Getting a little sporty


Well the summer is here(kind of) and that means sports games a plenty. Go into any GAME store and the shelves will be lined with games dedicated to may different sports. I’m not a big sports fan in general, seeing me in real life and noticing my all around girth will soon tell you that. I don’t play sports and I don’t often watch it either. With the exception of NFL (American football to us Brits) UFC and the occasional spot of golf there is hardly a time in my house where a sport is on TV. So it’s strange that I enjoy so many sports games.

I recently rented Fight Night Round 4 from my local Blockbuster and this kicked off a little journey through Tiger Woods 10 and now Skate 2. So I thought I’d give some comments on these games while I get prepared for many other sports games that will surely follow.

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So, Fight Night Round 4. I have to say I heard a lot about how great this game was before I rented it. The many podcasts I listen to were hyping the game and talking about their experiences, so it felt like a game I was going to love. I’d played Fight Night Round 3 so I knew what to expect and already knew the controls to an extent. Obviously one of the first things that can be said about Fight Night is how stunning it looks, from the lighting effects to the beads of sweat running down your boxers face and dripping onto his chest.

I jumped straight into legacy mode which is the games career mode. Take a boxer from the streets and turn him into a legend. Everything is set out on a calender screen for you to pick fights with people and train. I have to say that the calender function is a bit pointless really, you don’t do a lot except wait for horrendous load screens and press A a few times. The different training mini games are fun but become a bit tedious with time too. But hey, it’s the fighting we’re here for.

As you move up the rankings you’re given certain criteria to meet, for example, win a belt then defend it three times. You can retire your boxer at any time and move up in weight classes once you’ve beat everyone in yours. This whole system makes the fighting a bit lopsided. For the first 20 fights I held my own and kept winning but each fight lasted at least six rounds with many going the full distance. However as you move up the rankings and your boxer gets better the matches get a lot shorter. By the time I was at 40-45 fights they were all ending via knockout in the first round. Which is fine and could be expected in real life, but it does mean sitting through more load screens than actually fighting.

But, I made it to the end of the career and achieved the title of G.O.A.T or Greatest Of All Time for those not in the know. I retired my boxer cashed in the achievements and played some of the “fight now” mode (quick play) While the game was fun, there were times when it felt like a chore to keep playing and a lot of fights felt monotonous and dull.

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Tiger Woods Y’all. I’m a massive fan of golf games all the way back to PGA Tour on the Mega Drive, so I’ve played each iteration of Tiger Woods over the years. I have to say that Tiger is the one sports game that only changes in very small increments now. The only things that seem to have changed this year is the challenge mode, a new putting system and the play the pros mode. I suppose if it ain’t broke…..

With the game being much the same, I’ll talk about the new features. Starting with the putting, you now have a precision putter. This means that if you push the thumbstick towards the left or the right, your putt will skew, much like a drive or a fairway shot. While this does make for an interesting addition, I feel as if EA couldn’t decide whether they liked it or not as they added the function to change back to 09’s putting system.

This year sees the inclusion of “play the pros” which is, in simple terms a live tournament in which you take on the pros in a tournament that is being played somewhere in the world. The pros scores will then be tallied along side yours to see how you rank. While a fun idea, it isn’t implemented that well. For a start you cannot use the A button to power up your shots as normal, you also can’t add spin to the ball in the air nor use the putt preview. Obviously this is to put you on a level playing field with the pros but after becoming so reliant on these in the career mode it’s tough to go back.

Lastly a great change is the removal of the Tiger challenge and the addition of the Tournament challenge, similar? No, don’t even sound same! In the Tiger challenge you would play against the pros in standard games but also silly little mini games like bingo, bango, bongo. These were very dull after time and had no real character. With this years reinvention you now play through particular moments in the pros careers, Tiger shot an eagle on a hole, now you have to recreate it. This can be for just one shot or nine holes, it also includes some interviews with Tiger about the day and moments in the match, which are great for the golf fans.

While Tiger 10 does a lot right, it feels as if it hasn’t really moved along this year. Everything is still great, except the minor irritants I mentioned above. Anyone who loved the other games will still love this one, just stay away from the live tournaments, the top players seem to always shoot 24 under par on each course, which means if you don’t have max stats and real skill, you won’t be winning any tournies.

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I loved the first Skate game, it completely reinvented the genre and every moment in the game was enjoyable (in a smash your controller, one more go kind of way) So I was desperate to play the sequel. Unfortunately at release I didn’t have the cash to pick it up, so my lovely wife bought it for me as an early birthday present (it’s on August 12th, just so you know lol)

I only got it yesterday so I don’t have much to say yet other than I’m incredibly rusty and need a hell of a lot of practice. It feels harder than I remember, I sent a text to PurpleSteve a friend of mine who seems to be a Skate god, his answers about my lack of skill were modest, loosely translated he said the following “U R n00b at Skate, I R 1337, I HaZ Sk8 skeels” I hope to learn some secrets from him and get some online games with him and a few friends. The beauty of the Skate games is that it doesn’t matter if you win everything, it’s all about creating great lines and tricks.

On a side note, check out Steves blog and follow his Skate posts, he’s currently putting together a Skate montage which should be pretty sick (no pressure dude) find it HERE

And so concludes my massive ramble, suffice to say I’m enjoying this sporting fix and I’m getting really excited on the run up to Madden 10 which is the next game on my list.

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    • purplesteve
    • July 24th, 2009

    Hey thanks for the shout out, glad your liking skate, definitely be up for some more online soon.

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