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

5 Star Games, Reviews, Game Reviews

MLB 08: The Show Review


It’s time to jump into the next MLB title. Baseball is next to Golf as my least favorite sport to play in a video game format. Neither one is all that exciting for me because I don’t really feel like I’m in control. In something like Basketball or Tennis, win or lose you know that you did everything you could. I feel like these games don’t give me the same amount of power. That may just be because I am not too used to these controls though. After all in Baseball I can barely pitch to save my life. The amount of balls I threw in this game was totally crazy. Then with Batting I could only manage a hit or two. Somehow I don’t think y skills will be ready for real opponents anytime soon. They’re all just too powerful.

There are a bunch of modes here of course, but I opted to start with a quick game. Little did I know there wouldn’t be anything quick about it. The other team quickly began running up the score. Before I knew it I was down 15-0 and I knew that I was doomed. The toughest part of the game for me is pitching. I was just trying to throw the ball straight across the base and yet each time the ref would say that the ball was out. A lot of the time I even felt like it was on target and somehow it wouldn’t go there. I’m thinking there is something I have to do with the directions, but it wasn’t too clear. In 09 I’ve decided that the first thing I’m going to do is look for a tutorial to try and at least get some fundamentals at the ready. Without those I really don’t stand a chance here.

As for batting, that is naturally all about reaction speed and being at the right place at the right time. There’s no magic trick here, you just got to be ready. The problem for me with this one is the fact that I end up taking swings at balls that are way out. As a result I can’t make the hit even if I time it perfectly. It’s just hard not to take the shot because then you run the risk of letting a perfectly good ball get right past you. I never want to lose that way so i just swing and hope for the best. Who knows, maybe one of these days I’ll land a good homer.

Now, while I’m not a big fan of the MLB titles it’s not that all Baseball is low for me. I really liked the Mario Baseball series. Those games were done extremely well. I don’t know why the real ones are so much more difficult for me. I just can’t seem to find my rhythm here and without timing what else do I have? Trust me, it’s no fun to be pitching for 20 minutes as they hit everything or you keep throwing out of bounds. After I hit one player I even ran an experiment to see how many I could knock down. I took down almost half the team and they were still playing and that’s when I realized that I was truly doomed. Ultimately, I did a few more innings but by the 7th I had to retire gracefully. It’s not like I could somehow get 14 more runs in.

The graphics are good. The character models are on point and the game is pretty clear. I have no real issues there and while there isn’t much of a soundtrack the sound effects are real good as well. On a technical level I have no complaints. Even the gameplay while a little confusing doesn’t seem bad. I didn’t notice any glitches and I’m sure there is a trick to playing the game a little better. It wouldn’t be so popular if there wasn’t. Unlike the other sport games this one still feels like getting good is a very far off dream. Never say never though.

In terms of replay value there is definitely a lot for Baseball fans here. You can play a lot of quick games or even get ready to launch a franchise. Each game is unique so you never have to run out of content. The presentation may not be as exciting as some of the other sport games, but it gets the job done and you do feel like you’re in a real game. Batting is the offense of Baseball and so I’d be cool with the game giving us an option to automatically skip the pitching. It’s actually an option in the game so even if it’s not automatic, you can still do that if you really can’t get the hang of throwing the ball like me. I may exercise that feature a bit in the future.

Overall, MLB: 08 The Show may not be for me, but I’m sure fans of the sport will get a real kick out of it. How can you not have fun playing the sport you watch on TV? I have quite a few other Baseball games on the backburner so you can expect more reviews soon.. My personal goal for the next game is to make the score a lot closer than this one was. That shouldn’t be too hard since I got blown out here. We’ll find out one way or the other very soon.

Overall 5/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

NBA Live 14 Review


It’s time to take a look at yet another Basketball game! These really do keep on coming don’t they? Well, I haven’t played a Live title in a little while so it was fun to float back to it. This time I actually ended up preferring it to the 2K counterpart so that was pretty neat. It’s a very fast paced installment and there’s no long tutorial to get in your way so you can dive into the action. I tried facing off against the computer on standard difficulty and then again on the toughest level. Both times the games ended around the same way which is odd, but I did lose so maybe the computer just likes to keep it close.

I’ve already explained the rules of Basketball in my last 10 Basketball game reviews so you may be wondering why I keep on doing it. Well, I figure that every review is potentially someone’s first review so a short recap isn’t a bad idea. I will be keeping this fairly brief though. The goal of the game is to score more points than the other team and the way you score points is by throwing the ball inside the opponent’s hoop. This is tricky since there is always a defender right next to you and their goal is to swipe/block the ball and make some scores of their own. You’ll need teamwork to stop these guys since just taking over a game isn’t a completely viable strategy.

As mentioned earlier one of the biggest reasons why the game is so great is because Live 14 is just really fast paced. It actually felt like I was playing one of the Gamecube installments which was definitely neat. Those were really good times and the players also felt more like pros. I was sinking a ton of 3 point shots and they just weren’t missing. On the other hand, that meant I really couldn’t stop the other team since my best bet was usually to pick up the rebounds. Speaking of which, the rebounds are tough here because it feels like your player completely freezes when the ball is in the air. I’m not sure if that’s a new mechanic or if it’s always been like that, but it definitely did make things pretty tricky.

At one point I even got a 10 point lead against these guys so you know that I was feeling pretty sharp around this point. Then half time occurred and as always the computer started to make a miraculous comeback. I still think that there’s something a little fishy here. They ended up taking a narrow win but it was a very entertaining match. At least since my players weren’t constantly missing the ball it felt like I was actually playing. I didn’t do any fancy ball tricks, but I did do a lot more passing as well. Sometimes I try to play the games fairly realistically since that’s fun in its own way and other times I just charge the ball constantly.l

Then in the super tough difficulty match I never got a huge lead, but I did have a 2 point advantage to start the fourth quarter. It still proved to be futile, but one of these days I will score a definitive win against the A.I. Defense is definitely still holding me back because if I were able to make the occasional stop that would make all the difference. You can’t win on offense alone, you’ve got to dominate on both sides of the ball. It’s absolutely crucial that you do that if you want to rise up the ranks.

The graphics are definitely top notch and after playing this one and 2K back to back you can see the difference. EA spares no expense on the mainline NBA games and it’s always hard to see how the graphics can keep improving. After a while you’ve basically just become as lifelike as you can possibly get. As expected there isn’t really much of a soundtrack to note here. It’s around, but you won’t be on the main menu a whole lot anyway.

There’s a lot of content and replay value here of course. I’m thinking that the servers for this title are probably either gone or empty, but it’s worth checking into if you have PS+. The main draw will likely be the actual games though so that’s where you’ll be putting in a lot of time. It’s always fun to see yourself improving as you play game after game and the Basketball season has a ton of matches per season so you’ll be here a long while. At the end of the day the replay value will depend on how much you like the sport. A game like Madden I could play forever while NBA I would probably clock out after 20-40 hours. Still a great value for 5 bucks though.

Overall, NBA Live 14 is definitely a great title and one of the best NBA Live installments. The gameplay is back to being very fast. It’s definitely going for more of an arcade style than the simulation gameplay that 2K brings. Both have their strengths of course, but sometimes I am just in the mood for a quick arcade bout with lots of points flying across the board. This game delivers on that and is a solid way to end my Basketball run for now. Coming up are a lot of Soccer and Hockey games so stay tuned for those as I continue to dive into my sports backlog. Knocking that down to 0 will definitely be an awesome milestone!

Overall 8/10

9 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Madden 18 G.O.A.T. Edition Review


It’s time to look at the next Madden title. I’m really close to being caught up now, but I’ll likely wait a year before getting 19 so it drops down to the 5 dollar bin. The Madden games have historically been great. They’re consistently solid across the board and 18 is naturally no exception. This one even added a story mode of sorts although I didn’t try it this time. Basically you start out as a college kid who gets signed on to a team and during the game you rise up the ranks. It’s a pretty cool concept and while I would mainly be sticking with the tried and true quickplay battles, more options is never a bad thing.

Madden 18 has really got everything you can ask for. You can practice, play online, start a franchise, play the story, etc. They even added more options for the gameplay. You can now choose between arcade style, basic, or online for glory mode. I choose the last option of course because I want to be ready to take down an opponent at any time. It was definitely a lot of fun too and they finally brought speed back into the equation. Yes, you can run fast again and that is huge. I’m wondering if Madden 17 might have had some option in the back end where you could have switched the style. Either way, 18 definitely gets credit for showing you how to do it. It makes running the ball a lot more fun when you can just take off like this.

The gameplay is the same as it has been for the last 18 years so there isn’t much to say about it. The goal is to get across the opponent’s end zone to score some points. Score enough and you’re home free. On Offense I really like passing the ball, but it is always a lot riskier. Thanks in part to the whole “aggressive ball” mechanics you never really know if your guy is going to make the pass. There’s an equal chance that the other team’s player is just going to rocket from across the sidelines and knock the wind out of you. If that happens then you’re gonna fumble or you’ll end up throwing a pick 6. You want to only throw bullet passes and you want to do it when your guy is wide open. As a result I have to be really careful about where I throw it. You just can’t toss the ball in the air and make a play anymore.

Fortunately as I mentioned they brought the running game back. My favorite thing to do is pick a Hail Mary play and then run it with my quarterback. Most of the time you can gain an easy 10 yards. I average 10-11 yards per run with the quarterback. He almost always gets 100 yards by the time the game is over. It may feel a little broken at times, but I think a quarterback should be really mobile like that. It really opens up the offense. I get how it makes the defense a lot trickier to control, but I think it’s a fair trade considering how much better the ball covering is now. Running the ball traditionally is also good. You tend to pick up 2-3 yards. Madden continues to feel more and more like the real deal. I even get final scores that are like real games like 10-7.

On defense I’m mostly still at the mercy of the computer. I always pick a guy to try and sack the quarterback, but I only get 1-2 sacks a game. Otherwise I just hope I’m in the right place at the right time to make the stop. Otherwise I just get to watch and weep as the guy shakes a bunch of tackles and breaks an 80 yard run for a touchdown. In my defense, I usually shut the run down pretty well but when it comes time to pass then it’s all up to the luck of the draw. The computer either runs right through me or they throw some terrible passes and punt.

Special Teams is always fun even if it’s very brief. You get to do some free style running and that never gets old. Kicking the field goal and punting are still not my favorite with the new system though. It’s a lot harder since you have to press the X button at just the right time multiple times to launch a kick. It definitely does make kicking a little riskier so if that was the goal then the game succeeded. I just don’t think it was necessary. Ah well, it’s not like that really hurts the game all that much at all. A large part of the Madden experience still comes down to how quickly you can react. On any given play there is always an avenue for success when you’re on the offense. The defense’s job is to give you as little time as possible to make the right call. It’s just really hard to keep track of so many guys running on the field at the same time, but it’s exactly what you’ve got to do if you want to secure the win.

The graphics here definitely look quite amazing as expected. The players are all so lifelike and the presentation is still quite amazing. I enjoy the sound effects and the music doesn’t seem bad. You won’t really notice it aside from the main menu though so unless you stick around there for a while you really won’t notice it. The game has limitless replay value with the online mode and all the other content it has got. It’s always hard to see how you’d be ready to switch up to the next game in the following year. I suppose if you’re playing this full time then maybe you can get through it, but otherwise it probably feels like the next title is right around the corner.

Overall, Madden 18 is definitely an excellent title. Sadly the G.O.A.T. version doesn’t really change anything for me since I don’t have the online and it’s all expired by now, but the vanilla version will do quite fine. For 5 bucks you also can’t go wrong here. It’s a big upgrade over the last Madden I played and this one will rank up there with some of the classics that I’ve played. If you even remotely like Football then you’ll love this game. EA may not have the best rep, but I can say that they’ve never phoned in a Madden title. They give it their all year after year.

Overall 9/10

9 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Madden 17 Deluxe Edition Review


All right guys, it’s finally time to take a look at one of the newer Madden titles. Madden is easily still my favorite sports title out of all the big EA games and 17 continues to impress. While this installment isn’t quite as impressive as some of the older ones, it still had all of the positive fundamentals that we have come to expect from the series. It’s certainly a steal considering it was only 3-4 bucks.

The gameplay is the same Football mechanics as the older ones at least in a grand scope kind of view. The goal is to score more points than the other team by getting a player with the football into the opponent’s end zone. Alternatively you can just kick the ball in. You’re really going to need to be able to survey different parts of the screen at once especially when throwing passes. It’s a very intricate game and you do need great reactions to pull this off. Part of why the game is so satisfying is because it needs all of those skills. You can’t pick up the game and suddenly become good, you’re going to need to work on it. There’s definitely a lot to learn too since you’ve also got other sides of the ball like defense, kicking, and running.

While not much has changed since the last Madden they did retool the kicking gameplay once again. Now you’ve got a meter that goes up and down which you have to stop twice. I definitely preferred the old system where you would just flick a lever up and down. I suppose this one is a lot trickier though, but I don’t think you need to over complicate field goals. It also makes the meter pretty crazy when you increase the difficulty. That’s not new, but I still disagree with it since I want a challenge on the field when upping the stakes, not a challenge to fight myself!

Accelerating is a little less obvious here so the game is a little more like a simulation than arcade style. I miss zooming around the field, but I do get the logic and it works well enough. The tackling is still on point and you can see how the game is really well polished in all areas. The gameplay is just a lot of fun provided that you like the sport of Football. It accurately portrays how the game goes down. When you’re playing you feel like you’re in total control so the game succeeds here.

It goes without saying that the graphics are pretty incredible as always. Everything is just so lifelike and while EA may not have the best reputation they do always deliver on this front. As for the soundtrack, it’s less obvious than usual. You’re really not going to be paying it much attention anyway since you’ll be in the game by that point. Now the presentation is where its at and the game is stunning there. It really feels like a real game with how the announcers introduce the teams and we get a nice pre game set up. Likewise you get a good set up for the playoffs and super bowl.

There are a lot of modes beyond the quick games of course. You can practice or jump into the online modes. There are a lot of ranks to go through so if you play online then you’ll probably be around for quite a while. Learning all of the playbooks will take a while and naturally obtaining the Platinum is quite difficult. These games may come out every year, but one title is enough to hold you for several years to be honest since there is just so much to do. There’s also the fact that every game is different so like a fighting game there is basically unlimited replay value here.

Due to the nature of the game there isn’t a whole lot to say but I’ll end off with my tips on how to take the computers down a few pegs. I was able to take them down until All Madden difficulty after all although at that point they cheesed me out. One thing I don’t like about All Madden is that your players start to choke. They begin dropping passes and fumbling all over the place which doesn’t feel like a real difficulty spike. It’s more like your players start breaking down as if they’re 1st year rookies going into their first playoff game. So ignoring that, my strategy for winning was a bland but effective ground game. I’d run it on 1st and 2nd down and then pick up the final 3 yards over the place. Then I’d mix it up with a first yard pass sometimes. I would win in very low scoring games like 17-10 or something like that. The computer has a hard time fully shutting down the run so you’re almost guaranteed to get 2-3 yards up the middle each time.

On the other hand, if you go around then you’re more likely to lose yardage but you have a decent shot of getting a big gain. I prefer consistency so I go up the middle and you’ve also got the shot of making a big gain so the way I see it there isn’t much of a downside to this. Just keep plugging away and eventually you’ll get some kind of win. Defense is also important, but I don’t really have any tips for that. What’ll happen will happen with that one.

Overall, Madden 17 is definitely a game that you’re going to want to jump into. It’s only 2-3 dollars so there is really no downside to making the purchase. By the same token you can also just skip to 18 which is basically the same price and have close to the same experience. It’s really up to you to see what you want to do, but there’s no bad option. While I do think they should speed up the gameplay a bit like in the old days it is still very balanced. I think the problem of the low acceleration is that the running back feels like just an ordinary player as opposed to the speedster. It also gets rid of the quarterback advantage which is too bad because I loved scrambling for every play and getting a bunch of yards. I guess it was pretty broken to be honest though. The quarterback was unbeatable in some of the older games.

Overall 9/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Need For Speed Carbon Review


After a long break it is now time to go back into the world of Need For Speed. Carbon brings in a lot of familiar elements from Underground 2 and Most Wanted while also adding its own spin on things. I would consider this to be the best NFS in a lot of ways with the only thing I don’t like being the whole territory system. On the whole it’s also tough between this one and Most Wanted, but I would probably give this one the slight edge. It definitely does have the best story although the gameplay is naturally the deciding factor.

So you’re playing as an underground racer who was nearly caught by the police but managed to escape. Of course, the issue with this is that he had to desert everyone else to do it. Now the rest of the racers and even his old friend are pretty upset at him. It’s a rough time for our nameless lead and he gets sloppy enough to even let a bounty hunter catch him. Fortunately a “nice” gangster frees the hero and tells him that the only way to restore his rep is to go and take over all the various gangster territories in the city. I don’t know exactly how that makes sense…if anything that would make him seem even more like a jerk right? He comes back just in time to beat everyone up and get the cops back on the trail? Ah well, the hero likes the plan so that’s what we’re going with. As the game goes on it turns out that there may have been something more to this incident. Were the cops really just coincidentally in the area?

I liked the story because there are quite a few cutscenes and I do think it did a pretty good job of setting the stage. Each of the main mob bosses gets a very exaggerated cutscene where they yell a lot with crazy colors in the background. It’s got a very 90’s-early 2000s vibe which works really well with the Need For Speed franchise in general. You really just can’t go wrong with the story here. Most of the levels are at night which is cool, but you will find yourself missing the day time by the end. It’s always good to have a mix of both. When there are only day levels I miss the night themed ones and vice versa. I think the game would have done well to have included a nice mix. As for the soundtrack, you’ve got an array of EA songs as always. They’re pretty fast paced even if the lyrics aren’t anything to write home about.

As for the gameplay it is pretty standard. The driving is pretty good and you’ll get the hang of the turns as the game goes on. Personally I always found it easiest to quickly let go of the pedal and turn before slamming it again. Alternately you’ve got the hand brake by pressing A, but I always found the turns to be a bit too wide using that method. You can also brake to turn which I would use at times if I really had to make a sharp curve in time. They’ve all got pros and cons of course so you’ll just want to try everything and see what sticks. You can also buy turbo which will permanently give you the option to use boosts. One warning for that is once you activate it then the computers will obtain it as well. I’d say that it’s worth it though because the boost really comes in handy.

You start out with a pretty average car, but as the game goes on you will be able to buy new ones. I actually used the same car for most of the game before eventually buying 3 more by the end. It’s worth staying with one car for as long as possible since your new ones will get outdated very quickly and you’ll run out of money. As it stands I only got 3 cars and I was out of money at the end. Of course, the third car I got was the best one money could buy in the game by the end so it was well worth the price. It effectively is impossible to win the last races with a weak car since it is simply too slow. Even if you don’t make any mistakes you simply won’t be able to keep up with the opponent.

Then there are also the cops to worry about. If they catch you too many times then they’ll take your car away for good. If they take all of your cars then you go all the way back to the beginning of the game. I don’t know exactly how that works since I didn’t let them take away 1 car, let alone all of them. Hopefully you’d be able to quickly reset the Gamecube so you wouldn’t actually have to go back. That would be pretty devastating. Speaking of the cops, the game does have an open world as always so you can have fun getting into police chases. I didn’t play around with them much compared to the last games because this time you aren’t forced to stay in the city the whole time. Instead of finding races through free roam you can just warp to them from the safe house. This saves an incredible amount of time and is a great change. You also don’t have to worry about increasing your reputation or anything like that. This game finally gives you the ability to just focus on the races and claim them all.

Now, this wouldn’t be a Need for Speed game without some kind of pointless gimmick though. For Carbon it is the territory system. The way you advance past each world is to win a lot of races and then challenge the boss. When you beat him then you claim the area. The problem here is the fact that other teams can challenge you for the territories you took earlier. If you refuse to fight them then they take your area automatically. So get ready to have to fight these guys quite a bit in races that you’ve already won. I dunno, maybe it’s not all that bad but it felt like a quick way to extend the game a bit. It’s also not needed since the game is actually pretty long I’d say.

The main story should take you around 10 hours or more. For replay value you can go around and beat all of the levels that you had not conquered yet. Since you’re able to skip about 1/3 of the levels that should add on another 3-4 hours under your belt. In general free roam is also limitless fun as long as you just like driving which is the whole point anyway. I can’t say that I’ll be sticking around with this game, but maybe some day I’ll come back to do those extra races. I basically skipped all of the drift challenges since the controls for those are pretty wonky.

Finally, I should mention that in the story mode there are a few different kinds of events. The general gameplay is the same of course, but the objectives are different. First you’ve got normal races which are self explanatory. Then you’ve got Canyon Races which are usually 1 vs 1 races (it can be 4 way though) and they take place at night on a canyon. In these stages you can actually fall off the track which is an instant loss. I really liked how they handled these levels. You’ve also got check points where you’re doing a time trial, speed bumps where you want to go your fastest as the scanner steps in, etc. The only pretty iffy one is Drift and I avoided every single one of those. By the end of the game I hadn’t completed any of them and I’m glad that I didn’t. It would have taken forever for me to force myself to learn the controls which wouldn’t have been super efficient.

Also, you’ve got a partner for some of these races and he really comes in handy. There are a few different kinds of helpers like people who show you short cuts, help you boost, etc. I went for a guy who can ram into other cars to help you get a lead. It went over really well since the guy was great at his job. It’s part of why I got away with using a terrible car for so long. The blocker could buy you up to 20 seconds at a time which is huge in a race. I owe him a lot.

Overall, Need For Speed Carbon is definitely a solid title. The story ends a little too abruptly if you ask me. There’s really no payoff to the long detective journey and by the end you will definitely wonder what the point of the villain’s plan was. He would have been doing good if he didn’t bring the hero in to mess things up. I suppose it’ll just be a mystery. I actually don’t have the next Need For Speed so that’ll probably be a while, but in the meanwhile I do have another video game review coming out so keep an eye out for it. Meanwhile you should definitely check this title out. You’ll have a hard time trying to find a better racing game than this one.

Overall 8/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

NBA 2K7 Review


It’s time to look at one of the oldest 2K games out there. It’s certainly the oldest one that I’ve got. Right away you can see how retro the game is and it’s actually quite a lot of fun. It makes for a good change of pace and feels a lot more like the classic arcade style or NBA titles. Of course that doesn’t stop the computer from basically making every shot as expected. It really does feel like they are all stars while you’re playing as the normal joes.

Naturally I went into a quick match to gauge just how good of a fight I could put up. Turns out that I wasn’t quite ready for these guys. I kept it close for the first 3 quarters but eventually their slight lead got larger and ultimately it was a decisive loss for me. My guys would just miss easy shots and gradually that would cost me since the computer seems unable to miss unless they are going for a 3 point shot. The computer was even able to save for the ball many times to scoop up the rebound while my guys would hang back.

Still, I think they did a good job of adding a lot of cool animations and mechanics in this game. For one, being able to literally dive into the ground to grab the basketball is pretty cool. That’s not really something you see very often but in the 2 games I played I got to see it numerous times. Then you’ve got the “assists” where you’ll shoot the ball and another player will try to help by getting a hand on it and pushing the ball through the hoop. I remember seeing that quite a bit when I was watching the NBA Finals so that’s a nice touch.

In general the game is just a lot smoother than the newer ones. You can just run up and down the court without worrying about all of the extra mechanics. On the other hand, the gameplay is a lot more slippery as you lose the ball quite easily. I probably knocked the ball away 30 times, even if the computer was always quick to grab it back. Playing defense is more fun here than in later games so that’s definitely a plus. Defense will never be as fun as offense, but the closer you get the better.

In the second round I managed to keep it close for a bit, but then they started steamrolling me again. This time I wasn’t able to last til the third quarter, I’d say that after the first half it was already out of control. One thing about basketball is that it’s very hard to make a comeback. Once you see that the team has a considerable advantage in the score you start trying riskier techniques which makes the gap grow more and more. There are people who say that there is no sport more boring than Basketball when it turns into a blowout. That’s definitely a little exaggerated but I will admit that it isn’t nearly as fun once it is so one sided.

Of course the graphics are pretty solid as always. The screens are very clear and there is a lot of attention to detail here. The colors are pretty sharp and the character models are detailed enough where you can really see the resemblance to the real players. The soundtrack is less impressive though and basically just serves as background noise. Finally the presentation overall is definitely impressive. It feels looks like you’re watching a real game and simulates that pretty well.

In terms of replay value this game is basically limitless as always. You can have a good time for as long as you want since each game is different and doing a franchise will give you access to an incredible amount of matches. There are also other modes like practicing so you can improve your fundamentals. No online of course but if you’re buying a 2007 title that almost goes without saying. You’re likely just buying this game to see what it used to be like so you won’t be disappointed. The 2K series has come a long way. It may have traded in fun for realism, but at the end of the day only marginally so as I have enjoyed all of the 2K titles quite a lot.

Overall, NBA 2K7 is definitely a great game to check out. It’s got a lot of hype basketball action in it along with solid graphics and good fundamentals. It’s a game that has really withstood the test of time and ages incredibly well. It’s just as fun as it was when the game first came out and if anything you may enjoy it even more now after playing the newer titles. It’s quite different and reminds us that Basketball can always be presented in a new way.

Overall 8/10