Facing the Giants

Facing the Giants is a film I saw a very long time ago before the blog days. Well, now I have rewatched it and the movie holds up well. It’s a solid drama story with the main characters being put through a lot of trials in their faith but ultimately they are able to overcome them and get even closer to God by the end. While you can likely see all of the story beats coming in advance, this isn’t really meant to be a film of twists and turns so the execution is what counts here.

The movie starts by introducing us to Grant who has been having a rough time. His Football team has been losing so many games for years and years. Just having a mediocre season is the best that they have been able to pull off. This is causing Grant to lose a lot of standing with the fathers whose kids are losing their time to shine here. Meanwhile Grant isn’t doing much better at home. He and his wife Brooke have been unable to have a kid for a while, their car is broken down, and the house is in poor condition. It seems like everything around Grant is falling apart and even his faith is now strained. Is there any chance at a comeback?

There is also a sub plot where a kid named David is interested in joining the Football team but he’s worried that he will fail. He figures that if he doesn’t join then he can’t possibly lose but his grandfather pushes him to try anyway. David ultimately makes the team but now he’s scared about actually kicking. Can he manage to go past his fears? There isn’t a ton of time for the subplot but ultimately David steps up eventually. It’s a tricky situation for Grant though because the team does already have a great kicker. Considering how bad the team is, he was probably hoping that David would be playing a different position. He makes sure to give David his chance to shine though which is good.

The movie’s got good pacing and goes quickly. My only issue/weakness for the movie is I think the drama aspects can be overplayed a bit. Grant’s various sad moments just don’t land for me in that I think he goes overboard. If the movie dialed down the sad scenes a little bit I think that would be for the best. The deck is certainly stacked against Grant but he just keeps on doing the right things and it pays off.

The turning point for the team is when they decide to finally start playing for God instead of focusing on wins. This way they’ll stay happy whether they win or lose. The team certainly has a lot more motivation after that as they start dominating on the field. Ultimately to put that to the test I would have kept the ending without the plot twist near the end. It would still have been a happy ending with how far they made it in the season without it feeling a bit cheesy. The very final game just seemed like a stretch.

Low key, the team’s defense was actually really good though. So in the first game we see in the movie, Grant’s team fumbled 4 times and threw 3 interceptions. So if you’re counting that’s 7 turnovers yet the final score had them losing 21-7. So their defense was absolutely rock solid in stopping them each time because otherwise the score should have been far greater. I like to think it shows that the team did have some talent, they just couldn’t turn that into points on the other side. So by the end of the film both sides were finally playing well and it made a difference.

Meanwhile Brooke had to deal with her share of trials as well since she really wanted a kid too. She goes through a lot of tests and is always hoping that things will be different. While I don’t think taking the individual tests to see who is at fault was a good idea (Puts unnecessary guilt on whoever is not performing) you can see how desperate she was. Ultimately things turn out well for her.

So the movie definitely has a happy ending for everyone. Someone even gets a new vehicle and along the way one kid’s relationship with his father is mended. Each character certainly has a lot to be thankful for. We get a lot of fun Football scenes as well so this was definitely a quality title. The title itself was also clever as it means a few different things as you watch the movie. A versatile title is nice because it shows that they really thought hard before selecting it. Sometimes a title just feels thrown on without having a whole lot to do with the movie.

Overall, Facing the Giants is a solid movie. It’s well balanced with the writing and trials that the characters have to go through. Grant may overdo it a bit with his reactions but you know that things will turn out fine in the end. Ultimately he made the right choice in having the kids learn to accept the result whether it be victory or defeat. They would place everything in God’s hands and what will be, will be. There won’t always be a happy ending but you just have to stand strong through to the end.


When the concussions became a big issue in the NFL I definitely remember it being a big deal. To an extent of course you expect a lot of injuries in the game, but it wasn’t yet known just how deadly this was. In recent years we’ve seen several gameplay additions come in to try and mitigate this like moving the kickoff so there are less returns. The helmets are also better but of course there will always still be concussions in the game so the NFL just does what it can to reduce the amount of hits. This film delves more into the discovery of this.

The main character is Dr. Omalu and he was a pathologist who would find out how people died. Omalu could be a little on the quirky side as he would talk to the dead bodies and wasn’t very well liked by his colleagues here. He did put up results each time though. One day he is puzzled at why a very healthy ex NFL player died. It didn’t seem to make sense but the office didn’t want to foot the bill for this. Omalu pays out of pocket and discovers the concussion but he has just opened up a bigger can of worms than he ever could have guessed.

Naturally when you discover something that’s really groundbreaking there is going to be a lot of fall out. There is always two questions that you have to ask yourself as well. Are you really the one who discovered this? Did nobody else ever piece this together or did something happen to everyone else who tried to go public? The second is, how do you tell the world? As several characters point out, the NFL is a huge organization with almost unlimited power. This discovery will certainly cost them a lot both in terms of cost and reputation so they will have to try and bury it.

The NFL are the main villains of the film in that sense. They’re out to protect their own interests and try to threaten and discredit Omalu the whole time. It’s not particularly surprising since if they acknowledge that he is correct then all the families of the people who died will definitely sue them. Additionally they will have to come out with new equipment and then have liability for not noticing earlier. Meanwhile if they can bury this they can buy time to come out with new protocols naturally so if someone else notices in 10 years they can say that the game has already been safe.

Not ethical but it is to be expected. The only part that felt like a bit of a stretch was the FBI randomly showing up to threaten everyone. Guess the NFL wasn’t playing around here. I thought Omalu seemed a little too surprised the whole time. I get that he’s optimistic but he seemed shocked that the NFL would be upset at his discovery and I dare say that even a kid would have come to that conclusion pretty quickly. Omalu’s discovery completely shows that the NFL is effectively murdering people. Why would they be glad to know about this? I liked to think Omalu was just messing with everyone but he did seem to really think that this was going to go over well.

Still, he’s a nice guy though and a good main character. He put in the work to learn a whole lot of different subjects in science to the point where his accolades took several minutes to read through. He took the entire case very seriously and made sure that he had enough awards where he couldn’t be silenced so easily. Omalu also took in a lady named Prema when she really needed a place to stay. So he was a class act all around.

Then you have Prema who is the main heroine of the story. She helps to cheer Omalu up when things aren’t going well. You do immediately feel like this will turn into a bit of a romance plot which is too bad since I think it would have been a good, rare example of a nice friendship blooming there. Having even just one person to stick up for you is major though so she really helped out quite a lot. On his own Omalu may not have been able to stick it out for so long.

Finally there is Bailes who also helped out. He used to be the team doctor for the Steelers and is the only professional to side with Omalu. Even then Omalu doesn’t seem to fully trust him until the end and blows up at the guy at one point. Bailes does his best to earn trust though and sees this through to the end. This will certainly impact his career and reputation as well so he’s also taking a risk.

Beyond that, everyone else here is either an antagonist or a victim. You see the ex players as they start to suffer the side effects and take their own lives. The film certainly gets quite serious in these moments as you can see how the concussions just proved to be too much. Then with the NFL players, everyone’s always really angry and yelling about Omalu’s discoveries. They seem to have no regard for the players and so the film never lets you forget that they are the enemy.

Honestly I would have liked to have seen them do a bit more here. The NFL’s like the boogeyman here as they’re mentioned a lot but rarely appear. I suppose if in real life they never met with Omalu it would be difficult to change that but I was really hoping for some more interactions between the two sides. Those tend to be the most interesting moments in a film like this where both sides size each other up a bit. The film builds up a good amount of drama either way but that would have been the clinching moment.

Overall, Concussion is a decent film to show someone if they’re interested in the whole concussions discovery. That said, I don’t think it’s quite as interesting as it could have been to the point where you’re probably better off watching a documentary about it. It’s rare to recommend a documentary over a movie but I think you will probably get more out of it that way because you just really miss the NFL angle the whole time. With a documentary you’d likely be able to see their responses in real time and it would better help to juggle the two plots there. I’m always up for a Football film though so I’m glad this came out.

Easy Living Review

When you’re a Football player, life isn’t always going to be easy. That’s true for just about any occupation to be honest but Pete is about to learn that the hard way in this film. It’s a fun drama with a lot of good dialogue and quality characters. It’d held back a little by Pete himself who continues to make the wrong choices throughout the movie. I’d also have liked to have seen some more Football scenes since the highlights were always fun, but in the end you will have a good time here.

The movie starts with Pete finishing up another game but one of his friends has to finally leave for good. Unfortunately he just isn’t able to compete with the other Football players anymore and as a result there was no way to stay in the game. Technically there is one team that may have considered him, but the guy decided to head out. Then Pete finds out that he has a dangerous heart condition and continuing to play in the league could destroy him.

The easy answer here would be to retire but the problem is that Pete is married to Liza, a lady who only likes him if he’s rich and strong. Unfortunately Pete doesn’t yet realize how toxic this relationship is and has to try and keep this a secret. It has the adverse effect of also impacting his performance on the field since he can’t exert himself the way that he used to. Will he be able to bluff his way through the rest of the season or will he have to break the news to her?

If you aren’t able to tell your wife something as serious as a medical condition then odds are that the relationship isn’t a good one. The dynamic between the two seems to already have been rather strained before the film started as she no longer went to his road games and they didn’t see each other a whole lot. This just served to make all of that a lot worse. The film certainly paints a very negative picture of Liza as she is shown to be petty and also not very smart with the deal she made to get her company bigger. It should have been clear from the start that she was being used but Liza didn’t realize that until it was too late. She mainly serves as an obstacle in this film.

I can’t say that Pete is blameless though. At one point he has a brief affair with Anne, one of the people working for the football team. While it doesn’t go too far, it went far enough where he did cheat on Liza. As bad as things were between them, he would have needed to get a divorce before doing that to keep things on the up and up. He was also quite rough at the end with Liza which just made him look unlikable. We’ve gone from one unhealthy relationship to another one and it just seems like Pete is not going to be a very happy guy.

Even if you ignore the scenes with ANne and Liza, I thought he was rather petty and rude to his best friend Tim. Apparently they’ve been close for a while and Pete even helped Tim get a job. Only now that Tim would be the boss and Pete the subordinate, Pete doesn’t like this whole setup. If he was only content being at the top then maybe they weren’t quite as good friends as it would seem.

Tim was solid though and a standup guy from start to finish. It was gracious of him to offer Pete a spot in the first place. He’s someone who repays his debts and there was nothing even remotely malicious in his offer. He was just trying to do his old pal a favor which was the right thing to do there. I enjoyed the coach as well who really could not figure out what was going on with Pete. He did his best to try and spur the guy on regardless but if you don’t know there’s a heart issue at play then it’s likely next to impossible to figure that out just from watching. Especially with Pete’s attitude you would just figure he was intentionally not playing so well.

So while a lot of the characters were not very likable, I would say this was a quality cast as the writing was just that sharp. The dialogue is often very snappy and the sarcastic comebacks/passive aggressive statements quickly let you know what kind of characters these were. Almost everyone here was ultimately looking out for themselves. Even someone like Anne was ultimately trying to get together with a married man so no matter how many grand speeches she gave, she wasn’t in the clear either.

As mentioned earlier, the main weakness here aside from it being hard to root for anybody was that we didn’t get enough Football. Now in a film like this it is true that Football was likely more of an instrument for the plot as opposed to actually being the focus but even so I would have liked to have seen more of the actual games. Football is a blast to watch after all and surely you could spare the time to include around 10 minutes scattered throughout the film right? It would help to also show us exactly how badly Pete was playing. We get the gist of it from the scoreboard but this would be more effective.

Overall, Easy Living may depict a cast of rather unlikable fellows but the film’s technicals are on point. The writing is sharp and the pacing is good so it never really drags on. It is the kind of film that would have been over a whole lot sooner if Pete was able to just talk to Liza since he could have even broken things off sooner. It was not to be though and while it may be annoying to see Pete push everyone away the whole time, the attempts show you how much of the team cared about him. Ultimately none of them were blaming him for his lackluster performances and potentially keeping them out of the playoffs. Maybe the other players were the real heroes after all.

Overall 6/10

Madden 20 Review

It’s definitely been a long while since I played a Madden game. It’s always somber waiting for the next one because even if there aren’t any big changes, the series just has fantastic gameplay. To date it has to be one of the all time greatest series out there. This one’s certainly no different even if I wouldn’t say that it is quite able to compete with some of the older ones. Mainly I feel like scrambling has been nerfed and the deep ball is still nonexistent. Still, if you’re looking for a quality Football game you can’t really top this one.

Right off the bat you can jump into a ton of different modes like franchise, story mode, play now, online modes, or the skill trainer. Of course for me the first stop is just the quick matches to get a feel for the game. I always make sure to do one game on each difficulty level before I review the game so see how I stack up.

I was able to defeat most of the difficulties but I did get stomped in All Madden. I kept it rather close in the first half at 17-6 but as I got more and more desperate the A.I. would take advantage of that and ultimately go on to score a total of 40+ points. All Madden is as tough as it ever was but this time it did feel pretty legit. Usually I walk away shaking my head but in this instance I thought it was fine. I just got out played there.

The gameplay is pretty much the same as always. The goal in Football is to carry the ball across the goal line. At that point you will have claimed victory and will be in the home stretch. If you allow your opponent to do this, then you have to do it again as well. Whoever scores the most points at the end of the game is the winner and then that would be a wrap. It’s easy to understand if you’re familiar with the sport but otherwise Madden would not be the best place to start learning. I would recommend watching a real game first to see this in action.

Granted, you won’t be calling plays as if you were a real team but it’s still helpful for learning the fundamentals. As mentioned the game is a blast but there are a few aspects that are weaker than in most of the other titles. One of those is the QB scrambling which is when you decide to make a break for it instead of throwing the ball.

I can see how this could be a little overpowered in some of the games but I just love doing it. Often times I will make a break for it instead of throwing the ball because I don’t really have anyone open. Now you have to be a lot more careful because it takes a lot longer to actually start running and that’s an issue for when you just want to take off. I’m thinking it’s the game’s way of telling you that you should be throwing.

The QB throwing accuracy has also been given some more in depth features such as your ball not being thrown where you want it to be if you’re under pressure. You’ll suddenly throw in odd directions and while this is an interesting way to factor pressure in, I don’t think it’s needed. It should all go to your individual skill and where you throw the ball. That’s definitely a lot more straight forward.

I also just miss being able to toss the deep ball around. Find a receiver in a 1 on 1 matchup and just throw the ball over. Nowadays if you try that it will be incomplete 6/10 times and intercepted the other 3/10. Actually completing one of these balls is never worth the risk and that’s a shame because they’re the most fun to complete. Instead it’s often best to go for most short length passes and chip your way to the goal.

Running the ball is as solid as ever though. I don’t typically run a lot but it does make me feel like I’m using some real plays so I’ll do it here and there. You always get that feeling of being so close but so far away when running the ball because every time you get tackled you’ll think about where you should have run instead. It’s definitely a blast making your picks.

A lot of the modes also have the ability to skip all defensive drives which is pretty cool. Defense isn’t bad but I definitely do prefer being on the offense so that’s definitely more my speed. You have control of the ball and what you do with it at that point which is what makes the game fun. There is a lot amount of RNG in most of these plays.

As for the other modes, well there is a classic Story Mode once again but as always the cutscenes are completely unskippable. This has been the case for 3-4 years now and that’s unacceptable. Surely the devs have heard of the complaints before now so there’s no excuse for not being able to skip these. Especially since the story mode just isn’t all that engaging. You’ll really only be playing through the mode for the trophies.

Outside of the story mode the graphics are very solid though. It’s always great just loading up the game and seeing how nice the uniforms and backgrounds are. This is where 99% of the effort goes into so it makes sense that this part would look good. The soundtrack is very forgettable as while you’re in the games you won’t be hearing it anyway. You’ll just have the classic Football sounds at that point which is really what you want to have to focus on anyway.

Beyond that there is naturally a whole lot of replay value here. You can play games endlessly with a variety of different things to do. If you have the PSN subscription you can also take advantage of the head to head battles which is probably the most enjoyable mode. There’s nothing quite like battling others online. It’s why I would snap up a Switch version if that ever came out, but alas it doesn’t look like EA and Nintendo are ever going to mend the fence here.

Overall, Madden 20 is definitely a blast. While there are some specific changes that make it weaker than some of the other installments, ultimately it’s the core gameplay that you know and love. The series gets a lot of shots fired at it for not changing things up between years and keeping in every glitch which is valid. Still, you’re unlikely to see much of that while playing normally and it’s just too fun to put down. So ultimately the positives vastly outweigh the negatives.

Overall 8/10

Marshawn Lynch Pro Football Review

Time for another mobile game but unfortunately this one isn’t much better than Pac-Man Geo but for completely different reasons. This time we do get a nice sense of progression in each level with scores being tracked and your level improving. That’s all well and good but my main issue here is really just the fact that there are so many advertisements. That’s one thing that utterly ruins a game. I don’t want a full video ad suddenly playing after I complete a level. It was at that moment that I knew this game was doomed.

The plot of the game is that you’re a new recruit trying to make a splash in the NFL. To get there you first need to win a College tournament then head to the Practice Squad and work your way to being a starter. You are a running back in this game which is definitely a bit of a change of pace from most Football games where you do a little of everything. That’s just not the case in this title. So as a running back the objective in each level is to score. You do this by running straight forward and using two techniques as needed. One is the Bulldoze technique that lets you break through walls. Then you have the Accelerate which lets you go really fast. You also use the two juke buttons to dodge incoming defenders. The gameplay’s pretty simple but it works quite nicely.

You’ll need pretty good reaction times though. If you move too quickly then you’re gonna get slammed and if you’re too slow out of the gate then you also get hit. It’s all about really reading the defenders and moving once they are about to make the lunge. Of course it’s definitely not an easy task by any means. There are well over 200 levels in this game so get ready for a whole lot of juking and moving around. I like the fact that there is a lot of content to be had here though. A lot of the levels do seem to be pretty similar so you do need to enjoy the gameplay a lot. It’s the kind of game that would feel really repetitive otherwise. That said, there are a healthy amount of cutscenes here so it does feel like you have a real story. That’s something I would not have expected here.

The graphics are pretty solid. There isn’t much of a soundtrack to speak of but at least the game looks really good which is always important. It’s definitely got a modern feel to it and I’d say there was a good amount of effort put into the game. Really what it all boils down are the advertisements here. I enjoy the gameplay and the game’s visuals look nice but it definitely takes you out of the immersion with advertisements playing after every level. Even clicking around on the main menu can trigger ads as well. You are not able to skip them until after a good portion of the ad has already run through. That’s definitely not a good thing. It really encourages you not to play the game for long or even to not look at all the features of the game because clicking on the wrong one will waste a lot of time. This has got to be one of the greediest games I’ve seen in a while with all of this going on.

Overall, I definitely did not expect that Marshawn Lynch would have his own game. It’s definitely pretty impressive that out of all the players he was one of the first to get one. At least when surfing the app store I didn’t see any other individual player games. There are cool concepts here and the gameplay is executed well but at the end of the day what really hurts here are the advertisements. It’s just not a trend that you want to see appearing in games going forward and is the only thing holding this back from being a positive review. No matter how much content and polish a game may have, it is ultimately wasted here. You can do much better with other Football games so I would definitely advise giving this one a skip.

Overall 5/10

Madden 19 Review

It’s time to look at one of the newest installments in Madden. It’s definitely been a fun series throughout the years and I’m proud to say that I own almost all of the installments in it. Madden 19 continues the series strong run into the modern era and it’s the kind of game that you could play for a very long time. It’s one of the only sport games where I end up playing through a full season before the review so I could really take in the smooth gameplay. There’s really not much to say against this game although there is a feature or two that take away from it being the perfect Madden title. (2004 will always be the best one)

First things first I jumped into Franchise mode. It’s really quite sad how this mode has gotten the shaft in favor of other titles over the years. You rarely hear people getting hyped about this one anymore, but to me it’ll always be the best mode. You just pick your team and play for as many years as you want. There is now the option to play the Franchise online which sounds interesting. I assume that means all 32 teams will be controller by someone online, but does that mean the matches have to be scheduled? I know there are also a lot of rage quitters so I wonder how the game handles that. Either way I don’t have PS+ so I had to play the franchise offline but that made it extra nostalgic.

As expected there are a few new bells and whistles here. For starters every player has XP as if this was an RPG and you’ve got missions for every game. Clearing them gives you more XP and you can use that to level up specific techniques or even the coach. I’m not sure if I’m 100% happy to have these extra things because I prefer to just play the game with my own playbook, but it doesn’t really harm things offline. Online it could mean that you end up being completely outclassed though if all of their players are maxed out. So I dove into the games and managed a 10-6 record. I managed to get a first round bye which was nice, but then I lost to the Eagles in the Divisional round 37-27. Considering I was playing as the Cowboys it was a pretty rough way to go. My backup quarterback fumbled twice and I also threw a pick. In the end we just couldn’t get past that. (And the random holding calls from my offensive line)

In a lot of ways the games have gotten even more realistic than they used to. A holding penalty suddenly showing up to wipe away my first down happened about as much as you see on TV for the team. Then there are also the constant injuries that would happen every game. Pretty much every important player on my team had to leave at least once during the game and several were out for weeks. I had to sign 3 more quarterbacks during the season to keep my team afloat until Dak arrived again in the final game of the regular season….only to get knocked out during the Eagles game. I’m really tempted to turn off injuries for the league next time I do a season.

Granted, I got a lot of mileage out of Dak. I ran for over 1300 yards as him and while my passing yards were only around 2800 or so, it worked out pretty well. My favorite play in the game is quick slants as there are a lot of options on the field and typically if they’re all covered well then you can run for it. Usually I would run for about 15-20 yards a piece. Of course I do recommend diving each time you run at the end because a direct hit would probably lead to a fumble. Running the ball normally was okay, but Zeke felt extremely slow so I usually wouldn’t get a lot of yards. I did go to Exhibition after the season to play as the Ravens real quick and their running back was so much faster. It just feels nice to blow past everyone.

On the defensive side it felt about the same as usual. You go after the quarterback or stay with the cornerbacks. It can be really tough to make any stops though and half the time it feels like you don’t have any real power here. I played defense for a little while and eventually turned it off. One of the best features here is the ability to skip one side of the ball. I would set it to Offense only so I would only take over at that point and the defensive side would be simulated. It was a pretty good balance if you ask me. Special teams is pretty good as well though and they tend to keep that one in. Field goal kicking has been greatly improved as it’s back to a “click x button twice” style as opposed to flicking the stick. It just feels a lot more natural now. Punting is also pretty good so these parts of the game are as good as can be.

The graphics and presentation are top notch as you’d expect. Madden has always been amazingly consistent in these areas and it shows how much effort the company puts into the game. Madden is a flagship title after all so you would expect it to always be this good. The players throw their clipboards away after a game and they’ve even got most of the celebration dances in. You can now choose how you celebrate after a play as well and the commentators really have a lot of good dialogue options so they typically know what they are talking about. It’s really rare for them to say something unrelated during the game.

Now lets talk about the only parts of the game that don’t work so well. First up, I like the concept of their Longshot mode which is where you get to start the game from college or high school and make your way to the championships. The problem is that the game has long cutscenes that cannot be skipped which is not something you want to see nowadays. I don’t think it was ever a good thing, but I understand that there may have been technical limitations at some points. Otherwise there is no excuse not to be able to skip cutscenes. That just hampers the mode quite a bit.

Meanwhile you’ve got the soundtrack which isn’t so good. EA’s always gone for very loud music which I guess ties into Football, but it can be a little obnoxious while you’re on the menus waiting for the next game. You’ll probably want to turn it off as soon as possible. Fortunately it is easy to do that. The final thing I have to mention here is that it’s still really tough to ever throw deep balls. One thing I liked about the older Maddens was that you could take shots down the field. Nowadays if you do that you’re going to get picked off. There are good receiver catching mechanics that have been added like the RAC option, but they don’t solve this issue. Typically the way to advance are short passes that go for 10-15 yards and that’s it. There are no long balls and that’s a shame.

Overall, Madden 19 is definitely a fantastic game. There is an endless amount of replay value to be found here as the game has tons and tons of different modes. It’ll take some time to master all of the mechanics since there are a lot of them and in general Madden has never been an easy game. You need to have great reaction times and to be able to scan the field right away since everyone’s positions will be constantly moving. Still, if you are able to do that you will find yourself dashing through the competition. Maybe you can even go for the Platinum while there are still enough people playing the game. Regardless Madden continues to be the greatest video game series out there right after Super Smash. I’ll definitely go after Madden 20 once the price has dropped to the 5-10 dollar level like this one did.

Overall 9/10

NFL Head Coach 09 Review

It’s time to take a look at a very different Football game. I’ve always enjoyed the Madden games as well as the 2K versions and pretty much any other football game. Unfortunately Head Coach is the first Football game that I did not enjoy. I would actually have to give this one a negative score because it’s just not any fun. The title is a giveaway so I knew what I was getting myself into. Still, I did expect the developers to do something to spice things up here. It’s really a very straightforward coaching game.

You can jump into a career or a quick game to see what it’s like. I chose the quick game option but there is nothing “quick” about it. One half took about 30-40 minutes and that was pretty surprising. A normal Madden game is way shorter. I believe it’s because this game uses 15 minute quarters like the real sport while Madden typically has 5 minute quarters. I always understood why the games don’t do 15 minute quarters and this game proves it. It makes the games incredibly long and while you may have fun if you’re in the match, being a coach doesn’t offer the same level of immersion. What happens is you get to select the plays before each action.

Then you watch the computers carry out your play. Rinse and repeat as you go through the game. Honestly it’s basically no different than watching two computers play each other and I dare say that it’s worse. Choosing the next play just slows things down. Since you know the A.I. is probably going to mess up your play you’d rather they just take the wheel. I’m sure this gameplay style will have its fans, but I am not one of them. Each play takes so long and you can just pick random plays so you can do this with your eyes close. Ultimately the game seems to heavily rely on luck/RNG so it’s not like your picking does a whole lot.

The graphics aren’t bad. It looks more like PS2 than PS3 so I’m thinking that this game was more low budget compared to the main title. Nothing wrong with that of course, if anything it does add a layer of nostalgia to the title. Even that was not enough to really help the game in the long run though. The presentation isn’t nearly as good as Madden either since we miss out on most of the festivities. You get to have the coach yell out plays and praise/insult the team depending on how things go. This gets old pretty quick though and I’d rather have the announcers yelling out the play by play.

There’s a lot of replay value here technically. You can start a career as a coach and that’ll last you a very long time. It never even really needs to end. At the same time, this is all with the same gameplay style. You’ll likely end up not playing through every game at some point. I got this game for a few bucks in Florida many years ago so it’s not like it cost a whole lot. I’m not sure if I would call it the worst mainstream sport game, but it really could be. Naturally the golf games are also up there and I’m not a fan of some of the newer Baseball titles. I’ll be playing a lot of Baseball soon though so maybe that’ll help my fundamentals.

There’s not a whole lot of other things to do here. You’ve already basically heard the entire gameplay which in a way is pretty scary. There are other things you can do between plays like subbing out players and calling timeouts. That is really the extent of the gameplay though. I was hoping there was a mode where you could become a player, but I suppose that would be an odd choice since it would then become a normal Madden game. Even if I would have liked that as an option I suppose I see why it was not added in. That would have been pretty awesome though.

Overall, NFL Head Coach 09 is probably the most boring game I’ve ever played. It’s not like it has poorly designed levels or puzzles to make the game bad. There’s not really any “bad” features in this title. The only issue I have with it is that the game just isn’t any fun to play. I can’t find any joy in leaving it up to the computers. I feel like the whole point of playing a game is to use my skills to make a difference. What difference am I making if I’m just letting the computers take the reins? There’s a reason why they don’t make Head Coach games anymore and I’m betting that it’s because people got burned out. You can only play this kind of game for so long before you throw in the towel. There is one more Head Coach game for the PS2, but realistically I doubt I will ever play that game. If it turns up for a dollar or two I’d quickly purchase it, but otherwise that’s a no go from me.

Overall 4/10

Madden 17 Deluxe Edition Review

All right guys, it’s finally time to take a look at one of the newer Madden titles. Madden is easily still my favorite sports title out of all the big EA games and 17 continues to impress. While this installment isn’t quite as impressive as some of the older ones, it still had all of the positive fundamentals that we have come to expect from the series. It’s certainly a steal considering it was only 3-4 bucks.

The gameplay is the same Football mechanics as the older ones at least in a grand scope kind of view. The goal is to score more points than the other team by getting a player with the football into the opponent’s end zone. Alternatively you can just kick the ball in. You’re really going to need to be able to survey different parts of the screen at once especially when throwing passes. It’s a very intricate game and you do need great reactions to pull this off. Part of why the game is so satisfying is because it needs all of those skills. You can’t pick up the game and suddenly become good, you’re going to need to work on it. There’s definitely a lot to learn too since you’ve also got other sides of the ball like defense, kicking, and running.

While not much has changed since the last Madden they did retool the kicking gameplay once again. Now you’ve got a meter that goes up and down which you have to stop twice. I definitely preferred the old system where you would just flick a lever up and down. I suppose this one is a lot trickier though, but I don’t think you need to over complicate field goals. It also makes the meter pretty crazy when you increase the difficulty. That’s not new, but I still disagree with it since I want a challenge on the field when upping the stakes, not a challenge to fight myself!

Accelerating is a little less obvious here so the game is a little more like a simulation than arcade style. I miss zooming around the field, but I do get the logic and it works well enough. The tackling is still on point and you can see how the game is really well polished in all areas. The gameplay is just a lot of fun provided that you like the sport of Football. It accurately portrays how the game goes down. When you’re playing you feel like you’re in total control so the game succeeds here.

It goes without saying that the graphics are pretty incredible as always. Everything is just so lifelike and while EA may not have the best reputation they do always deliver on this front. As for the soundtrack, it’s less obvious than usual. You’re really not going to be paying it much attention anyway since you’ll be in the game by that point. Now the presentation is where its at and the game is stunning there. It really feels like a real game with how the announcers introduce the teams and we get a nice pre game set up. Likewise you get a good set up for the playoffs and super bowl.

There are a lot of modes beyond the quick games of course. You can practice or jump into the online modes. There are a lot of ranks to go through so if you play online then you’ll probably be around for quite a while. Learning all of the playbooks will take a while and naturally obtaining the Platinum is quite difficult. These games may come out every year, but one title is enough to hold you for several years to be honest since there is just so much to do. There’s also the fact that every game is different so like a fighting game there is basically unlimited replay value here.

Due to the nature of the game there isn’t a whole lot to say but I’ll end off with my tips on how to take the computers down a few pegs. I was able to take them down until All Madden difficulty after all although at that point they cheesed me out. One thing I don’t like about All Madden is that your players start to choke. They begin dropping passes and fumbling all over the place which doesn’t feel like a real difficulty spike. It’s more like your players start breaking down as if they’re 1st year rookies going into their first playoff game. So ignoring that, my strategy for winning was a bland but effective ground game. I’d run it on 1st and 2nd down and then pick up the final 3 yards over the place. Then I’d mix it up with a first yard pass sometimes. I would win in very low scoring games like 17-10 or something like that. The computer has a hard time fully shutting down the run so you’re almost guaranteed to get 2-3 yards up the middle each time.

On the other hand, if you go around then you’re more likely to lose yardage but you have a decent shot of getting a big gain. I prefer consistency so I go up the middle and you’ve also got the shot of making a big gain so the way I see it there isn’t much of a downside to this. Just keep plugging away and eventually you’ll get some kind of win. Defense is also important, but I don’t really have any tips for that. What’ll happen will happen with that one.

Overall, Madden 17 is definitely a game that you’re going to want to jump into. It’s only 2-3 dollars so there is really no downside to making the purchase. By the same token you can also just skip to 18 which is basically the same price and have close to the same experience. It’s really up to you to see what you want to do, but there’s no bad option. While I do think they should speed up the gameplay a bit like in the old days it is still very balanced. I think the problem of the low acceleration is that the running back feels like just an ordinary player as opposed to the speedster. It also gets rid of the quarterback advantage which is too bad because I loved scrambling for every play and getting a bunch of yards. I guess it was pretty broken to be honest though. The quarterback was unbeatable in some of the older games.

Overall 9/10

How To Play Football Review

It’s time to look at another Goofy short. This one is actually about Football which is always fun to see. You’d assume that this would automatically beat the Basketball one since I do prefer Football in general, but that wasn’t actually the case. The special is definitely still fun like the last one, but I thought that they just did a lot more with the Basketball concept. Maybe Basketball just makes for easier comedy than Football.

The basic plot is that two Football teams are about to face off. One of them only has a handful of fans left while the other one appears to be the fan favorite. Still, neither team is ready to call it quits so they both square down. Surprisingly the two teams are pretty evenly matched though and from there on they use their toon physics to gain as much ground as possible.

Naturally most of the humor here is in the fact that the characters can do just about anything on the field. This means that any player can tilt the balance of an entire match but on the flipside they can also be taken down by any other player as well. It’s a pretty short special so both teams are going full throttle from the start. The ending is also pretty emotional as the game goes down to the wire.

The animation is pretty solid as expected. It’s very smooth and so it works really well with the general physics. The animators are very creative here and I think that’s low-key one of the reasons why the old Disney animations were so good. It’s one thing to have good animators but you’ve also gotta know what to do with them. It’s all pretty inventive here like when one of the Goofy creatures manages to wrinkle up the whole Football field like a rug before scoring. It’s a good way of bringing the field to you instead of the other way around.

This special will definitely be over before you know it which speaks to the enjoyment factor of it. It doesn’t overstay its welcome and that’s definitely a plus of the short format. I don’t think there would have been enough substance here to last for a whole movie, but if it’s just a short then it manages to stay humorous without hitting the same story beats over and over again. I wonder if Goofy tackled more sports beyond Basketball and Football. It definitely makes sense to go with those 2 right away though, Baseball could make for another solid one. I suppose I’ll find out at some point if he did nay more.

Overall, I’m not sure if this special will actually teach you how to play Football, but it still makes for a fun experience. I think even casual Football fans will be able to follow the action here as it just covers the basics. It’s only a few minutes so there is only so much that the special can do on its own, but I think it succeeds in making for a fun time. It’s a good diversion and Goofy has actually done a much better job of giving us solid specials than I ever would have guessed.

Overall 6/10