Who says you have to grow up? Here at SI.com's Game Room, our staffers review the latest sports video game titles to hit the market and welcome your feedback.
4/25/2008 12:05:00 PM
NCAA Football 09 Cover Boy Q&A
Darren McFadden Interview
By Paul Ulane
For the last few months, Darren McFadden has had NFL scouts and GMs drooling, which is just one of the reasons why the ultra-talented back out of Arkansas landed on the Xbox 360 cover of NCAA Football 09. During his collegiate career, McFadden racked up 51 total touchdowns -- seven of which were passing -- and finished runner-up in the Heisman voting in each of the past two seasons. We caught up with McFadden at EA's NCAA Football 09 Draft Night Premiere to talk about life as a potential top-five NFL drat pick.Let's say it's up to you, who do you want to be drafted by?
For me, I'd want to be close to home, you know, stay in the South, but it's to the point where I don't really care where I go, I'm just ready to get somewhere and play ball.
What style of offense do you think would work best with your game?
With me, I feel like I'd fit in good with any offense. I'm a diverse and dynamic guy, so any style of offense that I'm put in, I feel like I would succeed in.
What kind of impact do you think you can have in your rookie season?
Whatever team decides to take me, they're getting a guy who can make big plays. A playmaker. I can give them something that they're missing from their offense.
How many teams have you talked to so far?
I took visits to Oakland, New York, St. Louis, and New England.
Do you have any friends from the league who have given you advice on how to handle Draft weekend?
I have a couple of ex-teammates that play in the NFL and I asked them, going into the process what it's going to be like. Just talking to them, they're telling me what to expect. But they can't prepare you for something like this. This is a whole different process.
Who are you bringing with you to the draft?
My mom, dad, and my stepmom is here. And my sister is here and a few of my cousins came out, too.
What's the coolest thing you've gotten so far since you got to New York?
There haven't been that many gifts. I've got this suit [tugs at lapels]. It's been a lot of business for me.
What's it like being on the cover of a EA video game? Are you a big gamer?
Every year, when I first get the game, I wear it out. After that, it's just when guys come over to the house, we play it and try to have a friendly competition with each other.
Do you know what you look like in the game?
I'm pretty satisfied with it. I talked to the guys at EA sports and I feel like they did a good job with it. They gave me the speed, after that the numbers speak for themselves.
Former Green Bay QB Brett Favre is EA's cover boy for Madden NFL '09. Despite his retirement we're kind of hoping Favre will be available on the Packers' roster or as a free agent. Hopefully in retirement the real-life Favre will be immune to the always-dangerous Madden cover curse.
Here's a cool video from EA of Favre in the Madden series through the years:
Looks That Kill: We judge our video games the same way ESPN judges their sideline reporters, and Gran Turismo 5: Prologue looks fantastic. From the cars to the tracks to the surrounding landscapes, everything in the game takes full advantage of the PS3's 1080p graphics at 60 frames per second. Even more important for a racing game, the looks don't suffer as you fly through a hairpin turn at 100 MPH. (We especially recommend screeching your way through the impeccably detailed downtown London course.)
Front Row (Driver's) Seat: The traditional first person view gives you a great feel for what these drivers go through during races, but the new in-cockpit view ups the ante. Not only does each car have an accurate corresponding dashboard, but the gauges change throughout the race to reflect how you're driving. It's all brought together with little touches, like the driver's hand disappearing from view for each shift.
Different Strokes for Different Folks: One of the many nuances in Prologue geared specifically toward car lovers focuses on how each car feels different. Speed is only the beginning here. Each time you buckle up behind a different wheel, you'll pick up on the car's weight, handling, and steering by the end of a lap. It's a subtlety not easy to master in video games, but even novices will notice as they work their way through GT5P's many different vehicles.
Road to Perfection: The limited courses get repetitive (see below), but as you move on to more difficult levels, each track requires a different strategy. The most tiny adjustments in track management can have an enormous impact on where you finish. Taking a long, wide turn from the wrong angle can mean the difference between wining and losing a tight race. Use the track guides early and you'll learn the subtle steering, braking, and accelerating techniques that'll result in the fastest lap times.
Car-azy: You want cars? You get cars. More than 60 high performance vehicles are available in Prologue, including builds from Ferrari, Audi, Nissan and many more than we have space to name here. We hope to see even more in the final build of the game (due in 2009).
Check out Gran Turismo in action:
Things We'd Change
Accidents Happen: Far be it for us to condone the "We went to a car crash and a race broke out" mentality, but we definitely enjoy a side helping of twisted metal in our racing titles. Unfortunately, you'll find none of that here, as you're instead throttled with a confusing point deduction system for any erroneous driving. As far as cars showing signs of physical damage, there's none of that either, no matter how many times you decide to play bumper cars with the wall. It's possible that car deformation might be available as an online download patch for Prologue, but there's no official word.
Gentleman, Start Your Engines... Again: For some reason, the credit system offers very small winnings, even for first place finishes. Combine the small prizes with required cars in the later stages, and you might feel like you're driving in circles to start the game.
Track is Whack: This is a prologue, so take this complaint with a grain of salt. Still, there are only six official tracks in the game, and while you can race some of the tracks backwards and others with alternate routes, the lack of variety does lead to some monotonous races.
Multi-Played: The offline two-player mode lacks any competitive flourishes -- it's just you and one other person on an empty track that you've already raced in single-player mode. New online functionality invites more players to the party by allowing up to 16 drivers to compete against each other. But again, the races take place on tracks you've already left skidmarks on in single player mode. This is another section we expect to improve in the full Gran Turismo 5 release.
Your Main Course Will Be Out In Just A Second... As we've already alluded to, this is a prologue. This is not the official Gran Turismo 5. There will be a bigger, better, more 1080p'er version of the game in the future. Why they'd release a teaser if they're just going to release another version is not exactly clear. The biggest benefit is that Prologue costs $40 instead of the usual $60.
For a prologue, this game brings a lot to the table. The track limitations are cancelled out by the game's subtle controls and meticulous driving routes. Gran Turismo has traditionally targeted racing fans, and the hardcore gearheads will once again find plenty to like in this warm-up to the official GT5 release.