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    NCAA Football 2008

    A sophomore slump...

    Being the huge fan of college football that I am I always hope for a good showing from EA's college football franchise. Since the games we're released on the current systems (360. PS3) I have been sorely disappointed.

    When the 360 hit the market everyone wanted to see football and it was given to us in the form of Madden '06 which was basically a port of the game by the same name for the older systems. When football season rolled around again we were finally going to get to see college football on our shiny new systems.

    Disappointment struck, and hard. No one who played that game can honestly say it was an improvement on previous years. Negativity flew around the country about how stripped down the game was, and rightly so. Of course like the Duke faithful say, "well there's always season." Everyone was ready for the next installment because then EA would fix every problem... right?

    Unfortunately in July of 2007 NCAA Football '08 hit shelves, and contrary to the hype from EA for better everything and a completely redone campus legend mode the game did little to improve on it's predecessor. This game was met with even more criticism than the last one. Features on the old systems were left out and weren't replaced with anything substantial. How does that even happen?

    Things like team celebrations, of any sort we're gone. I've never seen a whole team celebrate individually in the end zone after a touchdown at any level of football. The worst part? Someone gets injured, no celebration, no replay, nothing. Even worse than that, when you win the National Championship in 3 overtimes all you get is a little congrats from Corso and Company while your team is in the huddle and the camera swoops overhead. If I won the National Championship, there would be fans storming the Field, teammates high-fiving and hugging, the coach getting a Gatorade shower and the team getting presented with the trophy. Not just for the National Championship though, for all the games. Just something. EA needs to put in a copy of NFL 2K5 and learn how to do celebrations.

    Also the exclusion of DIV. 1-AA teams is a major letdown. Everyone likes to take their alma-mater to the top of the college football world until they can come home with the national championship. Not only that, the create-a-school feature is gone, no more making your high-school's entire region and playing through your schedule, oh well, there goes several hours of play time.

    The new and improved legend mode? Really if that's improved then I'm a chocolate dog. Sure you get to go to your high school and do that for a little while, but with nothing to keep you interested, especially when you have to do that super sim thing whenever your not playing, it gets boring. Then you get to college, and in previous years you actually got to navigate a dorm room adorned with your team's logos and trophies and all kinds of collegiate stuff. Not anymore, all you get is a calender and an A button. I do like that you don't come in as the starter because let's be real how often does that happen? But why when they did that, all the aesthetics come out? No more choosing drills to get better either. All you get to look at now is some weird slide menus that are annoying to use.

    I know I've been beating this game into pieces but there are some good points. The new recruiting system in dynasty mode is great. I recruit 10 times better than in previous years. Some of the other dynasty stuff is nice too, the game breakdowns are nice and the stuff is a nice touch.Well back to bashing. The actual gameplay is smooth and easy to pick up, mastery is of course another story. The visuals are good and the stadiums look great. The uniforms are really shiny even in the rain and the y don't get dirty. At 60 Frames Per Second in it looks really nice. If the jerseys didn't look so shiny it would look like watching a game on Saturday.

    What kills me with all of the current football games with the exception of All-Pro 2k8 is the play calling. Instead of pushing a button for a play on the screen you put a nice white box around the play with the A button under it and that's how you pick your play. If that's not stupid I don't know what is. Also the create-a-playbook, which is awesome for dynasty mode once you get your team balanced, is gone.

    I'm sorry guys, but this just isn't going to cut it. If you want people to keep coming back you need to make a better product plain and simple. If EA didn't push so hard to get the game out before the season started they could take an extra month or so to actually improve on the past.

    The Rough:
    Concept: Capture a collegiate football atmosphere in virtual form
    Graphics: Looks great, very smooth. Shiny unis can be annoying
    Sound: Aside from the lagging commentary, nothing too bad
    Playability: If you like football this game will come natural to you with minimal time. If you don't like football why are you playing this game?
    Replay Value: 119 teams to take to the National Championship? Maybe not. (Medium)

    Overall: 6/10

    Parting Shot: The game fails to make it into the upper echelon of games this year. The guys at EA need to look at what they did for NCAA '06 and do that again. Well we've seen the red shirt year (NCAA '07). The Sophomore Slump (NCAA '08) I'd really love to see a breakout season Junior year.


    Master time, and lay the wood...

    I got my hands on the TimeShift demo a week or so ago and really enjoyed it, even if it was just the first level of the game that they let you get a peice of. Come with me to a time where time travel is more than science fiction as we embark on our time with TimeShift.

    The scene comes into focus and you can hear men talking as you look through a section of missing boards you see uniformed men harrasing 2 unarmed people. You slide around the alley and happen across a rifle. You pick it up and shoulder it just as another uniformed man comes into view. You sqeeze a few rounds off and drop him. As you continue further somthing appears infront of you telling you to press the Left Bumper, you do so and everything stops; bullets, rain drops, blood spatter all freeze allowing you to move unhindered and take out the two harrasing the civilians.

    This all takes place in the space of about 10 senconds. It really got me excited and I played through the demo a few times, ok more like 6, and got through the stage on all the difficulties. There are many good points about the game. I like the concept, the obvious time spent in developing the game and last but definately not least, the visuals. This game is a treat to look at from the character models from the smoke to the raindrops frozen in time. There are some minor control issues, like they're hard to get used to and sometimes when you zoom, the accuracy goes down (odd). I can chock those up to human error I suppose.

    As with all previews, judgement awaits the official release

    Parting Shot: All in all a good game and will, just from what I've seen demo-wise will definately be a holiday buy for me. Not sure if it'll make your list? Check out the demo for yourself on the Xbox Live Marketplace, to the best of my knowledge it's still there. Go for it.

    ~Ride Hard, Game On!

    Guitar Hero III

    Truly A legend, in the making...

    Lots of people have been feeling the need to scratch that Guitar itch since the release of Guitar Hero 2 onto the X-Box 360, myself included. Microsoft and Neversoft gave us a little tease earlier in the week with the release of the demo onto the Xbox Live Marketplace. When I saw this there was no debate I had to download it even if it cost 1,000,000 Microsoft points, luckily for me it was free. (I don't have 1,000,000 Microsoft points)

    So when I first booted up the demo and strapped on my AXE I was greeted with the most basic of tutorials and then taken to the title screen where a magical melody filled my ears, it was of course the legendary band, Pearl Jam with one of their hits, Even Flow. I went immediately to Quickplay to start jamming to this song. After selecting one of the classic difficulties (easy, medium, hard, extreme) I saw the 5 song track list.

    Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Pat Benatar (1980)
    Lay Down, Priestess (2006)
    Even Flow, Pearl Jam (1991)
    Rock You Like A Hurricane, Scorpions (1984)
    The Metal, Tenacious D (2006)

    I began to drool over the great selection of tunes in the Demo and made myself want the full game to come out sooner!

    So I decided to start my set with the Pearl Jam hit. As soon as the loading was done I could tell that this game was indeed made for the Next Gen systems. The graphics were amped up and everything looked like it should for a rock concert on the screen. The song began and I felt like Mike McCready playing for the band in the Mid-90's. I was more than impressed by not only the sound of the guitar that you we're playing, but the vocals sounded much, much better than in previous versions. The note patterns and all that good stuff was on par, if not better than the previous games and when I got rockin' the crowd started going insane, there were flames coming out of my guitar and once I kicked in the star power during the solo, I was in heaven.

    Now while the 5 songs would have been enough to hold me over, the developers decided to give us a little taste of the new multi player battle mode. Instead of getting star power, you get battle power to mess your opponent all up. I couldn't wait to give this a shot so I yelled across the hall to get my sister to come in and play with me. It was great. I hit her with a lefty flip and a broken string, and it was all over.

    Moving on, despite how amazing the battle mode is it has it's flaws as do all games, but in the demo it was polished like a Polish schnitzel. I did find the difficulty a bit lacking even in the extreme modes, not on the Priestess song but others could have used some more notes. I slammed together a 332 note string on Hurricane on hard. I remember my attempt to learn to play that on my guitar, it was awful. I didn't even get the little pains in my finger from going for the orange button. I can understand dumbing down the difficulty for the demo but hopefully when the game hits shelves in a few weeks the songs will be impossible to beat without several hours of practice.

    I'll reserve my official judgement for when the game actually comes out, but if the Demo is any indication I can see it scoring on the high end of the scale.

    Parting Shot: With the promise of over 70 "legendary" songs at the end of the Demo this edition of Guitar Hero has all of the makings of a legend, but with a new competitor by the name of Rock Band lurking in the wings waiting for it's chance to play, will the Guitar Goliath be taken out by the proverbial David? We'll know in a few short weeks with the release of both Guitar Hero 3 and Rock Band

    ~Ride Hard, Game On!

    Bullet Witch?

    Atari's magical mishap...

    Some of you may be wondering what exactly Bullet Witch is. It's a game made by the original game company Atari. I know some of you are turned off already but stick around you might just see something you like. I found the game on a bargain table at Best Buy after buying a movie. The game was $10 for a 360 you know that's an insane price. I figured we'd end up watching the movie later anyway so I picked it up, even if it stunk at least there was a hot chick in the game.

    So I get home and pop the disk in. I am greeted with all the logos and stuff and then there's this very well done intro screen telling me how demons were unleashed on the planet and were messing everything up. Then you learn about a young girl named Alicia who happens to be a witch with a demon of her own living inside her. The story is accompanied by a nice song and the graphics themselves are nice too.

    So you start up a new game and you get the traditional tutorial level and get to blast the crap out of your enemies with this weapon that looks surprisingly like a witches broom called a GunRod. I know not very original, but very awesome because it does cool stuff and you can beat people with it when they annoy you. So in the first level you go around this town killing bad guys and helping citizens with your magic. Oh Yea! The girl does these cool flips and cartwheels and stuff and its awesome looking! Anyone can grab a controller and have a good time with this game, difficult though because it did pick up an M rating but fun none the less. OK so after 6 levels of the redundant blasting of bad guys big, small, and annoying. Meeting some big muscle-bound guy and his resistance you beat the game after killing the king of demons or something like that, and get 250 gamer points along the way. Believe it or not the story satisfied me and I felt good after beating the game.

    The game got left off the charts as it wasn't received all that well and it wasn't publicized at all to my knowledge an unfortunate habit of games that aren't "mainstream"I know you're thinking, well whats the catch? The catch is when you're playing this game you will get so frustrated at how incredibly stupid your opponents are. You throw a car their direction and they all bunch up to get in the way. You knock down a water tower? They jump into the way of the big steel pipes. The worst part about it? When you shoot the basic enemy from 2 feet away with a fully upgraded shotgun blast, they get back up. FTW!? Not to mention you will be doing the exact same thing for the 2 hours it takes to beat this game. There are some deviations like the boss fights but those don't last long, except the one on the plane but it gets annoying when that thing knocks you off the plane and you have to start ALL over.

    The Rough:
    Concept: A new, good looking way, to see the end of the human race
    Graphics: She sure is purty.... and the rest of the game doesn't look all that bad.
    Sound: A very nice rich soundtrack always sounds better on Dolby, so does this.Playability: If you can pick up a controller you can play this game, if you can find it is another question
    Entertainment: A hot chick with a giant gun saving the world? Sounds like a good time to me. Though it does get repetitive at times
    Replay Value: despite the difficulty levels and ability to upgrade all your powers to the maximum, most wont make it through this game once, much less twice. (Low)

    Overall: 4.5/10

    Parting Shot: If you remember the game P.N. 03 for the GameCube this will remind you of it just its nowhere near as good. So the 10 of you who played P.N. 03 might enjoy this game and the rest of you, well for $10 you can spend 2 or 3 hours looking at a hot chick with a big gun.

    ~Ride Hard, Game On!

    Hello and Welcome

    If your here you've either found my blog by coincidence or I've of course given you the link. I appreciate you stopping by.

    Just a little recap of what I do here. Basically I love video games, and who from the current generation doesn't? I play a good bit for fun and A LOT of competition. Here I like to review some games that I play and also solicit my services as a game tester to the companies. Also I have an amazing fashion sense so I'll be giving you my tips (ha ha)Feel free to look around and all that good gravy and please send me your feedback!~Ride Hard, Game On!