No stats this time!
It’s time to look at a golf game that I’ve owned for a very long time. Golf is easily my least favorite sport at least from all of the mainstream ones. It’s just never really peaked my interest whether it be playing the game, watching on TV, or playing it through video game form. Still, it was only around a dollar so what’s the harm in giving it a whirl right? I’ll give the game this, it’s a fairly peaceful title. I could see this being enjoyed in the same way as something like Journey where you just admire the surroundings. Ultimately I wouldn’t be playing it for very long though.
So there are a few modes here like usual. You can jump into the practice, tournaments, or a quick game. Well, it’s not all that quick, but it’s a standard match. In Golf a standard match takes 18 holes and you tally up the score at the end. You want to have as low a score as possible since the higher it is, the more turns it took you to clear each hole. You start off a long way away from the golf ball and the idea is to get it in the hole in as few turns as possible. It’s a simple objective, but it does take a whole lot of skill to get to that point. You’ve got multiple clubs which each have a different use to them. You’ll have to get used to how much power each swing should have behind it or you’ll constantly be hitting to the wrong spots.
You can alter the trajectory once you have launched the ball and even apply a back spin once it lands. At that point you have so many things to worry about that you will need a lot of practice to get it right. Then depending on where you are with the ball you have obstacles that will cause you to recalculate eveyrthing once more. If you’re stuck in a ditch for example then the ball won’t really want to travel very far so you’ll have to overcompensate by hitting it extra hard. Sometimes it’s worth just doing a small pop up to get it out and then going for the real strike.
After each hit you get nice little cinematics where your player will shake his head or celebrate a bit depending on what you just did. No worries, these little scenes are entirely optional, but I think it’s a pretty nice effect. It makes the game feel a little more cinematic for sure. It’s the kind of thing that’ll be fun if you’re playing multiplayer since everyone can banter and chuckle it up for a while between plays. The 18 holes took me around 30-40 minutes to play so ultimately it felt a little longer than most of the other sports. It really depends on how quickly you can get the ball in the holes though.
As expected the graphics are really good. This is especially important for a sport game like Golf because the greenery should look amazing. I enjoyed just taking in the sights between plays. Even when losing you don’t feel all that bad in Golf. This is because the game is just so peaceful and it works out quite well. I haven’t played a game this peaceful in quite a while. Meanwhile I can’t recall a soundtrack. Just enjoy the sounds of nature instead and become one with the game.
There’s a lot of replay value here of course since you can keep playing golf games at your leisure. There isn’t any kind of story mode here so there doesn’t ever have to be an ending to the game. Just keep going ahead full speed and you’ll be quite fine. As always you will just have to decide if you want to keep playing this game because while the price is great, you could get a newer golf title for almost the same value. It’s just something that you may want to consider is all I’m saying.
So in my normal match I had a score of around 36-39. I know that’s a pretty bad score, but surprisingly the game didn’t show me the score of anyone else so it’s hard to say just how bad it was. Who knows, maybe I still would have made top 5 or something. I think it would be nice to have computers playing against me there. Most games have them in every mode, but here it looks like I would have needed to enter tournament mode or season mode. Perhaps I’ll try a match for that in the next Golf game I play, but if not I’ll still do my best to sink all my shots. Then I can feel more confident in my golfing abilities.
Overall, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 isn’t really for me. I’d have some fun messing around here as I enjoy the view, but I wouldn’t really be playing the game the way it was intended. Perhaps as I play I would gain a lot of skills and gradually get to the point where I would be playing Golf again. More likely though I would just be along for the ride. It would be incredibly difficult for any golf game to really suck me in to be honest. It would have to start messing with the rules and naturally I don’t think that would be a really good thing for actual Golf fans.
It’s time for yet another Baseball game. I haven’t exactly been tearing the place up in the MLB games, but even I was surprised at how badly I got beat here. I ended up losing 23-0 by the sixth inning which is where I had to pull the plug. In that time I only managed two hits and never got even close to a run. Hitting the ball in this game is insanely difficult, but 2K titles usually do ramp things up. I’ll be trying to do a little better in the next one since I do have one more 2K title in the vault. If all goes well in my next review you’ll see me winning 10-6 but lets not get ahead of ourselves. It’s time for the review.
So right away you’ve got your usual assortment of Baseball modes. You can jump in and have some quick games or you can throw yourself into a season. Either way will give you a lot of fun for sure and having options is a good thing. I naturally went into the quick play mode ready for some action. I probably should have went into practice mode, but the MLB games barely even have one so I made the dangerous assumption that 2K’s wouldn’t work all that well either.
Hitting the ball sounds easier because it’s all about going through the motions. You flick the joy stick down to get prepped and then back up to whack the ball. However, while I was hitting the ball pretty cleanly each time it would always just pop right up and the other team would catch it for a quick out. There must be some kind of tactic to this which the practice mode may have shown me. It didn’t feel right though because hitting the ball should at least give you a chance. At the very least it did make the game more entertaining than MLB though since there I would rarely be able to make any kind of contact with the ball.
As for pitching, that part seemed to be about as difficult as MLB. I just couldn’t get the ball to go where I wanted. I pitched a few balls where the area turned green so I suppose it was a “successful” pitch, but even then the guy would just whack it away for a home run. That’s how the score would quickly get out of hand for me. Landing an out was mostly about luck as I would hope they would pop the ball up in the air and then I’d catch it. Even fielding the ball wasn’t easy though as my guys would randomly drop the ball and then the opponents would get another base. In a game that is already filled with so much RNG I thought this was a bit much, but I suppose in real life people make mistakes at time so they were trying to emulate that.
As expected the graphics do look pretty good here. Sport games tend to age well which makes sense since at the end of the day there aren’t a lot of crazy effects at play here. As long as I can see the field and identify all of the players I feel pretty good about my odds and am satisfied with the game. There isn’t really much of a soundtrack though so you won’t be able to count on that. In all fairness, I wouldn’t really expect much of a soundtrack here either. It’s not something you really look for in a sport game.
There’s a lot of replay value even without online options. The game is difficult as you could guess from how I got beat down so you could play a lot of games just to try and get used to the controls and how the opponents play. Then you can work on full seasons and baseball seasons have a ton of games so this will buy you a lot of time as well. Considering that you can buy this game for a dollar or two that’s already reason enough to pick this game up. I think the only point against it would be that the other games are just as cheap and newer so there isn’t a real reason to go this far back into the past.
Overall, If you don’t have this game and you like Baseball then you should pick it up. If you are new to the sport and looking for a title though this would not be the game for you. I would recommend picking up MLB instead because the controls just make more sense to a newbie. Unfortunately for me Baseball is not a sport that translates well into electronic form. I have to get more control over the game to have fun and Baseball feels like a whole lot of RNG to me. That always kept it from being more of an enjoyable experience. My final word of advice is if this is your first Baseball manga, definitely be sure to play the practice mode. You won’t regret it.
No stats this time!
No stats this time! My score after doing the match was around a +39 or so, but I definitely didn’t win that match.
PS3 Trophies 10/41
Status: New Talent
Coaches Unlocked 7
Consecutive Wins 15
Consecutive Points 10
Points Won/Lost 94/32
88% of points won were on a winner
81% of winners were from the baseline
It’s definitely been a little while since I played my last Tennis games. I really love playing this sport in video game format due to it being one of the few ones where you can just play 1 v 1 in almost all the modes. Win or lose, it all comes down to your skill and there are no RNG factors to take into account. It’s a little weaker than Virtua Tennis, but by the end of my playthrough I did start to really get used to how this one works. The timing mechanics may not have been my thing, but at least they were implemented well unlike the latest Mario Tennis game. It was tempting to stick around and keep playing this title, but at least for now I’ve just got to put it down. One of these days I’ll certainly be back for it.
There are a bunch of modes to play here like King of the Hill, Exhibition, Training Academy, or the full career mode. I dabbled around in all of them in order to get some trophies but the bulk of your time will definitely be spent on the career. The training mode lets you play through around 26 levels which gives you a good understanding of the game. I highly recommend playing this one before you go into the other modes. Most of the time I skip the tutorials, but in general I feel like they are extremely handy for sport games. You want to have a deep understanding of the fundamentals if you are going to succeed. Once you have cleared them all you also get a shiny trophy.
King of the Hill is a good mode when you’re playing with friends. It’s effectively a mode where you try for 3 points and it keeps switching everyone out round robin style. Whoever gets a certain amount of wins first will end up being the king. Then there’s Exhibition mode where you can just play a lot of matches for fun with friends of the A.I. With that taken care of, lets take a look at the career. Career mode is very expansive as it takes you through a list of activities month by month. At first you won’t be a high enough rank to enter the big tournaments so you can enter the small ones or train your skills at charitable events. As you win tournaments or do these events your rank, level, and fanbase will increase. All of those are important for different things. You’ve also got criteria that you need to clear in order to hit the next status. For example “Win 3 tournaments” and you’ll go from beginner to novice.
I cleared 2-3 ranks before I eventually put the game down. It’s really fun because you can feel your character improving and the difficulty of the A.I. as you go through the game. If you win a tournament without being defeated you’ll typically move up 7 spots and you start out at around 100. So you’ll be #1 before long provided that you go undefeated. I would expect you will probably lose to someone before you reach the end, but if your fundamentals are good then maybe you’ll be okay. I lost in the semi’s during my first 3 tournaments, but then I aced my last 5.
You also get EXP which you can use to level up your stats and I highly recommend doing this. Increasing your level also allows you to hire new coaches which gives you little bonuses during matches as well as extra EXP. It’s never anything major, but little by little all of these bonuses begin to add up and before you know it you’ll be a true threat in the court. That’s your end goal and it’s definitely something you’ll want to keep in mind as you go through the game and try to be the best.
It’s a bit late in the review, but lets look at the gameplay for this title. Naturally the rules follow the real game of tennis so the goal is to hit the ball past the other player. You move your player to where the ball is and you can return the shot through a variety of different methods. A drop shot which is a low ball, a lob shot, or just a power move up the middle. I always went with power shots as the A.I. is great at blocking the rest, but there’s a time and a place for each one of course. You can also use control strikes to hit the ball where you want it to go.
The main difference here compared to other tennis games is in the timing. Hitting the ball early or late will increase the chance of you hitting it out of bounds. It’s a mechanic that can be pretty annoying until you get the timing down. Sometimes you’ll hit the ball and you feel like you did a good job, but it’ll sail out of bounds anyway. This is mainly if the opponent hits the ball really hard which is why I always opt for that approach as well. I’d be cool with this mechanic not being around, but it doesn’t hurt too much.
My big gameplay tip is to always go for the advanced serve. It’s almost impossible for the computer to return it without being knocked off balance so you can easily win the point on the next shot. Beyond that, just stay close to the baseline and only rush up when you see a volley that needs to be slammed. The gameplay is just a lot of fun and it’s my second favorite sport next to Football for playing at least. I could play tennis matches for hours and hours.
Sadly getting the Platinum in this game will probably be impossible since there are a bunch of online trophies. I assume the servers are down, but if they’re up perhaps you could coordinate with other trophy seekers to get them all. Even so I did try to get as many trophies as possible. There’s a ton of replay value here since the actual gameplay is so much fun and of course you can just keep doing more and more matches forever and ever. The game never really needs to stop so it’s a great bargain since you won’t need to pay a whole lot to get this game.
Overall, I highly recommend checking this game out. At first the gameplay may seem a little too intricate but as you play the game you’ll get addicted. The best way to start the game out on the right foot is to play through the tutorial. It does a really good job of explaining the various mechanics so that they make sense and seem pretty fair. After doing that you’ll be able to cruise through the first part of the career mode without issue. It’s all just so much more enjoyable once you know what to do. As long as you like the game of tennis you’ll definitely love this game. I’m definitely looking forward to whatever tennis game I end up getting next.
No stats this time!
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.
No stats this time!