Card Collection 33/104
Card Collection 33/104
It’s time for another Baseball game! This one could actually be the last one I review for a while which is pretty crazy. I have two more MLB games, but they haven’t been working. If they don’t start working soon then it’ll be time to cut my losses with them. Baseball is one of the few series where I actually tend to prefer 2K to the main line games. 2K7 is no exception and actually has the best batting mechanics I’ve seen yet. If you really like Baseball then this is the title for you. It’s still not really my sport when it comes to video games because I feel like there is too much RNG, but at least now I can hit the ball back.
There are a lot of modes as always here but the one you will want is the exhibition mode right off the bat. I just wanted to test my skills against another Baseball team and so I dashed over. Much to my surprise I actually put up a pretty good fight here. It started out badly as I was down 3-0 after a few innings. I just couldn’t manage to hit the ball. I checked the settings and the reason for this was that the game was using motion controls. You were supposed to tilt your controller in order to swing. This is all well and good except for the fact that my PS3 controller has no such feature. I switched the controls to what they listed as “Classic” which allowed me to hit the ball normally. It went back to a classic “Press X” control scheme which is way more my speed.
So I started to make my comeback. I was hitting balls left and right. A lot of them went foul but others would actually be home runs. Eventually the game ended with a score of 9-6. I may have lost, but I got really close compared to most games where I lose 18-0 or something like that. At least this one made me feel like I was in the game at several points. It still doesn’t really take away from my main issue with these Baseball games though. My problem is that none of it feels like it’s in my control.
When pitching, the guy will just hit the ball sometimes. It doesn’t matter if you hit the perfect pitch, sometimes the guy will simply be ready for it. Likewise when you’re batting you can be in just the right spot and still not hit the ball. Perhaps it was outside and it just looked like it was in. Even worse is when you hit the ball and it goes out of bounds or straight into someone’s mitt. I know there are ways to angle your hit better and if you don’t want to go out of bounds then you’ve got to work on timing but there is too much that is out of my control for me to enjoy it as much as the others.
Basketball, Football, and Tennis are my three favorite sports to play in video game format and that’s because RNG is kept to a minimum there. What you see is what you get. If you mess up then it’s all on you. Sure, there is RNG present in every game and those are not exceptions, but they don’t feel nearly as frequent as they do in Baseball. No matter how refined the controls get, I feel as though that will always be holding the series back to an extent.
As always the graphics are good though. The players all look lifelike and the Baseball field is very clear. A lot of effort went into this even if it’s not quite up to Madden level. The presentation is also nice with a lot of quick cutscenes showing up between plays or after the game. Even seeing everyone heading into the stadium was a lot of fun. Slowly but surely the games are all starting to have big presentations like this and I think it’s definitely a good thing. It makes the whole thing look and feel even more realistic.
There’s a lot of replay value to be had here so you don’t have to worry about running out of content. That’s never really been a concern in Baseball games though so I would have been surprised if there was a lack of content. You can play endless matches against all of the teams and there are a lot of modes to try out. Considering that the game is only about a dollar or two nowadays it’s really a great deal for sure.
Overall, Major League Baseball 2K7 is probably one of the best Baseball games I’ve played. It’s quite solid for a Baseball game, but still doesn’t solve the things that were issues for me. I think the games need to take a bit of inspiration from the Mario Baseball game for Gamecube. Of course they wouldn’t grab the special abilities or anything like that, but the batting mechanics were quite solid. There you felt like every ball went exactly where you wanted it to go and that’s a really good thing. I’m confident it will happen in a main Baseball game someday.
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.
We’re getting closer and closer to knocking out all of the SNES games. Only 5 remain which include an RPG, a LOZ title, and 2 side scrollers. It’s been a good run, but this tells me that Nintendo needs to hurry up and start adding more games to the lineup. I don’t want to have to go back to the NES games just yet, but I will if necessary. That one still has a whole bunch that I haven’t checked out to be honest. This Soccer title isn’t all that good. Of course the controls were limited for its time, but even so it just doesn’t age too well and you won’t be playing it for very long.
The film throws you onto the soccer field and the camera angle is from above so think of it like playing Foosball from the old arcades. Instead of flipping the pieces you still do run for the ball, but everyone moves like one unit. When you’re on defense you are controlling all of the players on screen at the same time which is definitely pretty interesting. It means that there is a lot of team unity here, but at the same time it also means that it can be difficult to cover multiple people. Defense was pretty challenging here and I lost my first game 6-1. It’s definitely not like the other Soccer games where I barely even allow 1 goal.
Then we’ve got offense gameplay. On this side of the ball it really feels like you can’t do anything. You can move, shoot, and pass and that’s it. Without a way to accelerate the other players would always trip me up from behind. I’d try to pass it away, but they steal the ball in midair. The defensive players really were not playing around at all and just kept getting in the way over and over again. They were all like perfect players. I appreciate the A.I. being pretty sound but it was getting out of hand. I don’t even begin to guess what the answer to this would be. How do you get around such gameplay? The gameplay doesn’t even seem that bad, it’s just not all that balanced.
I scored a total of one goal across two games. After this I figured I should at least try the Penalty Shootout mode. I played that one twice, but still couldn’t score once while they made all of their shots. Super Soccer is definitely not for casual soccer players. I definitely see that now as I was completely crushed in the end. The computers just aren’t playing around here.
As for the graphics, they look pretty good. It’s not going to be something to write home about but at least you can always tell what is happening. There isn’t really a soundtrack, but that should come as no surprise. In terms of replay value there isn’t a whole lot to do in the game after you play a few rounds. The same can be said for most sport games, but especially one as old as this. There are just better soccer games to play whether you like the realistic FIFA titles or want something more like Ubisoft soccer. Either way this one wouldn’t make the cut.
Overall, Super Soccer is not a game that you will remember very well. It’ll get lost to the ages of time, but it’s still nice to have been able to play it at least once. If you’ve got the Switch online then you should check it out. It really can’t hurt to play it for a while since the game is free right? That being said, you’ll quickly move on to the next title as I have. This was the last SNES sport title I hadn’t played so next time it’s back to more of the side scrolling type!
No stats this time!
No stats this time!
It’s time to look at a fairly recent Wii U game I got to play. I haven’t had a chance to play a true cash-in title in quite a while so it was nostalgic to an extent. That being said, the game was pretty underwhelming and falls for most of the traps that the Wii U games tend to sink in. The Gamepad and Wii Remote are both mandatory which is an issue since the Wii U should be able to play the game with its own controls. It’s like asking you to have a Gamepad while playing a Nintendo Switch game.
There are 6 games here and they range from okay to downright bad. It’s really something that Wii Sports has aged a lot better with the controls and pure gameplay. ESPN is just not on the same level and that’s really a bad sign. None of the games feel like they had any real care in them and they were simply slapped together for a quick profit. There is barely even a main menu as the only options are to click into the games or look at your in-game achievements. Those are your only options so the game is incredibly quick as you have probably already begun to suspect. Well, lets look at the games.
First up is Football which should have been great, but unfortunately the game messed this up by making it all motions controls. Throwing the ball is actually very difficult because the game won’t read your commands and by the time you are able to toss the ball it is usually too late so your guy will drop the ball. A lot of the game also boils down to luck as you pick 1 of 4 directions and hope that the other player picked a different one. If you pick the same one then the defender ends up stopping the attacker. It just doesn’t feel like Football, especially since you can’t run the ball at all even after catching it. All you can do is throw the ball which doesn’t even work well. Thumbs down on the first sport.
Then we have Tennis which has controls that are worse than the Balls of Fury game for the Wii. It’s made to be like Wii Sports as you swing your arm around and try to connect but the sensors aren’t perfect for this one either. You’ll have a very tough time hitting the ball and an even tougher time trying to get it to go where you want it to. The points all last way too long and so do the matches. It may be fair to say that this is the worst version of tennis that I have played in a game.
Not to be outdone, the Golf game here isn’t any better. In fairness to this minigame, it’s no worse than most Golf titles. It’s just that Golf isn’t for me and this is not the game to change that. You will have a hard time hitting the ball just right because you’ll end up swinging too hard to compensate for the sensor not reading your light hit. That means you can expect to get a Bogey instead of a Birdie.
Then you have Karting which is the best game almost by default. It’s not great or even that good, but at least it feels like a real game. You can actually accelerate accurately and the stages had a little effort put into them. By now it’s a pretty small bar, but I’ll take what I can get. This was probably the best game out of the 6 and it shows that racing games are still the foundation upon which everything tries to get built. It’s just easy to at least give you the impression of being in control here.
Next is Baseball and this one has the same issues as the Football game. It doesn’t feel much like Baseball because so much of the game is completely out of your control. There’s just no fun to be had here which is a real problem. Pitching feels pretty OP while batting isn’t satisfying. This leads to a poor balance for sure. Finally we have Soccer. Admittedly this one isn’t too bad. It’s up there with the Kart game for at least being entertaining. The controls are simple and you can actually score. It feels like soccer which is the important thing. So, all in all the game got 2/6 of the games right. I can’t really give it a ton of praise for that, but I’ll at least give it some credit.
Not enough to recommend the game though. When you see the name ESPN slapped onto something you expect a certain level of quality. This game did not fulfill that at all. It just went through the motions and ultimately gave you a title that you can’t really be all that proud of. The graphics are okay, but nothing special. They’re going for an art style like Backyard Football, but with less of a budget. It’s all colorful, but not very impressive. The soundtrack and presentation are basically nonexistent here so that isn’t doing the game any favors here either.
There is some replay value through the achievements that the game gives out. Each sport has 40 achievements and there are 28 social ones. Completing all of these achievements will be very difficult unless you have another player to cheese them with. I got a reasonable amount of achievements, but since they don’t unlock anything there really isn’t much point to them either. There isn’t even a mode to play all of the sports at once. It’s like playing Mario Party but without the party mode and knocking the dozens of minigames down to 6. Even if these minigames were amazing (which they aren’t) it would be tough to hold my attention for very long with such a limited selection.
Overall, ESPN Sports Connection is not a good game. It’s probably the most disappointing game since Star Fox Zero. There just should have been so much more to this title but it could not deliver on anything. Even the karting, while okay ends up making Mario Kart Tour look good. You could just buy a game that specializes in one of these 6 sports instead of buying the mini version. It can be done well like Wii Sports, but for the most part I tend to see a pattern of these kind of games being low quality. The game is only 2-3 dollars so it’s not a big loss if you buy it, but I would recommend going for something else instead. This one just won’t last you very long at all.
Play Time 1h 11m
It’s time to venture back into the world of hockey! After I managed to secure a win last time I’ll admit that I walked into this one with a lot of confidence. It wasn’t a question of if I would win this time, but rather by how much would I claim victory. Turns out that the CPUs didn’t like this and they fought extra hard. Unfortunately I was not able to claim victory over them this time, but I put up a good fight. They just had an extra tight defense this time and their offense wasn’t bad either.
I can’t say that there was much of a difference between 13 and 12. I jumped right into the match and got my best hockey swings in. As a quick recap of the rules the goal of Hockey is to hit a puck inside the enemy net. They have a player standing watch over it at all times and they will do whatever they can to stop the puck. Their team was quite successful at this. Usually my plan is to either pass the ball to a nearby teammate who will punch it in or I’ll do some quick jukes as I approach and try to aim it at the opposite corner. I did manage to score a goal, but unfortunately they got 2 so I was not able to stop them. I had more success with direct shooting than passing this time, but it seems to vary from match to match.
I quickly tried a rematch which I came close to tying, but they scored a goal near the end so I was stuck. After the quick matches I figured I should also try one of the other modes because I don’t do that very often. I went into the shootout mode and managed to win that one. For some reason that mode is always a little easier than the actual game. I suppose because it’s 1 vs 1 there are less distractions so I can just walk up and do my best. There weren’t a lot of other modes that I could see. The others seemed to be variations of the main one so you could jump in and start a franchise or be a GM for example. You could probably spend a ton of time there.
NHL is the kind of game that never really has to end. The amount of replay value it has is equal to how much you enjoy the game. You can sink dozens/hundreds of hours into it if you wish but if you’re that hardcore of a player then you’ll probably be playing NHL 18 rather than 13. Considering that the game is only around 2 bucks it is really a steal to grab this one. This is the final mainline NHL game I’ve got, but I do have 2 spinoffs coming soon so my hockey marathon isn’t quite over yet. I still have more chances to try and secure a win.
Meanwhile the graphics are definitely as sharp as ever. The game looks very nice and you always have a good feel for what is happening on screen at all times. There isn’t much of a soundtrack that you will notice, but once you’re in the game it’s not like you’ll be worrying about that for long anyway. You really get absorbed into the match and the presentation is definitely on point. NHL always delivers there.
In terms of difficulty I imagine that hockey will be one of the more challenging games. All these reviews are on the Pro difficulty level although I’ve dabbled with others in the past. The rookie level is pretty easy to win on and anything above Pro is almost impossible to score with so you gotta hope for a 0-0 deadlock. Pro seems just right to me even if I very rarely get any wins on it. It just seems balanced and while the defense is almost unbreakable, it never feels unfair. I think that’s a subtle distinction that you always want to keep. In some games it feels like the A.I. is totally cheating by breaking the mechanics or teleporting, but I haven’t noticed that here. Of course it could just be that the computers are being extra slick.
Overall, NHL 13 is a fun hockey game. It really keeps up with the others and feels more natural than some of the older ones. While you don’t notice the difference much on a game to game basis, I can definitely say that it was more enjoyable than some of the older ones. I think a case could be made for it just feeling like that because I’ve been playing so much hockey though. I won’t deny that this could be true, but either way I’m definitely glad about that. The higher the games go the better right? Stay tuned for my next voyage!
It’s been a while, but it’s finally time to take a look at the next NHL game. I’m thinking that the wait actually ended up being a good thing because I finally managed to win a game. I’d been getting closer and closer as the games went on, but this time I was able to just get into the game and cleaned up shop. I won with a decisive 3-2 score which felt pretty good. It’s really hard to say why I was finally able to score, but I will say that I just kept up a high tempo offense all the way through.
I jumped right into a quick match of course and at first things were looking dicey because my PS3 controller wasn’t playing ball. It kept trying to make my player run downwards but after a few resets I was good to go. Of course by then I was already down 0-1. Perhaps it was the urgency that got me, but I quickly began to take shots at the goal and to my surprise I was getting through. For one of the shots it ended up going right through one of their defenders and to the edge of the net so the goalie couldn’t stop it. It was basically a hall of fame shot if I do say so myself. The other 2 shots were less remarkable but the important thing is that they made it through.
The controls are the same as the others games as you run across the field and try to score goals inside of the opponent’s net. You can shoot or pass the ball and additionally you can slam into other players as well as pick fights. I got into one scuffle during this match and I made sure to knock the other guy out. I didn’t even pick this fight, but once I was in it you can bet that I was aiming for the win. The gameplay all feels pretty smooth even if the computer does seem too close at times. You never really get a breather to stop and relax or you will see that the puck has been stolen.
The A.I. never lets up and I suppose that’s a good thing. It does force you to stay sharp and to keep a close eye on the rest of the field. Meanwhile the graphics are definitely as sharp as always The field looks pretty clear as well as the character models. I definitely had no qualms on this area. The soundtrack may as well be nonexistent since you don’t really hear it during the game. I’m sure it was okay of course, but not exactly a winner.
In terms of replay value you can definitely find a lot to do here. There are tons of different modes to play and its a sport game so you can just have a lot of fun facing off against different opponents. That’s really the true value of a sport game after all even if NHL wouldn’t exactly be my first choice. The game is also new enough where you can try to earn some trophies, but they are pretty tough. I didn’t even earn a single one during my match so I imagine this should take you a long time. If there are any online trophies then the platinum is impossible right from the start which is always unfortunate. Ah well, can’t get all of the platinums I suppose.
I guess for my gameplay hint of the day I would recommend going in close and shifting your stick from arm to arm with the X button. Then fire into the goal when ready instead of passing it to a teammate on the other side to shoot. The move doesn’t seem to work as well as it used to. The computers will either steal the ball right away or it simply won’t go in. The goals I got were simply from rushing towards the net and making the shot. You’ll still have to make dozens of shots before you get it right, but eventually you’ll squeeze it in there. It feels like luck and RNG, but I’m sure there is some kind of technique to it.
Overall, NHL 12 is pretty solid. I can’t really say that there is anything to differentiate it from the last installment though. I guess it’s possible that they tweaked how good the goalies are though. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve never scored 3 goals like this and I wouldn’t say that my skills just suddenly jumped a beat so it’s an interesting theory. If the game did make it easier to score that is certainly fine by me because I do like scoring. The whole game just feels faster and it’s a lot more satisfying. Of course I do understand why people who prefer the defensive side may not like this if it is the case. Well, I’ve got NHL 13 coming up at some point soon so it’ll be good to see where that one stacks up. Slowly but surely we are wrapping up the sport games. Long story short, if you like NHL then this is a good pick up for 1-2 dollars.