18: Football at Wembley (Wed 30th September 2015)
Hello dear reader. Before we go any further, let me say a big thank you to those who came and said hi at EGX’s after-party last weekend – it’s reassuring to know that SOMEONE is reading this stuff and that it’s not universally hated.
This week, I’m incredibly excited because I’m off to the football at Wembley. Not ‘proper’ football. I’m off to the ‘other’ ‘proper’ ‘football’. American Football. Miami Dolphins vs New York Jets, to be precise. Ever since living in Texas back in 2001 (yes, I’m basically a cowboy, get over it) I’ve had a love for the game but last year, finally, a friend convinced me to get the Wembley International Series season pass and, this year, we’re heading back again. Can’t wait. Over the moon. Yippee. Etcetera.
But that’s not got anything to do with videogames, so why am I banging on about it? Well, it’s because this week I’ve also been reviewing Madden NFL 16 on the Xbox One. Short version: If you like American Football, get it now because it’s a brilliant game. If you don’t like/don’t understand American Football, get it anyway because it’s a brilliant game. Got it? Good.
Bizarrely, one of the most satisfying things about it is its use of QTE-style inputs for passing plays. QTE’s, for the unversed, are ‘Quick Time Events’ and in gaming these are often the focus of derision and scorn. Done badly, they boil down to ‘Press X to view cutscene’ – the outcome is often predetermined and they’re solely a test of how quickly you can remember which button is the square one. Your reward? A poorly rendered CGI interpretation of some bad acting.
Not so here, though. In Madden 16 every action has a real impact on the outcome of the game and, what’s more, you know when these moments are coming (and their purpose) so they’re not an annoying surprise or distraction. Instead, they serve as a satisfying way of quickly dictating the desired actions on the field, for both your quarterback and receiver. It’s SO MUCH FUN.
The whole game just oozes fun and playability. Which shouldn’t be a surprise really. Obviously NFL is MASSIVE in America, so this series is a huge-seller and, as such, has been refined over many years to create the purest experience possible. The attention to detail with commentary and cutaways that replicate the feel of TV broadcasts also adds a real sense of occasion to proceedings. Once again: GET THIS GAME.
If you just can’t be bothered to press buttons, might I also recommend the NFL GamePass App for your preferred smartphone or tablet? It allows you to download and view previous NFL matches, whilst the associated subscription allows you to watch the matches live on your traditional computer machine box. Favourite thing about this app is undoubtedly the ‘condensed matches’. What this means is that someone has sat in a room and trimmed out every second of non-gameplay from the original broadcast, reducing 3 hours of TV coverage into approximately 40minutes of pure gameplay, because that’s how long it actually takes for you to watch the ‘game’ bits of the game.
Of course, if none of this has convinced you to get into American Football things, then just go about your day. You’re your own boss. That’s why you’re so sexy.
See you next week!