Join Nate and several different CFM leaders as they discuss what SIM means to their community. The roundtable brings up some great points and the conversation will continue on the next few podcast.
I remember the first time I rented NBA Jam. I can’t tell you what system it was for or what year it was, but I can tell you that I remember the feel of that game like it was yesterday. The insane dunks, the fireball three pointers, the quick turbo boost and breaking the backboard if your good enough. Well, if you like throwbacks then NBA Playgrounds might be the game for you, with the same feel of fast paced action and spectacular dunks as the NBA Jam and NBA Street. But, much like seeing your old High School flame, the memories may be fond but the reality will be much more disappointing as you see the wrinkles and grey hairs that NBA Playgrounds contains.
NBA Playgrounds reaches into the popular sports gaming process of earning player cards to build your team. Your original pack opens with 5 player cards to begin building your team. You earn more packets for players and courts throughout your game play. Packs include ‘epic’ and ‘legend’ players to mix with 150+ real players from 30 NBA teams.
Game play will quickly remind you of the throwback games from your childhood, but the depth of NBA Playgrounds will quickly remind you that you are no longer 12. The game play is quick with lots of action in a very short time. Much like its predecessors, NBA Playgrounds pulls you in with its quick style of play and over the top dunks. That is about where the game hits its high mark though, as flashy plays are quickly lost in an under-performing AI partner on offense and AI defense which has very little rhyme or reason behind its play. The offensive AI will often stand around and rarely attempts to make plays, while the defensive AI will double team often and can be quickly left behind with a few quick flips of the analog stick.
For every big play that you make on offense or defense your team fills up your team’s meter for a special short term boost called a ‘lottery pick’. These boosts are random and can feel like a total waste or a quick lucky turn for the team who won the award. The awards can be anything from double points if scored in the paint, double points for 3 pointers, speed burst, accelerated shot clock, star shot multiplier and even an electric ball which means you can’t miss or be blocked after passing half court. This is all great news for the offense, but can quickly turn a blowout into a swing the other way for the defense.
Shooting with the right players can be a breeze. Online games may take some slight adjustment due to lag, but once you get a feel for your players shot, it will be money more often than not. If you do miss your shot then one of three things take place. Option #1 is that your under-performing AI player will grab a big-time board for you and you are able to kick back out for a shot or get an easy bucket underneath. That easy bucket in the paint better be a dunk for option #2, because option #3 of a lay-up will often leave you feeling like the night of your prom – awkward and frustrated. Lay-ups are the single hardest thing in NBA Playgrounds. The timing is tough to find and often the easiest shot is blown. You will find yourself giving the ball right back or getting another offensive rebound and pushing the ball back out for another deep shot, which is much easier timing than inside the paint.
Defense can be fun with the ability to push your opponent to the ground or swipe like a ninja trying to kill a fly to steal the ball. Blocking a shot, rebounding or even keeping your defensive player movement under control are all frustrating aspects of the game. You will often find yourself losing defensive position to make the block while rebounds often go right by your out-of-positioned player. Allowing the AI player to rebound will often be your best bet and hopes of a quick breakout for an easy jam on the other end. .
Overall the game is really entertaining and fun if you play it for what it is – a great throwback to a simpler time in gaming where activity and gimmicks made up for graphics and depth. If you’re not picking this game up to be your next NBA franchise simulator, then it can be a whole lot of fun. This is the game you plug in when you want to take a break from the deep intensity and story modes of other games, to relax and enjoy some flashy plays and outright craziness that NBA Playgrounds offers. It may not be what you remembered, but it’s a great way to add in some throwback fun into your gaming mix.
Join Nate and several different CFM leaders as they discuss the Madden 18 teaser/trailer that dropped today. The guys discussed what they gleaned from it and what they expect to be in the new game.
Season 72 opens up for the Arizona Cardinals with the team hitting the road to face one of the many playoff teams which they will face this season - the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins are coming off a nice playoff run which ended in heartbreak while the Cards are rebuilding after a rough season. Two QBs with something to prove and two teams still trying to find their way to the big game.
The Cardinals offense was revamped this offseason as the WR corps turned to a youth movement. #1 pick (6th overall) WR T.Forbes came into this team looking to make an impact. The young WR had 6 catches in his first game, which included a big third down conversion late in the game (pictured below).
K.Marshall would have 89 yards and a TD (pictured below) on 17 carries. The young RB was able to show patience and nice holes against a very tough Dolphins defense. Marshall was able to help the Cardinals become balanced and eat clock late in the game when the Dolphins made this close. Marhsall also had a 20+ touchdown run called back due to a holding call.
B.Osweiler had over 200 yards and a TD to go with one INT on the day. Brock made some nice throws and really was just swarmed by a tough Dolphins pass rush. His one TD came to D.Spann (pictured below) which seen the big WR use his size to break through 2 tackles at the 2 yardline and get in the endzone to put this game out of reach late in the 4th quarter.
The Cardinals defense looked to get things turned around against two of the best WR in the league. P.Peterson tied as many INTs as he had last season in just one game wth 2. Peterson and all of the DBs really swarmed the Dolphins passing attack, which led to 4 INTs on the day.
A.Lynch (pictured below) was potentially the player of the game for the Cards, with 2 sacks and a big redzone interception of Bortles. The Cards defense also D.Parker under 35 yards and no TDs on the day.
The Cardinals defense also had 8 sacks on the day as they constantly harrassed Bortles all game. D.Dykes (pictured below) had one of those sacks late in the game to seal the victory.
The Cardinals team played on of the most well rounded games. They were able to stick to their game plan and never paniced even when the Dolphins defense was swarming all on-comers. Marshall and Osweiller both played above average and the Cardinals defense was lights out from the opening kickoff.
The Cardinals will keep their AFC playoff onslaught going with the NE Patriots coming to Arizona for next weeks game.
Season 71 will be remembered as the year of reality for the Arizona Cardinals. "We just didn't play well at any section of our team. Offensively we turned the ball over way too much. Defensively we didn't get any turnovers. Special teams lacked excitement from our return game. I didn't coach well and we didn't set our players up to be successful.
Season 71 Recap
The Cardinals went into the season with a revamped backfield which consisted of Brock Osweiler, Keith Marshall and Danny Vitale. Though the rushing attack was much improved with Marshall being a top 5 running back in the league, the passing attack was one of the bottom 3.
The defense also struggled with leaders Patrick Peterson and Avery Williamson having very little impact on the year. The defense gave up massive gap rushes and big plays in the passing game. Both of these struggles put together caused a 5 win team and a top 5 pick after two back to back playoff runs.
Off-Season 72 Recap
Cards front office brass knew that the offensive line needed improved play, the Quarterback needed serious help with weapons and the defense needed to be sured up to limit big plays. After trading for Aaron Lynch and signing some improved back-ups, the Cardinals front office realized that the cap was tight and bringing in a top flight QB or play maker at the WR or LB positions were just out of the picture. This means the attention was turned to the draft and ensuring a solid draft for another run in Season 72.
Draft for Season 72 Recap
Holding the #5 pick in every round and an additional pick in the 2nd round, the Cardinals knew they needed to find the right players. They drafted Tank Forbes, WR, was the 6th pick in the 1st round, Riley Breckner, C, was the 6th pick in the 2nd round, Bryan Miree, LOLB, was the 29th pick in the 2nd round, Willis Copeland, RT, was the 3rd pick in the 3rd round, Vernard Gordon, WR, was the 6th pick in the 3rd round, Riley Ena, RT, was the 6th pick in the 5th round, Lewis Sellers, WR, was the 6th pick in the 6th round, and Antoine McNair, WR, was the 33rd pick (Mr. Irrelevant) in the 7th round. The Cards also nabbed Javier Derby, MLB, was a undrafted FA.
With this the Saints add a play making WR with Forbes which they have been missing for two seasons. Tank adds size and hands to make the big play downfield. Paired with Darby Spann, Jermichael Terrill, J.J. Nelson and Kian Mealey, the Cards now have an impressive skill set to place on the field for their QBs. The Cardinals also added some much needed youth and depth to their OL with the addition of 3 rookies and two potential sleepers in Derby and Miree on the defensive side of the ball.
Season 72 Outlook
The Cardinals were in financial troubles to start the offseason. Salaries had to be cut loose and potential stars had to be dangled as tradebait. No big moves were made but the Cardinals were able to get some nice young talent in a very deep draft.
This whole season will rely on three things. Can the defense rebound and not allow the big play. In the OMFL is all about stopping the run and forcing people to pass. Can the DBs force INTs? Can the three 1st round picks on the DL cause havok for opposing QBs? Can the LBs stop teams rushing attack? All things that must happen for a defense that should have played much better last season.
Secondly, who is making plays in the passing game. Forbes will carry a lot of pressure with him into the season. The Cardinals coaching staff is impressed by the young players playmaking ability, but will he be able to carry a staff of wideouts who have a lot to prove?
Last, will Osweiller stop turning the ball over? A league and carrer high in INTs last year, the QB situation in Arizona was as fuzzy as could be. Only a large salary and massive cap struggles kept the Cardinals from brining in another QB to compete. A 100% improved passing attack is the #1 must have for the Cardinals to compete this year.
For the Cardinals to move forward, they must look back. A look back at the massive struggles and inability to change course mid-game. They must look at the forced passes and key turnovers to increase opportunities to score points. This could be the year. The year that the Cardinals have another top 5 pick, or a year in which they challenge to actually win the NFCW.