9 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order Review


It’s time to look at a Star Wars game that I’ve been hyped for as soon as the first trailer came out. This looked like a really good return to the Force Unleashed games and it does deliver. It’s not quite able to match the complete masterpieces of that duology, but comes close and definitely solidifies itself as a great title. It’s one of the best Star Wars games of all time and I would definitely like to see a sequel.

Carl used to be a Jedi in training, but after some tragic events he now lives in hiding. It’s hard to stay out of view for long during such turbulent times though and he soon finds himself back in the fight. There exists a holocron with the names of every kid who currently has some force abilities. Naturally the Empire wants this, but so do some rebels to bring back the Jedi order. It’s now a race against time to get to the cube first. The journey will span several planets and Carl will have to face his own inner demons along the way.

The gameplay is that of a 3D platformer with a lot of combat. If you’ve played The Force Unleashed then imagine that with some Spider-Man type gameplay. You’ll have some quick time events, but the bulk of the combat gameplay revolves around precise swings and parries. This makes the game pretty difficult at some points, particularly the boss fights but it’s also why the game is so much fun. It never feels unfair or difficult due to bad level design. It’s all quite fair and helps you nail down the timing. If anything this game is probably really good for improving your reaction times. In particular the final boss is incredibly difficult and took me many tries, but it’s great to see your progress as you go through the attempts.

The gameplay also makes it so you can’t just ignore the minions. They’ll actually deal some considerable damage if you try to run past them and you can’t blindly attack either. You’re going to need to block and parry with them as well. The exception are the storm troopers who you can stop any which way. It is fun to perfect block their shots to reflect them though and this is where the upgrades come in handy. One upgrade allows you to block automatically while running which makes it feel even more like you’re a Jedi. Then there is the upgrade where you do a combo attack which allows you to break almost any minion’s guard. It is extremely handy and was even critical against the second to last boss.

I recommend going for the upgrades that increase your base stats first though like improving your health and force abilities. I don’t even need to explain why those are handy to have. In most games my first objective is always to increase stats and then I go for combo moves. I figure it’s best to have top notch fundamentals first and then you have fun with the flashy stuff. There are also upgrades that increase your health shots, health, and force in the wild so keep a lookout for those. I found enough to increase my health and shot once, but didn’t find the rest in time. They are very helpful as well.

The platforming gameplay was a little weaker for me even though it was pretty ambitious. I think my main issue here was the fact that the jumps didn’t always go very far so I would fall to my doom. Even when doing a normal jump from vine to vine I wouldn’t always make it. Then you can get locked in hit-stun when you’re attacked so you lose your double jump. I died quite a few times for things like this, but fortunately you have a very quick re-spawn system so you never really lose much time there.

The one real negative in the game are the very long loading screens. Whenever you turn on the game you have to sit through a bunch of unskippable company logos. Then when you go from planet to planet there are long periods of time you have to wait as everyone buckles in. Couple that with the long time it takes to respawn after a complete death or all the menus you have to get through to save and it adds up. It might be that the game added so much content the game has a hard time loading it up right away. If that’s the case then it’s a worthy trade off but it is very noticeable. We’re almost talking Sonic 2006 at times.

As for the story, Carl makes for a good main character. Keep in mind that he is no Starkiller so don’t expect this guy to be running around defeating Sith lords and knocking out Vader. Carl is more of an in-training Jedi so he is still getting used to his various Force abilities. Still he does come up with some good wins as the game progresses. He makes the right decision in the end even if it took him a while to get to that point. Then we have Cere who used to be a Jedi, but due to some stuff in her past has put away her Force abilities. You never truly lose them even if you hide from the Force, but you can’t use them without accepting it once again.

She’s not quite as good. For starters another character had some valid points about how this is all her fault. The heroic sacrifice move doesn’t work if you aren’t truly powerful. It would have been better for them all to have left together. Live or die, at least you’re together right? Cere does do her best to get back up from this in the climax where she looks good. It was one scene where I disagreed with Carl, but I can’t go into depth without spoilers. Needless to say it involves using the Dark side and depending on the situation that’s not something you should be opposed to using.

Many Star Wars characters in the expanded universe have shown that you can use the Dark side without turning evil. Ultimately the Force is just a power and it’s all in how you use it. Once again I point to Starkiller who mastered both sides of this ability. He was a prodigy, but that doesn’t mean that the others can’t do it as well. The Sith abilities are very powerful so if you can master them then it will be helpful for the heroes as well.

We’ve also got some supporting characters like Merrin who appears near the end. The fact that she has powers already set her off to a good start. She’s fun to have around, but appears quite late in the game. It makes for a fun tag team fight like Link and Zelda vs Ganondorf though. Then there is the mysterious stranger in one of the final planets. He ends up having a pretty big role. Between his hype design and strong abilities he was one of the best characters here. Obviously the guy is pretty shady and sort of insane, but he is the kind of character who spices things up. I like when a new antagonist shows up out of nowhere and changes everyone’s plans.

Of course the main villain is the Second Sister from all of the trailers. She has a lot of pretty great scenes and fights with us quite a few times. Between the fun design and her character I would say that she is one of the better villains. It helps that I have also always liked the Sisters group. They tend to be on the evil side, but it’s nice to have a third faction who aren’t necessarily Sith or Jedi. The third sister in the game gets the smallest role and doesn’t really do much though.

Finally I also like how some of the fights feel real before you actually realize that you can’t win. The health bar is going down slowly but the boss just feels so insanely powerful. Typically you have to actually get the boss down to 50% but when you don’t know that and you have them down to 60% while you’re at 1%…you wonder how you can make a comeback. It’s a good way to build up tension and the game handles it quite excellently. The game developers really did a great job here.

The graphics are definitely top notch as well. The cinematics are quite striking. It’s pretty much movie quality here and the graphics during normal gameplay are really good as well. It’s all very high level although I’d expect nothing less from EA. Even with the sport games they churn out every year the graphics are always incredibly impressive. I also enjoyed the soundtrack. It’s not super memorable, but it has that classic Star Wars vibe. You’ll feel pretty hyped during all of the boss fights.

The actual campaign here is pretty long. You should be busy for around 15 hours or so and then there is a lot of replay value. You can go back to all of the old planets to get the last transmission logs and max out your character level. Platinuming the game should take you an extra 20 hours if not a little more. There are a lot of collectibles out there and the planets are quite large. It’s one of those games that would be fun to Platinum though as none of the trophies are tedious or have forced grinding in them.

Overall, Fallen Order definitely lived up to the hype. It’s a very complete game with an engaging story and top notch gameplay. I really like the trend of cinematic style gameplay like this where you are in control the whole time, but do get treated to little cutscenes depending on how precise your movements are. All of the boss fights are excellent and while the platforming could get a bit iffy at times, it’s certainly the best we’ve gotten in the series. The Clone Wars Republic Heroes isn’t even close and that was really the last big platforming title. If you haven’t bought this game yet then you should definitely change that as soon as possible!

Overall 9/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

NBA 08 Review


It’s time to look at another NBA game. I bet you thought I had finished them all by now right? Well, I did temporarily get into some other sports like Hockey, but there were still more Basketball titles in the backburner. I believe I just have one left now so that’ll definitely be a good milestone to finish up. I actually only have 11 more sport games to go through and then I’ll be caught up. It’ll be sad to see them go but at the same time it feels like ages since I’ve had them around. Now when I get future sport games I’ll be able to dive in a little deeper.

There’s not much separating this NBA game from the previous ones. One thing that actually still confuses me is what the difference is between NBA 08 and NBA 08 Live. See, I played the latter before playing this one, but they both feel the same to me. One part of me thinks it’s like a game of the year edition, but another just thinks it’s a really slick decision of adding one extra feature to one version and calling it a day. Regardless I ended up getting both since back then I had lost track of which sport games I owned and ended up getting this version. Otherwise I’d be satisfied with just owning one.

The gameplay is pretty smooth and it hasn’t been super long since my last Basketball game so this time the fundamentals actually stayed with me. That was definitely a welcome surprise to be sure. I ended up playing the first 3 quarters of the first game and had a 6 point lead. Now you may wonder why just 3 quarters right? Well, the game froze on me in a rather odd glitch. I had just made a free throw, but then the ball fell to the ground and nobody went to pick it up. Everyone just stayed frozen and I did everything I could like calling a time out, substituting players, and switching sides, but nothing worked. Everyone was just completely glued to the ground and that was really curtains for me. It was too bad because I was looking forward to seeing my win and the nice presentation afterwards.

Ah well, I quickly went in and did half of a second game so I could at least feel like I did the whole thing. This time I had a much bigger lead at around 10 points. Part of why this happened is because the guy kept passing it to me and I would score. What I did was I positioned my guy right next to the basket. When I’d score the other team would try to pass the ball to their guy, but I’d intercept and score again. Honestly this seemed like a big weakness to the A.I. but it was hard to get it to work just right. Once it did work though, then it became consistent. I have to admit that it felt pretty satisfying.

The only part of the gameplay that seemed a little suspect were the 3 point shots. For some reason the players would never take a proper position with these. They would jump in the air and shoot as if off balance. All of the other NBA games I’ve played had proper 3 point shots so I don’t know what was up with this one. Perhaps there is an extra button or two that you have to press or it’s about the timing. I still landed a few shots so it’s not that bad, but it just looked rather off. I recommend going for slam dunks as much as possible anyway although the team definitely won’t make it easy on you. You’ll have to fight hard for each and every point.

As far as the graphics are concerned NBA 08 definitely isn’t holding back. The courts look really good and the animations for the throws are solid. Everything is very clear and no shortcuts appeared to have been taken in this arena. I can’t really speak to the soundtrack, but the sound effects were solid. You don’t really notice much while you’re playing with the music, but I believe the menus should have had some tunes going. Surprisingly the sport games do tend to pick up quite a few big songs to play in the background.

There is no end to the replay value as you may expect. While the online modes have long since been forgotten you can still test your skills in the various season and franchise modes. There are also in-game achievements to have fun with as well. They may not be quite as much fun as the PS3 trophies but it is a nice addition for those who still like to have some kind of incentives to playing. You can get this game for about a dollar so you don’t have to doubt the value at all. This will really work out quite nicely for you.

Overall, NBA 08 is really solid. I can’t say that there was really anything wrong with the game. It may look a little dated next to the newer games, but that also brings a certain level of nostalgia to it as well. It ended up making this a very balanced experience. I was also winning in both games which made the whole thing feel pretty balanced as well. The controls weren’t sliding away from me and I felt like the players were doing what I wanted them to do. It doesn’t get much better than that and if you’re looking for a cheap basketball game to test your fundamentals with…this is the game for you!

Overall 8/10

4 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

NFL Head Coach 09 Review


It’s time to take a look at a very different Football game. I’ve always enjoyed the Madden games as well as the 2K versions and pretty much any other football game. Unfortunately Head Coach is the first Football game that I did not enjoy. I would actually have to give this one a negative score because it’s just not any fun. The title is a giveaway so I knew what I was getting myself into. Still, I did expect the developers to do something to spice things up here. It’s really a very straightforward coaching game.

You can jump into a career or a quick game to see what it’s like. I chose the quick game option but there is nothing “quick” about it. One half took about 30-40 minutes and that was pretty surprising. A normal Madden game is way shorter. I believe it’s because this game uses 15 minute quarters like the real sport while Madden typically has 5 minute quarters. I always understood why the games don’t do 15 minute quarters and this game proves it. It makes the games incredibly long and while you may have fun if you’re in the match, being a coach doesn’t offer the same level of immersion. What happens is you get to select the plays before each action.

Then you watch the computers carry out your play. Rinse and repeat as you go through the game. Honestly it’s basically no different than watching two computers play each other and I dare say that it’s worse. Choosing the next play just slows things down. Since you know the A.I. is probably going to mess up your play you’d rather they just take the wheel. I’m sure this gameplay style will have its fans, but I am not one of them. Each play takes so long and you can just pick random plays so you can do this with your eyes close. Ultimately the game seems to heavily rely on luck/RNG so it’s not like your picking does a whole lot.

The graphics aren’t bad. It looks more like PS2 than PS3 so I’m thinking that this game was more low budget compared to the main title. Nothing wrong with that of course, if anything it does add a layer of nostalgia to the title. Even that was not enough to really help the game in the long run though. The presentation isn’t nearly as good as Madden either since we miss out on most of the festivities. You get to have the coach yell out plays and praise/insult the team depending on how things go. This gets old pretty quick though and I’d rather have the announcers yelling out the play by play.

There’s a lot of replay value here technically. You can start a career as a coach and that’ll last you a very long time. It never even really needs to end. At the same time, this is all with the same gameplay style. You’ll likely end up not playing through every game at some point. I got this game for a few bucks in Florida many years ago so it’s not like it cost a whole lot. I’m not sure if I would call it the worst mainstream sport game, but it really could be. Naturally the golf games are also up there and I’m not a fan of some of the newer Baseball titles. I’ll be playing a lot of Baseball soon though so maybe that’ll help my fundamentals.

There’s not a whole lot of other things to do here. You’ve already basically heard the entire gameplay which in a way is pretty scary. There are other things you can do between plays like subbing out players and calling timeouts. That is really the extent of the gameplay though. I was hoping there was a mode where you could become a player, but I suppose that would be an odd choice since it would then become a normal Madden game. Even if I would have liked that as an option I suppose I see why it was not added in. That would have been pretty awesome though.

Overall, NFL Head Coach 09 is probably the most boring game I’ve ever played. It’s not like it has poorly designed levels or puzzles to make the game bad. There’s not really any “bad” features in this title. The only issue I have with it is that the game just isn’t any fun to play. I can’t find any joy in leaving it up to the computers. I feel like the whole point of playing a game is to use my skills to make a difference. What difference am I making if I’m just letting the computers take the reins? There’s a reason why they don’t make Head Coach games anymore and I’m betting that it’s because people got burned out. You can only play this kind of game for so long before you throw in the towel. There is one more Head Coach game for the PS2, but realistically I doubt I will ever play that game. If it turns up for a dollar or two I’d quickly purchase it, but otherwise that’s a no go from me.

Overall 4/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

NHL 13 Review


It’s time to venture back into the world of hockey! After I managed to secure a win last time I’ll admit that I walked into this one with a lot of confidence. It wasn’t a question of if I would win this time, but rather by how much would I claim victory. Turns out that the CPUs didn’t like this and they fought extra hard. Unfortunately I was not able to claim victory over them this time, but I put up a good fight. They just had an extra tight defense this time and their offense wasn’t bad either.

I can’t say that there was much of a difference between 13 and 12. I jumped right into the match and got my best hockey swings in. As a quick recap of the rules the goal of Hockey is to hit a puck inside the enemy net. They have a player standing watch over it at all times and they will do whatever they can to stop the puck. Their team was quite successful at this. Usually my plan is to either pass the ball to a nearby teammate who will punch it in or I’ll do some quick jukes as I approach and try to aim it at the opposite corner. I did manage to score a goal, but unfortunately they got 2 so I was not able to stop them. I had more success with direct shooting than passing this time, but it seems to vary from match to match.

I quickly tried a rematch which I came close to tying, but they scored a goal near the end so I was stuck. After the quick matches I figured I should also try one of the other modes because I don’t do that very often. I went into the shootout mode and managed to win that one. For some reason that mode is always a little easier than the actual game. I suppose because it’s 1 vs 1 there are less distractions so I can just walk up and do my best. There weren’t a lot of other modes that I could see. The others seemed to be variations of the main one so you could jump in and start a franchise or be a GM for example. You could probably spend a ton of time there.

NHL is the kind of game that never really has to end. The amount of replay value it has is equal to how much you enjoy the game. You can sink dozens/hundreds of hours into it if you wish but if you’re that hardcore of a player then you’ll probably be playing NHL 18 rather than 13. Considering that the game is only around 2 bucks it is really a steal to grab this one. This is the final mainline NHL game I’ve got, but I do have 2 spinoffs coming soon so my hockey marathon isn’t quite over yet. I still have more chances to try and secure a win.

Meanwhile the graphics are definitely as sharp as ever. The game looks very nice and you always have a good feel for what is happening on screen at all times. There isn’t much of a soundtrack that you will notice, but once you’re in the game it’s not like you’ll be worrying about that for long anyway. You really get absorbed into the match and the presentation is definitely on point. NHL always delivers there.

In terms of difficulty I imagine that hockey will be one of the more challenging games. All these reviews are on the Pro difficulty level although I’ve dabbled with others in the past. The rookie level is pretty easy to win on and anything above Pro is almost impossible to score with so you gotta hope for a 0-0 deadlock. Pro seems just right to me even if I very rarely get any wins on it. It just seems balanced and while the defense is almost unbreakable, it never feels unfair. I think that’s a subtle distinction that you always want to keep. In some games it feels like the A.I. is totally cheating by breaking the mechanics or teleporting, but I haven’t noticed that here. Of course it could just be that the computers are being extra slick.

Overall, NHL 13 is a fun hockey game. It really keeps up with the others and feels more natural than some of the older ones. While you don’t notice the difference much on a game to game basis, I can definitely say that it was more enjoyable than some of the older ones. I think a case could be made for it just feeling like that because I’ve been playing so much hockey though. I won’t deny that this could be true, but either way I’m definitely glad about that. The higher the games go the better right? Stay tuned for my next voyage!

Overall 7/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

NHL 12 Review


It’s been a while, but it’s finally time to take a look at the next NHL game. I’m thinking that the wait actually ended up being a good thing because I finally managed to win a game. I’d been getting closer and closer as the games went on, but this time I was able to just get into the game and cleaned up shop. I won with a decisive 3-2 score which felt pretty good. It’s really hard to say why I was finally able to score, but I will say that I just kept up a high tempo offense all the way through.

I jumped right into a quick match of course and at first things were looking dicey because my PS3 controller wasn’t playing ball. It kept trying to make my player run downwards but after a few resets I was good to go. Of course by then I was already down 0-1. Perhaps it was the urgency that got me, but I quickly began to take shots at the goal and to my surprise I was getting through. For one of the shots it ended up going right through one of their defenders and to the edge of the net so the goalie couldn’t stop it. It was basically a hall of fame shot if I do say so myself. The other 2 shots were less remarkable but the important thing is that they made it through.

The controls are the same as the others games as you run across the field and try to score goals inside of the opponent’s net. You can shoot or pass the ball and additionally you can slam into other players as well as pick fights. I got into one scuffle during this match and I made sure to knock the other guy out. I didn’t even pick this fight, but once I was in it you can bet that I was aiming for the win. The gameplay all feels pretty smooth even if the computer does seem too close at times. You never really get a breather to stop and relax or you will see that the puck has been stolen.

The A.I. never lets up and I suppose that’s a good thing. It does force you to stay sharp and to keep a close eye on the rest of the field. Meanwhile the graphics are definitely as sharp as always The field looks pretty clear as well as the character models. I definitely had no qualms on this area. The soundtrack may as well be nonexistent since you don’t really hear it during the game. I’m sure it was okay of course, but not exactly a winner.

In terms of replay value you can definitely find a lot to do here. There are tons of different modes to play and its a sport game so you can just have a lot of fun facing off against different opponents. That’s really the true value of a sport game after all even if NHL wouldn’t exactly be my first choice. The game is also new enough where you can try to earn some trophies, but they are pretty tough. I didn’t even earn a single one during my match so I imagine this should take you a long time. If there are any online trophies then the platinum is impossible right from the start which is always unfortunate. Ah well, can’t get all of the platinums I suppose.

I guess for my gameplay hint of the day I would recommend going in close and shifting your stick from arm to arm with the X button. Then fire into the goal when ready instead of passing it to a teammate on the other side to shoot. The move doesn’t seem to work as well as it used to. The computers will either steal the ball right away or it simply won’t go in. The goals I got were simply from rushing towards the net and making the shot. You’ll still have to make dozens of shots before you get it right, but eventually you’ll squeeze it in there. It feels like luck and RNG, but I’m sure there is some kind of technique to it.

Overall, NHL 12 is pretty solid. I can’t really say that there is anything to differentiate it from the last installment though. I guess it’s possible that they tweaked how good the goalies are though. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve never scored 3 goals like this and I wouldn’t say that my skills just suddenly jumped a beat so it’s an interesting theory. If the game did make it easier to score that is certainly fine by me because I do like scoring. The whole game just feels faster and it’s a lot more satisfying. Of course I do understand why people who prefer the defensive side may not like this if it is the case. Well, I’ve got NHL 13 coming up at some point soon so it’ll be good to see where that one stacks up. Slowly but surely we are wrapping up the sport games. Long story short, if you like NHL then this is a good pick up for 1-2 dollars.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

FIFA World Cup: Germany 2006 Review


It’s been a while, but now it’s time to go up against a team in soccer. This is also the first time in a very long while that I got to play a small console sport game. Typically I just play the home console versions so it’s a nice change of pace to see how it goes on the handheld. It’s pretty smooth and the PSP has always been particularly great at emulating the home console experience. That being said, aside from Madden I can’t picture myself playing any sport game on the go for very long.

Since this FIFA is specifically about the World Cup all of the modes focus on this as well. The main mode has you jump right into the World Cup and aim for success. Naturally I was repping the USA as I jumped in to take names. To my credit I actually scored a goal and then held the lead for most of the game. Then as always seems to be the case for these titles the computer’s difficulty level suddenly spiked without warning and they scored with only about 10 seconds left in the game. I can tell you now that this felt really crazy. Just like that I had lost my win and had to settle for a tie. Since it was only round one of the World Cup they didn’t have us play extra time and just ended the game there. I felt a little cheated to be honest, but I was glad that I at least scored a goal. The next game was more of a standard 0-0. I ended up losing the World Cup since my record wasn’t enough but it was a good run while it lasted. The computer evidently didn’t think I was good enough to keep tying though as I had it simulate some games in another World Cup and I lost almost every one.

I do like the World Cup format although it’s not like it makes a huge amount of difference to me as whether I do a quick game or a world cup match it’s basically the same outcome. As expected the graphics here are definitely pretty solid. The soundtrack stands out more than some of the others as a song pops up whenever you pause the game. The tunes seem reasonable enough, but you likely won’t be hearing them enough to ultimately form much of an opinion. You’ll be too busy gearing up for the second half or starting the next game.

There’s a solid amount of replay value here. The games are a little too long to easily play on the go, but since the PSP can just go into standby mode you don’t necessarily have to actually finish a game. You can just do most of it and then just dip out of there. That’s always been a pretty nice plus for the PSP in general. I think how much you play the game will depend on if you already play FIFA on the home console games and are just using this as a change of pace or if this is your main FIFA experience. If it’s the latter then I can easily see you spending a bunch of time here.

Really the only difference between this one and a home console title in terms of gameplay is that it’s not quite as clear since you’re on a smaller screen. You’ll feel a little more constricted, but that’s more mental than anything. It’s really still the same game through and through and feels like a direct port. It’s definitely still fun even if you may have a hard time scoring.

I really feel like FIFA and NHL have more in common with each other than any other sport title. If you ignore the terrain (Ice vs Grass) there really aren’t any substantial differences with the two. The way you shoot and pass is the same and you’ve got around the same amount of players. Even the distance of the field is the same. I wouldn’t be surprised if EA is able to copy a lot of the code to use in between the two games. As a result I feel like my NHL training as of late transferred over into FIFA even if I wasn’t quite able to secure a solid win. I came close at least.

Overall, World Cup 2006 feels like a true soccer title and it’s a fun concept for a spinoff. It slightly scales the title down which is quite convenient for the PSP in general. This was the only sport game I had left on my portable backlog so you likely won’t be seeing another one again for a very long time. For the first time I’ve actually gotten my sport backlog down to 20 games so it’ll be quite the milestone to have that one empty at last. Finally I will have more time for trophy hunting, general video game lounging, and getting unstuck in some of the trickier games on the backlog. Lets not get ahead of ourselves though.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Reviews

NHL 11 Review


Time for the next NHL game on my marathon. It’s definitely been pretty surreal to play so many of these back to back. I will say that unlike NHL 10, you can feel that the graphics have gotten a little sharper here. Maybe it’s the field I was playing in for the tutorial, but the arena looked incredibly well polished. The white stood out and you could practically see through the ground. The players also felt sharper, but that could also partially be that the game is more zoomed in. Regardless, NHL 11 is definitely a game you’ll want to have.

Naturally I went right into the quick play mode after clearing the tutorial. I was ready to take the hockey world by storm and while I may not have secured the win I do feel like I did pretty well. I was laying on the pressure pretty thick and I did manage to score a goal which was hype. After that they started laying on the goals since my goalie cracked under pressure. I lost 5-1 or something like that, but it could have gone worse I suppose. At least I was always right up in there with the action which is the important thing. I am working on the aiming and passing, but it almost feels like it just comes down to luck by the end.

I can get a good shot out if I have space, but usually the enemy players are right on top of me at all times so I can’t get a good angle. No matter how fast I move they seem to move just a touch quicker than me. There’s just no escape and these guys are really good at stealing the puck from right underneath your nose. Once in a blue moon you’ll actually make it to their side with nobody on you, but it’s not like making the shot is a cake walk in that scenario either. I talk a lot about passing and shooting, but at the end of the day you’re also going to need to play tight defense because odds are that this is going to go to overtime with a score of 0-0. The computer never eases up on defense so you just have to surpass your limits somehow.

When it comes to the fighting gameplay none of the opposing players wanted to humor me. I only got to take one of them down and for the others they would just ignore me when I tried to start the fight. I guess they just didn’t want to have to hold the L this time and I can understand that. Still, the fighting is always one of the best parts in these games so I was sad to see it go. Maybe there’s a better way to pick a fight but based on the tutorial just pressing triangle should do the trick when you’re near them. It typically makes your player mess with their hair.

This time I also went ahead and tried one of the bonus modes. The name of this one was Shootout and basically the concept is that it’s a 1 on 1 battle against the goalie. You have to get the puck past him and you’ve got 5 tries to do it. Likewise the computer also gets that many opportunities. I’m happy to say that I actually did win this round. I may have not done so well in the real games, but I like to think that this meant I was finally able to step up during crunch time. When the chips were down, my puck wasn’t. It took a bunch of attempts before I got the puck in, but the computer couldn’t make any shots so that’s why my team got the victory. The mode seems to go on past the 5 players until someone scores or at least it felt that way to me because I’m pretty sure I tried to shoot more than 5 times.

As always there is a ton of replay value here as long as you like soccer. While the shootout mode may not work for long periods of time, it is a good way to take a break from the main gameplay while also working on your fundamentals. Then of course you’ve got the full season to play and in general every game will always be unique. You can get this game for a dollar or two so that’s a lot of value for such a price. As I mentioned the graphics definitely look quite nice here and the presentation is definitely on point.

Overall, NHL 11 is a great follow up. NHL continues to be operating at a high level and I don’t expect that to stop anytime soon. It seems like a consistent series much like all of EA’s other sport titles. They may not have the best reputation, but I don’t think you can deny the fact that they tend to hit it out of the park with all of these franchises. Even if Hockey isn’t really your thing you’ll likely be able to appreciate how smooth the gameplay is. Soon I’ll be trying out NHL 12 so we’ll see if that one also shows a noticeable improvement around the board or if it’ll be the same. So long as it doesn’t get worse I can’t say that there would be any problems here.

Overall 6/10