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EA Play is here and rolled out the latest edition of FIFA 20 to PS4 and Xbox 1, unfortunately the rollout was long on description but very very short on actual gameplay.  However, the headline and really for soccer fans is the introduction of Volta Football. In essence this is backyard and pickup soccer where the pitch is anywhere and everywhere, from a cage in downtown London to a rooftop in Tokyo.

From a gameplay perspective Volta appears to be in addition to the year over year standard league modes that we have come to expect with this series.  This will allow you to play 3v3, 4v4, or 5v5 games with various other options, such a with or without goalies or co-ed. That last detail was one of the highlights from the release.  You will now be able to create male and female characters and outfit them as you see fit.

EA also spoke glowingly about the changes that they have made to the actual gameplay system to pull the focus from more automated and team based play to a focus on one on one interactions, offense to defense.  In essence they appear to be moving even more toward making FIFA a true simulation.

While all this sounds like it is great news for all the FIFA fans out there, I am concerned that the additional complications they are adding to the interface may put the game out of reach for the casual fan.  However, I do have hope, as outside of the EA Play presentation, it was announced that there will be a version of FIFA 20 available on the Switch. There currently aren’t not any details out there on what this means, but I am hopeful that it is a paired down version of the game that may keep it simple. Ultimately though we really need more visuals and gameplay information in order to make a real determination on what FIFA 20 is all about.

Please be sure to check out all our E3 coverage as we will update you if and when we find out anything new.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Release Date: 8/29/17

Price: $39.99

Everybody’s Golf is a lighthearted arcade style golf game that is the latest in update to the widely popular Hot Shots Golf. Just like its predecessors, this game is not intended for those individuals looking for a “pure” golf experience. Instead,  it is intended to be a zany experience allowing for a single player or multiplayer online experience. The difficulty can be adjusted to be a better fit for beginning players or the very experienced so it is accessible to a majority of age groups.

I had the opportunity to play a few holes of the the 18 hole E3 demo using a character modeled after the president of Sony Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida and was very pleased.  Graphically the game is what you expect from games in the series, which is made more interesting by the level of customization in your character avatar.  The game play itself was simple, and the course structure is very basic. 

One thing I noticed immediately during my time with the game was the multitude of other avatars running willy-nilly across the course, teeing off next to you and driving golf carts everywhere.  One of the selling points to this game is that your avatar is not locked to the tee box at the beginning of each hole, instead  you can at any time choose to run or drive around the course and interact with the players and even go fishing. This makes the experience feel more interesting than 

Unfortunately, the demo was somewhat limited so that I did not get to see exactly how you level your characters and clubs which is large part of the game itself.  I also was not able to get an answer on what if any parental controls are available to limit player interaction in the online multiplayer mode.  Ultimately though I believe this will be great fit for those that like the originals with updates to keep it fresh and fun.

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Electronic Arts held their EA Play event as part of the E3 2017 festivities on June 10, 2017. They made a lot of great announcements over the course of the event. But, none of them got me as excited as the addition of a story mode to Madden 2018.

Last year, EA Sports added a single player Story mode to FIFA 2017 called The Journey where players took on the role of Alex Hunter as he progresses through his career. This was fascinating and I enjoyed it, but I don’t really have much of a connection with soccer.

Longshot appears to be the answer to my Madden prayers. That is the title of the single player story mode of Madden 2018. The details are slim (we only have a short trailer to go by), but it looks like players will take on the role of a Texas high school football player as he progresses through his career in college and into the NFL. This is a story that we have seen play out in its various parts in various movies and television shows in the last few decades, but it is rare to see a story take a player from their humble beginnings all the way to the pros.

Personally, this looks like a great opportunity to attract players to the Madden franchise. They already have a diehard crew that will buy the game every year no matter what. But, most of those players are dedicated to the multiplayer game. This, if it is built similarly to The Journey, will turn Madden into an RPG that will have installments every year! That’s my kind of party!

Madden 18 will release for on August 25th for PS4 and Xbox One.

What do you think? Are you and your family any more likely to play a Madden game this year because it has a single player story mode? Sound off in the comments and let us know!

This is only the beginning of a whole week of E3 2017 coverage. Make sure to keep your eye on Engaged Family Gaming all week for all of the family gaming news and our discoveries on the E3 show floor!

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One of the biggest surprises in gaming for me last year was how much I loved playing the single player story mode in FIFA 2017. The Journey was a story of Alex Hunter, a young man who is trying to  make his way through his career in professional soccer. I may not be the biggest soccer fan in the world, but Alex Hunter was my guy. I was fully invested in his story throughout the mode. I was actually pretty bummed when I was finished with it all.

Players like me from around the world are going to be able to spend more time with Mr. Hunter this fall when FIFA 18 comes out. It will include “The Journey: Hunter Returns.” The story picks up with Alex Hunter well established in his career in the English Premier league. The new story is built around Alex being forced to make the choice to either remain in England or to move to the US. This is an interesting story because, apparently, it is something that a lot of players in the UK struggle with.

The fact that The Journey is getting a sequel is incredibly telling. EA would not have continued to spend the cash to develop a well written and acted single player mode for a sports game if it wasn’t successful. We don’t have numbers regarding have many people bought the game and played through a bunch of the story, but I’m sure that EA does and that they were pleased with the results.

Sports games these days are all slowly turning into RPGs. Many people think of RPGs as hundred hour long fantasy epics, but if you strip out the genre and leave the various systems sports games aren’t too far off. This is a trend I hope continues.

What about you all? Will you and your family be picking up FIFA 18 this fall? Let us know in the comments!

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Editor’s Note: This review originally appeared on Pixelkin.org.

Available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC

We played on: Xbox One
FIFA 17 is a well-crafted homage to association football that treats fans to all of the game modes they have come to expect and all of the players that they know and love. It doesn’t hurt that the game is also gorgeous to behold.

The Gameplay

On the topic of “gorgeous,” FIFA 17 is the first game in the series to be developed using the Frostbite 3 engine that EA designed for use with its large scale combat games. The engine was originally intended to allow for things like destructible buildings, but the only structures being destroyed in FIFA 17 are defenses as you attack the goal.
The biggest place where the engine upgrade comes into play is with the interaction between players. Casual fans might regard football (soccer in the US) as a non-contact sport. But, fans of the game around the world know that this is far from the truth. Players jockey for position and all but wrestle each other to the ground while fighting for a loose ball. In the past all of these interactions were handled using canned, pre-drawn animations. This is no longer the case. Instead, the interactions between the players, their limbs, and ultimately the ball are calculated in real time by the engine. This results in more interesting (and less predictable) battles for the ball.

This also gave EA the opportunity to give players more control. There are button commands to help shield the ball from opposing players while dribbling or to lean into opponents to deflect them when they are trying to tackle the ball away from you. This is an unprecedented level of control for the game, which adds a lot to the experience. It also means that the skill cap will be higher. There will be ways to improve your skills for online play for a LONG time before you full master the game.

Once again I found myself captivated by the single player story mode in an annualized sports franchise. FIFA 17 prominently features ‘The Journey.” This is a game mode where players take control of the young footballer Alex Hunter as he progresses through his career in the Premier league. The setup is fantastic. Alex is the grandson of a well-respected player. His father’s career was cut short by injuries. This adds to the tension as he competes to earn a starting spot AND make his father proud all at once.
Players can control Alex on the field and are given specific goals to achieve within each match (score a goal, win the game, etc).

You can also control Alex in between matches by selecting dialogue options that will help shape Alex’s personality and , potentially, impact his standing on his club. The story isn’t revolutionary, but it is good enough that I don’t want to spoil it for anyone reading. That fact is fascinating in and of itself if you think about it. When has a great RPG experience ever happened in a sports game before?

The Rating

FIFA 17 is rated E for Everyone with no descriptors. The jostling of the players is probably as violent as you will see in the game.


FIFA 17 is a gorgeous game that includes all of the football action that fans of the sport would expect. This is a must own for fans.

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Note: This review originally appeared on Pixelkin.org.

NBA2k17, simply put, a masterpiece that can easily be placed alongside some of the best games in this generation. Yeah. I know what you’re saying.”But, Steve… its JUST a sports game. How can you possibly do that?” The answer is simple. NBA 2k17 is just that good. In fact, I think it is good enough to justify attention from people who don’t even considering themselves hardcore NBA fans.


The NBA lifestyle is complicated. Players have to balance family, social media, practices, endorsements, and inter-team politics in order to succeed. 2K17 heavily features a MyCareer mode that highlights those challenges as players are thrust into the role of “Prez” a young, brash, and extremely talented high school basketball prospect. A brief stint in college leads to you being drafted somewhere in the first round of the NBA draft. From there you are introduced to Justice Young, voiced by the amazing Michael B. Jordan. Justice was drafted after you and has a chip on his shoulder. Nothing in his life has come easy for him and he sets out to challenge you. That sets the stage for what could be either a rivalry or a great friendship. And you know what? This is where things get cool.

The MyCareer mode plays out from there like an RPG. You have to  balance your schedule to make sure you attend practices, games, and social events with your fellow players. You can even keep track of the state of the game using text messages and an in-game version of Twitter. All of these activities help earn you points that can be spent on skill upgrades.

That may have been my favorite game mode it is far from the only one. There is a full suite of game modes that range from quick play, and online games all the way to a Franchise mode that goes so far as to let you create your own expansion team.

All of these game modes are built on solid basketball mechanics that make it easy for even the most inexperienced games to take their favorite players and execute some amazing moves. 2k Games has been making these games for a while and it shows. They have clearly done their research and tried to create a very accessible control scheme.

Is it a kids’ game?

NBA2k17 is rated E for everyone by the ESRB. According to the rating summary, “This is a basketball simulation game in which players can select teams from real NBA rosters, compete in tournaments, and play through regular seasons. Players can also manage individual franchises and control the careers of their customized athletes. The word “hell” appears in the dialogue.” It is worth noting that the game does feature online gameplay modes and those online interactions are not rated by the ESRB. With that said though, this is not a game that suffers if you don’t take the action online. There is a LOT of game here.


My conclusion shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. This is an absolute must buy for any NBA fans. I also strongly believe that anyone looking for a unique take on the RPG genre should look into this one too.

(Note: This review is based on the Xbox One version of the game. It is also available on the PlayStation 4. There is also a version available for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, but they are not as feature rich. This is intended to be a next-gen experience.)

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NCAA Football 14 will be released for the PS3 and Xbox360 on July 9th. I spent some time with the demo and wanted to take a moment to share my immediate impressions.  (A full review will follow after the game releases.)

The first thing that needs to be said when we talk about any of the EA Sports games is that they are simulators. They are not designed to be easy to pick up and play. Instead, they focus on creating an experience that is authentic. These games assume that the person on the other end of the controller knows a lot about the sport they will be playing. NCAA Football 14 is no exception.

 In years past the NCAA games have felt like they were playing the role of the forgotten older sibling in compared to the effort placed on the Madden football franchise. EA just didn’t put the effort into crafting the unique experience that is college football in America . It honestly looked like they re-skinned Madden with college helmets and jerseys and called it a day. Those days appear to be over. I’ll be blunt and save us some time: the game looks and sounds amazing. The animations are smooth. The colors are bright. A casual observer would need to look closely to make sure it wasn’t a live television broadcast. The crowd even sounds believable. Of course,nothing is perfect. Some of the sideline animations can be a little stiff. But, this is still better than in previous years. 

There is nothing here from a content standpoint that concerns me in regards to children. This game is designed to be played by football enthusiasts so they will likely have football on in the background most Saturday’s anyway. With that said, if you aren’t a football fan and are just “looking for something for your child to play” this doesn’t look like a great option.

The demo itself provides a preview of the head to head game play by featuring 3 major college match-ups  Alabama vs VPI, Oregon vs Texas A&M, and Ohio State vs Michigan. It also includes the Nike Skills Trainer minigame, a heavily stylized tutorial mode that will help newer players get used to the (rather advanced) controls. This is a well executed feature because it manages to turn a boring tutorial into a mini-game with achievements. The minigame will also help unlock players for the “Ultimate Team” mode in the retail game. 

The meat-and-potatoes of the game come in the form of Dynasty and Season mode which let you choose your favorite team and try your luck at running them for a season or longer. These modes were, understandably, left out of the demo so we’ll need to wait for the full release to see how they play.

Our copy of NCAA Football 14 is on the way. We’ll have a full review up as soon as possible!

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