Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

With today bringing news that sexist commentator Andy Gray has been axed from the next instalment of Fifa 12, I thought this was the best time to start talking about a hotly tipped, high impact, yearly franchised game such as…..well…..Fifa 12.

Fifa 12 Cover Art Concept

Fifa 12 has vast changes not just commentators

So yes Andy Gray has gone, but don’t worry the answer as to his replacement is at the bottom of this review. The other goodish news is that you can choose to have Martin Tyler and his new associate or you can have the comedy commentary of Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend. Now that is a shocker (Unless you owned previous Fifa’s) But onto the actual review

So other than the above statements what has changed in Fifa 12, well we will start with just about everything. The ‘Press’ button has been removed and that now makes defending an actual skill, no more will people be able to hold down a button and a defender nipping the ball away from Messi with virtually no skill needed. Attacking has also been altered with the ability to hold up the ball, closer control with dribbling has also been implemented and more importantly than all those put together is the new ‘Impact Engine.’ In the past a collision would send body parts into an almost laughable manor of limbs going through players, tackles not making a difference how hard you tried to destroy Christiano Ronaldo and you get the idea. Now tackles will make a difference, actual injuries will be made if you try and snap someone’s leg, a collision system that should detect even the best of bumps and concussions.

Andy Gray and Richard Keys

Andy Gray gets dropped by Sky first and now EA. What next?

But for me the best is yet to come, finally the Pro Player Intelligence system that ‘supposedly’ was implemented in Fifa 11 is apparently ready and waiting. So for instance, Peter Crouch will be ready to head the ball into the net, Messi will be able to closely dribble the ball, Drogba will have the strength to hold off opponents, and John Terry will be able to hit on friends girlfriends – Just like in real life.

Well the last one you may not be able to do, but you get the point. But all of this comes at a price, and that price is that if you fell in love with Fifa 11 you have to get used to a whole new different ball game (Pardon the pun). So what do you think? Looking forward to the challenge? Or do you expect a difficult relegation battle? Judging from previous years, I’m making Fifa 12 the bookies favourites and expecting Pro Evo to be relegated to the Bargain bin almost instantaneously.

P.S. The person who is replacing Andy Gray is Alan Smith discuss…

Fifa 12 will be available to purchase on 30th September 2012 for Microsoft X-Box 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii, Sony PSP and PC

Use these Pre-Order links and get 18 Gold packs (3 packs per month for 6 months) to build your dream club in FIFA 12 Ultimate Team.

Pre-Order FIFA 12 – Special Edition (PS3) from Amazon.co.uk

Pre-Ordre FIFA 12 – Special Edition (Xbox 360) from Amazon.co.uk

Having spent a fair amount of time enjoying the delights of Virtua Tennis 4 I thought it would behove me to review the other additional tennis simulations that are going to be available and for that I had to really review its competitor which is Topspin 4.

Anyone who remembers my review (Insert review post here) will remember that I greatly appreciated the rather simple and casual gaming style of Virtua Tennis 4. And if I had to give these games a real life comparison Virtua Tennis would be Rodger Federer and Topspin 4 would be Andy Murray. Why you all gasp? The reason is simple, Virtua Tennis is (And for me always will be) a tennis great, it’s intuitive, easy to pick up and play, enjoyable, and is always going to do well. Topspin 4 is also intuitive (Maybe too much so) not as easy to pick up and play as Virtua Tennis, doesn’t go into too much details during it’s “World Tour” mode and will only surprise you actually follow tennis. Now that we have that analogy over with it’s time to properly review the game.

Top Spin 4 Screenshot

Top Spin 4 does indeed look good, but is that important in comparison to gameplay?

First thing to mention is that the control system is fairly easy to us (Although it has a lot more shot options then I would ever need to use) and even tells you if you have hit the ball early or late and, obviously as would be expected, this alters the movement of your shot. This control system however seems to nurse you too much, and whilst you can turn it off, it’s still there as a back though that the creators 2K Czech need to implement this into the game. I mean it is a good thing, if you’re playing a practice match or training this is a must have, but when playing in a competition it’s not really necessary.

Secondly the control system seems a little slow, there doesn’t seem to be any real power in the shots, and since this is trying to simulate real life, they should have given the game a little more oomph. Even the character I was playing as (Federer) seemed to hopelessly flap at the ball when if he’d of actually tried to hit it he could have. The game really seems unpolished, which after three years of waiting for a sequel, is very much unexpected.

Maybe I’m being too harsh as I am a real lover of the new Virtua Tennis series, but this game does have its good points.

Top Spin 4 Cover Art

Top Spin 4 available now on Playstation 3, X-Box 360 and Nintendo Wii

It has several different difficulty settings, so someone like me can easily start off on medium and the die-hard tennis fan can get into the nitty gritty expert level straight away. It has advanced control systems for serve and all of its other shots, but if you’re feeling a little tired you can let the computer automate your shots and serve as well. It has amazing graphics, probably on par with Virtua Tennis 4 and its new player animations are very realistic and well presented. It has an all new TV broadcast quality, which although is seen in other tennis sims, is very well replicated and maybe even better then Virtua Tennis. But these are all novel, and very cosmetic plus points and in no way can compete with its nemesis Virtua Tennis 4.

So to summarise what I summarised at the beginning this game really is the Andy Murray of the tennis video games. It may be a very good game for those who played Topspin 3 as it keeps some of the glory of that game and takes away all that was bad and terrible about it. But with a very dull world tour mode, (No side quests like meeting fans, signing autographs etc.) very slow and seemingly powerless shots, and did I mention the lack of depth in the “create a superstar” mode this really is Andy Murrays Wimbledon…… unwinnable.

Score: 6.5/10

Reviewed by the IRS before submitting by: parkergordon

Buy Top Spin 4 (PS3) from Amazon.co.uk

Buy Top Spin 4 (Xbox 360) from Amazon.co.uk

Whilst the rest of the world are going Portal crazy we thought we’d be different and instead review Vitua Tennis 4 World Tour (Don’t worry, a Portal 2 review will be coming soon…….ish)

Now similarly to my Tiger Woods Golfing review, I haven’t played a tennis game for absolutely ages, so when I got the chance to try out virtua tennis 4 world tour I was happy to oblige. The first thing I noticed is how much the game seems to have evolved, whilst at the same time remain accessible for those who are quite casual as well as hardcore gamers. Even one of the levels of difficulty is a casual setting which is a big plus, if you’re like me and do a 9 to 5 Monday to Friday job.

Virtua Tennis 4 Cover Art

Virtua Tennis 4 available for PS3, X-Box 360 and Nintendo Wii from April 29th

So how has this game evolved exactly well firstly it’s got quite a good create a player mode (Which you start off doing) and probably has more features then I can care about (Why would I care how far apart my eyes are as an instance) Secondly there’s a story mode, a fairly good one at that. You start off playing in Japan and are meant to work your way around the globe to become champion. Whilst doing that you have a variety of ‘events’ or ‘training sessions’ to go to and of course there’s the mandatory ‘autograph signings’ to endure/enjoy on your way. All in all the story mode seems to have it down to a tee (Oh no wait that’s golf).  Also available on the full version (Still waiting for that call from Sega offering me a game on the full version) will be the ability to use the PS Move which, despite flagging sales reports this week, still has a major part to play in Sony’s future. If done correctly this could finally be a reason for me to buy a PS Move, if done like the Wii maybe not (Unfortunately early reviews of this seem to say that it’s closer to Wii Sports than anything wildly different) And with game modes like World Tour, Arcade, Exhibition, Practice, Party (Not playable so unreviewable) Motion Play and the expected Network modes there’s plenty there for people to shake a stick (Or racket) at. But  this all seems a fairly alien concept to me, especially since the last time I played a tennis game Anna Kournakova was still a tennis sensation. But I like it because it actually gives the game some merit, and if your change the difficulty after beating the game, gives it some replay value.

These are all excellent points, but remember when I said it has evolved in some areas and not in others, here’s the other;  the controls seem very stiff and it doesn’t seem to matter how fast you press the buttons or not. In real life if you swing too early you have the possibility of missing it and if you swing too late then the ball boy is picking the ball up off the ground.  It can seem like an eternity to go through the story mode especially since you have to use so called ‘Tokens’ to move through the game, which can be annoying if you wanted to sign some autographs but couldn’t ‘cos your tokens don’t/won’t let you. The opposition seem dumbfounded at times, looking around gormlessly for the ball that had zipped past them two hours ago. However, this may be because I was playing on casual, although a lot of other reviewers have the same opinion. The controls are very similar to the games I played back in the late 90’s press this button, aim it overs there, run over there, get ready for return etc. But of course how can you change the controls radically without getting some critical acclaim from someone.

The graphics however are quite spot on, on more than one occasion I thought my girlfriend had sat on the remote and I was somehow watching Wimbledon in the Spring.

Virtua Tennis 4 Screenshot

Looking at this it's easily clear how good the garphics are

There will no doubt be those of you who say well tennis is boring to watch, why would I want to play it? Well cricket is boring to watch but Brian Lara Cricket was a very playable game, and so is this. I can actually imagine myself playing it on casual and then switching the difficulty level up and trying to beat Nadal on the pro difficulty. I used to get bored of tennis games with great ease but this one made me want to play so much more than any of them ever used to, and that playability is something lacking in most video games these days.

So to sum up, this game offers a lot for its money (Or will do on its impending release) not to mention the online abilities that are sure to be another reason to hone your skill and play this game again and again. Even the seriousness of some of the flaws that it has can be made up because the game impresses you on so many other levels and in so many other places (Gameplay for example)

Even the demo (Available on the PSN for all members now) allows you to play for a fair amount of time (Enough to make you realise if you want the game or not) and possibly even more interesting, allows you to keep your save game data, and will transfer it into the full game if you buy it.

I have to say I am very impressed with Sega’s new breed of tennis games, and with the lead development team being shifted back to Sega’s Japan division, it’s easy to see the difference (Not that I’m saying Sega of America or Sega of Europe couldn’t hack it).

So, should you but it?? Should I buy it?? Are you going to buy Portal?? Or did you just stumble upon this on your downtime whilst playing Portal?? The answer to all four questions is probably yes. I mean I think I will buy it, If you like tennis you should probably buy it, if you’re going to buy Portal then this review is possibly of no use to you, and if you are reading this on your downtime away from portal well then you probably can’t even see the words ‘cos you’ve been on portal all day.

The Virtua Tennis 4 World Tour demo is available now on PS3 only. The game is due for release on the 29th of April for all major consoles.

Score: 8/10

Made from the finest Columbian lighter fluid by: parkergordon

Pre Order Virtua Tennis 4 (PS3) from Amazon.co.uk

Pre Order Virtua Tennis 4 (Nintendo Wii) from Amazon.co.uk

Now I admit I haven’t played a golf game since the early days of the Tiger Woods PGA series, but surely not that much has changed right? I mean golf is golf at the end of the day right? Wrong.

In the past, golf games stuck to a very simple approach that meant that even if you didn’t like the game you could pick up the controller and just play whenever you had a casual minute or two. Playing this game for almost half an hour I think I would have needed all day to like it, and it just didn’t happen.

Tiger Woods PGA 12 : The Masters Cover Art

Notice how small the words 'Tiger Woods PGA 12' are. I wonder why!?

So let’s look at what’s new in this year’s version. Well first things first, there is no Tiger Woods on the front cover. Whether this is due to Tigers ‘off-field’ shenanigans, or because EA felt the need to take the game in a separate direction we’ll never know, but either way he’s slipped off the cover. Even the games name (Tiger Woods PGA 2012) is now in small letters at the bottom of the game case, rather than emblazoned on the front in giant letters. Of course that doesn’t change the way the game plays so let’s take a look into that.

There is only one word to describe the gameplay and that is awful. They seem to have spent way too much time, effort and probably money capturing the license so that players can play the Hallowed Grounds of Augusta National Golf Club’ and take a ‘run at capturing the distinctive Green Jacket.’ And if I may steal a line from Happy Gilmore ‘Gold Jacket, Green Jacket, who gives a shit’.

The gameplay makes you use the left stick (Playstation 3) or the Playstation Move to take aim and set your power. After about 20 minutes of trying to get this right (Using the Playstation 3 controller) I gave up and I think I got maybe two, three shots that were perfect. This new version also has a caddie for you to be friends with. Aside from the fact that he is a right royal annoyance, he also suggests shots that you may like to take, and his judgement is terrible. You’re better off hiring the labour party to calculate your shots than this guy.  This game made me more frustrated than I have ever been at playing a game and has very few redeeming features.

Tiger Woods Screenshot

Tiger Woods doesn't have Tiger Blood. Neither is he winning

The only thing I can think of is that if you are a seasoned veteran of this game you may just have the time to play it and enjoy it. But if you were like me and just wanted a couple of holes of golf after work, then your better of dusting off that old Playstation 1 system and buying a very cheap version of one of the first PGA tour games.

Saying that though, the graphics are very polished and do look very authentic, at more than one point I actually thought I was watching a video, but this feature alone will not make the game any better. And the ‘Broadcast Presentation’ is quite a nice feature too and makes it feel as though you’re watching it on TV, and in all honesty you are better off watching it on TV.

So to sum up, unless you have all day to hone your skills (Doley, student, stay at home mum, drug addict, lazy sod) then you won’t and can’t possibly enjoy this game. And unless someone tells me otherwise, you will most likely be using this game, the best way possible, as a coaster within 30-45 minutes.

This game will be available to buy from April 1st 2011 on Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii and X-Box 360.

Score: 3/10

Review done during a Charlie Sheen promotion stunt by: parkergordon

Pre-order Tiger Woods Pga Tour 12 : The Masters – Move Compatible (PS3) from Amazon.co.uk

Pre-order Tiger Woods Pga Tour 12 : The Masters (Xbox 360) from Amazon.co.uk