Thursday Notes: MLB, Football Manager, UFC and a Glimpse at NCAA 10

I've spent the majority of the week playing two games: MLB 2K9 and Football Manager Live. With MLB I'm becoming increasingly concerned about the ineffectiveness of my pitching at the higher difficulty levels. I understand that pitching to a guy like Albert Pujols (who rates 100 overall in...

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I've spent the majority of the week playing two games: MLB 2K9 and Football Manager Live. With MLB I'm becoming increasingly concerned about the ineffectiveness of my pitching at the higher difficulty levels. I understand that pitching to a guy like Albert Pujols (who rates 100 overall in the game) is a dangerous prospect, but he's been quite literally shelling me during every at bat. I'm not quite sure if its my ability to deal with the new pitching controls, the fact that my catcher is calling bad pitches, or Pujols' inflated ratings. Or some combination thereof. Nonetheless, it's become frustrating--especially when I sim a game and watch Pujols go hitless the entire game…

With Football Manager Live, it's been an enjoyable uphill battle trying to figure out just what the heck this game is all about. I dabbled in the old Championship Manager series and this game is a fascinating and modern take on the time-honored management sim, only online, with hundreds of other like-minded fans. Justin Calvert and I have been playing this religiously and I'm enjoying it a lot. If you've got even a passing interest in management-type games, give this one a look. I hope to write more about the game in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, if you're playingFML now, let me know and we can compare notes…

GameSpot AU put up a preview of THQ's upcoming UFC Undisputed 2009 and it sounds like it's coming along just fine. The controls sound compelling, with unique controls for both standing and ground fighting. To me, though, this game is going to win or lose with its grappling system. It's the most important aspect of the real UFC and, it's imperative that the folks at Yuke's make ground fighting realistic and, more importantly, fun.

A bunch of news from the EA Sports world this week:

- EA Sports continues to dribble out information for its upcoming sports games. First up is an interesting post at the EA Sports blog on the new ratings philosophy for players in the next Madden game. The bottom line? Your average player's rating has dropped while the superstar's will remain unaffected--which should further widen the gulf between the Peyton Manning's and the Tyler Thigpen's of the league. I wonder if this same philosophy will extend to the rest of the games in the EA Sports lineup?

- Next up, a YouTube video pimping the next Tiger Woods game, with the tagline "Feel the Drama!" No actual gameplay in the video, unfortunately; just clips of players like Tiger, Vijay Singh, and Jim Furyk doing their thing in real life. Feel the drama? To me, the only drama about Tiger 10 will be whether or not the developers decide to a) include a course creator and b) give you the option to skip the CPU player in career mode.

- Best of all, the EA Sports blog has a teaser image (see above) presumably taken from a work-in-progress version of NCAA Football 10, showing a Cal player facing off against a Stanford Cardinal player. There's not much detail in the shot but the lighting effects on the helmet and arm of the Cal player look very impressive. And, hell,it's never too early to start getting excited about NCAA Football, right?

- Finally, I still don't like EA Sports' "10" naming scheme. NASCAR 10? Tiger Woods 10? Nope, don't like it at all. Hey 2K? If you're listening, naming your games "2K10" next year will be just as bad, if not worse.

OTHER NEWS: Mario & Sonic are heading to Vancouver, with Wii Balance Board support and two confirmed events: Alpine Skiing and Speed Skating. We've got some new screens up for the PSP version of MLB 09: The Show, and I'll have a new screens of MLB 2K9 up tomorrow. I had a huge response when asking for people's screenshot requests and I'm going to do my best to honor a lot of them. We'll also have some new video up of MLB 2K9 and some new information, so stay tuned...

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