Friday, September 25

Game Review: TML 10

Summer has given way to fall this week and obviously that means a couple of important things. One is: VAMPIRE MOVIES!!1! The other is new hockey video games! And until they can merge my two faves (online screenname: PhaneufBiter69), I'll have to settle for one or the other. To that end I want to review the newest game out there: TML 10!
Exploding out of the gate TML 10 is the best TML to come out in years. At least the best since the pre-lockout TML 04. For those of us who've suffered through the versions since that time it appears to have been worth the wait.

While the gameplay is top notch, the real draw here is the GM Franchise mode, where you play as Brian "That's Mr. Brian Burke" Burke, a hard-nosed Rhode Island Red with a long memory, a short fuse, and deep, deep scowl lines. The Burke character, working from an engine borrowed from "Genghis Khan" and "The Second World War", is a welcome change from past years as things in TML 10 have actually changed.

In TML 10, every skill, like skating speed and shooting accuracy, is attached to sliders. This allows Burke to dial them up or down. All except the "Fighting" skill which has its gauge locked at 100%. When this skill is in effect, the player has to fight and beat the Jesus Christ out of the opponent and if you don't the Burke character shuts your game down and you have to go back to playing Conker's Bad Fur Day.

After you've done an on-ice game, you as Burke have to play a "Scrum". In this game, you are surrounded by the worst lazy questions the Toronto media can lob at you. By aggressively repeating the sequence of X B X Y, you make Howard Berger piss his pants and run out of the locker room. This gets you an ovation from your players and 1,000,000 extra points.

It's still early, but I''ve loved what I've seen and played. It'll be an exciting game to play for the next 9 months. Overall rating: 8.5/10.

* Rated 'T' for Truculence. Not available in Eastern Ontario.

Monday, September 21

And Burke Said, "Let There Be Goals"

I'm not a religious man, to say the least. This one time a street corner preacher asked me if I needed to have my soul saved, and I answered "It's 11:30". In spite of this, I know when someone is doing the Lord's work, if the Lord is the Stanley Cup, and the work is kicking the shit out of everyone in the Eastern conference.

To that end, I sit at the hem of Brian Burke's garment. Me and 11 other saintly guys - PPP, Chemmy, uh, Trevor, and like, others - follow him around in blue robes loving what he's done with and for the Toronto Maple Leafs. By the power vested in him by his oft repeated mantra of personal truculence, testosterone, and perhaps some sort of magic sword, Burke has made the Leafs "something" other than the serving of milquetoast they were before he entered the GTA. No matter what you think of the deal to make Phil Kessel a Leaf, you can't argue with that.

Burke, seen here coming down from his place on Mt. Olympus, has bestowed onto us a team with personality, identity, tons of upside, and now, finally, an answer to the question, " who's going to score goals??" With Phil Kessel a Leaf, the team has in its possession a first line all-star who has every intention of continuing to live up to his 5th selection overall. Kessel was picked just behind Jonathon Toews and Nick Backstrom, and you know who the two first rounders Burke gave up for him are going to get picked behind? Their names are Who Knows, and It Doesn't Matter Anymore. It should be more than obvious by now that the Leafs' re-build is a year ahead of schedule, and a big part of Burke's rationale is, all he's trading are mid-round picks. In Leafs Speak, that's Landon Wilson and Eric Fichaud. Toronto now has a NHL proven, 21 year old guy who's going to score goals and push the team into the playoffs, and he came without having to lose a rebound ready Tomas Kaberle.

The Leafs probably haven't given up on a low number, Schenn-level player. 1) Because players like that are so rare they're pink in the middle, and 2) Because Burke traveled to the island of Aeaea to order Circe to concoct a brew to ensure that Daniel Alfredsson becomes sterile. That last one he did just for fun.