No stats this time!
I’ve been reviewing quite a few Hockey games lately so it’s only fitting that I review a hockey short as well right? In this one Donald gets to show why he is a pro and honestly this is why he is the best of the original Disney characters. I like his confidence and the guy does have the skills to back up his tough talk.
His nephews have decided to get into the game of ice hockey so Donald agrees to show them some moves in a practice game. He is the current Hockey champ after all. Donald quickly beats the nephews and makes the game look easy but they aren’t too happy about that. They go for a rematch but this time Donald will be blindfolded. Can he still win?
The special is only a few minutes long of course so in describing the plot I’ve already described most of the special. Still, it’s a very fun one and one of the better Disney shorts if you ask me. It can still be hard to understand Donald at times but that’s when Disney’s striking animation comes into play. The characters are always so expressive that you can still get the meaning behind what they are saying at all times. Donald isn’t playing and while he rarely ever gets to have a happy ending, at least he always puts in a good effort no matter what.
The best scene of the special is definitely when Donald finally scores the goal and then multiplies the score by punching it back into the net over and over again. Now that’s some good style! He basically upgraded the game into something more like boxing which takes a lot of creativity. The nephews are reasonable as well of course. They realize that they are outmatched so they quickly decide to use some tricks to win. Anything clearly goes in this kind of battle so their gameplan was pretty sound. Next time Donald will certainly be ready for them though.
Overall, This was definitely one of the better Disney shorts. Donald really takes it to the next level and it’s a pretty intense one. A good chunk of the special is a fun chase scene with Donald and the nephews with the animators having a lot of fun with the effects and how crazy things can get. I do miss this retro style and bringing it back would be a good idea. If you haven’t seen this one yet then I recommend changing that as soon as you can.
PS4 Trophies 2/36
Now that I finished the Kuroko’s Basketball manga it was time to take a look at the quick sequel that came out. As the title suggests, it is about one last game that the main characters were involved in. The plot is definitely basic, but really the ultimate plot for a series like this. It’s a nice excuse to bring back all of the big characters for their ultimate scrimmage against the toughest opponents imaginable. It’s definitely an excellent read that I highly recommend.
The story takes place after the main series. A team from America known as Jabberwock has arrives for a quick scrimmage game against one of the Japanese teams. Jabberwock crushes them pretty badly though and goes out of their way to humiliate the players while also insulting all of Japan. One of the coaches takes this personally and challenges them to a rematch in a week to prove that Japan can hold their own. He says that he’ll destroy himself if they lose. The Jabberwock team is excited to hear this and since they want Japan to feel inferior to America they accept the terms. This is their chance to crush Japan’s spirit and enthusiasm in Basketball in one shot. The coach is forced to call in the full team of the Miracle Generation in order to stop these guys. Can even Japan’s best take down this team?
That’s what I call a hype story. Up til now in the series we never got to see the Miracle Generation really get to team up. It wouldn’t have made sense within the story after all. In this one though it’s the perfect reason to have them join forces. It also solidifies Jabberwock as a true threat since the best players we had seen in the series up til now are also acknowledging that this won’t be an easy fight. The idea of “There’s always someone stronger” is pretty much the foundation for these action titles so it’s the perfect way to do a sequel manga. Naturally as it is only 2 volumes there isn’t a lot of time for much else and the game basically takes up the entire series but that’s fine with me. Everyone gets their moment.
Surprisingly Kuroko and Kagami are pretty quiet in this one. Extra Game is more about the other members of the Miracle Generation and the two heroes already got to have their fun in the main series. Kuroko’s invisible passes are rendered useless almost immediately and Kagami’s jumping and power are surpassed by Silver pretty quickly. Not to say that Kagami and Kuroko are pointless here as they still hold the other members back, but this is definitely not their show anymore.
Kise probably looks the best from the group if you ask me. He’s able to improve his copy ability even further and this continues the subplot of him having the most potential from the Generation members. He had already been improving a lot towards the end of the first series so it was good to see him go even further here. Then Akashi also gets to help out a lot. His eyes are still as deadly as ever and he also gets a bit power up. Gold is sort of like a rival to him so they go at it quite a lot. Akashi was a solid antagonist and also makes for a fun ally.
Then you’ve got Aomine who is clutch as always. His whole thing used to be that he was the best 1 on 1 player so since Gold and Silver seem to outrank him that does hurt his performance a bit. It’s just hard to match their power and hax, but he does his best. Aomine is finally able to use Level 2 of the Zone for the first time so that does help him up his game. He’s still my favorite character regardless and has a lot of hype moments here. While Midorima may not be able to keep up with the others in terms of agility or dribbling his 3 point shots are still super handy. You just can’t block his shots when he is so far back. If someone counts how many points each player scored I wouldn’t be surprised if he came in first. There’s one point in the story where he lands a bunch of 3 point shots back to back.
Murasakbiara probably gets the least amount of hype moments in comparison. He’s the strong guy, but isn’t as strong as Silver which makes things tough for him. Still, he does remember his training and takes his game to the next level. It’s a team effort so taking away any of the members would have made this a losing battle. That’s why at the end of the day Silver and Gold were still so impressive. It was basically just those 2 taking on the whole team from the start. The author goes out of his way to make them as unlikable as possible though. So they make for solid enemies to be defeated, but I wouldn’t call them good characters.
Silver is basically just a walking pile of vices. He loves drinking and is constantly yelling about something. He can’t stand any of the Japanese players and also plays dirty when he is starting to lose. His talents are definitely the real deal, but the guy doesn’t have heart. Then you’ve got Gold who is the villain leader. His stats are nowhere near that of Silver’s but his extra abilities help to make up for that. His eyes for example are pretty overpowered. Being able to see the future and such in a basketball game seems really hard to beat if you ask me.
The art here is definitely still really solid. It’s definitely as good as the main series. It’s got a lot of polish and you feel all of the pivotal moments in the game. This mini series will fly by and I basically read it all in one sitting. It’s just great fun and feels like something that was basically made to be a movie. It’s like the new Broly film or most Shounen films in general. It’s got a quick setup and then a large battle to keep you right in the thick of things. It’s a winning formula and is definitely the ideal way to make a quick sequel. As a result there isn’t a whole lot to say besides talking about what a great game it was. It’s just a great end to what I’d consider to be a great franchise. The games don’t get much more high level than seeing all of the best players duke it out right?
Overall, Extra Game delivers on showing us more of the Miracle Generation. I did mention in the original series that it would have been nice to have seen the full Miracle Generation fight a little more and that’s exactly what we got here so I was definitely a satisfied customer. As I mentioned Kagami and Kuroko didn’t get to do much, but it makes sense. Kuroko’s tactics have already been shown not to work too well on strong opponents. Kagami is a little more surprising since he is basically a Miracle Generation member by the end of the series, but I suppose he still isn’t quite there. Maybe this game is the true passing of the torch moment for him. I definitely recommend checking this series out when you’ve got a chance.
No stats this time!
It’s time for the next 2K adventure! Once again this game shows that for some sports the older titles just felt more natural. 2K8 is definitely a lot simpler than a game like 2K15 so it may not capture quite as much of the realism but it’s just a lot of fun. You can run up and try to shoot a basket without having to worry about a ton of variables like in the newer ones. You can just trust in your casual fundamentals and go from there.
As always I did jump into the quick match option and it was probably the most back and forth match in a very long time. At first I had the lead and managed to hold on to it for around the first half of the game. At one point I was winning by as much as 7 points. My 3 point shots just kept landing and it was all going good. Everything changed when the computer remembered that it had the fast break option. Suddenly they scored a bunch of points and I was the one down by 7. I rallied as hard as I could and got the lead back by 1 but then in the final minutes they started scoring again and beat me by about 6. So I did lose the match but it was definitely a lot of fun. It felt more interactive on both sides if anything as I was able to play some good defense and even got steals. Offense was fun as always.
I do think that the timing is a big part of making the shots here as opposed to it mostly being luck based. I was able to land 3 three pointers in a row at one point and I think it’s because I had the right angle. On the other hand, some of the 2 point shots still get a little fishy. They should be easy layups and yet the player will miss anyway. The computer never misses those shots so at that moment I just have to shake my head. Still, as I mentioned the games are just a lot of fun which is the important thing. One day I’ll start winning matches consistently.
Going back to the gameplay for a sec, it all just feels so organic. That sounds pretty vague so I’ll try to elaborate on that. When you start to shoot the ball you’ll see a defender casually reach up to try and block it. He’s not using some kind of secret skill or doing anything out of the ordinary. No, instead he’s just getting up there and getting the job done. When you steal the ball it’ll roll on the court before someone grabs it instead of magically jumping into someone’s hand. A lot of these things may technically be because the game isn’t super refined yet, but I actually like it. It makes the characters feel more human since they actually make mistakes. I also thought that the gameplay was a little more exciting than some of the newer ones although of course this is to a small margin. Technically I thought all of the games were exciting in their own way.
As always there is a lot of extra content to play around with. You can forget about the online options though as those servers have been down for a very long time at this point. Still, you can practice your shooting skills, running around the court, etc. There’s also the legendary franchise mode so you can have endless games as your favorite team. There’s no end to the replay value here as you’d expect since that is basically par for the course for sport titles. The NBA games are very consistent with their modes and that’s a good thing.
Naturally there is less emphasis on the presentation here since the graphics aren’t quite as all star as in the later games. Still, everything that you actually do need to be clear is well defined. You’ll never lose yourself on the court or anything like that. The screen is clear and I didn’t notice any glitches either. As for the soundtrack, it’s pretty standard as expected. These areas are probably the most similar across all the titles, but why fix what isn’t broken right?
Overall, NBA 2K8 is definitely another really solid title. It brings all of the classic Basketball action that you would expect and then some. These games just never get that old although I will admit that I am just about ready for the next sport. I only have 3 more Basketball titles left so I am in the homestretch there. The goal will be to win one of those last 3 games although I guess we’ll see how it goes. If you haven’t bought this game yet then I really don’t see why you would. At this point the players/teams are so outdated compared to the newer titles. i’m sure a bunch of these players are probably even retired by now. Still, it does hold up and since you can buy the game for about a dollar it really is a steal if you think about it.
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.
No stats this time.
It’s time to look at a film based on true events. I’m not all that knowledgeable on Baseball so even once they mentioned the team and the year I didn’t know what was going to happen ahead of time. In a way that helps to make the film more interesting. You know that the year had to be special in some way or there wouldn’t be a film, but the question was whether or not they would win the World Series. Big Baseball fans will know the answer to that right away, but whether you do know or not, this film’s pretty enjoyable.
The film follows general manager Billy Beane as he is faced with a tough dilemma. His team lost in the playoffs last year and now all of their best players have been swiped by other teams. This team also doesn’t have a lot of money so it’s not like they can just go and buy some good players. Billy is confident that if they try drafting people the normal way they are going to lose. Following this train of logic be brings in an assistant from another team known as Peter. Peter believes that there is a data way to picking out good players rather than simply looking for talent. He builds the algorithm and then the main characters start drafting from there. Still, just because the team is good on paper doesn’t mean that it will necessarily work. Also, while it will be tough enough to meet the opposition from other teams, there are forces within the organization who don’t like what is going on.
Another interesting dynamic here is the fact that Billy isn’t the owner or the coach, he’s the GM. It’s an interesting position as it’s a very powerful one, but not a position that comes up in the news much. Beyond Jerry Jones I couldn’t name any other GM in all of sports. So for the film the tough part is that Billy can make all the trades he wants, but if the coach doesn’t play them then he is stuck. He can’t really fire the coach because of the contract. I’m sure he could ask the owner to buy the coach out, but considering how the owner doesn’t want to spend any money that definitely seems pretty unlikely. The players also comment on how it’s rare to be talking to a GM, but Billy makes sure to take a hands on approach with the team. He even acts like the coach for a good chunk of the film.
Billy’s a fun lead. It was definitely interesting how he said he doesn’t watch the games though. I personally find Baseball to be a little boring with how long the season is and the slow pace of the games, but if you’re a GM I just assume that you like the game or at least that you like the salary enough to like the game. At least he is pretty upfront about this with Peter though and by the end he watches more though. By the end of the film he has a tough coaching decision. I definitely agree with Peter on going up to show how the system works and not letting it get too personal. Billy ultimately makes the move he was most comfortable with which based on his backstory makes sense. Definitely feels like a missed opportunity though.
Peter is a pretty good supporting character. He doesn’t quite have the confidence or know how that Billy has, but in the guy’s defense he had only just started his first job when he was pushed all the way up the ladder. It makes sense that he wouldn’t really be too comfortable with these more difficult tasks like staying on the line with multiple clients or firing people. Billy shows up the ropes though and by the end he is definitely pretty good in these various roles.
A film like this is naturally counting on the writing to be a success. The sport scenes are definitely important of course, but without a good script it’ll fall flat. I’d definitely say that it was pretty solid. Perhaps not perfect, but it was engaging and you’ll be interested in what is going to happen from start to finish. The on the field action is naturally pretty cool since it’s like a sped up version of the game as the movie doesn’t have to wait between hits, but the off the field parts are nice too. You definitely do get the feeling that the owner was trying to save up as much money as possible as the players are even charged for soda. That does sound pretty crazy so it’s no wonder why the team always loses. Even if Billy does give it a good system, I can see the owner messing it up by never giving anyone a pay increase. Eventually even if you use the data model you’re gonna have to pay some of the players.
Overall, Moneyball is definitely a really good film. I do think basically any sport can be interesting in cinema form as there was even that Golf film I saw a while back that was pretty fun. Baseball is no exception and this one was really well made. I think you’ll be able to enjoy it whether you follow the sport or you do not. Think of it more as a drama title and you’ll be engaged. I feel like a lot of films based on true stories tend to be more about traumatic experiences or really big events. In comparison this one was a lot smaller so it was cool that it got picked to be adapted. I’d definitely be down for more sport movies to come out someday.
My FIFA marathon is now at an end. 08 is the final game I own that I have not covered yet. It’s definitely been cool going through the years like this. I’m not sure what sport is next, but I think I’m in the mood for something super hype like Football so that’s probably gonna be the one. I’m out of Madden games (Aside from a Head Coach title) so most likely it’ll be college Football. Either way lets get back on topic. FIFA 08 is definitely not quite as good as 09 and 10 but it’s pretty close tbh. FIFA is definitely a game where you don’t see much of a difference in gameplay or graphics til we get even newer than that.
As always you’ve got a pretty good amount of options for which mode you want to play. You can jump right into a quick battle or head online. Well, the online is disabled so scratch that option. You can play a franchise mode which is honestly your best bet if you’re going to be playing this one for a long time. This way you can play a lot of games in a row and actually see yourself improve as you go through the matches. Even if you don’t make the playoffs it isn’t the end of the world as you can play more than one season. The franchise keeps on going until you decide to stop playing. In that sense the game never truly ends. There are also tutorials and practice mode to play which will help you hone your skills.
I am now confidently at the point where I can defeat the A.I. on the first dificulty level. Unfortunately after that it starts to get hairy. I fought the computer at the highest difficulty level in the game and only lost 2-0 so I felt pretty good about that. As always I am great on defense, it’s just the offensive side of the ball where I can’t really keep up. I don’t get how the players do it because it really doesn’t seem like there is any kind of opening. I really need to watch some Youtube videos or something. On defense if I play conservatively then I should usually be able to force a 0-0 game, but it gets tedious after a while so then I just start running in and hitting people. Obviously this will result in a lot of flags so it usually isn’t worth throwing the move out there without a plan. It’s fun though.
As I mentioned the graphics are basically the same as last time. The stages all look good and the player details are on point. I can’t really speak to the soundtrack much as you just won’t hear it while playing. On a technical level I also like how the celebrations are handled after a play and after a game. They’re actually pretty realistic and there are enough variations of them where you don’t feel like you are watching the same things over and over again. Having a solid selection of celebrations is about as important as having them in the first place if you ask me.
As for the gameplay, it’s pretty straight forward. As long as you know the rules of Soccer then you’ll definitely be able to get into the action here. The toughest part as I mentioned is kicking the ball. It’s hard to angle your kicks and taking the time to power them up is risky since the opponents will slide in. There’s a lot of strategy here so think of playing the game as trying to crack a code. Even if I was unable to crack the code I can definitely respect the fact that the gameplay was handled pretty well. There’s a lot of nuance here and attention to detail.
One technique I practiced a bit so I could at least say I tried to get into the deeper aspects of the game was the ball shuffle. I’m not sure what the exact term of this is, but by moving the right joystick on the controller you’re able to try and juke around the defenders. It didn’t work a single time so it seems to be about as useful as the juke in the Madden games. Usually in these games the computers just don’t fall for anything, but I do think it’ll probably work a whole lot better if I use it against real players. That’s when you know if you’ve mastered the technique or not. The only part where the human element doesn’t really come into play is the goalie so that’ll be tough regardless of who you’re playing.
Overall, FIFA 08 is definitely a fun game. There’s really no point in buying it at the moment since the later games already go for 1-2 dollars. Still, if you really want to collect all of the FIFA games then you might as well get it. Ignoring the fact that there are sequels, FIFA 08 still stands loud and proud as a solid video game. There really aren’t any glaring negatives. It’s just a very complete soccer game. There’s nothing to do but play soccer when playing FIFA 08, but why else would you get the game? So long as you enjoy playing the sport I’m sure you’ll enjoy this title.