum search for “share uploaded video”. “No search results for “share uploaded video”. You should try a less restrictive search.” was the result. Fair enough. I try “uploaded video link” nothing. “Video Link”, “Profile Link” and “I sure wish I could send my friend a link to my cool video” all failed to produce any search results. Deflated, I simply tried to search for “NCAA” hoping that something would result. This is what I got:

EA Search SUCKS!

Did I mean NASA?! No! Why the hell would I be searching for NASA on EA’s NCAA 08 forum? The name of the flipping forum is NCAA 08! Is search that hard for one of the biggest electronic entertainment companies? I can use NCAA 08’s recruiting system to search for a 5-star QB that is 6’2″ and from Ohio and I can’t do a simple text search on their site?

I’m speechless.

Frustrations GALORE

Electronic Art’s EA Sports World site sucks. Plain and simple — it sucks. Don’t bother clicking that link, because IT WON’T FREAKING LOAD.

I have been trying, rather unsuccessfully for the past 24 hours, to log in to EA’s NCAA 08 community site so I can watch a highlight video I uploaded to the site last night. I just want to show it to a couple friends. It’s really no big thing, the video. Just the thought of sharing a short video clip from I game I had just played was very cool. I was super excited about showing it to the readers of my other site, too. They would appreciate it, as Buckeye fans, as it was an interception I made as Ohio State against Michigan, returning it for a touchdown. It was a thing of beauty. But I can’t show it to anyone because EA’s site is such garbage.

I imagine their servers are getting absolutely slammed right now, as NCAA is only a couple days old and everyone is excited about this new feature, but the fact that their site is completely inaccesible is just sad. They had to be expecting a huge response to these additions and added more servers to up their capacity. This isn’t even their flagship enterprise. Sure, there are a ton of NCAA fans, but there will be way more players playing Madden when it drops next month. If their servers are down now, they will literally discorporate when the hordes of Maddenites start punishing them. It’s going to be ugly.

How could they not be ready for this onslaught? I hope they get things working soon. Like by tomorrow, so I can show my friends my NCAA interception skills.

In my hands…

NCAA 2008The college football season starts right now!

(actually, it starts in about an hour, after dinner and the kids are bathed. So almost now)

Update: Okay, I’ve been able to put a couple hours in so far. One huge glaring problem I have is the absence of the “Create-a-school.” I was aware that this feature was left out of NCAA 07 but I thought it surely would have been left in the game. Disappointing! No University of North Royalton Bears Dynasty this year. (I should have known better, of course. This is EA we’re talking about. It will be “in the game” next year.) That means I’ll probably take over as the Kent State coach and take them to the national championship. I wanted to stay in Ohio and have a 1-star team, so that’s my only option.

Outside of that issue — ME LIKEY. I’ll have a more comprehensive review/post up after I get a few hours with the Dynasty mode in.

The countdown begins (T-minus 14 days)

NCAA 2008Do you know how hard it is not to type, “Are you ready for some football?!” everytime you get excited about a new football game? Ahh crap. It’s impossible.

Anyway, I can’t contain my excitement any more about this game. I saw the videos earlier, Xbox just released a trailer on the Xbox Live Marketplace, and I’m about ready to blow. Two weeks and counting! I was listening to the 1UP Yours pod-cast last night, and they said NCAA 2008 is looking awesome. They said the graphics are finally looking “next gen” and the amount of new animations and other details is staggering. They said the Dynasty mode (the reason most of us play it) is engrossing yet again.

The college football season officially begins when NCAA 200x comes out. This place is going to be NCAA-central (at least from where I stand) for the next few weeks. I will be eating, drinking, and sleeping NCAA 2008 Dynasty mode. The North Royalton University Bears will rule the college football landscape forever! (unfortunately, only Dark Reyule will get that last reference)

Game Review – The Bigs [360]

THE GIST: THE BIGS is developer Blue Castle Games’ offering on the whole “extreme” take on sports in the vein of NFL Blitz, NBA JAM, and MLB Slugfest. Build up your respective POWER BLAST or BIG HEAT meters by performing certain in-game tasks and unleash some hurt on your opponent.

Pitching and batting all take place from the behind the plate perspective

THE GAMEPLAY: Normally with these kind of games the gameplay is rather bare bones and all pick-up-and-play, THE BIGS is no different in that regard. I felt right at home within minutes with the controls save for the always initially confusing base running. The title offers several modes, all with the depth and character as Keanu Reeves doing Shakespeare except for the compelling Rookie Challenge. In this mode you build a prospect from scratch, assign him some limited ability, and take to the minors to work on beefing up his ratings. This mode is akin to the 24/7 mode in NBA 2K7 and is quite fun.

Blue Castle also tossed in Home Run Pinball, a unique mini-game where you tee-off in downtown NY and earn points for taking out everything littering the city streets while the pitcher gradually throws more mixed pitches at you, this is mindless fun.

Standard games are stretched out over 5 innings though you can switch that to 9 if you’re a rawhide purest at heart. Much of the action in THE BIGS seems to be focused on the batting, you will see fly balls hit to the track in droves and you will see just as many fence-climbing catch attempts. Though the 5 innings may read like too little it isn’t. You will complete a game in about 20 minutes, perfect for quick gaming fixes.

Homerun Pinball rules. Just about everything seen here is hittable and breakable.

THE GRAPHICS: The stadiums all look very good, and there are some nice effects when you use your power-ups. The player models often look like their respective counterparts (best Jim Thome I’ve ever seen, he almost oozes hillbilly off of the screen when he steps into the box) though they have a somewhat doughy look to them. The framerate and camera angles are all spot-on as well.

Plays-at-the-plate are made all the more dramatic with a bullet-time buttonmashing fest to see who will win the most grand of jousts.

THE AMBIANCE: This is baseball, from the fans in the stands to the homer schlep in the booth you know you’re engaging in America’s pastime. Fan noise, ball-on-bat sounds, etc. are all what you’d expect in a game like this however the 2K beats soundtrack is awful. “Ace of Spades” by Motorhead in a baseball game? Lemmy and his facial tumors should not be involved with a title about baseball, period.

Fly-ball hit deep, he goes back, at the wall… Will you be Griffey or Canseco in the spotlight? You’ll have plently of chances to find out.

THE VERDICT: Blue Castle pulls off a… wait for it… homerun with THE BIGS. Though I can imagine a title like this losing much of it’s luster after a week or two the rather deep Rookie Challenge mode is enough to justify a purchase.

I can easily see this becoming a series that improves year after year. Not based off of what I see, but rather what I don’t. For as many opportunities as you get to rack up points there feels like there should be more like bonuses for back-to-back HR’s, home-run distance, and hits in clutch situations, expect to see things like this in future incarnations.

Still, as an initial offering you can’t go wrong with THE BIGS.

Photos courtesy of

It’s about fricken time

First off, thanks to Glen at tBftSG pointing me to the new HD videos of NCAA 2008.

I watched the tutorial video in particular and learned that EA has FINALLY put in a “sim to complete” feature into the game. I cannot stress how important this is.

It’s called the “Skip Ahead” feature and it may supplant sliced bread as the greatest thing ever. Using it, you can skip to the either the next possesion, the next quarter or the end of the game. EA calls it the Super Sim feature. Sounds awesome. I call it the “What took you so fricken long feature?” We have been clamoring for this feature for years and they’re finally getting around to putting it into the game. It’s about time.

But it gets even better. You can watch the simulation “real time” and jump in and take over the play calling at any point. You can even resume playing (from what I can tell) at any time during the simulation. This is most excellent.

It simply cements further my belief that EA has a laundry list of “features” that they could put into the game, and they spin the wheel and add a few new features each year, stringing us along every year while we lap up the newest greatest thing. It’s frustrating to be sure, but what can you do?

I skipped out on NCAA 2007 but I’m not skipping out on 2008.

March Madness

My Buckeyes squeaked out a close one against Xavier. Phew, that was too close for comfort. I’ll be live-blogging all of OSU’s tournament game at my Ohio State site, Men of the Scarlet and Gray.

I thought the tournament might limit blogging here, but I don’t think that will be the case. Wireless internet and laptops were built for sports fans and bloggers, too.

Buckeye Blogging, BCS Championship Game


Blogging has been and will be light around these parts the next couple days, as tonight is the BCS National Championship game between my Ohio State Buckeyes and the Florida Gators. I’ll be blogging the highlights of the game at my OSU site, Men of the Scarlet and Gray (there’s an Open Thread at the site, all about the game, if you’re interested).

I’m super excited about the game, so gaming will be minimal until the euphoria (or heaven forbid, depression) after the game has worn off. Once I come down from the high of victory, we’ll resume the video game blogging as normal. I’ve got plans to revisit some of the DS games I’ve neglected (Contact, EBA, NSMB) along with my Christmas haul. I’ll also have site and Carnival updates. And a TV update, as well.

Speaking of TV, I can’t tell you how excited I am about seeing the Championship Game in HD. Fox seems to be doing a great job of sports in HD so I’m assuming this will be no different. It’s hard to watch programming now that isn’t in HD. That may sound like HD-snobbery (which it is) but I can’t believe the difference it makes. I think my buddy explained it best when he compared it to how our parents must have felt when they went from black and white to color TVs in their day. It’s that dramatic.

Yeah, we lost. Yeah, it sucks. Yeah, I’m over it.

I’m ready to get back to gaming.