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Mr. S. Mowbray "gerby2402" (Kent, UK)

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EA Sports 2014 FIFA World Cup - Brazil (PS3)
EA Sports 2014 FIFA World Cup - Brazil (PS3)
Offered by Game Trade Online
Price: £8.94

38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Falls short of acceptable., 17 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
First and foremost, I've been looking forward to this game since it was announced, having played FIFA 14 to death and turning into a big kid for the excitement of the World Cup. I buy FIFA, and most other EA Sports games, every year like a mindless drone and this is my own fault. I knew what I was getting into, but that didn't stop me. I would still be playing it right now if it hadn't frozen on the menu screen and lost my progress, but instead I decided to come and share some thoughts on here.

I'll start with the positives that aren't already widely plastered across every major review that's been published:

- The gameplay has both positive new features and negative. Now, this is the most important thing about the game for me. I like the improved set piece tactics, although I can imagine that there is a straightforward way to exploit the "crowd the keeper" option. The 'over the back' headers seem to be a good new feature aswell, and the underpowering of over the top through balls is both a blessing and a curse.

- A couple of reviews I've seen have criticised the difficulty, saying that it's a lot easier than FIFA 14. I'd actually beg to differ on this one, I find the difficulty curve a lot steeper on World Class than on 14, and you need to be on top of your game to even beat the minnows (this may be subjective though, but my own personal experience so far hasn't been hugely successful).

- The graphics aren't as bad as most of the reviews have said. I'm actually quite impressed with the stadiums, atmosphere, player faces and most of the managers that I've seen thus far. Louis van Gaal is exempt from this as he looks like an alien in my opinion.

- The Andy Goldsmith and Ian Darke radio show is a breath of fresh air, and quite welcome. Their conversations revolve around what's going on in your Road to the World Cup mode and picking an all-time Dream World Cup XI which, from what I've heard so far, is going to be quite questionable and obscure - Pat Jennings anyone?!

- I'm impressed with the variety and range of scenarios that are on offer, with more to be added as the World Cup kicks off in real life.

- A mostly unimportant feature, but I like the way that pressing X now seems to do that specific player's default celebration (if they have one) again. I missed that in FIFA 14, as I usually find myself doing one of the same celebrations (Dead Fly, Shefki Kuqi dive) repeatedly to replace it. Doing the Gangnam Style dance in the World Cup final should be illegal.

- Geoff Shreeves finally has more to say than "he's just twisted his ankle".

The negatives, in my eyes, far outstrip the positives though. Here are a few observations I've made from my short time spent with the game so far:

- My biggest problem by a mile with the game is in the Road to the World Cup mode, where there are just so many friendlies and training sessions. Now, this is great if you're interested, but I can't imagine anyone wants to play 5 or 6 friendlies before their first competitive game, let alone the same generic 'training' sessions that have been peddled since FIFA 13. Players seem to lose ability/form if you don't participate in these aswell, which must be really irritating for casual players. This is the mode I was most looking forward to, and I feel very disappointed with it so far. I'd like it if EA released a patch to fix the calendar, as you can press simulate to date, bypassing the friendlies etc, but this doesn't happen like it used to on the regular FIFA games?

- The team selections need a bit of work from what I've seen, Steven Taylor in the England squad but no 'Big Jord' Henderson or Jay Rodriguez (although this is now redundant :( ). A number of the other teams seem to have very limited pools to choose from aswell, but I haven't examined this far enough just yet. Easily fixed with an update which I more than imagine will come soon like it did on the 2010 edition.

- When playing as England against Ukraine, Ukraine scored and Roy Hodgson started jumping up and down, celebrating like he'd won the World Cup. I've never seen our Owl saviour break a sweat before, let alone show that much emotion, especially not for the opposition.

- A really nitpicky criticism, but my first two games as England both had English referees, which is a little bit daft. Not that it matters hugely, but really breaks the immersion.

- You can really feel the brain cells packing their suitcases and leaving as you listen to the alternative and inferior Men in Blazers radio show.

- The graphics on the fans still make them look like characters out of the Sims up close, which is very distracting on cutscenes.

- Andy Townsend.

Overall, I would say if you like FIFA 14, you'll like this. Just don't expect the world and you'll probably enjoy it. Maybe my expectations were too high, or maybe I'm just picky, but I'm hoping it grows on me a lot, like FIFA 14 did. A few minor tweaks are vital, as generally it's quite disappointing at the moment.
Comment Comments (10) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 10, 2014 6:45 PM BST

Fight Night Champion (Xbox 360)
Fight Night Champion (Xbox 360)
Offered by Gameseek
Price: £15.85

8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Expected far, far better., 5 July 2011
First and foremost, I have to get this off of my chest:

I think it's disgusting that games that you have paid full price for can have the cheek to charge you extra for DLC that is already included in the game. EA Sports have done this yet again in Fight Night Champion; e.g. Bareknuckles mode, the plethora of boxers that you have to buy via the Xbox Marketplace to be able to use ingame. Not only this, but if you download the "free" pack, they appear on the menu as if you can use them, but this is not the case until you purchase them.

That aside, on with my opinion of the game.

Having played most boxing games since Knockout Kings 99, I still do not feel that the boxing genre has ever really took off. The same sluggish fights with the same random knockouts (i.e. a jab even though the player's character has been pummelling the opposition into the floor). This in itself doesn't kill the game, but Fight Night Champion makes a real effort in frustrating the player. I wouldn't say that I was particularly good at this genre, but I would like to think that on Amateur difficulty (which is the easiest, by the way), I could breeze through the 'Champion' mode which is effectively a quickly thrown together story mode with very predictable twists and turns for anyone who has ever seen any boxing film ever. Not the case. The amount of times I found myself getting knocked out (including, embarrassingly, by my sparring partner) was ridiculous. Granted, it takes a lot of practice to be good at the game, but on the EASIEST of difficulties?!

The champion mode itself is very short, with a few fights with different (often stupid) objectives and obscenely long loading screens, and while this isn't particularly a bad thing given the other modes, one thing about it is the absolutely worst-designed part of a game I have ever seen: The final "boss" battle. Your arch-nemesis Isaac Frost is an absolute beast, which is fair enough, noone expected it to be easy. However, this is beyond a joke. For the first two rounds, he tries (and often succeeds) to pound you into the floor, and even on the easiest difficulty setting he will normally eventually catch you with some sort of really pathetic punch which will act as if you've been hit by a steamroller and send you spiralling towards defeat for the 30th time. If you can somehow muster your way past that (which isn't too bad with some practice) you get onto the awfully designed 3rd, 4th and 5th rounds where you have to actually start fighting back. While this doesn't sound bad, you have to hit him 75 times with very specific types of punches which (of course) require you to get close enough to him to be in the perfect position for him to knock you out with one punch, which he loves to do very frequently and just for fun. I never got to see what was past this point in the game, because having attempted it at least 100 times I lost the will to live, and forgot that I was supposed to be having fun rather than grinding the same bits over and over again.

Which brought me on to legacy mode, which is a lot better than the story mode in my opinion, but that's like saying that the Godfather part II is a lot better than Starship Troopers 2. You get to create your boxer from scratch (limitations do apply to customisation) which you can then take online to fight in the online world championships. The general idea is the same as most; build your boxer up to be the next Mohammed Ali, then batter a multitude of fighters to get to a title shot. This is okay, even if the general physics of the game yet again let it down quite frequently - easily getting knocked down in amateur boxing etc.

Online the game is quite fun, until you come up against someone who has been practicing two types of punches and built them into making him a titan in the ring, so you have a cat's chance in hell of winning unless you've done the same thing. Again, 'fun' isn't the word I'd use.

Overall, I wouldn't recommend anything more than renting this game, as I really did not enjoy it, and probably wouldn't play it again if someone paid me to. It's too stressful, repetitive and to be forced to pay for DLC is an absolute joke that EA will be laughing all the way to the bank with. Thanks for reading, and if I've swayed one person's opinion to not buy this game then my job's done.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 8, 2012 10:20 AM BST

Mafia II (Xbox 360)
Mafia II (Xbox 360)
Offered by Netro Enterprise
Price: £18.50

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A cut above the rest... for a while!, 29 Aug. 2010
This review is from: Mafia II (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
As a long-time fan of the original Mafia game, which I have played through numerous times, I had high expectations for the long-awaited sequel. I'd like to start off by saying I wasn't disappointed.

Graphically, Mafia 2 can boast some of the finest the Xbox 360 has seen to date. The new city, Empire Bay, is very atmospheric and bustling with life, as a fairly wide range of civilians window shop, commute and interact with one another. There are points in the game where you simply have to sit back and admire the level of detail that the developers have achieved, particularly the landscape views of the city. The cars accurately reflect the wear-and-tear that the player has made them endure, with the paintwork scratching, headlights smashing and windows cracking. Barring the odd graphical glitch, the game is a visual treat, with a wide range of textures which are never drab. The transition between the 40s and 50s is also very satisfying, as the cars, costumes and feel of the town dramatically change.

It is worth noting that the soundtrack to the game is fantastic - the music is varied and has a large catalogue of classic hits, and it is refreshing to hear voice acting pulled off how it should be; there are rarely cheesy moments in the dialogue and it is, more often than not, very humourous - particularly the exchanges between Vito and Joe.

A lot of reviews I have read particularly focussed on and criticised the fighting system. I personally didn't find too much wrong with it, barring the fact that it seems essential to stay in cover at all times otherwise you'll be backtracking to the last checkpoint, some of which can be incredibly frustratingly far back. You do get a feel for the weaponry almost instantaneously though, and the game has some of the nicest physics you can find, bits of wall breaking off and obstacles literally being destroyed in front of you. As for hand-to-hand combat, I was quite disappointed to see a lack of melee weapons after the popularity of the baseball bat in the first game. Vito seems to prefer using the same combinations and animations over and over again, which are fine once or twice, but do get repetitive very quickly.

However, one of my major gripes with the game is the linearity of it. At times you do feel as if you're on a set path to accomplish goals, while you can see the city around you just waiting to be explored. I know this is the same model as the first game, but with the influx of free-roaming sandbox games you would have expected a little more freedom. When you do break off from the main storyline, which is not often, it is usually just to return to your home and sleep, which can get very repetitive. It also seems as if the developers had an obsession with phones, as everytime Vito tries to sleep he is awoken by a phonecall telling him he needs to be in a certain place with a car and a weapon. Not that this is a particularly big issue, but it would be nice to see the formula mixed up from time to time.

Overally, Mafia 2 is a brilliant homage to the gangster genre, with an excellent soundtrack and graphics. However, it does seem to lack a certain something that the first game had, and I can't help but feel a bit disappointed that after a ten and a half hour playthrough there is virtually nothing to do other than replay chapters or find collectibles which seems essentially pointless. The first game had excellent free ride and free ride extreme modes, and I was quite saddened to see that they haven't made a re-appearance. I would definitely recommend this game, but don't expect the world as you will be slightly disappointed. If you're after a game that can keep you engaged for a period of time, this is the game for you, but once it's over, that's pretty much it I'm afraid. The real reason most players should purchase this game is the storyline, which is highly impressive. With a fair amount of unexpected twists, references to very popular Hollywood gangster films and characters who are both believable and with whom you can relate to, it is one of the best and most polished scripts I can recall seeing in a video game for a long time.

I'd give it 8/10, but if only the developers had made more available to do it would definitely be a 9 or even a 10. Still, with the crazy modern world of downloadable content, who knows?!

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