Sunday, September 26, 2010

Game Review (NHL 11 - 360)

Graphics: 4.25/5 Pretty good looking game - with just a few flaws. First off, when playing with classic/action/overhead/etc. camera angles, at the bottom of the ice/screen, the game will lag - online or off. Not terribly, but it's an annoyance. Another thing I noticed was that the character models are terrible. Even the big-name players hardly resemble their real-life counterparts. The ice looks nice, especially with the scratches from skates and the reflections. For ONCE in an NHL game, the fans look actually very good, and interact. For instance, if up against the boards, they stand up and bang on them. If you're the home team and leading, they stand and wave towels.

Sound: 4.25/5 The commentary in this game is about average - you will hear the same lines ad nauseum before too long. However, all the sounds on the ice, as well as the soundtrack in this game, are pretty excellent.

Control: 3.75/5 For the love of god, this nearly ruins the game. The controls are extremely precise - which is great for experienced players - but if you're just starting out, expect a frustrating experience if you try using the right stick for shooting/deking and what-not.

Fun: 4.25/5 While this game is superbly frustrating much of the time, it is still fun - scoring a goal in a hockey game has never felt more rewarding - it's just that much work to get one in the net. Anyways - back to the frustrations. When playing online right out of the gate, you have a skater with an overall rating of about 70. While online, you will encounter a lot of douche bags, on different levels. You will have the douche bags that love to go offsides even though there's a warning on-screen, the douche bags that don't know how to pass, the douche bags that play as goalie but could't catch a snail, and, of course, the douche bags that play this game 24 hours a day, 8 days a week, and are impossible to defend against with their 100 skater rating and insta-goal capabilities. This, coupled with the fact that good team mates are hard to come by, make NHL 11 one of the more frustrating games I have ever played. Online or off, expect a lot of unfairness. If I've learned one thing from this game, it's that, it doesn't matter how great of an offense or defense you have - it's about how good your goalie is. You can have a 99 offense and 99 defense, but if your goalie is below a 75, say hello to a giant deficit by the end of the first. As I play this game more and more, I will either enjoy it more, or just want to get rid of it. As of now, it's a love/hate thing for me. Ah, yes, and I'd also like to point out that the difficulty levels aren't very well done. Pro is far too easy for the most part, while Superstar - or whatever the next difficulty level up is - is just too hard most of the time. This is more of a rant than a review, and I could go on for paragraphs, but I'll sum it up for the ninety-third time; NHL 11 is well worth playing for its My Player mode, as well as its Card Team dealie, if you can get past the many frustrations along the way.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Game Review (Guitar Hero: Van Halen - 360 )

Sure, it's a super delayed review, - this game came out forever ago - but I just got it via GameFly. Here are my thoughts on GH:VH.

Graphics: 3.5/5 Meh. The main thing that bothers me about the graphics, although it's not so much the graphics as it was Activision/Never Soft's choice, is that the members of the band are OLD. Rather than take on the late 70's/early 80's appearance of the band, they did what they look like now. I'm sorry, but to me, that's just stupid. Graphically though, this game's about average. The model movements aren't anything spectacular, the game doesn't look really any better than Guitar Hero: Metallica... it's nothing that will blow your mind.

Soundtrack: 3.25/5 Meh as well. There are flaws on top of flaws involving the soundtrack. First, as everyone should know by now, there are a number of bands in this game that have zero relevancy to Van Halen. Let me list a few: blink-182, Weezer, Foo Fighters, Fountains of Wayne, Yellowcard, among others. Uh. Hello? What the hell are bands that weren't formed until two/three decades after Van Halen in the game for? Another massive flaw that may be worth noting to fans of Van Halen - there is no Sammy Hagar in this game at all. Not as a playable character, and none of Van Halen's tracks from his time in the band are included in this game. That doesn't bother me any, since I'm not a massive Van Halen fan anyway.

Fun: 3.25/5 Meh for a third time. Guitar Hero: Van Halen is average at best. Shredding some Van Halen classics and whatnot may be fun, but only for so long. For just about every Van Halen song, you've got a Lenny Kravitz, Alter Bridge, or Tenacious D song to play afterwards, making this game quite the disappointment. Guitar Hero: Van Halen may appeal greatly to hardcore fans of the band, but outside of that, it's just another game to rent, get the achievements for, and then dump off at your local Blockbuster or mailbox.