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benfinkel

Discussing the possibility that Madden (EA Sports) is a poorly designed game...

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benfinkel    136
This is an idea that is only just occurring to me, but I wanted to run by you folks to get some early opinions on my topic. Madden NFL, especially the last two years, is always renowned as an incredible football game. My roomy and I are currently in our fourth year of a franchise of 2002 on the XBox, and it''s slowly occurring to me that it might not be a very well designed game. I''ll extrapolate in a later post when I''ve more fully developed my idea, but here''s a basic run-down of some of the glaring faults I''ve seen: -Lack of depth in gameplay. Basically, 10-15 offensive plays are what''s needed to get the job done. Two or Three will do it on D. -The ever present "That''s Bullshit!" factor which only increases with higer difficulty settings. -A poor mix of simulation and arcad-y? What do you guys think? --Ben

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billybob    134
i remember playing a football game when i was at my cousins house on his dreamcast. it was so friggin gay on higher skill levels because all it did to make it harder was decrease the time it takes for the QB to get the ball off and then once the receiver had it (every pass every time) they were like twice as fast as the guy you were trying to catch him with.

just explaining the ''That''s Bullshit!'' factor

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beantas    122
quote:
Original post by benfinkel
-The ever present "That''s Bullshit!" factor which only increases with higer difficulty settings.
-A poor mix of simulation and arcad-y?



I''m not a big fan of Madden but I used to watch my roommate play quite a bit. Once when a "That''s Bullshit!" thing happened, I asked him about it, he''d say that it''s part of the game, it happens in real football, and that''s EA''s way of trying to simulate that aspect of real football in their game. Anyone who doesn''t think this stuff doesn''t happen hasn''t seen the Bears'' season last year . Whether that is a good design decision is probably opinion and a matter of preference.

Also, I believe the mix of simulation and arcad-y is simply based on opinion and preference. I don''t think there is a correct balance of the two. I''ve always been under the impression that Madden is leaning more towards simulation than any of the other football games out there. I think you could objectively argue that the level of simulation or arcade-ishness doesn''t fit well in the current gaming market, but you can''t argue that either way is more or less fun.

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Oluseyi    2103
quote:
Original post by benfinkel
-Lack of depth in gameplay. Basically, 10-15 offensive plays are what''s needed to get the job done. Two or Three will do it on D.

And how many are needed in real life? Much of sports is psychological, and many plays exist primarily to keep the opponent guessing. That area of simulation hasn''t received much attention (largely because gamers keep screaming for better graphics), so all you''re left with are tactical weapons which don''t amount to much when executed and countered dispassionately.

quote:

-The ever present "That''s Bullshit!" factor which only increases with higer difficulty settings.

While I agree with this, most sports games don''t come perfectly balanced. A recent perusal of the NBA Live Series Center forums revealed someone who had gone to work adjusting the player ratings (Live 2003) on PS2 using a GameShark, and the result was a much better playing game. To accurately simulate sports is complicated, and most implementations resort to shortcuts that work 90% of the time. The remaining 10%? That''s bullshit.

quote:

-A poor mix of simulation and arcad-y?

Fundamentally, games are supposed to be fun. Sometimes, getting too "simulation" can detract from this objective for the average gamer. I''m not defending their choice of features, but I must say that what I''ve seen of Madden (2003, PS2) is very, very impressive.

Football games are much better designed and implemented than basketball games, though, largely - I think - because football is much more accessible (you don''t need to be 6''+ or jump out of the gym) and more of the developers and more intimately acquainted with the sport.

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Dauntless    314
Hey, I work in the same Maitland offices that EA Tiburon is located....maybe I can talk to some of the programmers. They are always hanging out in the garage smoking I think I know who some of the programmers and artists are, but I don''t think I''ve seen any of the management

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beantas    122
quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
While I agree with this, most sports games don''t come perfectly balanced. A recent perusal of the NBA Live Series Center forums revealed someone who had gone to work adjusting the player ratings (Live 2003) on PS2 using a GameShark, and the result was a much better playing game.


NBA2K3 comes with gameplay sliders, where you can change things like probability of steals, probability that AI will dunk, etc. I think Madden had something similar. So you can change them around if you don''t like them. I think all sports games should follow suit. Sure, it''s better to come balanced by default, but balance can be totally a matter of opinion.

Also, I don''t know why anyone would bother with NBA Live when the NBA2K series exists.

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Oluseyi    2103
quote:
Original post by beantas
Also, I don''t know why anyone would bother with NBA Live when the NBA2K series exists.

Because NBA Live 2003 blows everything out of the water? One word for you: FreeStyle™.

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mtaber    122
I agree with the fact that there''s too much bullshit in the madden 2003 game at higher difficulty levels. I have the best QB in the league, the best HB, and the best DT. My DT doubles as my fullback, who is also best in the league at that position. My TE isn''t the best, but is still pretty good. It''s tough to run the ball, if you can believe that. Strong side, weak side. It''s whether I get lucky or not the majority of the time.

The bullshit factor comes into play much more when I''m on defence than anything else. 3rd and long, I''m playing against the worst team in the league with their backup QB in because I sent their primary to the lockerroom with a concussion. I tell my guys to play soft with a prevent defence. Their crappy quarterback guns it 60 yards in the air, and the WR not only catches it through triple coverage, but he breaks 3 tackles and avoids the other safety. Come on. I would understand if that happened once in a while, but it happens a LOT and every single game.

Then there are teams that punt on fourth down every time because they can''t move the ball. Fourth quarter comes and magically, they are able to move the ball 250 yards in three minutes and force two fumbles (against someone who has a 99 for ballcarrying) and win the game.

I understand it happens sometimes, but not ALL the time. I think they went a little too far in that game. Not to mention, the franchise kind of sucks. Negotiation? Yea, right! Like you have a choice what you can offer the guys. You either give them what they want or they walk. There''s no negotiating. And new guys (rookies) are just as bad as ones who have been there a while.


Looking for an honest video game publisher? Visit www.gamethoughts.com

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KingRuss    134
Ah, I will add to the story...

1). Going to create a new person?... well why not just max him out(of course, he wants more money then), but you can make a guy with all 99''s to start... what is the point in that? Personally I would rather take a guy and work him up over a couple of years like tecmo bowl 3 for the snes. I realize you can work up people over years in the game, but they move up so slow, and only once per year... not to mention the fact that you can''t tell them what to work on. This also doesn''t help the fact that your backups just get weaker, because they don''t get used much.

2). Players don''t tell you they are getting tired of playing, or will retire soon... its just, "Bobby tackle has retired" come around the new year, leaving no reason for you to create old people, because they will just leave sooner.

3). 10-15 offensive plays? I use 3-5... I get everything done, including field goals. Defense ... 2-3 plays gets that done... The create-a-playbook feature is nice, confusing at first, but sucks when you get down to it... the players moves are so limited that you might as well use the natural playbook unless you wanna create a new formation(like 5-2 or 5-1).

4). Save games... why does it take so much space to save their games? I understand they have a lot of variables to store, but they are obviously hiding an airplane flight simulator inside each of their save games... I made something on my computer to save each of the required things(every stat for every player, and every team, even ones they don''t show)... I didn''t even need 1 mb(59 blocks for gamecube, I forgot the size, but its at least 2 mb, probably more).

5). AI... rofl, I know you can adjust stuff, but its silly to have a wr with 99 catching(and everything else) you cannot catch the ball 50% of the time when he is open, without changing the AI.

6). Speaking of ratings... they are so biased in who they power-up in the game... I can understand the superbowl champ being good in the game, but when its obvious they got lucky and won, they shouldn''t be the best, that goes for players as well, they should go by the statistics for players and thusly teams. Now teams... The ratings go from 0-99... no team is below 60-something... the game before that no team was below 78... There are some terrible teams out there that deserve to be below a rating of 50... and lower.

7). Madden... drop him from the franchise, his sayings are old... he is old... he is annoying. "The ball carrier would have gotten more yards if he wasn''t tackled there"... really? "And at the end of that play the ball carrier was tackled"... amazing, the list goes on.

8). Yea negotiating does suck... you cannot offer him less money, but more insentive(sp?) money, so if he does good you have to pay out. No special deals just "Give me more/less time", and " I need more cash for such a long/short deal"... and you can turn the cap off in the regular mode anyhow... you shouldn''t be able to earn anything for turning it off, its too easy as I beat it on all-madden(toughest difficulty), with 5 minute quarters, penalties on, no cards used, 107 - 7(lucky bastard scored in the fourth quarter, after not gaining an inch earlier in the game)

There is more, but the game has a LOT of flaws, it needs to be run through a good machine of sorts... the kind of machine that fixes things and makes them cooler. Stop wasting money on music for the game, and start making a game.

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beantas    122
quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
Because NBA Live 2003 blows everything out of the water? One word for you: FreeStyle™.


I haven''t had a chance to play the new 2003 version yet but I think the idea of Freestyle is great. But if it''s just tacked on over the pre-existing gameplay of Live 2002, I still won''t touch that series. It''s nice to have control over your one-on-one moves like that but there are lots of other important aspects that Live would have to improve on to beat NBA2K3.

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Oluseyi    2103
quote:
Original post by beantas
I haven''t had a chance to play the new 2003 version yet but I think the idea of Freestyle is great. But if it''s just tacked on over the pre-existing gameplay of Live 2002, I still won''t touch that series. It''s nice to have control over your one-on-one moves like that but there are lots of other important aspects that Live would have to improve on to beat NBA2K3.

I''m sorry to say, but NBA2K3 looks like crap compared to NBA Live 2003, and I don''t just mean graphics. Live''s FreeStyle control system gives you a lot of direction over your players movements and allow you to execute so many moves in so many scenarios - on both offense and defense. It beefs up the one-on-one/isolation aspects of the game in a big way.

Using the second analog stick, the gamer can triple threat, execute a variety of specific crossovers, really work the post, hustle for the ball, pull off some insane dunks - just about everything that makes basketball games fun. The game overall is also fast and fluid, and the new "specialty" indicators are a very cool and powerful visual aid for deciding how to run the break (next to the name/number identifiers with exceptional skills in a given category is an iconic indicator - a foot with wings for players with hops, a lock for guys with stellar D and I believe a "3" for long-range bombers). The playcalling is also much improved, and the game looks simply gorgeous next to anatomically-incorrect NBA2K3.

Add to the mix a hot soundtrack and lots of fan goodies like old school jerseys - NBA Live 2003 is the best basketball game currently available, period. This may sound like EA product hype, but the game is that good. Yes, it has flaws and shortcomings, but it''s the best thing out there.

Sorry for the topic-drift.

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