Madden 12 – Not So ‘Easy’ Trophy Bug

When I put Madden 12 in for the first time, and entered Ultimate Team Mode (MUT), I was presented with a message about my super, awesome, ultimate, top-shelf, Hall of Fame edition surprise pack of all 99 rated past Madden cover athletes. Good stuff all around because all this was mine, just for ponying up extra duckets for the Hall of Fame edition of Madden 12.

For my troubles, and by troubles I really mean doing absolutely jack shit, I got an immediate Trophy ding earning ‘This One is Hard’ because my MUT team was over the 80+ rating threshold.

Gold Trophy goodness, but I feel a little dirty. Not to worry because the good folks at EA felt compelled to automatically import my MUT from yesteryear – my Madden 10 GA TX Falcons. Ah how I forgot all about you, but not for long.

It seems that EA has included a nice little bug that prevents prior MUT owners from earning the Bronze ‘This One is Easy’ Trophy for creating a MUT team.

So let’s get this out in the open. I played Madden 10 MUT, but I did not play MUT in Madden 11 because I did not want to be tempted to spend money on ‘virtual’ football cards. I love the concept of MUT, but that is an entirely different article, so before I start digressing, let’s move back to the situation at hand.

After entering MUT for the first time, and getting the before mentioned Trophy ding I noticed that I didn’t get a second Trophy ding for creating a MUT. So I exited out of MUT back to the main menu, and entered MUT again.

This time I was prompted with some info about how grateful EA was that I was returning to MUT. For my loyalty I was awarded some coins, maybe even a card or two, and I was given three free cards for playing the Madden 12 demo. More importantly, I was told that my previous MUT team was being imported, and because EA is so great, they were going to include some BS about when my MUT was established. Thanks, but WTF is my ‘This One is Easy’ Trophy?

I do not see a way to create a new team, delete my old team, start over, or any other nonsense. I’m not about to dick around deleting profiles, trying to establish a new EA ID or create an alternate PSN account just to work out EA’s fucking laziness and lack of accountability when it comes to quality control and customer service.

And why should I at this point just because EA felt compelled to import my previous MUT team without warning me that I was going to be up shit creek when it comes to getting a Platinum Trophy.

Everything I have read indicates that this is a problem with the PS3 and 360 – so it is not as if EA has some random issue that only a few users will encounter. Instead of awarding loyal EA customers, and prior MUT players, EA has decided to bend us over and ram a rod up our collective rears. Of course the good folks at the EA help desk will not acknowledge the issue.

I could go on, but why bother? Just another reason that EA needs some real NFL competition – can’t wait for their exclusive license to expire.


Madden 12: Hall of Fame – $30 Premium

What makes the ‘limited’ edition of Madden 12 (AKA ‘Hall of Fame Edition’) so gosh darn special, with a going rate of $89.99 vs. $59.99 over the standard edition? EA is only going to produce 125K copies (presumable per platform – 360 and PS3), so it is ‘limited’ and therefore collectable. PlayStation LifeStyle has the scoop …

Premium bronze, foil embossed cover featuring Marshall Faulk

Full version of Madden NFL 12 video game [Seriously. Is the feature list so short, and so embarrassing, that EA has to actually call out that the ‘limited’ edition will feature the actual game? And a full version of the game to boot! Joy …]

Autographed Panini Card – “Madden NFL and Panini, the world leader in published collectables, have teamed up to create the ultimate Madden NFL trading card featuring 2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, Marshall Faulk. Each copy of the Hall of Fame Edition will include one of four exclusive Marshall Faulk trading cards, each hand-signed by Faulk. One solid, 18k gold autographed card will be randomly inserted into one Xbox 360® and one PlayStation®3 copy of the Hall of Fame Edition. The lucky recipients of these two cards will have one of the most valuable cards in Panini history.”

Exclusive Madden Ultimate Team Platinum Pack – “The perfect combination of Madden NFL, fantasy football, and trading cards comes to life in Madden NFL Ultimate Team. The Hall of Fame Edition provides a Madden Ultimate Team experience like never before with the most prestigious Platinum Pack yet, featuring a combination of 13 NFL Hall of Famers and former Madden NFL cover athletes, including: Marshall Faulk, Barry Sanders, Jerry Rice, Rod Woodson, Eddie George, Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb, Ray Lewis, Shaun Alexander, Vince Young, Larry Fitzgerald, Troy Polamalu and Drew Brees. All cards feature ratings from each player’s most productive season in the NFL and are fully renewable with contract extensions, which is sure to make them some of the most sought after cards in Ultimate Team history.”

I wonder how well this thing well sells; Madden Ultimate Team fans may pick this up, but is it worth a $30 premium? I do not see what is so special about this version to warrant a purchase. More goodies please …

Watch me purchase it; just because I can. Pot, kettle, black.


Cannot wait for F1 2010 to arrive!

I ran across this great F1 2010 commentary [via N4G], which is an excellent developer write-up and depiction of the racing action found in F1 2010 [360 version] complete with bugs and such. Seriously, if you are a fan of F1 videogames, this is worth a read.

I recently sold my F1: Formula One Championship Edition, which looks to be somewhat collectable (well over the original list price on Amazon). I also sold GT5 Prologue, which in my opinion was a very disappointing game; cannot think of the last time I played it. I enjoyed GT4 for the PS2 much better, but alas it will not work on my new Slim; besides, my youngest son broke the game.

I decided that with F1 2010 (September’ish – hopefully) and GT5 Collector’s Edition (November 2) on the way, it was time to dump some racing games. At one point in time I would have kept both games. After all, F1 CE is “collectable” and I own all the other Gran Turismo game, but times are different. I am getting much better at rotating out games instead of sitting on them. Some value for a dust collector is better than … well, dust.


What is the big fuss over motion control?

Until we see something innovative, I could care less about Sony’s and Microsoft’s efforts to captivate the gaming community with motion capture games.

From a PS3 centric perspective, PlayStation LifeStyle thinks Microsoft just screwed the pooch.

Fans and media alike were present earlier tonight as Microsoft decided to go ahead and present their upcoming motion sensor, essentially EyeToy clone, Kinect. Well, it appears that things got very strange very fast and may have just cemented the PlayStation Move’s victory.

Many of the titles bore an awfully close resemblance to the titles included with Nintendo’s Wii Sports title, accompanied by supposed lag issues and an overall lackluster experience. One new Star Wars title did make it’s debut, although many have stated that the preview was almost definitely pre-rendered.

What does this mean for Sony? It means that Sony has a breakaway with an empty net wide open, all they have to do is tap it home, and by “it” we mean the PlayStation Move. If Sony can manage a solid presentation while making the key component of their presentation quality games, they will most definitely have earned big points in the motion controller (or lack thereof) battle.

I really have not been following the Move and Kinect (formally Natal) too closely, but it will be interesting to see if either publisher can move past the “been there, done that with the Wii” feel. According to kotaku, out of the gate, Microsoft’s entry does not sound too promising. Will we see similar opinions on Sony’s Move?


PS3 Catching Up? Next Gen Months Or Years Away?

I was catching up on some videogame related reading over the weekend and found brief mention of this article at Industry Gamers via the Official PlayStation Blog.

Overall, the global games market is facing “major uncertainties” for the rest of 2010, Strategy Analytics said, including the “extent and pace of the Wii’s decline,” and the impact of the upcoming motion devices for PS3 and 360. The research firm believes that total global home games console sales will fall by 9% in 2010.

Of course Sony referenced this one to show that the PS3 was in front of the 360 this year, and was closing the global gap of 4.4 million or so quickly. Kittens and roses for Sony until you compare numbers to the Wii.

You will notice the part of the article I quoted is a digression from who is in front. This has me thinking about the next hardware generation, which will not come in the immediate future due to the overall economic climate.

Nintendo may be in position to be first out of the gate, however I would be shocked if even a minor Nintendo Wii HD upgrade was available in time Christmas 2010.  I think 2011 is the earliest we will see any new hardware.

Sony’s introduction of the Slim has slowly helped turn around their fortunes, and while Sony loves to say they built their console for the future, did they? In the hands of committed developers, and strong middleware and various toolkits, the PS3 probably does have plenty of life left. How much is plenty?

Remember the PSX and PS2 had a good five years in them before the next console came along. PS2 started slowly and helped mass adoption of DVD. PS3 started even slower and helped Blu-ray win the HD format war. Something tells me that 2011 may be too early for Sony launch a new system.

I am not sure about Microsoft; they are the wild card. If Microsoft wants to keep an advantage over Sony they have to release early, which means 2011, however they have to bring something to the table that is a significant upgrade over the 360 and more exciting than anything PS3 has in the works.

The motion control stuff just does not interest me. I could change my mind once these new devices are out along with some killer games. Same for 3D. Something has to be damn impressive if I am going to commit to a new 3D HDTV. Right now these ideas seem like little more than gimmicks to bridge the gap between today and the launch of the next generation systems.

We need next generation hardware to reinvigorate console gaming, but in the current economic climate I just do not see it happening before spring 2011. And I think it will take a minor miracle for Nintendo to do anything more that a HD Wii.

I hope I am wrong on all accounts.



Not sure WTF I am doing up at 1:30AM to write that this apparently mediocre (by Final Fantasy standards) game shipped.

Amazon is also giving me a $10 credit towards a future game with my order. I am becoming so far backlogged that I am not sure when I will actually look at this game, much less when to consider my next purchase at a $10 discount. For those keeping score at home, I have not finished a Final Fantasy game since FFVII, so this does not look very promising.

BTW, the PS3 version is current tracking at 82% (36 reviews) to 84% (17 reviews) on the 360. Go figure.


The 360 Beat Down Continues

Another day gives us more flaming articles on how the 360 version of Final Fantasy XIII does not feature all the graphical goodness of the PS3. The funny thing about these “FFXIII 360 is not HD” articles is that they all shoot up the N4G charts even though they basically say the same thing.

I guess all the 360 owners are busy playing their exclusive games and third-party multiplatform titles that dare I say for the most part feature better graphical ports than their PS3 counter parts. Meanwhile the PS3 gamers are actively in defense of their wunderkind, posting articles near and wide about how the 360 version of FFXIII features inferior graphics. Don’t tell me to look in a mirror; I’m just making an attempt at providing entertaining op-eds for your reading pleasure at o’dark-thirty in the morning!

Of course from the best I can tell none of the mainstream mega web sites are actually releasing reviews for the 360 version; Square Enix may have some sort of embargo at play. A couple of screens do not make or break a game, but tell that to all these folks following the madness [raises hand]. Following my typical contrarian view, if I had a 360 I would buy that version to help rain on the PS3 parade. No; I probably wouldn’t – not if all things being equal the PS3 features better graphics on a single Blu-ray.

Capcom – 360 Content Removal
In more anti-360 news, Sankaku Complex [Warning: Very Much Not Safe for Work] posted an article about Capcom cutting content from its latest 360 title.

Capcom has publically lamented having to cut large amounts of content from Lost Planet 2 in order to fit it onto the Xbox 360’s piddling DVD capacity without the game turning into a swapfest, but promises users will be able to buy everything they cut as DLC.

Speaking with rag Famitsu about the production of Lost Planet 2, now in the fine-tuning stages, producer Jun Takeuchi complains of the constraints imposed by Microsoft’s refusal to employ Blu-ray; in previous interviews he made much the same comments about Resident Evil 5, saying he would like to see a “complete” version on the PS3…

While this may trouble the developer, and to some extent the gamers that think they are getting screwed, I am sure that Microsoft and Capcom [wearing the publisher hat] very much appreciate all the DLC they can muster from any title released, regardless of platform. Any revenue earned post game sale is a major asset to the bottom-line.

Reading between the lines, as games get increasingly larger, more and more content may have to get removed. This may not be a problem for 360 exclusives, but any multiplatform release may be perceived as better on the PS3 if the Blu-ray release features more gaming elements that matter – i.e. levels, missions, extra boats, airplanes, trains, and Legos. It is a travesty if the rumors about content removal from FFXIII prove true – the PS3 could have had more stuff [just what TBD], but it was removed in the name of multiplatform parity.

This speculation on my part will largely depend on how long this console generation lasts; with a piss poor economy I doubt we will see any new hardware in the next 18 months. Regardless of PS3 capacity advantages [thanks to Blu-ray] publishers near and far are increasingly going in the premium DLC direction, which sucks for all gamers if content that would normally be included on a game is getting removed in favor of future revenue opportunities.


Final Fantasy XIII – The 360 Implodes

It has been a long time since I remember seeing this much fervor over a game, but I guess that is what happens when Final Fantasy goes multi-console.

Why so much fervor? I guess it is an emotional reaction from youngsters that grew up with the PlayStation. Of course they probably do not realize or understand that once upon a time Nintendo was the home of all things Final Fantasy.

In the case of the PS3 vs. 360 debate, Square Enix has not helped the situation by releasing doctored graphics, which PS3 conspiracy theorists say indicates that all things 360 must suck. Never mind some of the piss poor ports on the PS3 that have gone in the other direction.

Me? I will continue to watch it unfold and chime in from time-to-time as I see fit. Some of debate is actually interesting and does matter – Blu-ray capacity, disc swapping, HD graphics, and the removal of content. I can appreciate that the developer made every attempt at platform parity, but from what I have read too many compromises were made.


Final Fantasy XIII – Inside The Technical Details

While looking for more news, notes, and whatnots of the upcoming Final Fantasy XIII (FFXIII), I came across this great article on the DigitalFoundry blog (EuroGamer) that takes us inside the math, art, and science of FFXIII. I don’t think I have every come across an article that goes to this length, with this much detail, comparing the PS3 demo of FFXIII against the actual Japanese release of FFXIII. If you are interested in this type of technical details, this article is definitely worth a read.

For me two things stood out, neither of which are part of the detailed technical feature analysis.

Overall, the leaps made by Final Fantasy XIII over its predecessors are mostly visual in nature and that’s clearly been the focus of this tech analysis. However, bearing in mind the four-year gestation period Final Fantasy XIII has had, it’s disappointing that all the key improvements have been in the audio-visuals.

Of course, these are hugely important factors in FFXIII’s make-up, but gameplay-wise this feels like it could’ve been done on PS2. Clearly, there’s much to enjoy in the nature of sumptuous visuals and what is clearly the best-quality CG we’ve seen on a Square-Enix videogame, but early importers of the Japanese version of the game are divided about the merits of the actual game underneath.

To be completely fair, I think this can be said about many of the games in this generation. They are just visual upgrades over their PS2 and Xbox predecessors.

The other item of note fills the entirety of the last page of the three page article, covering speculation on the potential compromises made to port the PS3 originated title to the 360.

However, porting the game across to the 360 must have been a daunting proposition. Taking a look at the structure of the Blu-ray disc, we see an absolutely colossal 32.6GB of what looks to be pre-rendered movies, while the actual gameplay content itself is a more reasonable 6.8GB. Co-incidentally, 6.8GB is also the maximum usable space developers have on the dual-layer DVD (yes, Xbox 360 games theoretically have less storage available than PS2 and Wii titles).

The article mentions that 360 users will only have to switch games at two points in the game, so that does not seem to be much of a burden. I also doubt that 360 owners will care (maybe not even notice) if the movies are not pre-rendered, if they are compressed, or if the sound is compressed. I also think that dual system owners will pick up FFXIII for the PS3 over the 360. In the U.S., due to its larger install base, 360 numbers will slightly surpass the PS3, but elsewhere FFXIII will lead the charge on the PS3.


FFXIII Sucks on the 360

OK, not really, but as I said earlier today, just for the hell of it I will fan the flames. According to NOWGamer, some sacrifices had to be made in order to accommodate this game on the 360:

* While facial detail appears largely unchanged, the characters’ clothes appear at first glance to be lacking finer details, with notably lower resolution textures.
* Incidental environmental objects and enemies appear less detailed, both in texture and geometry.
* The game’s CG is extremely compressed and pales alongside the stunning HD goodness which blu-ray offers.

It would be a travesty if 360 gamers had to experience less detailed incidental environmental objects. You have been warned! Now go have a cold one and celebrate the goodness of Blu-ray. It is calling your name, even if Sony is not allowed to advertise how much goodness awaits your cotton candy, graphic whoring FFXIII pleasure.


FFXIII – Console Debates Rage As Release Draws Near

This morning I was looking for some new information on FFXIII and came across some interesting articles via N4G. The console wars are far from over, and FFXIII is at the center of the latest rounds of internet fodder. Meanwhile, as a self respecting Final Fantasy fan and Sony loyalists [I don’t own a 360], I am just fanning the flames.

This op-ed from Ironstar discusses Microsoft’s willingness to throw a ton of cash at the 360 release of FFXIII.

Those who look at FFXIII from Sony’s perspective shouldn’t care one bit about Microsoft’s desperate marketing. For one, God of War 3 releases no less than a week after that title; if Sony were to market that game as much Microsoft probably will they would be competing with themselves. Pretty much every enthusiastic Final Fantasy fan will purchase XIII on the PlayStation 3 regardless of it appearing on other platforms. The capacity of Blu-Ray relieves the hassle of having to deal with the tedious disc swapping of 360’s FFXIII. Its 2010 nobody wants to get out of their seat to switch a DVD because the game can’t fit on 1 disc, we dealt with disc swapping 10 years ago via Final Fantasy 7.

The fanboys are all aglow that Microsoft is attempting to “trick” consumers into thinking that FFXIII is a Microsoft exclusive. I did not really think this was the case until I saw this article from the Unofficial Final Fantasy Site that furthers this claim.

Sony should somehow market the FFXIII as the true home of FF titles with references back to all the previous releases, especially bestsellers such as FFVII and FFX. Unless Sony cannot advertise FFXIII for the PS3 due to an exclusive marketing window wrapped up by Microsoft, which would be a new one on me.

After the poor reception of White Knight Chronicles: International I have to wonder if PS3 owners even care about JRPGs. Who I am kidding? FFXIII will sell like hotcakes.

In this article from ConnectedConsoles FFXIII producer Yoshinori Kitase claims that there are no differences in the PS3 and 360 version of the game beyond the number of discs.

“The development team created the PS3 version first, of course, but they didn’t alter the content at all in order to bring it to the 360.” said Kitase in an interview with GamingTarget. “It’s the exact same experience and the same gaming experience that they had set out to create is present on both the PS3 and 360 versions.”

He then added: “Graphics wise as well, they’re comparable there. There’s no difference there in the experience. And, I guess the only minor difference would be the fact that for the 360 version, you have to switch out the discs every once in a while.”

Does anyone actually believe this statement? While on the surface that may be a true statement, PS3 fans are buzzing that making FFXIII available on the 360 compromised the game. Development to the lowest common dominator does that to a multiplatform game.

It will be interesting to see which console wins out – the one with the strongest advertisement and installed base, or the recognized home of FF titles from the last two console generations.


Forza Motorsport 3 vs. Gran Turismo 5. Battle of the demos.

The battle between these two titles is heating up with plenty of trash talking between fans in each camp. Can’t we just all get along? I thought this was an interesting article at Destructoid that compared the demo setups on display at the Tokyo Game Show.


Sony’s big comeback

It looks like Sony fans are starting to show some spunk, writing about how the PS3 is finally set to dominate the console market. For example, take Games Thirst (via N4G) which writes more or less writes that Microsoft will do everything it can to stay in front of Sony and the recent success of the PS3 Slim.

Microsoft is not happy with the recent hardware sales data that shows the PS3 leaving the Xbox 360 in its dust. The weekly hardware charts from September 12th – 19th showed PS3 sales was double that of its main rival, with Sony selling 306,794 consoles, compared to Microsoft shipping 146,914 units. So what’s Microsoft’s response? Slash the price of the Xbox 360 Elite by offering a $50 mail in rebate till October 5th. You may take this lightly, but what they’re really doing is, testing the waters to see if $249 would be the deal that’d sway back consumers in their console’s direction.

Meanwhile, Gorilla Jumpers (no idea; another N4G find) writes that Sony has all the momentum and will overtake Microsoft in 2010.

If Sony managed to stay on track through 2010 without a price cut they would have closed the gap with Microsoft considerably. With the price cut it’s a whole new ball game. The PS3 price drop pushed PS3 sales up 71% percent in August according to the NPD group. The 360 also had a price cut but it only increased the console sales from 202,000 to 215,000 for the month of August, once again according to the NPD group. These cuts came rather late in the month so the true indicator will be September’s numbers.

I do not think Sony has done anything amazing. I have written many times before about my reasons for purchasing a PS3, and why Sony went into such a deep hole. The one year head start of the 360 was only a slight contributing factor; it was all about the price point. The 3DO Syndrome.

Now that the PS3 Slim offers that magical $299 price point, Sony’s fortunes are starting to change. Couple the price reduction with some super high quality first party games, which is a page taken directly out of the Nintendo success manual, and it all smells like roses for Sony.

Sony may win (at least compared to the 360) in the end, but years from now when we all look back on the history of this console gaming era, it will be written that Microsoft stole Sony’s thunder. Or maybe better put, Sony sat on it laurels.


Why do 360 numbers matter in Japan?

I decided to head back to Sankaku Complex [Content warning – some readers may be offended by the anime links contained throughout the site.] for the second time in a week. They recently posted an article asking if the 360 was finished in Japan. The brief article shows the top selling 360 games in Japan, and which ones are going (or have already gone) multiplatform.

The only thing I can offer is that the numbers suck. I am not sure why Microsoft even bothers with the platform in Japan, unless as one of the readers hints, it is a way to subsidies subpar ports to the PS3. In this farfetched scenario, Microsoft would not care for more games going to the PS3, but if the 360 version of the games looks better, it is still a feather in Microsoft’s cap.