9 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Madden 19 Review

It’s time to look at one of the newest installments in Madden. It’s definitely been a fun series throughout the years and I’m proud to say that I own almost all of the installments in it. Madden 19 continues the series strong run into the modern era and it’s the kind of game that you could play for a very long time. It’s one of the only sport games where I end up playing through a full season before the review so I could really take in the smooth gameplay. There’s really not much to say against this game although there is a feature or two that take away from it being the perfect Madden title. (2004 will always be the best one)

First things first I jumped into Franchise mode. It’s really quite sad how this mode has gotten the shaft in favor of other titles over the years. You rarely hear people getting hyped about this one anymore, but to me it’ll always be the best mode. You just pick your team and play for as many years as you want. There is now the option to play the Franchise online which sounds interesting. I assume that means all 32 teams will be controller by someone online, but does that mean the matches have to be scheduled? I know there are also a lot of rage quitters so I wonder how the game handles that. Either way I don’t have PS+ so I had to play the franchise offline but that made it extra nostalgic.

As expected there are a few new bells and whistles here. For starters every player has XP as if this was an RPG and you’ve got missions for every game. Clearing them gives you more XP and you can use that to level up specific techniques or even the coach. I’m not sure if I’m 100% happy to have these extra things because I prefer to just play the game with my own playbook, but it doesn’t really harm things offline. Online it could mean that you end up being completely outclassed though if all of their players are maxed out. So I dove into the games and managed a 10-6 record. I managed to get a first round bye which was nice, but then I lost to the Eagles in the Divisional round 37-27. Considering I was playing as the Cowboys it was a pretty rough way to go. My backup quarterback fumbled twice and I also threw a pick. In the end we just couldn’t get past that. (And the random holding calls from my offensive line)

In a lot of ways the games have gotten even more realistic than they used to. A holding penalty suddenly showing up to wipe away my first down happened about as much as you see on TV for the team. Then there are also the constant injuries that would happen every game. Pretty much every important player on my team had to leave at least once during the game and several were out for weeks. I had to sign 3 more quarterbacks during the season to keep my team afloat until Dak arrived again in the final game of the regular season….only to get knocked out during the Eagles game. I’m really tempted to turn off injuries for the league next time I do a season.

Granted, I got a lot of mileage out of Dak. I ran for over 1300 yards as him and while my passing yards were only around 2800 or so, it worked out pretty well. My favorite play in the game is quick slants as there are a lot of options on the field and typically if they’re all covered well then you can run for it. Usually I would run for about 15-20 yards a piece. Of course I do recommend diving each time you run at the end because a direct hit would probably lead to a fumble. Running the ball normally was okay, but Zeke felt extremely slow so I usually wouldn’t get a lot of yards. I did go to Exhibition after the season to play as the Ravens real quick and their running back was so much faster. It just feels nice to blow past everyone.

On the defensive side it felt about the same as usual. You go after the quarterback or stay with the cornerbacks. It can be really tough to make any stops though and half the time it feels like you don’t have any real power here. I played defense for a little while and eventually turned it off. One of the best features here is the ability to skip one side of the ball. I would set it to Offense only so I would only take over at that point and the defensive side would be simulated. It was a pretty good balance if you ask me. Special teams is pretty good as well though and they tend to keep that one in. Field goal kicking has been greatly improved as it’s back to a “click x button twice” style as opposed to flicking the stick. It just feels a lot more natural now. Punting is also pretty good so these parts of the game are as good as can be.

The graphics and presentation are top notch as you’d expect. Madden has always been amazingly consistent in these areas and it shows how much effort the company puts into the game. Madden is a flagship title after all so you would expect it to always be this good. The players throw their clipboards away after a game and they’ve even got most of the celebration dances in. You can now choose how you celebrate after a play as well and the commentators really have a lot of good dialogue options so they typically know what they are talking about. It’s really rare for them to say something unrelated during the game.

Now lets talk about the only parts of the game that don’t work so well. First up, I like the concept of their Longshot mode which is where you get to start the game from college or high school and make your way to the championships. The problem is that the game has long cutscenes that cannot be skipped which is not something you want to see nowadays. I don’t think it was ever a good thing, but I understand that there may have been technical limitations at some points. Otherwise there is no excuse not to be able to skip cutscenes. That just hampers the mode quite a bit.

Meanwhile you’ve got the soundtrack which isn’t so good. EA’s always gone for very loud music which I guess ties into Football, but it can be a little obnoxious while you’re on the menus waiting for the next game. You’ll probably want to turn it off as soon as possible. Fortunately it is easy to do that. The final thing I have to mention here is that it’s still really tough to ever throw deep balls. One thing I liked about the older Maddens was that you could take shots down the field. Nowadays if you do that you’re going to get picked off. There are good receiver catching mechanics that have been added like the RAC option, but they don’t solve this issue. Typically the way to advance are short passes that go for 10-15 yards and that’s it. There are no long balls and that’s a shame.

Overall, Madden 19 is definitely a fantastic game. There is an endless amount of replay value to be found here as the game has tons and tons of different modes. It’ll take some time to master all of the mechanics since there are a lot of them and in general Madden has never been an easy game. You need to have great reaction times and to be able to scan the field right away since everyone’s positions will be constantly moving. Still, if you are able to do that you will find yourself dashing through the competition. Maybe you can even go for the Platinum while there are still enough people playing the game. Regardless Madden continues to be the greatest video game series out there right after Super Smash. I’ll definitely go after Madden 20 once the price has dropped to the 5-10 dollar level like this one did.

Overall 9/10

Game Records

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 Stats and Records

No stats this time! My score after doing the match was around a +39 or so, but I definitely didn’t win that match.

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Top Spin 4 Review


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.

Overall 8/10

Animated Short Reviews, Animated Shorts, Reviews

The Hockey Champ Review


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.

Overall 7/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Kuroko’s Basketball: Extra Game Review


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.

Overall 8/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

NBA 2K8 Review


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.

Overall 8/10