Madden 19 First Thoughts…

We are getting close to the start of the NFL season, and that means madden is here! Myself and Manny got our hands on the Hall of Fame edition of the game nearly a week ago, and so far we have had a very good time. I have always been a huge fan of the madden franchise where on the other hand Manny hasn’t purchased a current Madden since Madden 13 and hasn’t played one since Madden 16.

I have to say, this is the most fun I’ve had in Madden in almost 3 years now. Last year really fell short for me and I quit playing after only about two months of being released. Where most Maddens I continue to play until after Christmas. I have always been a huge fan of Madden Ultimate Team (MUT) for the excitement of pack openings and the grind to make your team better throughout the season and different holiday events that pop up through the year. So, I will admit ALL of my time spent on the current Madden has been all in MUT over the past week of the game. I really enjoy the different aspects this year to make it much easier to figure out what you want to do and the game is much more straight forward for MUT. This is my first time ever playing MUT Squads (a new game mode that was implemented in last years Madden to allow you to play MUT with your friends.) Manny and myself have played a few matches so far and overall it has been really fun to play with your friends in this game mode. We did a huge pack opening the first day of launch and it was incredibly fun we got some amazing cards in our packs. Manny even pulled a 90 overall Legend card which blew my mind. There is a new addition to MUT this year that I’m sort of having a bit of a love-hate relationship with currently. That is the new upgrade progression system. Now there are cards in the game that you can upgrade with new tokens. Which yeah is really cool and all but at the same time I feel like it makes it so much easier now to get a really good team, which is something I always loved about the grind it meant a lot when your team’s overall was around an 85. Well, after the first week my team overall is already a 79… which usually took me about a month to achieve, and I know if I spent more of my tokens I could probably break the 80 overall threshold. Which scares me because the grind is what always kept me around playing Madden to get my team as close to a 90+ as possible, and I have a feeling I may hit that in the first month if I keep grinding like I am. All in all the Madden Ultimate Team is very fun again this year like most. Now for the gameplay.

This years Madden has the smoothest gameplay I have ever felt in a sports game. Most of you are probably thinking “shouldn’t the newest game always feel smoother then the last?” Well yes it should but honestly Madden 18 felt clunkier then 17, and others have felt worse then previous years. This one has it all so far. The passing and running are very fluent while the new player movement system is fantastic and really allows you to combo different special movements with the ball carrier. Also hit sticks on defense seem to make a much bigger impact, but are also way harder to land now. You pretty much either force a fumble, or you are giving up a huge play. I really love that they have fixed a lot of the gameplay issues from last year. The only thing that is bothering me when it comes to actual gameplay is when you begin running on a play the ball carrier or defender doesn’t accelerate like old maddens. It’s very slow, and feels kind of weird. The two best parts about the new player movement system in Madden 19 has to be the celebrations and the fact that different players are slower then other players. To touch on this first, in most Maddens my 90+ speed running back would get caught by a 67 speed Defensive lineman running down the sideline, which was super unrealistic to me. They have finally fixed this problem! The second portion the statement previously… touchdown celebrations are in the game and they are so fun and exciting! Everytime you score now you just get so excited to see which celebration your character will go with after you choose. It really makes scoring feel even better now in Madden 19!

I am going to give Madden 19 an 8.8 out of 10. The MUT is extremely enjoyable, and from what Manny has told me about franchise you have so much more control this year as a player with bonus rewards mid game and different goals throughout the season. The only things so far holding me back to give the game a higher rating is the MUT progression system, MUT Squads not allowing you to play with just 2 players, and the acceleration aspect of the game. That being said the game has some amazing new additions with player movement, and prior to Madden 19, the highest I would have scored another Madden would be around a 8.2, so this game takes the cake with the new motion system! Let us know why you thought of the article and your options of Madden 19 in the comments! Make sure to hit the star so we know you enjoy the article! Untill next time.

-Brandon Maj

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Black Ops 4 Beta First Thoughts…

It’s that time of year again… our annual Call of Duty is coming in just over two months. Some of got our hands on the beta this last weekend, and it was good to see what the latest installment has to offer. Personally i enjoyed the beta, but I am also a hard core Call of Duty fan boy, but I also did have my issues with the beta as well.

Pros: All in all the game felt very smooth. If you would have told me this is the full game I would not have been upset for the fact the game ran very well. I didn’t run into any sort of bugs or ridiculous problems. Graphically the game was gorgeous. This Call of Duty felt like a major step in the graphics department from last year. The game has its very vibrant maps and locations that really make you want to take a second and inspect the surroundings. The guns already had a pretty decent balance, so there wont be a whole lot of tweaking into the second weekend of the beta, most likely a small nerf to SMGs if anything. The pace of the game was very solid. I was pretty nervous when they announced that standard game modes were going to be 5v5 instead of the original 6v6, but it really worked out for the better. The game still felt very fast paced, and it honestly was probably for the better that the changed it to 5 player, or the matches would have felt way to cluttered. Three of the maps in the beta were genuinely spectacular, those maps being Frequency, Seaside, and Payload. The maps all played super well, had a very good layout, and were very stunning maps. I was very surprised how  much I enjoyed the new healing system in the game. It brought for many different ways for gun fights to play out, from attack your healing opponent or run and heal to fight another day. So it really did give a little new flavor to the combat of Call of Duty which was extremely refreshing. Another very interesting implement to the game was the fact that there are different attachments per weapon class. Not only did different classes have different attachments, but even some weapons in the categories had different attachments. This really made the guns unique which has always been a pretty big complaint in the COD community.

Cons: Something that I genuinely enjoyed from Black Ops 3 was the specialists that they decided to include in the previous game. I have been a pretty big fan of special characters having their own ability or weapon ever since I got into Overwatch. I really enjoy the fact they brought them back for Black Ops 4, but I feel it is SOOOOOOO lazy that they gave us so many of the same specialists, but with a tiny change to the character (Firebreak, Ruin, Seraph, Tempest, Battery) they also brought back the Nomad, but I will give them that they did completely rework him. It just seemed lazy to keep 6 of the 10 characters to be the same person same abilities, and a 7th character has the vision pulse of an old character from Blops3. One of the maps was absolutely horrifying to play on (Contraband) where half of the map was just water where people had high ground on you, so it was absolutely pointless to go anywhere near that side of the map. A very annoying addition to the specialists is Torgue a specialist that promotes camping. Not only does this man get a huge barricade, but he also gets a very strong set of barbed wire. Any time someone was running this specialist in the beta you bet you could find them in some building with the barricade in front of them for extra cover and the barbed wire covering any sort of way in for enemies. The most adventurous aspect that you might see from them is finding a main corridor to put the barricade in front of and camp the main objective or entry way for enemies. This was extremely sad to see them add this to the game especially after years of games finding ways to fight campers. Something that I really hated from the past call of duties is back in a new way… Juggernaut is back just in a fake name… body armor. It was pretty annoying to have something in the game that you pretty much had to run. If you didn’t have body armor on most of the time you were going to lose the gun fight even if you had the jump on them. I hope to see them either remove this from the game or nerf it a good bit before launch.

Thankfully we will get a little bit more of a look into Black Ops 4 with the second week. Let us know what you thought of the first weekend of the beta! if you enjoyed the article make sure to hit the star to let us know!

-Brandon Maj in collaboration with Adam Kovak

Venom Trailer #2…

After having a few hours to collect myself and watch the trailer numerous times… It’s time to give my thoughts on the upcoming horror/anti-hero movie trailer that dropped this morning… It was absolutely exhilarating. I feel as if I was one of the few who thoroughly enjoyed the first trailer, with basically no complaints. This trailer though… blew my frickin’ mind. I have always been one to get pretty hyped for anything Marvel or DC, but this is such a new taste for the superhero genere.

The trailer starts out with Eddie Brock giving a little idea of who he is. He is a reporter who believes the goverment is missing some very important/dangerous events in the world, and that he has found “something really bad.” Following that introduces the beginning of the tear between Eddie and Venom. The trailer then cuts to the main antagonist of the film Dr. Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) stating why he is trying to learn more about the symbiotes which is for finding a way to combine man and symbiote to start a new evolution of man-kind. This trailer does an extremely good job of giving a glance into the intentions of the two main characters of the film.

Then… we get some action of Venom…
Eddie and Venom have some back and forth showing the difficult time Eddie is having controlling the symbiote to use it for only good. I’m sure this will be a struggle we will see at the beginning of the film when they are converged into one-being: the malicious intent of venom and the good guy of Eddie Brock. This will give us a fun roller coaster to keep our eyes on throughout the film. We get some more direct dialogue from Venom when he has captured the enemy from the first trailer, where he begins to describe the human body, “Eyes, lungs, pancreas so many snacks so little time.” This line gave me a rush of chills down my spine. This is where the R rating is going to come from. They seem to be wanting to portray the very maniacle/cannibal side of Venom which is going to give an extremely interesting characteristic for a character we are rooting for.

To touch on the special effects of the trailer we got an amazing look at the full standing Venom! This was something I was petrified about because in the first trailer Venom didnt seem to be THAT big… Well Sony has eased our hearts revealing a monstrosity that is Venom, a solid 7/8 foot or so standing creature that will terrify all oncoming foes. Speaking of foes of within the film, we got a more improved look at the enemy symbiotes in the film mainly Scream/Donna Diego (Michelle Lee) and what looked like Toxin/Patrick Mulligan (Reid Scott). It is really exciting to see what Venom will be potentially up against in the upcoming film!

All in all the trailer was super satisfying to have a peak at the story, giving some light to the villains of the film, and the amazing special effects. What did you think about the trailer? Please let us know in the comments below! Are you excited to see Venom? What do you think about a horror/super hero film? If you enjoyed the article hit the little star to let us know you enjoy our work!

-Brandon Maj

Shazam!

There have been so many huge trailers that have dropped this week at San Diego Comic Con! We have already touched on one of the DC projects, Titans, the new gritty Teen Titans TV series… There have been two very big DC movie trailer that have dropped since then; the first one we are going to cover at the Nerd Chambers is Shazam! Myself and Manny have been somewhat skeptical with this upcoming super hero film because of the casting choice for the main role of Shazam. Sammy on the other hand seems to love the picks so far with casting for the film. That being said Shazam has always been one of my favorite DC characters thanks to the animated series he showed up in, and the very entertaining Injustice games (mobile/console). I have been extremely interested in this movie even with the questionable casting choice, but hey that will have to be answered once I see the film. Hopefully all the actors blow me away.

The introduction of the trailer was very enjoyable from the fun hangouts with Billy Batson and his friends to him standing up to some bullies at the school. I genuinely really enjoy Asher Angel so far as Billy Batson for what I have seen in the trailer. Once the trailer began to focus more on Shazam my worries started to increase a little more. I am terrified this movie is going to feel more like a super hero spoof movie rather than an actual super hero film. I did have those worries though for the Antman film that Marvel created, but that clearly was not the case… So I am really hoping that DC can pull of the same quirky style that Antman was able to do with Marvel. The actual footage of the film seemed to be good. there was not any moments of the trailer that I felt the CGI was bad (Not that we got to see a whole lot), but it looked better then I was expecting. The costume also looks a lot better seeing it post production rather than the set photos that were revealed seeming a bit too cheesy.

What did you think of the Shazam! trailer? Are you excited for the upcoming light heart-ted DC film? Let us know what you think in the comments below! If you liked the article hit the little star near the comments to let us know you enjoy the content! Have a great weekend, and make sure to check back this week for more highlights of Comic Con and the new No Man’s Sky Update!

-Brandon Maj

Black Ops 4 Beta Dates

The dates have finally been announced when the beta will drop for Black Ops 4, the upcoming installment for the Call of Duty franchise. It has been a sigh of relief the last few years when the developers have allowed us to indulge on early gameplay for multiple reasons. The biggest of course is for the not so hardcore fans to know if they will be interested in the newest Call of Duty. Then another benefit for the hardcore fans is they will be able to express their opinions of different gun balances pre launch. Even though some people may view the Call of Duty as a second evil to EA with their microtransactions, it really has been much appreciated that we have been getting betas for the past few games. Yes, for most part the franchise has become stale, but I will argue that the recent Call of Duty installment betas have lead to a much more polished game release.

Multiplayer Beta Dates:

Playstation 4 (First Weekend):

Start: August 3rd 10am PT / 1pm ET

End: August 6th 10am PT / 1pm ET

Playstation 4 and Xbox One (Second Weekend):

Start: August 10th 10am PT / 1pm ET

End: August 13th 10am PT / 1pm ET

PC:

Start: August 10th 10am PT / 1pm ET

End: August 13th 10am PT / 1pm ET

Black Ops 4 Blackout Beta: Classified

There are a plethora of different elements the community is eager to get their hands on in the beta. Black Ops 4 is trying it’s best to make Call of Duty feel innovated again, but this could be its ultimate downfall. As much as the community complains about Call of Duty being stale by not taking risks, these same people lash out when the game does change (jet packs). There is potential for a pivotal year for Call of Duty with the addition of new combat changes such as self healing, medics, five man matches, and BATTLE ROYALE… this could be a huge turning point for the franchise. If pulled off correctly, fans will find their love for the game again. But if the additions lack, it could be the final dagger to the heart for the franchise. As a long time Call of Duty lover… I really hope this could be the change we are needing.

Let us know what you think about the upcoming Call of Duty game, Black Ops 4. Are you interested with the changes? Are you buying in on a AAA title making a battle royale game mode? Are you excited for a possibly new tactical game play with self healing? Or do you just want Call of Duty to die already?

-Brandon Maj

Two Cups of Expectations, a Dash of Nerves, a Sprinkle of Faith, and a Bucket of Excitement…

There are many of you out there who rememeber one of the most impactful days in our gaming lives… April 27th 2004. The day City of Heroes was released. This game has a very large cult following even after its death on November 30th 2012. I’m sure many of you have a very close connection with this game whether it was endless nights of grinding, new friendships, and maybe even relationships that sparked over this game… City of Heroes was so special to me because it created a very close bond between my dad and I. We would stay up late on school nights (maybe even be “sick” for a double exp weekend that started on a Friday)… After playing this game for years with my dad, and then dragging friends into it, it was absolutely heartbreaking when we found out the game would close at the end of the year in 2012. Maybe the Mayans were right about the world ending in 2012 because all of our favorite game was put to rest…

– City of Heroes (Digital Trends)

Many of us have tried to fill the void that was City of Heroes with other games such as Champions Online, DC Universe, or other similar game styles, but truly nothing has fulfilled this hole. Luckily there is a light at the end of the tunnel, a very faint light at the moment, but nonetheless a light. For the past five years or so there has been talks about spiritual successors of City of Heroes that have been in the works even since the announcement of NCSoft pulling the plug on City of Heroes. Since about 2014 there have been two heavy hitters in the spiritual successor creation, Valiance Online and City of Titans. An additional two successors that may be a little less known are Ship of Heroes and Heroes and Villains.

Out of all super hero based MMOs the one that seems to be the furthest along is Valliance Online. They are already at the stage of an investor alpha test (which I have gotten my hands on). I have only played it for a few hours, and I will say it felt great to put the spandex on, but it definitely felt like an alpha, No Duh. Obviously the basis of the game is there, but some combat mechanics are a little wonky. A few issues I was running into were: My Commander character’s pets will stop attacking a target after X amount of time, my brawler was having issues hitting targets when I entered combat even though the enemies could attack me. All in all it felt amazing to get back on the streets running some missions and fight some perps. Valiance Online has been taking strides to improve the alpha with constant updates through hearing back from the community feedback. The community is just like us, people who love City of Heroes. Therefore Valiance Online is trying to give us the game we deserve. The game will eventually get to the point of a full release we of course hope sooner then later!

-Valiance Online Steam Community

Out of the spiritual successors, City of Titans is the first one that I heard of and grasped onto very tightly at its announcement. That being said sadly City of Titans has been the one with the most setbacks (it seems). It may have been all speculation, it may have been things said from the company, or a mix of both, but the community has been expecting the game to be further along then it currently is. As of right now we are getting some very beautiful in game videos of combat techniques, movement, character design, and a view of the city we will get to play in. Out of all the projects City of Titans seems to be the most beautiful of the upcoming games, but at the same time this is the one people are starting to fear may end up in development hell forever. They have been making some progress after switching their engine over, which may have been the most brilliant move on the company. (Switching to a new engine gives them the possibility of making the game look like an upgrade from City of Heroes graphics to potentially being the most beautiful MMO to ever release). Which is very exciting, but fans speculate that this may have set them back further then we hoped. There is supposedly going to be some sort of content for us super hero fans to get our hands on by the end of 2018. We will just have to wait, wait, wait, and see if this will be worth it in the end.

-Missing Worlds Media Youtube

Of the four that I previously mentioned Heroes and Villains may be the one that has the least amount of exposure. Their first teaser was released over FIVE years ago which looked very pretty, but in the last year there hasn’t been a whole lot shown of the game other then some absolutely stunning concept art. They do keep up with a weekly update every Friday which does show some promise that the studio is still posting information towards their project while remaining very consistent. This game could have some serious potential with dedicated Plan Z developing the game, but as of right now they might be at the bottom of the totem pole with the spiritual successors .

-Heroes and Villains concept

Now it’s time for the true dark horse of the competition, Ship of Heroes. The unique aspect on this game is it’s going in a slightly different direction then all of the other super hero based MMOs. It’s going to be more of a cosmic based super hero game. By that I mean very heavily space oriented. You will get to have your own ship and travel the galaxy. This game is taking more of a Guardians of the Galaxy approach rather than an Avengers approach which could work out in their favor if City of Titans, Valiance Online, and Heroes and Villains come out around the same time Ship of Heroes will be the one outlier that will be different giving you a reason to play even if you fall in love with one of the other successors. This game only dropped its first video on YouTube ONE YEAR AGO. This game may be further along than a lot of these games that have been open for a few years now. Ship of Heroes has been keeping up with a pretty solid amount of video content on Youtube.

-Ship of Heroes Developer Stream

It will be a very exciting journey till the successors release. Which one are you most excited for? City of Titans? Valiance Online? Ship of Heroes? Or Heroes and Villains? Let us know in the comments! Thank you for your support and hopefully this pulled your hearts strings a little reminiscing about City of Heroes with us!

-Brandon Maj

Here are the links to check out these upcoming projects! Make sure to check them out and like their facebook pages!

https://cityoftitans.com/

https://valiance.shogn.net/home

http://www.heroes-and-villains.com/phpb/home.php

https://www.shipofheroes.com/

Don’t Let Your Dreams Be Dreams with Dreams

So in the past couple episodes of the podcast you guys have heard me going crazy about Media Molecules current project Dreams, but I wanted to take some time here to sort of expand on why I am so excited to get my hands on this game. Since the game was announced back in 2013 everyone has been curious as to what this project entails. Now with E3 in the rear view mirror we finally have a pretty good grasp of what we will be getting from Dreams and that is literally whatever we want.

This is the first reason I am so excited about this game. It gives you the tools to do whatever you want. If you want to play a unique story, it has three different stories to play through. Have you always dreamed of making your own game? Have you ever felt you could make a good narrative with a phenomenal story idea? You can actually make a game from scratch. You design the levels, the characters, the items/weapons, the animations, create the voices, and even make the music all yourself.

The music creation tool is another thing that has me all sorts of excited. One of our news stories on the podcast was about the show that the Molecules put on to wrap up E3 and it was incredible. It did a tremendous job of showing off the extent of detail in the music creation tool reflecting well on the entire game. Just thinking about being able to perform a concert with friends on a PS4 is mind blowing. Whether you want to be the next Skrillex or Metallica, the video game allows you to create any style of music. Music is just a small piece of the puzzle within Dreams.

The beauty of it all is that the puzzle can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. If you just want to make a fun platforming single level you have all the tools to do that. If you want to make the next Witcher game with a full score and set of voiced characters you can do that too. Dreams truly gives you the freedom to innovate and create how you would want. To top it all off, it streamlines all of these features for ease of use. In their E3 showcase, the presenter of the demo explained how quick and easy it is to animate an object you create in the game. He completes the whole process in less than a minute which would take an actual game animator a full thirty minutes. The fact that they have managed to make this game creation tool so user friendly is astounding.

I know many people who have watched how the game creation tool works and have said “that looks cool and all but I don’t have interest in making a game so it’s just not for me.” Well, for those people consider this; even if someone doesn’t want to make games in Dreams, they still have the opportunity to play other people’s creations. So you can have a shooter, platformer, and RPG all in one experience with Dreams.

Just from the demos shown on it this far, I can tell that Dreams is going to be an incredible experience not only for creative types, but for everyone. I for one, cannot wait to see what things I can dream up with this ambitious project. There is no word on a release date for Dreams sadly, but Media Molecule has already stated that they are going to be releasing a beta for the game before the year’s end. Be on the lookout for that, and be sure to share your awesome creations with us when Dreams does come around!