Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron Review


The Star Wars marathon continues as I play through the final PSP experience. The Battlefront series has definitely been pretty fun. While I still do miss the overall gameplay of the first title, the rest have definitely been solid. Ironically I think this one’s gameplay is definitely weaker than Renegade Squadron, but it makes up for this with a more expansive story. The Battlefront games have all been pretty close when it counts.

The game’s story covers the trilogy as well as some events after it. The main character is X2 and he is a clone bred for combat. Along with X1, he was one of the Empire’s finest soldiers. He ends up joining the rebellion though once Palpatine emerges and he finds out that he was on the wrong side. X1 remains evil though and will do everything he can to help the Empire win the war. It may not be Darth Vader and Palpatine that the rebels need to worry about after all.

It’s always fun to see how the games incorporate all of these new characters and events into the classic films. They fit them in pretty seamlessly to be honest. There are also a lot of fun nods to the last games as in 2 missions you get to support Renegade Squadron in their battles. It helps tie everything together into a larger continuity so that’s definitely pretty cool. Sadly you don’t get to fight with Vader this time, but you do take on some Jedi which is definitely a lot of fun.

It is easy to see how the Jedi ended up losing the war though. There is one cutscene where a Jedi shows up and manages to beat X1. However, he says that he won’t murder anyone. After saying this, the Jedi turns his back to X1 and is promptly stabbed. Did he really think that one line would cause X1 to turn good? Later in the story X2 is presented with a similar choice and while he also makes the hero call of not murdering X1, he at least doesn’t give the villain his back. Both X1 and X2 are definitely real fun characters though. They remind me of Starkiller to an extent. They also get hype as the villain takes down Luke Skywalker and the hero is ultimately able to trade blows with just about anyone in the game.

As for the core gameplay, it’s a classic 3D blaster style. You do get a lightsaber during the final few levels though so at that point it feels more like a beat em up. The controls are a little rougher than the last few titles mainly thanks to the camera work. It can be very hard to turn around as the camera shakes quite a bit so get ready for the villains to get a bunch of cheap shots in. Perhaps the developers realized this though as there are constant checkpoints throughout the game. Whenever you die you can find solace in the fact that you won’t have gone far. You’ll rarely have to replay more than 5 minutes of content to get back to where you are at.

You can heal your health by throwing a health packet or standing near a health point. Likewise there are various ammo points. Due to all of these methods of strengthening your character you are rarely in serious danger. So long as you play patiently you will definitely be fine. The aerial levels are back as well and these are definitely improved from the last one. You can move really quickly and the lock-on system is on point. You always feel like you are in control here and I actually looked forward to these levels. Typically they would be mixed in with the ground levels for a pretty good balance.

As for the length of the game, while it isn’t 3 hours like the last one, it is still pretty short. I don’t imagine it would take you much longer than 5 hours and honestly it would probably be more like 4. It’s definitely a short campaign, but of course there are other modes to keep you engaged like jumping into normal levels to have fun in. There’s no real post game though as the various unlockables don’t feel all that special. I got it for a cheap price and the value is pretty decent. I don’t think you’d regret the buy as even though it is short the gameplay is fun enough to keep you on board.

Going back to the length, this is also the kind of game where you can leisurely beat the level as you explore or you can blast through them. As the game uses a checkpoint system it’s very easy to cheese the game by running full speed to each objective. Even if you die after making it the checkpoint counts as a save point so each time you’ll be closer. As a result it’s not a bad idea to just run in each time. It’s not exactly how the developers probably imagined you’ll play though. Also, it’s not like you’re always saving a ton of time by doing this, but realistically there is no reason to actually fight all of the enemies unless you really want to. After all, there’s no EXP system here and I only tend to stick around and fight everyone when I can get level ups out of it.

The graphics are definitely solid and we do get more cinematics than last time. The Jedi vs X1 battle was really solid and we get other good action scenes as well. I’m always pleasantly surprised to see such cutscenes in the games and it does make the game feel a little more special. The soundtrack is about the same as always. I know the tunes are still good no matter how many times you hear them but I want to see the Star Wars games show a little more creativity with the upcoming games. There are a lot of new tunes they can come up with I’m sure.

Overall, Elite Squadron is a very fun game. It is definitely a step up over Rebel Squadron even if the gameplay is a little weaker. It’s very relative since all of the Battlefront games are very solid in that respect. The rest of the game aspects improve upon the original so you can’t count that as anything but a win. The next Star Wars game I’m playing is for the GBA so that’ll definitely be fun. It’ll be a fresh gameplay experience so it’ll be nice to see what the other companies could come up with. y Star Wars marathon is coming to a close, but it’s definitely been a fun ride. If you don’t have Elite Squadron yet then you should definitely change that.

Overall 7/10

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Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron Review


It’s time to take a look at the next Battlefront game. I’m getting closer to the end of this Battlefront marathon as there is just one more that I have after this one. Renegade Squadron is a pretty fun game with a nice setup, but it is definitely as short as you may have heard. I was able to blast through the game in around 3 hours if not a little sooner. There are only 11 levels and they’re all pretty easy. I think I only lost a level once during the whole playthrough. The gameplay is definitely solid though and I can’t say that there are any real weak points to the game beyond the length.

The game starts with a researcher trying to make sure that the history logs about the original trilogy are accurate. As a result she calls the leader of the old Renegade Squadron since nobody’s ever heard of them but apparently they were crucial towards winning the war. The commander confirms that this is the case and starts to talk to her about how things went back in the day. It turns out that this squad was present in pretty much every big battle. They would always be behind the shadows as they helped change events, but their role was key. They even took down Darth Vader twice.

It’s a fun premise even if it does seem like every game likes to introduce new characters who were apparently the real heroes of the rebellion. The dialogue can be pretty cheesy, but it works out pretty well. It may be by the books, but the script does get the job done. You can’t help but root for this old general as he brags about the good ole days. The cutscenes are basically stills with a lot of cool energy effects in the background. I can definitely get behind that and having cutscenes always makes the game feel more majestic. The story may not be as grand as Battlefront II, but the narrator definitely does a better job of making it sound epic.

The graphics are pretty decent. You’ll recognize all of the characters pretty well. It definitely holds up and the PSP has always been pretty impressive in this area. The soundtrack is certainly less memorable and you may not even recall any of the tunes by the time it ends. They just won’t leave that kind of impact on you, but it could be worse. At least you have the classic Star Wars tunes that you see in all of the games.

There is a little replay value as you can play random levels or replay the story ones to get some medals. Admittedly it is still not all that much content though so if you had bought this day 1 then you’d probably be a little upset. As it stands though, I got the game for just a few bucks so that makes the purchase feel a lot better if you ask me. It may be a game that only lasted 3 hours, but at least it was fun. The gameplay lends itself pretty well to just jumping in and having fun. It’s certainly the easiest of the Battlefront games though. Your character is very strong and half of the time you can just skip the enemies.

The gameplay revolves around objectives like destroying objects/fighters or conquering areas. Long gone are the days of the original Battlefront where it was about territory. Since some objectives are just to destroy terminals you can ignore the enemies entirely. Also, you have 3 little objects that you can throw to recover your health entirely. You have a chaingun that has unlimited ammo which also packs a punch and can switch to any other weapon whenever you’re at a base. Your options are numerous and you can also run for prolonged periods of time so there is just no way that the enemies can hope to catch you. I’m not sure why they decided to give you so many techniques for this PSP title. If anything it’s part of why the game is so short since most of the levels can be cheesed.

One area where is did improve on compared to Battlefront II were the space levels though. In that game they weren’t all that fun since the ships were super slow and you didn’t have much of a proper lock on. This game fixes both options as the ship can fly real fast and you can boost for a while. The enemy targets go down quicker so it isn’t as long to clear the levels. They also added auto landing so you don’t have to worry about crashing on re-entry. I still think Battlefront should really stick to the ground levels as that is when the game is at its best, but if the space levels stay this solid then it is definitely less of an issue.

Overall, Renegade Squadron is a fun title. It’s the kind of game that you likely won’t go back to, but that’s fine. As mentioned, the gameplay is definitely a lot of fun. It may be easy, but it’s still satisfying to take out your chaingun and just blast everyone away. The fact that the game also had a pretty solid story certainly helps as well. It makes for a complete experience although I will certainly say that it is the weakest of the Battlefront games so far. I do expect that the next PSP title in the series will end up winning. It’s supposed to be longer and that will definitely help, but we’ll see if the gameplay can match up as well since that is just as important.

Overall 7/10

Star Wars Battlefront II Review


It’s time to look at the next Star Wars title! The first Battlefront was pretty fun with its unique take on the beat em up genre. You had to rely on tactics to win and playing as an expendable agent instead of a super fighter was pretty fun. Interestingly this one actually changes the formula considerably to the point where it now lets you play as the OP Jedi/Sith for a bit and the tactics element is removed. I’d still call it an overall improvement to the first game, but I must admit that I do miss the old gameplay style.

The game follows the exploits of the 501 commander unit. These Stormtroopers are the best of the best in their craft. It turns out that they were at all the big battles in the Star Wars mythos. Each of the levels typically has a short live action clip from the movies to let you know where this takes place and then some narration from the lead as he talks about how tragic the whole thing is. These Stormtroopers weren’t just men, they were a family and all the betrayals really took their toll on these guys.

Let me explain how the gameplay is different from the first game. In this one you have an objective to objective structure. The game tells you to conquer area A, then blow up some things, then take over area B, etc. You have a certain amount of reinforcements so if you go over that then you lose the game. It’s not like the first game where you have to take over all the areas at once or take down all of the troops to win. This one is all about doing things one step at a time. It’s fun as well of course, but the first game’s design was a whole lot more unique. You actually felt like you were a Stormtrooper in that one. Here, you are a lot stronger and won’t find yourself dying instantly the way you would in the other title.

There are also points in the various levels where you get to play as one of the Jedi or a Sith. In this form you have your lightsaber and a lot of force abilities. You feel pretty OP here, but once the section is over the computer will usually find a way to take you out real quick. Once the minions start blasting you even The Force can’t save you from such an onslaught. It’s a fun way to mix up the gameplay styles. While it may take away from the point of the game, I can’t deny that it is satisfying.

A third gameplay mode was added and this one is the weakest. There are various space levels (That are actually skippable which shows that the game wasn’t too confident in them) where you have to try to take down enemy ships and continue your conquest. These levels are pretty unforgiving with the time limit and the controls also aren’t all that responsive. Case in point, you boost using the R3 button but it never worked. Maybe it’s my controller which couldn’t handle that, but it made these levels even more difficult. It’s also hard to dodge enemy fire and I think this part was slapped on without too much effort. The game did not need any kind of space levels and would have been fine just sticking to ground support.

Of course if we don’t compare this one to the first game then the gameplay certainly does hold up pretty well on its own. I’ve always been a fan of third person shooters even if they aren’t nearly as big as the first person ones. The close quarters combat with the lightsaber is also pretty fun even if it isn’t yet all that refined. I think a big reason as to why the Battlefront series is so big is because the shooting aspect is so fresh compared to the other titles. It’s a shame that the name has been associated with the more negatively received games EA pumped out recently, but it can’t stop these classics from still being really good.

The graphics have definitely improved from the first game which is certainly a good thing. They hold up quite well and you’ll be able to see the levels a lot better than you could in the first title. My favorite level is the ship from the first scene of Episode IV. It’s pretty fun to relive that moment. The character designs are all on point and the game never wavers. The soundtrack isn’t particularly memorable though. We get all the classic tunes and that’s about it. I suppose when you’ve got tunes this memorable there is no reason not to use them right?

As far as replay value goes, this game does have more modes than the last one. In addition to the story mode you can just pick up and play random missions for fun. You’ve also still got multiplayer mode. It’s not the largest selection, but it’s enough to get you going. I imagine you can probably buy this game for pretty cheap right now as well so it’s not like you’ll be spending a whole lot of money here. It’s a game that is worth getting and there is definitely enough content to make the purchase worth it.

Overall, Battlefront II is a solid sequel. While some of the decisions it makes are pretty questionable, it does deliver on being a fresh experience. You certainly can’t accuse this game of just copying the first one over. There was clearly fresh development here and having an actual story was also a pretty nice improvement from the first one. On the whole I do give this game the edge over the first one even if I did prefer the gameplay style of the first. It’s not cut and dry as the pure gameplay here is better, but the actual level designs, how you win a level, and durability make the first one’s gameplay feel more genuine. It was the better package, but that alone isn’t enough to combat the fact that the sequel wins in all other categories. Next it’s time to see how the PSP spinoffs fare.

Overall 7/10

Star Wars Battlefront Review


I’ve owned this game for a very long time as I hunted down the PSP game that I needed to play first. Well, Lethal Alliance is now done so that left room for Battlefront to take the center stage. It’s definitely a very fun game and one that has a pretty unique premise. It takes a very different look at what a beat em up game is all about and it works pretty well. It does feel a little limited in scope, but that’s probably because of how old it is. It still does age well, it just isn’t as long as I would have liked. I would recommend it either way though.

The game’s plot covers the Clone Wars as well as the first two movies in the original trilogy. The unique part of this story is that it’s told through the eyes or ordinary rebels and storm troopers. You also switch between fighting for the Rebels and the Imperials as the game goes on. In some levels you are the hero while in others you are the villain. Sometimes this can make it a little difficult to keep track of who you’re shooting which adds to the danger. After all, friendly fire is activated here. Allies can shoot you in the back and vice versa. Particularly in one of the final levels my allies kept on shooting me to death which was pretty intense. They were throwing grenades like there was no tomorrow. The snow level is also tricky in that respect as both sides are all in white (Storm Troopers and Rebels in white coats) so it’s tough to know what to do next.

Each level starts off by showing you how many troops both sides have. Typically it is 200 on each side. It’s cool in that you can actually see the number go down with each KO you land. Expect to die a lot of times as well though since as a normal character you have no plot shield. On average if I took down 100 enemies I would die around 25-40 times. Of course, every time you die your side loses a man as you are effectively switching characters so you do want to try and not die too often. Once one side is down to 0 troops left or you’ve taken over all of the bases in the level for at least 20 seconds then you win. Typically the first win criteria will happen before the second, but there have been a few times where the enemy only had 1 troop left and I won via conquering all of the areas instead.

The areas are key to winning regardless. Your troops seem to do a lot better when you have most of the bases on your side even if it’s evenly matched. That’s why it is usually worth it to quickly leave your troops to conquer the areas instead of trying to hold your ground. It’s the kind of game where pushing forward is encouraged. This did get tricky for one level near the end where the only way to get to the other territory was through a very long bridge right up the middle. It’s one of the few levels where I did die once. It’s a pretty genius design though as it does force the confrontation right off the bat and you have to wrestle with the fact that you can’t just hide and get them from the back. It was a lot of fun and helped teach me to throw more grenades.

I also do think the game developed the stealth abilities pretty well here. You don’t have any fancy stealth kills or anything like that but if the opponent is focused on shooting down your partners you can often start shooting them real quick from behind. By the time they are able to react to your shots the match is as good as over. It’s done in a way that feels pretty realistic and isn’t too overpowered which is very heard to do. It’s the little things like that which really make the game standout. While I played the whole game as a trooper type character you could also pick the sniper, rocket launcher, and a third choice. I’m sure their respective gameplay would also be pretty fun to dabble with.

The graphics are pretty good, although as I mentioned before it can be hard to tell who your ally is and who the enemies are at times. The costumes are really similar and some of the levels are just really dark. The indoor levels are usually well lit so those aren’t a problem but in the dark you end up fumbling through the level. At times I just had to trust in my compass as I shot blindly into the night. Meanwhile the soundtrack is definitely on point. It’s nothing that you haven’t heard before, but it works pretty well all the same.

Where the game is lacking is definitely in replay value. The single player campaign is incredibly short. You can play various side modes like story mode without the story or other bonus levels which helps to an extent. There also is multiplayer mode which I imagine would probably be the most enjoyable option as you lead an army against someone else’s and it’ll all come down to your tactics. Yeah, I ca definitely see that being a lot of fun assuming it works that way. I can’t find too many places talking about the multiplayer here and the only video I saw was more of a co-op. Even so, teaming up with someone is always fun as well.

Overall, Star Wars Battlefront is definitely a very solid game. I can see why this one would have been pretty iconic back in the day. It really was a fresh new direction for the series and I like the way it handled the genre. It’s smaller in scope than it would have been nowadays, but it definitely has that retro charm as a result. The game is very smooth and the gameplay is appealing. At the end of the day that’s really all you need to be a success if you ask me. If you’re on the fence about getting this game because of its age I would recommend you take the plunge and buy it anyway. I’ll be starting Battlefront II soon so I hope to see it continue Star Wars’ steak of quality games.

Overall 7/10

FIFA 08 Review


My FIFA marathon is now at an end. 08 is the final game I own that I have not covered yet. It’s definitely been cool going through the years like this. I’m not sure what sport is next, but I think I’m in the mood for something super hype like Football so that’s probably gonna be the one. I’m out of Madden games (Aside from a Head Coach title) so most likely it’ll be college Football. Either way lets get back on topic. FIFA 08 is definitely not quite as good as 09 and 10 but it’s pretty close tbh. FIFA is definitely a game where you don’t see much of a difference in gameplay or graphics til we get even newer than that.

As always you’ve got a pretty good amount of options for which mode you want to play. You can jump right into a quick battle or head online. Well, the online is disabled so scratch that option. You can play a franchise mode which is honestly your best bet if you’re going to be playing this one for a long time. This way you can play a lot of games in a row and actually see yourself improve as you go through the matches. Even if you don’t make the playoffs it isn’t the end of the world as you can play more than one season. The franchise keeps on going until you decide to stop playing. In that sense the game never truly ends. There are also tutorials and practice mode to play which will help you hone your skills.

I am now confidently at the point where I can defeat the A.I. on the first dificulty level. Unfortunately after that it starts to get hairy. I fought the computer at the highest difficulty level in the game and only lost 2-0 so I felt pretty good about that. As always I am great on defense, it’s just the offensive side of the ball where I can’t really keep up. I don’t get how the players do it because it really doesn’t seem like there is any kind of opening. I really need to watch some Youtube videos or something. On defense if I play conservatively then I should usually be able to force a 0-0 game, but it gets tedious after a while so then I just start running in and hitting people. Obviously this will result in a lot of flags so it usually isn’t worth throwing the move out there without a plan. It’s fun though.

As I mentioned the graphics are basically the same as last time. The stages all look good and the player details are on point. I can’t really speak to the soundtrack much as you just won’t hear it while playing. On a technical level I also like how the celebrations are handled after a play and after a game. They’re actually pretty realistic and there are enough variations of them where you don’t feel like you are watching the same things over and over again. Having a solid selection of celebrations is about as important as having them in the first place if you ask me.

As for the gameplay, it’s pretty straight forward. As long as you know the rules of Soccer then you’ll definitely be able to get into the action here. The toughest part as I mentioned is kicking the ball. It’s hard to angle your kicks and taking the time to power them up is risky since the opponents will slide in. There’s a lot of strategy here so think of playing the game as trying to crack a code. Even if I was unable to crack the code I can definitely respect the fact that the gameplay was handled pretty well. There’s a lot of nuance here and attention to detail.

One technique I practiced a bit so I could at least say I tried to get into the deeper aspects of the game was the ball shuffle. I’m not sure what the exact term of this is, but by moving the right joystick on the controller you’re able to try and juke around the defenders. It didn’t work a single time so it seems to be about as useful as the juke in the Madden games. Usually in these games the computers just don’t fall for anything, but I do think it’ll probably work a whole lot better if I use it against real players. That’s when you know if you’ve mastered the technique or not. The only part where the human element doesn’t really come into play is the goalie so that’ll be tough regardless of who you’re playing.

Overall, FIFA 08 is definitely a fun game. There’s really no point in buying it at the moment since the later games already go for 1-2 dollars. Still, if you really want to collect all of the FIFA games then you might as well get it. Ignoring the fact that there are sequels, FIFA 08 still stands loud and proud as a solid video game. There really aren’t any glaring negatives. It’s just a very complete soccer game. There’s nothing to do but play soccer when playing FIFA 08, but why else would you get the game? So long as you enjoy playing the sport I’m sure you’ll enjoy this title.

Overall 7/10

Star Wars Lethal Alliance Review


It’s time to take a look at a Star Wars game that is likely forgotten to time by now. Lethal Alliance was one of the few Star War titles that I did not own before now. It was in the way of my marathon so it’s good to finally own it. You can expect more Star War reviews soon but lets not get ahead of ourselves. Lethal Alliance is a very solid game that is held back a bit by sloppy gameplay mechanics. (The game also crashed during the second last level but that was more due to my PSP’s faulty battery than the game) I do like the ideas behind the game and the plot is solid.

The plot follows a girl who is trying to enact revenge on one of the high ranking members aboard the Death Star. To this end she has made an alliance with the rebellion and will aid them as long as their goals are aligned. She will quickly find out that this goal is a lot more difficult than it appears as there are many enemies in the Empire and overcoming them will not be easy. She has no Force abilities, but has a lifetime of combat experience and gun skills to aid her. Throw in her motive of revenge and she is ready for the task.

The gameplay is sort of like Bounty Hunter as the main character uses a gun to fight most opponents. You can also switch to the Lightsaber when you’re in close quarters combat, but for most of the game it is a lot easier to just gun spam. The title gives you a lot of freedom in how you fight though so I’m not saying that it is impossible to fight that way. You can certainly find quite a lot of success with the blade as well. You also learn new moves after every few levels although I never really used them. It’s nice to have options of course, but give me a good one and I’ll likely just start spamming it.

What hurts the gameplay is the platforming part. I feel like it was tacked on after the fact. It’s hard to turn without moving quite a bit which ultimately ends up with you falling off the cliff. At that point you have to go all the way back to the last checkpoint which can get annoying after a while. I also think this aspect of the game doesn’t add anything since the combat moments are the best anyway. Likewise there are some times where you control the drone and they aren’t challenging or inventive so I feel like it was just a waste of space. More content isn’t always a good thing after all.

It’s a shame since the combat is air tight. While playing as a Jedi is always the best I also like playing as these bounty hunters. It’s a pretty fun change of pace and you get to deal with overwhelming odds. Of course, this lead has a lightsaber so it’s a little different. One of the best parts of Bounty Hunter was having to fight a Jedi master while only having guns and normal armaments to fight with. It’s just such a cool concept even if you should have no chance in such a scenario.

The graphics definitely look good. It’s going for a bit of a realistic look so we don’t get a lot of flashy visuals, but there’s a good amount of detail. We also get some cutscenes which is always fun. One of them is unintentionally humorous though as you get ready for a big fight with the main villain and then the heroine wakes up in jail. I suppose you can’t always win all your fights with ease. Still, she managed to rebound after that and did her best to keep on going forward. I definitely think she succeeded as a lead and I liked the twist at the end. Her character is ultimately pretty important in the mythos although it was likely completely retconned by now. While the soundtrack isn’t the most original as it loves to re-use movie themes (Like a lot of the games for this franchise) you never get tired of hearing Vader’s theme. The voice sounded like him too so it’d be pretty neat if they managed to get the same actor to voice him.

The game is fairly short and there are no collectibles/no post game so there isn’t any real replay value to be found. It’s long enough where I wouldn’t feel cheated if I ended up buying it at full price. Nowadays it’s certainly cheaper provided you can find it in stock at least.

There are two points in the game that are a bit annoying though so watch out for them. One is a puzzle element in a level where you have to find a way down from a high up building. I don’t even know how I made it down (I just kept jumping til I landed on something) and it didn’t feel much like a puzzle so much as just a poorly designed level. Then the other iffy part is the final boss where the only way to beat him is to use one of the many abilities you learned through the game. Problem is that I never used this one before. It took forever to finally learn how to activate it and that dragged the game out a bit. Surely the game could have let me know how to use the combos or some kind of guide right? You’re expected to remember them all.

Overall, Lethal Alliance is a pretty fun Star Wars game. It’s a shame that it basically fell under the radar though. I think that’s probably because in general the PSP never got all that big (relatively speaking) so the games are typically not brought up day to day. Still, this is one game that has aged very well and it would be cool to see a big budget remake for the PS4 or something. If you haven’t played this game yet then I highly recommend changing that.

Overall 7/10

FIFA 09 Review


My FIFA backlog is finally near the end. It’s been a long journey but a hype one nonetheless. I can’t really say that my skills have evolved much over this period of time but what I can say is that the older FIFA titles do seem to be more fun than the new ones. At this point they start to become really similar though as there is really nothing separating 09 from 10.

When you boot up the game you’re given a whole lot of options. You’ve got the usual play now, franchise, online matches, training, etc. There’s always a lot of options in these sport games and so long as you enjoy the gameplay then the replay value is basically limitless. So as it all boils down to the gameplay lets talk about it. I feel more confident with my kicks and passes now and the arcade style gameplay definitely makes it more solid.

As it’s a team based game you always want to keep track of everyone on the field. Your passes and kicks must always take them into account or you’ll get the ball stolen. At low difficulties you can definitely get by on quick passes and then shooting the easy goal, but on higher difficulties that’s just not going to cover it. You’ve got to pull off a lot of maneuvers. I definitely still think that FIFA is one of the toughest sport games out there. NBA and Madden I can handle a lot of the difficulty levels, but on FIFA it’s just so hard to land a goal. Playing defense is easy, but on the attack side I can easily go a whole game without scoring.

So, this isn’t a “pick up and play” kind of title. You will need to put in the work and learn the mechanics quite well if you really want to succeed. In a way this is pretty nice I suppose. At the very least it doesn’t feel hopeless like in some of the other FIFA titles. You always feel like you’ve got a shot at the very least. After all, since you’ll be holding the opponent to only 1 goal at most you can always try to bring it back. Plus I do feel like I can always fire off a shot even if I don’t get close enough for it to matter. In the newer FIFA titles you also have to account for direction and power more which makes it very difficult to get the goal.

As with FIFA 10 I do enjoy the 1 on 1 practice mode that plays during the loading screens. I really do think that a 1 on 1 mode would have a whole lot of potential. It makes the whole thing pretty high stakes since if the opponent gets past you it’s a free goal. Sort of like the 1 on 1 NBA drills which are cool. FIFA’s probably couldn’t be a full game, but it would at least make for a pretty sound minigame.

Graphically the game holds up just as well as all of the other FIFA titles. There’s a lot of solid animations and victory dances here. They’re programmed to work for every character and the soccer ball is as realistic as you can reasonably expect it to be. There isn’t much of a soundtrack so I can’t speak to the music. It’s definitely not nearly as expansive as NBA or Madden.

There are a lot of different customizations for the games so you can choose the time, difficulty, arena, team, etc. You can recreate whatever kind of situation you need and that’s definitely nice. It’s easy to take that for granted, but EA does give you all the tools you’ll need to succeed. As long as you enjoy the game of soccer (and hopefully you do if you bought this game) then there’s really nothing to dislike here. It’s a very solid all around FIFA experience. While there may not be much reason to play it so long as the newer ones exist, it’s not as if the quality declines just by existing. It’s as solid as it ever was.

One last tip I’ll leave you with is that it’s very easy to cheese the game once you have the lead. Just stay in your territory and keep on passing to your teammates once you have the lead. It’s very easy to confirm the win this way but there is a good reason why most people don’t do it. The simple answer is that it’s very boring and you almost may as well not be playing the game at that point. If that’s your strategy for winning tourneys and all that’s fine, but cheesing against a computer like this? I wouldn’t be able to last for many games doing that. It becomes a running simulator at that point. Might as well go for gold even if it ends up forcing the loss.

Overall, FIFA 09 is definitely a soccer game that you will want to add to your roster. It brings a significant amount of content for only around 2 bucks at this point. I suppose I should add the disclaimer that the online modes do not currently work as the game is too old so you shouldn’t count that in the replay value section. Either way with local multiplayer and franchise options there is enough content where you can fairly say that the game is basically infinite with how long you can play it. I don’t imagine anyone will be buying 09 this late in the game, but if you are tempted to do so then know that I do recommend it as a quality purchase.

Overall 7/10

Ratchet & Clank All 4 One Review


It’s time to look at the final Ratchet & Clank game. (Not counting the movie adaption) All 4 One is definitely a very different game in the series as it focuses on the multiplayer aspect and naturally had to switch the gameplay a bit to set this up. I think they probably could have still pulled it off with the normal gameplay if you ask me, but I don’t know the full details of how that would work so it’s just speculation. Either way, while the gameplay is a bit weaker it’s still a solid all around game with a fun plot and good fundamentals.

Ratchet has retired from the hero gig and Qwark is now the President so everyone has achieved their goals. This is all thrown out the window though when the planet is invaded by an army of robots. Ratchet & Clank must get back out there in order to save the universe and Qwark tags around to help give his approval ratings a boost. They are even joined by their old enemy Dr. Nefarious who is only working with them for now. He warns the heroes not to get the wrong idea. Who can possibly stop this group of all stars?

The gameplay is your classic 3D blasting platformer. You are given an array of guns and other weapons to use as you rampage through the various levels. You’ll gain many weapons through the game by going to the shop and purchasing them. There aren’t a whole lot of weapons this time so you should have enough money to buy em all well before the final level. It also won’t take a whole lot of grinding post game to get the rest of the upgrades to be honest. The main difference here compared to usual is the team gimmick as I mentioned. There are a bunch of obstacles in the level that you can’t get by without a partner. If you’re playing by yourself then the A.I. will help you but it’s probably one of the worst A.I. I have seen in a very long time. Clank will literally jump off the stage to intentionally die just to make sure you lose.

You don’t actually lose a life unless both characters die, but with a computer ally more times than not that means both of you will die if you do. The game isn’t all that difficult and there are save points constantly so that’s not a big deal, but it will get annoying when you’re counting on your partner. Some parts of the gameplay are also just a little less polished than usual as well. For example, switching between weapons can be pretty rough as you need to cycle through 2-3 screens to get to the one you want. Sometimes it will result in you picking the wrong weapon as well. Then you’ve got the target aiming which will actively switch targets on you if there are a bunch of enemies. Small things like that keep it from being quite a solid as some of the others. It feels a bit more like a cash-in.

That being said, making the game multiplayer is no small feat. It’s definitely always a great idea to have that as a feature and in this title’s case you can team up with people online or offline. Your character also gains levels throughout the game so for example I got Ratchet to level 7. I’m actually not sure what the levels do, but they must have some kind of benefit I’d imagine. There are 9 chapters in the game and each one can take close to an hour or so. It’s a pretty good length for the title and nowadays you can get the game for cheap so you’re getting good value for your purchase here. Only thing to watch out for are glitches. They happened to be twice where I had to die to get the boss to appear again after he vanished. Definitely an odd one.

I also definitely did enjoy the story. The series never fails to deliver on that front with a lot of crispy dialogue. It’s one of those games where characters are constantly talking. There are big cutscenes after every chapter, but with all of the mini ones thrown in there the game stays very cinematic like the rest of the series always is. The plot may not be quite as long or deep as previous games (particularly the time travel trilogy which got real serious) but it still brings across the ole charm of the series. Seeing Qwark and the gang is always fun. Nefarious is probably the weakest member of the group when it comes to the humor, but he rarely gets to be part of the team so it was nice to see him. Ratchet also finally remembered why he became a hero in the first place so I expect that development will probably stick for the sequel. It’ll definitely be interesting to see how the story goes in that one. The only boring part of the story would be the main doctor villain and his good counterpart. They don’t add a whole lot to the story although the twist about who the real main villain was definitely worked really well.

The soundtrack isn’t all that memorable, but I did like the credits theme. That one definitely worked really well to wrap the game up. The graphics also look real good, especially the cutscenes. It holds up really well over the years and I think it will continue to look good many years from now. While the gameplay may not be the sharpest in the series that isn’t to say that it isn’t good either. It’s still very good and I love this style of gaming. Mixing 3D platforming with gun skills is always a recipe for success. Just look at Fortnite or Star Fox Assault!

Overall, All 4 One is definitely a title that I would recommend. Naturally you’ll enjoy it the most if you’re actually playing as a full group, but you’ll still be able to progress through the game very smoothly on your own. The fact that there are save points every minute or so is always good since you won’t feel like you lost a lot of progress when you die. I’m pretty surprised that we haven’t gotten an announcement for another game in the series by now. I thought they always sold really well so Sony would want to have it back soon. Maybe they’re just waiting and are going to unveil a huge sequel one of these days. Either way, I can definitely say that the series had a great run.

Overall 7/10

FIFA 10 Review


It’s time for yet another FIFA game. You’d think that by now I’d really have the controls down, but it’s still a pretty tough game I have to admit. Scoring goals is really tough although I found out near the end of the game that I had actually been using the wrong button to shoot the ball the whole time. That explains a lot. Once I figured it out I still only scored one goal, but that was an improvement and I did end up winning the game so that was cool. I ended up winning another round in a penalty shootout as well. I think I will one day be able to start really winning here.

There are the usual assortment of modes here. You’ve got your franchise mode, quick matches, exhibition, minigames, and online battles. Naturally all of these modes have quite a lot of content in them so you don’t need to worry about a lack of replay value. The replay value here is endless and you don’t have to ever stop playing unless you don’t want to. Of course, with newer FIFA games out there you probably won’t want to stick with this one for long, but at the end of the day the gameplay is pretty similar for all of them anyway.

I would have a hard time telling you what is different between this one and FIFA 11 for example. Like with that one you get to play in 3D practice mode while waiting for the screens to load. The gameplay is still fairly simple which works out for me. I still think the goalkeeper is pretty overpowered and you’ll be lucky to land any real shots here, but at least you’ll know what you’re doing. The defenders give you a lot of space so you’re free to run in and try to dominate the pace of the game. Playing defense is a lot easier. So long as you don’t go for many slides you likely won’t attract any fouls. With no fouls to worry about you can just go ahead and crush your competition until they hand over to the ball. It may result in a lot of 0-0 games, but it’s worth it.

As always the graphics are definitely quite sharp here. EA spares no expense on its sport titles. It’s all very lifelike which is pretty neat. Naturally you can’t compare it to the really new ones, but this game did come out quite a while ago. When it came out the graphics were definitely very high end. The soundtrack is a lot less noticeable like in most sport games since the actual sound effects and such end up completely dominating the music. That works for me though since EA’s music is rarely all that great. The tempo tends to fit for the game you’re playing but I can’t really speak to the lyrics much.

There’s really nothing bad to say about FIFA 10. There were no glitches or bugs that I encountered. There are quite a lot of modes to choose from so it’s not as if the game was made in a rush either. It’s just a very direct game. What you see is what you’ll get. It’s got you covered with whatever kind of soccer modes you want to try. The gameplay may be hard to get into, but once you do learn it fully you’ll definitely be ready to dominate your competition quite easily. It’s definitely a very rewarding game in that sense since once you learn it you will completely dominate your competition.

Overall, FIFA 10 is another solid game. Ultimately there really isn’t much reason to play it now though. You can play FIFA 14 for about 5 bucks nowadays and you’ll have much better luck finding opponents online. I get the feeling there even if the servers are still up for 10 (and they probably aren’t) it’ll be a while before you find a match. There just won’t be many people still playing a FIFA game from that far back. It’s just not going to happen if you ask me. Still, just because there are better versions of the game doesn’t mean it takes away from this one’s score. You have to judge the game on its own and in that case I’d say that this one is still fundamentally sound.

Overall 7/10

FIFA 11 Review


I definitely don’t play a lot of FIFA so most of the gameplay mechanics start to go over my head. You could probably tell that from my earlier FIFA review. Well, the marathon must continue and now I’m going at FIFA 11. I am proud to say that this one is actually an improvement. If anything that could actually be a bit of a negative of course since that means the games got worse as they went along, but that’s mainly because I’m a casual. FIFA 11 is a lot more arcade based so the controls are just simpler. I was actually able to score this time.

As always there are quite a few standard sport modes here. You can quickly pick up and play a normal game, do some minigames and challenges or you can run through a franchise. A cool part of the loading screen here is while waiting for the game to start you can head to the field and practice your shots 1 on 1. I enjoyed these quite a bit and while it would definitely be a very different kind of soccer game I think it would make for a fun one. Some 1 on 1 battles would definitely be a good way to practice fundamentals.

Still, the main part is naturally the actual games and in those I do feel like I improved. At first I couldn’t score a single goal, but then I played some more games and was getting some good shots in. I was able to defeat the opponent on the two easiest difficulties and then after that I started getting blown up again. It’s inevitable, but at least I felt like I was playing as opposed to just staying strong. I got my wins and losses and this just felt like the definitive version of the game.

Everything about FIFA 11 just feels right. The gameplay mechanics and visuals are on point. As always EA really delivers on how the game looks and plays. Then you’ve also got the way the shots work. In the later FIFA games you have to be hitting multiple buttons at once to get the shots where you want. In this one you just hit the shoot button and you’ve got the general direction down. From there it’s all about just keeping on until you get to the end.

Naturally there is also online battles to increase your replay value. Fighting other players online is just a great way to really start testing your skills beyond a local level. At this point it’s hard to imagine going back to just having local multiplayer. For some games that works of course, but especially with sports having online access makes it feel a lot more lifelike. You can go through a complete season with 15 other real teams (Well, that’s Football but you get the idea) and then you’re okay even if you don’t have a friend who plays FIFA.

One gameplay tip for all aspiring FIFA players is you definitely want to pass quite a bit. Get close enough to the goal and one player will always leave his man to try and get to you. That’s when you want to quickly pass the ball and get yourself into a prime position to make the goal. Even then it’s going to be pretty tough of course since the goal keeper is incredibly OP no matter what FIFA game you’re playing. You just gotta keep going and you’ll score. There are less tips to give to the defensive side since it’s pretty easy to stop the goals from being scored so long as you keep tackling the other players. Don’t bother with the slides since you’ll usually get penalized for them. Just go for basic shoves and the other players will never be able to get past you. That’s one thing I’ve been consistent about in both FIFA games, the opponent just doesn’t score.

I did try one game at the highest difficulty level though. It didn’t really follow the same path though as this time I couldn’t stop them from scoring. In my defense, the highest level in any sport game is typically insane. Even in Madden, which is my best series, I have a hard time keeping up at this level. The other team inevitably ends up winning the game by the end even if I can keep it close. So keeping it close in FIFA at this level? Nah…..I can’t do that.

Overall, FIFA 11 is definitely a very solid game. Soccer still isn’t really my sport, but I do think this one is more beginner friendly and the controls are more straight forward. I can see how veterans may not like this, but at the moment I consider this to be the definitive FIFA. I do have other FIFA games to go play (At least 3 more) so we’ll see if those can match up. Considering the trend they just might end up getting even better.

Overall 7/10