NBA 2K15 is finally here, and it's good. I mean really good. Visual Concepts have tweaked a fair few things in this latest instalment of the World's Best Sport Game Series, and one of the nifty new features is the ability to scan in your face for MyPlayer.
Check out my efforts in the quest for facial perfection in the video above.
I won't lie, I didn't hold out much hope that this would be any good. EA Sports' Game Face is utterly dreadful. Aside from it being a slow, clunky, often unworkable piece of crap, when it does have the decency to work, my Game Face creations all came out looking like someone had stuffed several slapped arses into a blender and then given the remains to Picasso.Click here to read more...
I long one day to have a FIFA game that truly encapsulates what that title suggests, although that would probably be a House of Cards-esque, murky, political adventure title, or a bureaucratic take on Crusader Kings II -- all backstabbing, corruption, and intrigue.
The limited edition set would come with a watch that you'd have to return to the store, naturally.
Instead of that, however, here we have another buzzword-stuffed game wherein you take control of teams of players from a side-on perspective, stringing together intricate passes, laughing at the foibles of player impacts, and cursing when your player tries to volley inside of heading the pinpoint cross you just floated into the box.
This is really the first true new-gen FIFA title (we're not counting the graphical scrub up of FIFA 14), and it's clear that a number of things have changed on the pitch. Perhaps the most noticeable tweak is that pace is back in a big way. In the real game, a player with pace, someone who runs at defenders and looks to take them on, is a huge asset. FIFA has finally managed to recreate the thrill of having someone like Bale or Sterling or Di Maria really take on opponents at speed. No longer will full backs conveniently be able to catch up, it seems like teams with pace have a real edge that's finally realised thanks to expert balancing to go along with the precision control that has been standard for the last couple of years.Click here to read more...
I managed to play Pro Rugby Manager 2015 for just over half a season with a Bath team that was almost hilariously under-represented in the stats department (this is the team that just crushed Leicester 45-0). Then a patch arrived and now all of the text has disappeared and the game crashes to desktop every time I try to interact with the user interface.
There's been precious little for rugby fans to get excited about in the world of video games. Rugby Challenge and its sequel had a fair bash at replicating the sport, but there was little by way on on-pitch tactical play to be had, no real way to organise a coherent backline, and the action on the pitch devolved into a mess of limbs and scrambling bodies without much organisation. Admittedly, that's fairly accurate for Gloucester matches, but any fan of the cerebral, strategic nature of the game would have found little solace in that title.
Of course, Pro Rugby Manager was supposed to fix that. But, having waited a decade for a new rugby management sim, I sort of wish Cyanide hadn't bothered.
It's not just that PRM 2015 is a buggy shambles that should never have been released in this state, it's that the game itself is a dull, soporific affair that sucks the joy out of the sport rather than celebrating the nuances that the 15-man game can provide. Oh, and almost nothing under the hood appears to have changed from 2005.
I'm going to try as best as I can to soldier on with this review and actually attempt to take a look at some of the woefully flawed and under-developed systems in the game beneath the blanket of game-breaking bugs, but you should be aware that the game is damn near unplayable. As in, I literally haven't been able to play it for the last few days; days that include several reinstallations.Click here to read more...
The FIFA 15 demo has been out for around a week or so now, and I've been dipping into it in amongst swathes of Destiny, Hyrule Warriors and Bayonetta 2 (do check out Carl's review of Bungie's FPS, and my appraisal of the Zelda/Warriors mashup). As per usual, EA Canada have been showering us with buzzword-heavy promotional sentences largely devoid of any real meaning, and the biggest of the lot for this year's release has been "emotion" -- that is to say player and crowd reactions, presentation tuned to deliver the theatrical and entertaining, and a boost in dynamic atmosphere when it comes to the in-game environment.
Has it worked? Are all of the footballing feels writ large upon this new, super-shiny canvas? Here are a few thoughts are several hours spent playing the demo:
Emotional behaviour is a thing: FIFA's always been a rather emotional game for me, in much the same way as any multiplayer game that you love can be. When winning and bragging rights amongst your friends (or the rest of the online community) are onthe line, matches mean more, and the peaks and troughs of a game matter more than they really have any right to. But this is now reflected on the pitch. In one game where I was playing as PSG, Lucas skipped past several defenders, Ibrahimovic shook his man, but I wanted to get the winger a goal so I ignored the Swede and promptly ballooned a sitter over the bar. Ibra then launched several unintelligible insults Lucas' way.
Players will shove and barge more than they used to, they'll clamour and cheer when you do something awesome, but they'll also let you know when someone's been an arse. After unclean tackles, if those involved are not injured, they'll leap to their feet and start mouthing off and pushing one another. If anything, FIFA 15 has most gloriously captured the notion that footballers are whinging prima donnas, who'll get uppity about anything.Click here to read more...
There's nothing quite like taking your World Cup frustrations out on their digital counterparts. Sure, a digital take on football can't quite replicate Gerrard's anti-Midus touches or the rabid lunacy of Suarez, but PES 2014 tries to remind you why you enjoy the beautiful game in the first place. GC are the cheapest by over £6 today and £15 cheaper than FIFA 14.
Thanks to Chanchi32 at HotUkDeals.
Sega's handheld tennis ace is easily the best sports title on the Vita and even manages to surpass the PS3 version. The excellent career mode is a perfect fit for bitesize sessions. Bitesize sessions that turn into a whole afternoon especially. The comprehensive online options are well-worked into the career mode for when you want the additional challenge of a human player.
Thanks to Bure11 at HotUkDeals.
NBA 2K14 is a barnstorming game, and Steam currently have a fat price cut offer on for the PC version, but there's a downside. The PC version of the game is,for all intents and purposes, the last-gen edition of NBA 2K14, which is a crying shame. It's still a cracking title, and a must for basketball fans who prefer to play on PC, but it's more like NBA 2K13.5 rather than the fully-fledged upgrade offered by the PS4 and XO versions.
We've seen it cheaper on XBLA, but Brendan describes Pool Nation as "a must buy for pool fans." The AI can be very challenging, perhaps too much so at times, but the multiplayer is where the flavour is. The user-friendly trick shot implementation raises Pool Nation above the competition and will tempt you to try them out down the pub. Thanks to jaystan @ HUKD!
Kinect Sports Rivals | Zavvi | £34.99
This would have been a handy launch title for the Xbox One thanks to the bundled Kinect 2.0, but instead you'll need to stump up some cash for some more motion-control sports activities. Zavvi are the cheapest by £4, making this best deal if you're after a new party game or just want your fat kids to be well...less.
Thanks to oUkTuRkEyIII at HotUkDeals.
So Football Manager 2014 is now under a tenner at GreenManGaming, so long as you remember to use the code OQE4LG-WEQPSE-SMCME1.
This is very dangerous indeed. Not because it's a bad game -- far from it. In fact FM14 is an absolute cracker of a game, th eonly game you'll ever need perhaps. But that's the problem. For less than ten pounds it will steal your life and you'll wake up several months later having guided a non-league team into the top flight, but you'll probably have lost your spouse and your job and your feet will have been eaten by wolves. And you never noticed.
Probably. Nice spot jaystan.
A must buy for pool fans at a ridiculously cheap 67p. Admittedly, the AI is harsh from the start, but if you play your own game, you'll enjoy it. There's plenty of multiplayer fun to be had too and yes, it's just as annoying waiting for the other player to line up their shot as it is in real life. The user-friendly trick shot implementation raises Pool Nation high above the competition and will tempt you to try them out down the pub too.
Thanks to Marc Freeborne at HotUkDeals.
Epigenesis won this year's Make Something Unreal competition: a futuristic first-person sport played in teetering antigravity arenas. FPS fans will need to learn a whole new mindset as they swap guns for ball control, using teamwork and tactics to emerge victorious.
Having received an early access build myself, I can report that Epigenesis is very early in development and rough around the edges, with lots more content and polish yet to come. However, if you're interested in the idea and being privy to the development cycle, though, you can try out Epigenesis for free on Steam this weekend... and buy it for a paltry £1.74 if it floats your boat!
Green Man Gaming have knocked 50% off of the RRP for Football Manager 2014, meaning you can get Sports Interactive's latest manager sim for under £18, saving you a couple of quid on the closest competition. It's pretty damn great, and the UI is better than ever, with the match engine also getting a wonderful retooling. This series is more accessible than it's ever been, with almost intimidating chasms of depth too.
It's a good deal, just don't buy it if you have anything important to do over the next few months like work or sleep or eating.
Epigenesis (Early Access Steam Code) | GamersGate | £2.00 (RRP: £6.99)
Epigenesis won this year's Make Something Unreal competition: a futuristic first-person sport played in teetering antigravity arenas. FPS fans will need to learn a whole new mindset as they swap guns for ball control, using teamwork and tactics to prevail.
Having received an early access build myself, I can report that Epigenesis is very early in development and rough around the edges, with lots more content and polish necessary. However, if you're interested in the idea and being privy to the development cycle, though, you can get in on the ground floor for a paltry £2.00, saving £4.99.
Developers: Cyanide Studio
Publishers: Focus Home Interactive
Blood Bowl is back, and this time Cyanide are really ringing the changes. What began as a hugely successful tabletop game, parodying American football and marrying the tactical elements of that sport with a fantastical setting , became a PC game in 2009 that was taken to heart by a resurgent Warhammer gaming fan base.
And now it's getting a proper sequel. We're not talking the 1.5-esque Legendary Edition that overhauled the UI, or the paid updates that ushered in more playable races. We're talking a brand new game.
We were told by Cyanide's Sylvain Séchi, who took us through a very early conceptual build, that pre-production actually began over a year and a half ago. Essentially, the team at Cyanide scrapped everything they had for the previous game and started afresh, with a new engine and a revamped art style to fall more in line with the slightly more realistic Warhammer 40K games we've been privy to recently.Click here to read more...
Need the latest up-to-date clubs and stadia every season? Then FIFA's your game and it's never been cheaper than the latest flash deal at Game Collection. Sporting the usual updates and animation improvements, EA's game has once again beaten PES to the title. There's a strong argument that the PS4/Xbone version is the best version but that's not to say this version isn't one of the finest footy games yet.
Thanks to Edward_Nigma at HotUkDeals.
Sega's handheld tennis ace is easily the best sports title on the Vita and even manages to surpass the PS3 version. The excellent career mode is a perfect fit for bitesize sessions. Bitesize sessions that turn into a whole afternoon especially. The comprehensive online options are well-worked into the career mode for when you want the additional challenge of a human player. Probably the best way to start building up you Xmas Vita's game collection at this price.
Thanks to therealbargainhunter at HotUkDeals.
Well, here we are - at a sub-£20 price already for the latest Football Manager game, and it's all thanks to this latest deal from Tesco. Overall it works out £2 cheaper than the next best offer elsewhere.
I always laugh when I post deals for this series, because I know somewhere out there someone is cursing me for tempting them with the addiction once more. Still, on the bright side it appears Sports Interactive have managed to craft another involving entry in the series, all while making it even more accessible. Thanks to Mike7343 @ HUKD!
Sega's handheld tennis ace is easily the best sports title on the Vita and even manages to surpass the PS3 version. The excellent career mode is a perfect fit for bitesize sessions. Bitesize sessions that turn into a whole afternoon especially. The comprehensive online options are well-worked into the career mode for when you want the additional challenge of a human player. Probably the best stocking filler around at this price.
Thanks to ElectroDragon8 at HotUkDeals.
Platforms: PS4 (reviewed) | Xbox One
Developers: Visual Concepts
Publishers: 2K Sports
The generation jump has, by and large, seen much of the same again in the short while since the Xbox One and PS4's releases. We've had a dearth of truly essential exclusives on both sides, coupled with generation-bridging third party extravagances that, though shinier on next-gen tech, are largely feature-complete and cheaper on old machines. What this had meant is that it feels as though we're still awaiting a number of studios to really commit to the future consoles and truly elevate their games to the next level.
Thankfully, Visual Concepts are on the ball. Sorry for the puns.
NBA 2K14 arrives on PS4 and Xbox One in markedly different form to the game that greeted PS3 and Xbox 360 owners. Instead of being a slightly tuned up version of NBA 2K13, what we have here is a title that has been resolutely overhauled both on and off of the court to striking effect. It hasn't all gone entirely swimmingly, but what we do have here is a truly next-gen title that shows great promise.
If you watched my initial impression video for NBA 2K14 on PS4, you'll no doubt have borne witness to my excited reaction to the player models and exceptionally fluid animations. Visual Concepts have always been excellent at player capture and recreating the spinning, Eurostepping balletic grace of a player such as Kobe or D-Wade. Creating a zippy point guard and giving him a devastating, Iverson-esque crossover has long been a delight. But here, on machines with more power and memory, the animations and level of physical detail on the players have been ramped up to an impressive degree. There's a solidity and physicality to proceedings that is very welcome, aided by an on-court soundscape that has been recaptured and given wider variety and impact.Click here to read more...