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MLB 09: The Show Stats and Records

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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 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

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

NHL 2K7 Review


It’s been quite a while but now I am finally diving back into the world of Hockey. 2K7 is be one of the older hockey games, at least from the ones I’ve played. It has a very nostalgic feel to it and that really helps the game excel. This is a contender for my favorite hockey game and that’s not just because I finally won for a change. I think taking such a long break helped my hockey fundamentals.

Right away I dove into a match and got ready to see what the other team would do. The controls are very simple here which is nice as I don’t need to worry about a bunch of different options. You pass, shoot, and steal the puck. I’m sure there are more controls but those are the ones I really used to claim victory. I kept up a very aggressive offensive and it ended up paying off big time. Defense still isn’t an issue just because it is already so hard for anyone to get a goal in. You still do want to keep the pressure up so they don’t start getting fancy but as long as you do that you should be okay. Aside from that one hockey game there are basically never any shootouts.

As for offense I would play the game almost like Basketball and have one player take over the game. I’d drive up to the net and then quickly pass to someone near by and instantly take the shot. It wouldn’t always work but I fell like this gives you the best shot. I think one of my shots was without a pass but I managed to get the goalie in a bad spot which was very fortunate. I won the game 3-1 which felt pretty impressive. I gotta admit though, I did get nervous during the second quarter because initially I was winning 2-0 and then they suddenly scored. I’ve had quite a few matches were the computer suddenly got on a roll and started scoring so I definitely couldn’t let that happen. Fortunately there were no miracle comebacks this time. I got to close out the victory and saw the fun little celebration at the end. As always the presentation in the game is quite good. You get to see all of the characters celebrating after each score and then a bunch of them at the end. It really does help make the whole experience tie together a lot better.

I got into one fight during the match but my opponent was dominating me. To prevent myself from actually taking a loss I just took off and ran at that point. That’s a pretty fun mechanic that I’m surprised isn’t really around in the newer games. Being able to beat a hasty retreat was pretty fun even if I would have preferred securing the win. The guy’s punches were just so fast and unrelenting though. I was basically unable to do anything at that point which was crazy.

The graphics are pretty good and the colors stand out. It’s got that retro feeling that I mentioned a while back which is nice. I didn’t notice any music this time but in a sport game that isn’t too important since you’re focused on the sounds and the commentators. I can’t deny that having some solid tunes in true background would be a good idea though. They certainly don’t hurt.

As far as the replay value goes there is definitely a lot to do here. You can play some bonus modes and you can start a season. There are a ton of teams so trying them all will probably take some time as well. The game is pretty old so you won’t have the option of doing online but there are a ton of offline things to do at least. The game is only a dollar or two to buy as well so there is that.

Overall, 2K7 is a very good game. It brings you the full hockey experience and does it all very well. There is nothing lacking here and so long as you enjoy hockey you are basically guaranteed to have a good time. I don’t think I have any more hockey games or one at the most so soon it’s gonna be time to look at a different sport. Hockey had a good run and now when I buy my next hockey game someday I’ll be prepared for it.

Overall 7/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

NHL 2K10 Review


It’s going to be a little emotional finally being done with the hockey games. After this one there is only one title left that I own. This is the first 2K NHL game I’ve played and it does play quite differently from the main title so I had to get used to the controls from scratch. Surprisingly the controls actually seem a lot more straightforward here than in NHL, at least to me. Also, 2K is usually more of a simulation title while the main games are the arcade version but this one switches things up quite a bit.

One big change is that the games were fairly high scoring. In the first round I lost 5-3, but it’s been ages since I’ve seen so many points on the board when I’ve played. Honestly this probably is the highest scoring NHL game I’ve been in at all. Then in the next round I lost 7-5. No matter how much I scored the other team was always right behind me. Still, I have to admit that the scoring did make the game a whole lot more fun. I felt like I was actually causing serious damage and that’s considering that I didn’t really get a chance to learn most of the movement options. I’d just keep dashing around until I punched the ball in. That was the secret to my success.

On defense they did make picking a fight a little more obvious. You’ll see an indicator on the top of the screen asking if you want to initiate a fight. Now I’m not sure how you trigger this or if it’s random. If it’s the latter then NHL does have the edge since you actually have a button to start fights. I lost the actual brawl here though, I’ll have to work on my punching skills.

My defense is also a little sloppy compared to NHL. I think that’s because I was trying to swipe the puck more than just slamming the opponent. The latter is usually a lot more effective for making a play and you rarely get penalized for it anyway. I was good with penalties here though, my guys only got a penalty once or twice as the game went on. Still, I can’t be letting this many goals through so I have to button things up for next time.

The graphics are very bright. They aren’t quite as detailed as the main game but they certainly do the job. You’re able to really just jump into the action and go from there. The presentation isn’t quite as fancy so this one really just throws you into the game. Since I’d say that the gameplay is better than the main games it is a pretty good tradeoff if you ask me. I didn’t really notice a soundtrack. If there was music then it was pretty faint as you played. I feel like the main NHL themes pop out at you a little more, but music is never really a big part of the sport experience.

In terms of replay value you can make this game last a very long while. There’s no shortage of things to do and as long as you like the gameplay you can enjoy an unlimited amount of unique matches. There is no longer online as far as I know and while there may be trophies here, I didn’t get any during the game so they definitely sound like they’re gonna be pretty tough. It’s a good incentive to really learn the controls in and out though. If you intend to play the game seriously, then it’s probably worth going into the practice mode at least briefly. I just skipped it entirely since I probably wouldn’t be playing it much after the initial games. Realistically with how many games I’ve got to get back to I probably won’t ever play this specific NHL again even if I will probably play the newer ones.

Overall, NHL 2K10 is a great start to this spinoff series. I’m assuming that there is probably a 2K for all of the years in which case I am definitely quite behind. That being said, the games are probably pretty cheap by now so grabbing them shouldn’t be too difficult. Next time I’ll be taking a look at 2K7 so we’ll see how that one goes. If you don’t own a hockey game yet, this is a reasonable one to start with.

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