6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

NHL 08 Review


Hockey is definitely one of the sports that I know the least about. This is definitely due in part to the fact that I just never watch it. I at least tune in for the NBA Finals, The World Cup, and several Grand Slams. For NHL I don’t even know what their championships are called. For some reason the game never seemed as interesting as the others to me. I still prefer it to Golf, but it just didn’t grab my attention. That may be due to the ice, but I’m not sure why so I’ll just leave it as one of life’s mysteries at this point. Either way it’s been years since I played an NHL game so it was fun to get back in it.

There are definitely a lot of similarities to the FIFA games. The gameplay for the two sports just tends to mesh well although NHL loses this battle. It’s a fun title but yet another sport where I am unable to score unless I put the difficulty all the way to the bottom. It gets even trickier than soccer because half of my team is constantly getting knocked out thanks to penalties so I have to field the whole section by myself. Once it’s 5 vs 3 then I’m really sunk. I suppose the idea here is to keep swinging until you get the puck past the goalie. Instead of pass plays I would just keep on hitting the ball until the goalie forgot to block.

It’s a little harder to move on the field because of how slippery it is, but you’ll get the hang of it pretty quick. Mainly you just want to focus on outwitting the opponents and claiming the puck. Once you’ve got a lead you can camp out the other team pretty easy in this game or at least easier than in some of the others. At the same time if you’ve got a lead then you may as well try expanding it to really get a decisive victory. You never know when the tides will turn after all and sometimes it’s just a good idea to press the attack.

There was one point in the game where my players were in the perfect position. I kept on shooting at the goal and while he would block, the power was high enough where it would bounce over to another guy. I’d then pass it again and fire a shot. This kept on going until finally one of their guys got the puck, but I managed at least 10 shots in during that time which definitely felt pretty good. I was in the zone at that moment.

Interestingly you never actually take control of the goalie, which is different from soccer. I’m down with that since it means more time on the actual field which is always good. It also means I have more time to work on not getting so many penalties the whole time. One of them seems to be like Basketball where you can’t go backwards past the half point of the field or you surrender the puck. The defensive ones are a little trickier to get around as I end up getting slammed whenever I attack another one of the players. I guess you have to slam them while they still have the puck, but it’s hard to time it just right since they end up passing so quickly. Ah well, at least you’re only taken off the field for a few plays and not the whole game.

The graphics here are definitely sharp. Get ready to see the players complaining about the penalties a lot as it happens after each penalty and they get quite upset. These scenes are skippable but pretty entertaining. While there isn’t a lot to show off in terms of graphics on the small hockey rink you’ve still got a good amount of hockey gameplay and the arena looks sharp.

There’s a good amount of replay value here which is pretty straight forward since it’s a sport game. You can play as any of the professional Hockey teams and you can play under many different conditions. As you get better at the game it’ll all feel smoother and it’s always nice to actually see your improvement in a game. You’ll feel like a completely different person when you end from when you first started.

Overall, NHL 08 is pretty solid. I look forward to seeing if the title has changed a lot over the years or if it remains the same as I play the newer installments. I don’t really see what more they could add in, but I’d be game with some way to make more precision shots. As it stands a lot of my shots still go wide or don’t exactly fall into the place I was hoping for. I’m not sure how they can do this without making it too complicated so the easiest way is to just improve the accuracy. It may make the offense a little overpowered but sometimes sacrifices have to be made to save the game. Hockey fans will definitely get a kick out of this title as I feel like it really does the game justice with the mechanics and presentation.

Overall 6/10

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6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 Review


It’s time to look at another soccer game. This one takes things to the next level with it’s more arcade-like gameplay and I’d even put it on the level of the main FIFA titles. Pure Futbol will always be the definitive football game for me, but this one does a good job of handling the sport and scoring actually feels possible. I was actually dominating in one of the rounds although as a disclaimer I do need to mention that the game was on Easy mode.

I tried out quite a few difficulty levels but the rest were too tricky for me to win. On normal mode it was pretty close but it was definitely back to being a shut out type game. As I went to expert and master the opposing team started to destroy me. I just can’t figure out how to drive the ball without it getting stolen. If I try to pass the ball then they intercept it and if I try doing it myself then I get stone walled. These defenders definitely aren’t playing around and really do their best to stay one step ahead. I guess I still need to work on some fundamentals.

Playing on easy at least once does help in a tutorial sort of way though. You get to experiment with a lot of different styles and techniques against a team that isn’t really fighting back. You can’t get too crazy or anything, but it’s still a good way to prep yourself. Then it is a little sad to get completely destroyed in the follow up round, but that’s just how it is sometimes. You gotta take the Ls along with the wins. As I mentioned this one does throw in more of the momentum and speed compared to the other soccer games which is a good thing.

One part of the game that felt pretty rewarding was passing into a shot. Using plays with assists was always my go to strategy in Mario Strikers and it also felt pretty realistic because you always see the players passing the ball when you watch real soccer matches. It just makes sense that you would have one player distract the goalie while the other fires. It worked like clockwork and at least you get a feel for where you should be when you make the goal. At the same time, the tough part is getting that far.

I tried out a lot of things while playing and one tactic that works a little bit is quickly making a circle. The defender will then be on the wrong side of you so you get closer to the goalie. The problem is that even at that point there is nobody to pass it to so then you’ve just traded one problem for another which is not good. I made a lot of shot attempts, but I just couldn’t make any goals after the opening goal. The goalie truly feels impossible on this level and your teammates aren’t helping much so it’s like 1 player against an army.

As always I have to give the disclaimer that I’m sure the game is balanced well enough. I just need to figure out the tricks to get through or I’ll never be ready for the tournaments. I think a truly good game is one where you have fun even if you’re always losing and this title passes that test. Winning would be a nice change of pace but I’ll just have to wait a little longer before I can claim that kind of glory.

The graphics are also very solid. They may not have the realism of FIFA, but you don’t need that to still be considered as a top tier contender. You always know what is happening and the plays are very smooth. The ball stands out without being distracting. There isn’t much of a soundtrack to speak of since I didn’t stick to the main menu for long. It was always time to just keep on going to the next match.

There’s definitely a lot of replay value here since aside from quick matches you can practice and jump into a season. That may sound like there isn’t a lot of content here, but you have to understand that a game about soccer is going to focus on the sport. As it stands there is enough to keep you busy here for a very long time. Keep on polishing your skills until you can defeat an opponent at any level. I feel like that would take me months or even a year but if this is the game that you choose to dedicate yourself to then you should be fine.

Overall, This is definitely a game to check out. It’s only around 2-3 dollars so it’s a steal and you’ll gain a better appreciation of soccer by the time you are done with it. With this game done I’ll be heading to the Hockey series next but I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of the soccer reviews. There’s always another sport game right around the corner after all.

Overall 6/10

5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

UEFA Euro 2008 Review


It’s time to look at a soccer game that I’ve had for a while. This one isn’t FIFA so I definitely am not familiar with it. Right away you could also tell that things were a little different since the United States team isn’t available. It does say Euro in the title though so I suppose that is to be expected. It’s fun enough for big soccer fans, but it’s not really for me. I still can’t figure out how to score which is definitely rough. I need to score!

When you jump into a game you are given the option to play as the whole team or to just be one player and hope that your teammates pass it to you. It’s a novel concept, but after trying it for a while I can’t really imagine playing that way for long. I like to be in control of what’s going to happen and I can’t assume direct control if I’m locked to one player. As a result this strategy just doesn’t work for me. I also played a game as the whole team of course and that was a lot better. Of course, in that game my team didn’t score so there’s a flip side.

The rules of the game are similar to Basketball. You have to kick your ball into the opposing team’s net in order to score a goal. Whoever scores the most goals will end up winning and claiming the title. The problem of course is that scoring is incredibly difficult. The goalkeeper seems to be able to block any kind of shot that you hit his way and you are never given the opportunity to even get close because the other team is constantly stealing the ball or knocking you to the side. This game just feels like a mystery to me because nothing would work. This traditionally does happen in soccer games though. The only one where I was really able to get into the zone was Mario Strikers and that game has always been particularly awesome so that isn’t really much of a surprise. For all I know the Nintendo just really aces the sport.

Of course, a lot of people play these soccer games and score so it’s not that the game is glitched or anything. I like to think of these games as puzzles and this is one puzzle that I just haven’t cracked yet. Hopefully I will be able to soon as I will have a few more opportunities with soccer games coming up. I believe I at least have one more and then it’s on to the NHL. The graphics definitely look pretty good here even if they aren’t as polished as the other sport titles. You can always clearly see what is happening and that is absolutely the most important part to the graphics here. You’ve gotta be able to see in order to make the key plays after all.

In terms of replay value, this game’s still got a lot to do. There is definitely less content than FIFA, but there’s still a ton to do as long as you enjoy soccer. You can keep on playing games over and over again and you can really refine your play by choosing to lock yourself as one player I guess. It’s definitely not the option I would choose, but I’m sure that there are a lot of people who would enjoy doing that.

I guess one ironic part of the soccer games is that it’s one of the only sports where I’m better at defense than offense. I typically hold the other team to 1 point at best. I may lose the match, but it’s always a very respectable final score so that’s something I can be pretty proud of. It doesn’t really help with making the game more exciting though. A low scoring match like that just shows me even more why soccer just isn’t my thing. I really love high powered offenses and points, which isn’t really the point of soccer. This is possibly a game where a 1 hour tutorial actually could have ended up helping me out quite a bit. Interestingly the computer doesn’t get a whole lot better when you increase the difficulty or at least I couldn’t notice. I still can’t score, but neither can they so it evens out.

Overall, UEFA Euro is a quality soccer game. It checks all of the boxes that it needs to and while it doesn’t ultimately differentiate itself as the definitive soccer game it does give players another option when heading into Gamestop. Not every game needs to be the next showstopper and there are no real weaknesses with this game that would make you want to skip it. At the end of the day it adapts the game of soccer pretty well and that’s all you really need. It’s only around 5 bucks so I’d recommend picking it up if you see it. If you don’t like soccer, then you definitely shouldn’t be buying a soccer game anyway.

Overall 5/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

NBA 2K15 Review


Yes guys, it is Basketball time once more! I’m still not the biggest 2K fan out there, but I will admit that they spared no expense with this one. There’s even more content than usual and of course the graphics are really good as always. There’s really nothing to dislike here so as long as you like Basketball then you’re gonna be in for a pretty great experience.

As always I started out with the classic Play Now mode. It’s always a good way to quickly get used to the controls and just get yourself acquainted with the game. I’m still not quite ready to take on the higher difficulties here as normal mode is enough for the computers to start to overwhelm me. I was doing pretty good, but gradually the small lead the computer had kept getting bigger and bigger. By the end of the game it was a genuine blowout. I tried adjusting mid-game but it’s definitely easier said than done.

The main issue here is the fact that on offense I am definitely not guaranteed to score and that’s always a bad thing since I can’t really stop the computer all that consistently. Sure, I can stop them here and there, but they score almost every time and I’m typically scoring 50% of the time. It’s odd that I’m missing so much so In know that I’m getting something wrong as opposed to the shot% just being really low here. It seems like there is some kind of shot meter like in some of the newer NBA games only it is invisible unlike those. So make sure you’re timing your shots since that seems important.

Even with that it is tough to get the shots because you need to learn how the mechanics work for all the various situations. A lot of times I would try to get a shot off but the player would try to dodge someone so the shot didn’t go off. It definitely takes a lot of practice. You also can’t get away with the risky passes you might have tried in the normal NBA games because here they’ll steal the ball almost every time. The defense is relentless.

On the other hand, it’s hard to stop the team when they’re on offense. Most of the time you’re just hoping that they’ll miss the shot and you can get the rebound. Of course, rebounds are really tough here. On one hand I almost always got the rebounds when I would miss a shot, but by the same token they would tend to get their own rebounds as well. Defense just felt almost impossible at times, but that’s usually how it is for me.

So, I decided to play some more of the bonus content here that I usually don’t really touch upon. One of these was the franchise mode. In this one you start out as a new recruit in college and you play one game before the actual draft starts. It’s pretty interesting since you’re an actual player so you can’t just keep on jumping around like you would in a normal game. You have to just play the game as a selfish player constantly asking for the ball or just waiting for your opportunity. I tried being selfish since it’s not like I was going to be playing this for a long time anyway. I ended up getting an F grade….so that didn’t work out well.

From there you go to the draft and then some actual interviews which was pretty interesting. I do love the concept as this makes the realism grow to even greater heights. It’s hard to imagine the games getting even more realistic than this. It’s the full draft experience, but the one thing I don’t like is that you can’t skip the cutcenes. You get 3 interviews back to back and I like how you have different options for your answers, but it is very long so if you don’t care and just want to get into the action you’ll be waiting for quite a while.

Meanwhile the graphics are naturally top tier as always. You won’t have any complaints here for sure. The players are naturally on point and on model. The court is clear and a lot of effort was put in here as per usual. The soundtrack is definitely less inspired. It’s pretty much the same as per usual but either way you’re in it for the Basketball right? The soundtrack would just be a bonus.

There’s pretty much endless replay value here as you can keep on playing the various basketball matches or you can jump into these various franchise modes. I probably prefer the classic Basketball gameplay the best, but I do think the novelty of sticking to one player could definitely be a lot of fun as well. I don’t know about being pulled out of the game though, that seems like it would be annoying pretty quick. Then of course you’ve also got the PS3 trophies to earn so you’ll definitely be here for a while. I didn’t try the online, but since this is 2K15 I wonder if the servers are still up. I definitely don’t know for sure though so don’t count on the online still being active just in case.

Overall, NBA 2K15 is probably the definitive installment in the 2K series. At least from the ones I’ve played. The gameplay still isn’t quite as fast paced or intense as the NBA ones in my opinion. It’s definitely a very different take and for longtime fans of the 2K series I’m sure they’ll love it. It’ll take a little longer for the normal NBA fans to get into it of course, but once you do then you’ll see the great amount of depth that is to be found here. I’d recommend picking this one up and soon I’ll be playing the older installments so it’ll be fun to see how the game has evolved over the years.

Overall 8/10