Now, with my editor on vacation after today, I’m done writing for a week. Maybe now I can get some more time in on Burnout Paradise…
On a completely unrelated note, what’s the over/under for today’s Dow Jones selloff on Wall Street? -500 points? *shudder*
Good night… errr… good morning, all. Zzzzzz…
I was able to wrap up my BUZZ! Quiz TV review late last night and we were allowed to publish it despite a standing embargo on reviews for the game. It was a pleasure to play and to review; my excitement regarding the game may seem a bit overblown, but I really do believe that there’s a bright future for the game; with regular expansion packs and with continued MyBUZZ! support from users, this game could have legs that carry the game’s relevance into the new year. It’s too bad that the single-player game isn’t a bit deeper, though.
I still have several reviews on my plate, including NHL 09 (awesome), NHL 2K9 (not so much), and Mystery Case Files: Millionheir (decent). I’ve been fighting a bit of a cold, so my motivation hasn’t been where I want it to be, but this list will keep me busy. Combine that with what appears to be a banner week for PSN (Mega Man 9, WipEout HD, Burnout Paradise), and that means that my workload will be pretty heavy clear into next week.
Getting back to hockey for just a minute, one can only wonder what hockey games would be like if there was a marriage between EA Sports and 2K Sports. While NHL 09 is the clear winner this year (Be A Pro is utterly fantastic), there are some presentation aspects from NHL 2K9 that NHL 09 lacks… like a somewhat decent analysis between periods and better stock replay angles. 2K9‘s 3 Stars montage is sweet, too. I don’t understand why it is that, despite a partnership and cross-branding with ESPN, EA Sports can’t nail down a rock-solid presentation in any of its games. I’ll grant you that you don’t need a stellar presentation to have a great hockey game, but having that solid presentation value certain adds to the game’s aesthetics. I can’t help but to wonder if EA partnered with ESPN solely to keep their branding away from 2K Sports.
Here at the homestead, I have changed things around a little bit. I used to have my PS2 and PSone here in the office (hooked up to my GXTV), and my PS3 in the living room with the HDTV. I’ve since moved the PS2 out to the living room to join the PS3 in widescreen, 48″ glory. Granted, I could have played PS2 games on my PS3 (I have the 80GB model with software-driven backwards compatibility), but, much like playing PSX games in a PS2, something gets lost in the translation– usually on the graphics side. It’s also interesting to have just the PSone here beside me; if I want to play a game in here, I’m now choosing more discriminately. Do I want to start an RPG, like Final Fantasy VII or Chrono Cross? Do I want to relive the heyday of the Tony Hawk series on the platform where it all began? Maybe I can refine my skills in PaRappa or UmJammer Lammy. Honestly, I’ve not really fired up the PSone lately, so I’m hoping that this change will generate a bit more playing time for the venerable system.
I need to get my game collection online so that you all can see what I have, and we can compare notes. Do you still own any PSone games? Which ones? I’ll add this to my To-Do list, and when it’s done, I’ll post something here. Deal? Cool.
That’s it for this entry. As always, your comments are welcome… and please check out my work and much more at Games Are Evil. There’s been a flurry of content posted lately, and I’m sure that you’ll find something worth taking a few minutes to read (and comment on). I’ll post again soon… but for now…
It’s been a busy few days. My new role with Games Are Evil has been quite the active one, having completed three reviews (Tiger Woods 09 PS3, Jeopardy! PSN, and PAIN PSN) and seven articles total within the last seven days.I also just wrapped up my review for The Price is Right for the Nintendo DS, and that’ll be up later this morning.
It feels good to be on the writing side of the fence again. It’s not that I disliked proofing reviews and features or managing other writers, but this is the front line of things for me. It’s spending time with the games themselves and then critically discussing them in written format, with pros and cons and then making the final call on the game’s worthiness. Games Are Evil does not have a scoring system, which is unique… but it does kind of force viewers to actually read reviews in their entirety instead of just scanning for a number or letter grade and then moving on.
Of course, getting back to reviewing means getting my hands on games to review, which is rather difficult for me at the moment due to my financial situation. I’m barely getting by now as it is, so I’m hoping that my editors can work their PR magic and secure me some titles to cover.
Getting to gaming stuff…
NHL 09 rocks. I can’t stop playing in Be A Pro mode. I created myself playing as a center, and I’ve moved up to the first forward line for the Springfield Falcons, who, by the way, are the local AHL team here. Granted, if I get called up to the NHL, I’ll wind up playing for the Edmonton Oilers, but at least I’d be in the big leagues. I’m a scoring machine, with 22 goals and 14 assists in 15 games so far. Be A Pro is so immersive; and you can decide what you want to do. Do you want all of the glory and score 2-3 goals per game, or do you want to be more well-rounded and dish some passes to teammates for other scoring chances? Sure, there’s a Franchise mode here, and the online play is very good… but until I can wrest myself away from Be A Pro, I won’t know much about the other stuff. The visuals are markedly better than last year’s game, but the commentary is a bit repetitive and Gary Thorne has a penchant for calling the wrong names at times. Seeing this game in a silky-smooth 60 frames per second is very sweet indeed.
In a disappointing turn of events, I have Yakuza 2 sitting here at home and it’s not yet seen the inside of my PlayStation 2. I’ve heard and read nothing but good things about it. Sam Bishop over at IGN said that the game is awesome. I hope to get to actually try it in the next few days. I had thought about trying to play through the first game, but there seems to be a recap of the first one within the sequel, so… I guess I just need to hunker down and spend some time with it.
On the portable side, I’ve been splitting time between Mystery Case Files: Millionheir and Tetris DS. Final Fantasy IV is still unfinished, but with good reason: the game is kicking my butt as I’m near the end. I will go back to it, I’m sure, but I needed some time away from it. Millionheir is deceptively fun; sure, it’s just like playing Where’s Waldo?, but there are some interesting diversions from the core formula and the challenge of a ticking timer and limited hints will test your visual acuity. I just recently finished the Rookie level, so I’m tackling the next difficulty setting up. I am hoping to have this review done by week’s end.
That’s it from here. I hope that you’ll check out my latest work and consider adding the RSS feed to track our updates. Sure, it’s a cheap plug, but… it’s worth a try.
Have a great Tuesday!
If you’re a fan of sports video games, this is the time of year that you live for– and that your wallet probably cries about. We’ve just recently seen the release of Madden NFL 09 and Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf 09, and now the hockey wars are about to begin with the releases of NHL 09 and NHL 2K9 this coming week.
It’s interesting to see the two hockey franchises taking different directions this year. 2K9 will present a game that focuses on accessibility and improved presentation, while NHL 09 looks to build on the runaway success of NHL 08 and add some sweet new features, such as Be A Pro and full 5-on-5 online play.
Demos certainly don’t tell the whole story, but after spending time with the demos for both games on PSN, I came away excited for NHL 09 and was left wondering whether the final version of NHL 2K9 would bring some excitement. NHL 09 handled just as sweetly as NHL 08 did, plus the visuals were upgraded to a consistent 60 frames per second during gameplay. Meanwhile, for 2K9, I was frustrated by the lack of passing accuracy and was left rather unimpressed by the visuals. 2K9 does seem to improve on its lackluster presentation values from last year’s effort, but the demo had no commentary to speak of and some of the sound effects seemed dull. (The soundtrack, however, was pretty good IMO.)
If I had to say which game was going to be the ONE game on ice to get this year, I’d have to say NHL 09 right now; however, I’ll be spending time with the retail versions of both games later this week. Stay tuned for detailed impressions soon.