With 2011 – 2012 the NBA season looking more and more unlikely every day, I felt I needed to get my basketball fix somehow. If I can’t watch the best players in the world play, why not take control of them in a video game? The NBA 2K series has recently set the standard for National Basketball Association (NBA) video games. While EA dominates the hockey video game market, 2K is the absolute leader for basketball simulation. Last year’s NBA 2k11 was absolutely phenomenal. It brought Michael Jordan back into the equation, allowing players to use him in the game to bring back those dominant Bulls teams. The graphics, controls, and overall experience were heads above the competition. It was so good in fact, that EA didn’t even bother releasing their NBA Elite game. 2K keeps upping the ante with NBA 2K12. It takes everything that made 11 so good, and improves upon it.
The graphics in this game are beautiful. Each player clearly resembles their real life counterpart. The arenas are all gorgeous, from the glean off the buffed floors, to the logos on the court floors, it all looks and feels real. It looks so good, my dad walked in while I was playing the game and thought I was watching a real life basketball game. He obviously wasn’t aware of the looming lockout.
The sound and music are equally incredible. The announcing is some of the best I’ve heard in a video game. In some cities, depending on who they have on the microphones, it may actually be an improvement over their real life announcers. I liked the soundtrack a lot too, which is usually good in 2K games.
After the successful introduction of Michael Jordan last year, 2K has added a ton of other greats to the game this year. You can use vintage Shaquille O’Neal, Magic Johnson, Scottie Pippen, and more. There are 15 total “Legends” whose terrific careers can be recreated within the game in great detail. Relive the Larry Bird – Magic Johnson rivalries and much more.
One of the most popular features in the 2K series is the ability to create your own player to see how they stack up in the big leagues. 2K sports has built upon this and made the “My Player” functionality that much better. You can now hear Commissioner David Stern call your name on draft night for your favorite team. Enter yourself into the rookie skills competition, earn huge endorsement deals, pad your stats, and ultimately get your name on a huge franchise player contract.
Most of the modes are back, my favorite being Association mode. Take your team from worst to first and watch the fans pack your arena to cheer you on. You can now even take your association mode online to play against your buddies and see how you stack up in the online community. The Playstation Network integration is seamless and a lot of fun.
Overall, this game is fantastic. It takes what made the old NBA 2K games and builds upon it in every way. The graphics, sound, presentation and game play are all the best around for basketball video games, and set the bar extremely high. If EA wants to reclaim the top spot in the basketball video game market, they certainly have their work cut out for them.
For more game reviews check out ubethecritic.com.
It’s that time of year again, the start of the new hockey season and the launch of the newest version of the EA NHL Franchise. NHL 11 is the best one yet, and we can say this honestly as we had a chance to play it. To celebrate the debut, the good people at EA had a NHL 11 Tournament with top rookie prospects, including Taylor Hall, Tyler Sequin and Nazem Kadri.
I’m going to get something off my chest right out of the gate: I haven’t been a fan of baseball nor baseball videogames for the last decade or so. Watching the game can be downright boring, and playing a virtual representation seems to result in little more than timing mini-games and a few button presses.
Then along comes Visual Concepts’ MLB 2K10. For the first time since I last held aloft a piece of lumber, here’s a video game that actually made me feel like I was playing the game again. Everything feels crisp, clean, and connected – as if you are actually on the mound dueling with the batter, desperately trying to keep the sweat out of your eyes as you look down another full count with the bases loaded.
The presentation of the 2K10 is spot on, from the commercial bumpers during the telecast, to the voiceovers calling the shots during the games themselves. Having spent enough time running bases and trying to make double plays, I have yet to hear a repeat canned soundbite, which was a great surprise and welcome change from previous years’ entries. You get the best of both worlds from Visual Concepts’ setup – all of the stats and random personal facts that hardcore hardball fans crave, but enough of the “seen on TV” presentation that it flows wonderfully into you actually stepping into the batter’s box to see just how far you can crank that sliding fastball.
Your options for gameplay seems to have improved significantly as well. You can play any MLB game currently being played, or set up to be played on a specific day through MLB Today. It’s always fun to see if you can do a better job than the big boys at there own game (or feel as humbled as they do when things don’t exactly work out the way you wanted them to). Home Run Derby is included, and is pretty much exactly what it claims to be: hit homers, anything else is an out, get the most points. My Player is the heart of the game, and you’ll definitely find yourself spending the majority of time grinding away through this mode. You create a rookie phenom, pick your favourite franchise to be drafted into, and then set off to try to become an MLB legend. Read more…
God of War 3 is one of the most highly anticipated games ever. The game follows Kratos on his quest to avenge his family and take down the Gods of Olympus. It completes the God of War trilogy and provides a satisfying and bloody end to Kratos’ quest for revenge. The first two games set the standard for action adventure games and are both Playstation 2 classics. Needless to say, this game had very high standards to meet. God of War 3 lives up to expectations and sets THE standard for action adventure games.
The developers, Sony Computer Entertainment Santa Monica, took what was an already impressive gaming engine and refined it in every which way. The game play and controls from the first two games were already incredible and there was not much to be improved. As they say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Sony polished all of the elements that made the first two games exceptional, and provided new weapons, abilities, and a gripping story to keep players glued to the screen.
While I have played the first two and am familiar with Kratos’ move set, the controls and combo system are simple enough that even a newcomer to the series can begin this game and within minutes be unleashing devastating combos with Kratos’ blades. Tight controls were a staple in the first two games and that remains intact here. Whether you are leaping over chasms, ripping medusa’s head off in a killing sequence, or swinging off a Titan’s back you always feel in complete control of Kratos.
Like blood? No… I mean, do you REALLY like blood?
If you answered yes, and also have a fancy for dragons, fantasy, compelling story, in depth character evolution, complete voice acting, and a really really long story that I believe Bioware’s Edmonton office has created the perfect game for you. Read more…
In yet another case of The Music vs. Acitivision, No Doubt are filing a lawsuit against the makers of Band Hero.
The suit contends the game “transformed No Doubt band members into a virtual karaoke circus act,” and the use of the band members’ avatars far exceeded anything agreed upon in the contract, according to the Los Angeles Times. One aspect of the game allows players to manipulate their characters into singing songs by other artists, for example having lead singer Gwen Stefani sing “Honky Tonk Woman” by the Rolling Stones.
“While No Doubt are avid fans of the Rolling Stones and even have performed in concerts with the Rolling Stones, the Character Manipulation Feature results in an unauthorized performance by the Gwen Stefani avatar in a male voice boasting about having sex with prostitutes,” the complaint reads.
The complaint also claims Activision withheld information on the Character Manipulation Feature, and allegedly told the band after they had requested to the have the function disabled that it would be too expensive to do so.
The pig skin never looked so good
I’ve never been a huge fan of football (American football for those reading overseas). I never enjoyed playing it in the real world, I never enjoyed watching it. But playing it digitally was always a blast. My first Madden experience was on my original Gameboy in 1996, and would you believe it spoke? Like real audible words!
Now, before I dive into the game, I wanted to point something out. Madden 10 is not for someone who doesn’t understand the finer details of football. You can get by with basic knowledge, and with the help of the Madden quiz, practice, and the virtual trainer included in the title, you can pick it up very quickly. Just don’t expect to buy the game, read the manual and kick ass online. Read more…
More. That’s the key word when discussing Naughty Dog’s PS3 exclusive hit sequel Uncharted: Among Thieves.
They have given us more of everything we loved from Uncharted: Drake’s fortune. More witty commentary, more weapons, more items, more actions, more explosions, more girls, more modes of play, more… well, you get the idea.
Recently, this writer had eye surgery, and as such, I have had a hard time staring at screens for long periods of time while my eyes healed. Let me tell you, this title was so much fun to play and so hard to put down, that I very well could have destined myself blind in the future from eye strain, especially at a time when my eyes are at their weakest.
Normally I would choose my Xbox 360 over the PS3 due to control preference and number of friends online, however, Sony comes out with amazing exclusive titles from time to time that bring me back to the PS3 powerhouse. Titles like Uncharted: Drake’s fortune, Metal Gear Solid 4, Little Big Planet, and now, Uncharted: Among Thieves. Read more…
Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight? It’s something I ask of all my readers… I just like the sound of it.
And with that not-so-obscure reference, we begin our review of Batman: Arkham Asylum, which is the best game of 2009. Yes, I am saying that in October.
I have been drooling over this game for months now, and anxiously anticipating doing this review. Now, as much as I would like to give an unbiased and honest review of Batman: Arkham Asylum, that is impossible. I am a huge Batman fanboy (Batboy?) and although this will be a fair and balanced review, I am obviously biased in some respects. I mean, I am literally wearing a Batman T-shirt right now, and not even for the purpose of this review. Just ‘cause, suckers. Read more…
There are two things I have never done. 1) I have never gotten so into a sporting event that I yelled for (or at) a team or player. 2) I have never gotten so into a video game that I jumped up, yelled at the screen, and swore. NHL 10 for the Xbox 360 made me do both, and I have to admit, I liked it.
I’ve never been an emotional gamer, and I’ve never been that much into sports (then again, as a Canadian, I feel there’s a default certain level of national pride we all share with hockey), but when playing as the Toronto Maple leafs and winning 2-1 on game seven against Ottawa for the Stanley Cup and with less than 1 minute left in the third period you can’t help but get a little into it when Ottawa scores the tying goal with seconds left on the clock. Yes, I jumped up, yes my voice got loud and shrill, and yes I did say some things that would make a sailor blush. I think this was the most rewarding aspect of NHL 10, that after 17 past NHL titles, EA still has what it takes to make a casual hockey fan into a raving sports fanatic, and I didn’t see it coming. Read more…
In early 2006 Harmonix split ways with the Guitar Hero series and went off with MTV to create Rock Band leaving Activision to contract Neversoft to re-build the game that Harmonix arguably perfected. This move marked the day that split the plastic instrument community right down the middle.
While some people saw no problem with the direction that Guitar Hero went in there is a hardcore contingency of people that would like nothing more than to see Guitar Hero vanish into obscurity and let Harmonix’s Rock Band franchise rule supreme. It has been said that ever since Rock Band was released Guitar Hero has been scrambling to avoid doing just that by “ripping off” Rock Band any chance they get. Well if that’s the case then on September 1st, 2009 they finally caught up. Read more…
Once again, we are presented with not only a movie tie-in game, but another reboot of a product from the 1980s – G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero. Except this time, the subtitle is The Rise of Cobra. Which is interesting, and a let down at the same time. What makes this interesting is that the writers of this particular adventure had the option of reworking characters many of us grew up with and expanding on their history and tenuous (at best) relationships which had been established within the G.I. Joe universe. The let down however, was that they chose to completely ignore that option, and instead push another lackluster, under-developed game out the door in time to coincide with a summer movie release, and pray that the name alone would trump up some sales numbers. Read more…
Let Them Eat Cake!
This has been the year of downloadable games/content. With tons of gems available and consoles finally becoming more network and online oriented, I challenge you to find anyone who has either a 360 or PS3 (maybe even select Wii owners) who has not splurged on any sort of downloadable game. With full fledged disc based games now coming to your PSN or Live store (look up Burnout Paradise, Warhawk, or 360 games on demand service) the future is definitely download friendly!
One of these gems that I will review today is Titan Studios, Fat Princess exclusively for the PlayStation Network. It takes aspects of Tower defense and capture the flag/zones and feeds it a big piece of cake.
I will be very upfront about this, Fat Princess is a PSN game designed with online multiplayer in mind. That is not to say the game cannot be enjoyed single player-wise but the actual mechanics make sense and shine online. You have selections from your standard grunt, mage, priest, worker, and scout. Now you are in full control of one person and once you die you are re-spawned. You can get AI buddies to follow you and help you but let me stress this: you’re in control of your character only and offline that means tons of AI NPC s going about their business. These guys are helpful but no way near as if you had your friends by your side.
I can’t sing. Not well, anyway. But I feel that puts me in the norm rather than outside of it. With that in mind, I sat down last week with a couple of friends who can sing, to enjoy a little SingStar: Queen.
As a huge Queen fan, I felt I had the advantage going in to this impromptu karaoke competition, at least when it came to knowing the lyrics and general dynamic of the songs. What I didn’t count on (and should have) is that my two fellow competitors were karaoke superstars. For convenience’s sake, let’s call them Brodie and his girlfriend, Chris. Read more…
This review marks a number of firsts for andPOP. It’s the first time I’m reviewing a Disney title, it’s the first game I get to play and write about before the official launch date, and it’s the first game I’ve ever reviewed… in 3D! That’s right, today I’ll be reviewing, nay, PREVIEWING Disney’s G-Force video game on the PlayStation 3; talking about what I liked, what bugged me, and all the interesting cute little things guinea pigs do that now freak me out when I see them in real life. With the movie comes out this Wednesday on July 22nd, and the game being released July 24, this is your first look into the inner workings of a super secret group of spy rodents. Read more…
Alright folks, this is the premier review by yours truly on andPOP. This week I’m taking a look at iNFAMOUS, from Sucker Punch Productions.
inFAMOUS follows the story of Cole, a messenger given strange electricity-based powers from a devastating explosion that destroys a good chunk of Empire City and cripples the rest. As Cole struggles to understand and control his new powers, he sets out to discover how the blast happened in the first place, and who’s responsible. He may not like what he finds out.
I’ll start off by saying that inFAMOUS is a lot of fun. This sandbox game is open-ended entertainment. As you travel the length and breadth of Empire City, you can play through the game’s story missions or venture off on side missions and scavenge for extras. But nothing is perfect, and inFAMOUS is not an exception to this rule. There are glitches and oversights that, if corrected, could have made this a potential heir to the PS3 throne (the “throne” being the throne of Awesome).
The control scheme here is sort of a blend of Assassin’s Creed meets Force Unleashed. It’s intuitive and very quick to master, even though you gain abilities throughout the game. The biggest reason that these controls are so easy to pick up is that after you gain a new ability, you are put through a very brief sequence that involves situations relevant to your new power. It’s not too obvious, and it works. The most exciting feature is the freerunning, though. Apparently our hero picked up some intense parkour skills in his life as a messenger/urban explorer, and puts them to use climbing anything and everything in Empire City with a handhold (except for chainlink fences and some stairs, apparently – yes, really). Aside from some invisible walls here and there and Cole’s seemingly uncontrollable need to grab anything in his reach to hang on to when falling or jumping, this freedom of movement is above par for any game that’s come before. Read more…
Logan, Weapon X, James, Jimmy, Wolverine. Whatever you want to call him, there’s no denying he’s one of the biggest names in super-hero history. Then why has he been so hard to franchise for? Could it be that it’s hard to market a children’s video game where the main character is a raging animal? Could it be that with such a deep story line a game could never encompass everything that wolverine is? Could it be that it’s hard to have a game where players can die, when the character himself has survived bullets in the brain, being ripped in half, AND walking directly into the sun? For these reasons and more I feel there has never been a video game that has done wolverine justice… that is, until now.
With the increasing level of quality connected to licensed games (Spiderman: Web of Shadows and Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Athena come to mind), X-Men: Origins: Wolverine raises the bar with this exceptional title. It could be because in the past only children played games, but as those children grew up, they required more adult oriented action. Enter Wolverine. This is by far one of the bloodiest, gruesome-ist, and most stylized carnage I have ever had the pleasure of controlling, and after the lack of blood found in the X-Men: Origins: Wolverine movie, I felt this was much needed.
After Guitar Hero: Aerosmith fell as a bust, I was extremely hesitant to pick and try a guitar hero title based on one of my favourite metal bands, but through my loyalty of both the game and the band, I figured I’d give it a shot, after all, Metallica would never sell out, right? (that was a joke). Guitar Hero: Metallica (GH:M) delivers everything it promised. Open for the band, play with the band, be the band. While presentation, music, graphics, and extras are all phenomenal (and all that are important to the Guitar Hero brand); I still felt a little off about GH: M, more the vibe I get from the band itself than anything else. GH:M promised us three things. A kick ass sound track, a real feel for what the band does almost nightly while on tour, and visuals that rival a live concert. In all three sections, GH:M meets expectations and does it with flair.
In a new age of video gaming, users get the complete picture when it comes to sports games. Gone are the days when exhibition and season game modes were all that were offered. These days, you the gamer get a grand variety of modes when it comes to sports games.
With PlayStation2′s NBA 09: The Inside, you get the opportunity to be a part of the logical progression of an up-and-coming NBA player with “The Life” feature. “The Life” is the primary game feature The Inside has to offer, along with your basic exhibition, season, and franchise gameplay modes. The Life lets you go through the logical progression of a young player coming up in the business. This feature is the game’s main attraction, but little else is available to whet the gamer’s appetite. If you’ve experienced some of the more in-depth games out there, you will find these basic modes are just that – basic. Read more…
AWWWW YEAH! Guitar Hero World Tour (GHWT) kicks ass! It seems Neversoft and Activision really got their act together after the disappointing release of Guitar Hero 3 for this Rockband competitor, with the release of GHWT in late October on the PS2, PS3, Wii and Xbox 360. This will be one tight review so I’ll get right to it with this Xbox 360 review. Because there are so many aspects to this game I’ll break it down as follows: I’ll talk about the instruments, the graphics, the music, the game options, and finally my overall feel of the title.
First off, GHWT is directly competing with Rockband 2 this time around by offering a full set of instruments, guitar drums and microphone. The Microphone is nearly exactly the same as the mic from Rockband 2, they both function just as well, both are wired USB microphones and both work on each game. The new Guitar Hero Guitar is by far my favourite video game controller I have ever touched, the look of the faux wood finish, the weight and balancing of the controller, the addition of a star power button (to avoid premature star power activation) the response and feel of the brightly colored Guitar Hero known buttons, strum bar and whammy bar all feel and look fantastic. Read more…