Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Boosting some sports titles

My posting rate has been embarrassing lately thanks to a spike in my current work load. Oh well, no way to fix that but bang out a few posts now and then!

EA recently announced that they will be shutting down the online servers for a few of their older titles in February. This triggered a flurry of activity from the Achievement community, because once the servers are down it will be impossible to get multiplayer awards for those games. Ironically, that makes now one of the best times to get the multiplayer Achievements since so many players are trying to wrap them up.

Sidenote: some people piss and moan when companies like EA and Sega shut down servers on old games. I do wish these companies would shift to a different business model for their sports titles (I'll probably post about this some time), but I don't blame them a bit for killing servers for games that nobody plays. I was playing Facebreaker online with an Achievement buddy for about two hours, and in that time we saw one other person online. How long should EA keep those servers running (which costs them money) while at the same time they're laying off employees?

Anyway, none of the games are worth reviewing in their own right, but here are some quick notes for the four that I boosted.

NBA Live 07 - This was EA's second attempt at a pro basketball game on the 360, and it wasn't much of an improvement over the first. Rachel saw me playing it and immediately started mocking the player animations...it feels like these guys are playing in cement shoes. The game completely fails to capture the speed and athleticism of basketball players. The Achievements are built around the very stupid "high flyer" system, which turns the game into a fancy version of NBA Jam. At least the online awards were pretty easy to get, though the server was unstable and dropped me more than once.

NCAA March Madness 07 - Practically the same game, but college players instead of pros. I will say that the Achievement set is better constructed for this one, as it eschews the high flyer crap for a more sensible "pump up the crowd" mechanic. The online servers seemed more stable as well. Question: why do sports games not include Achievements for winning a championship anymore???

NBA 2K7 - Sega's competing NBA title. To put it bluntly, it's superior to NBA Live 07 in every way. Don't take that as any kind of comment going forward...I haven't played any of the newer versions so maybe EA has overtaken Sega in their respective franchises at this point. In any case, NBA 2K7 has more fluid gameplay and a more cooperative camera. Just don't play at the highest difficulty level unless you have a high tolerance for bullshit from the computer. On one play I drove to the hoop uncontested with Lebron James for a dunk, only to have Tony Parker of the Spurs shift over and block it at the last moment. In reality, James would go through Parker like a freight train. Whatever...I enjoyed my time with this one.

Facebreaker - This is a "boxing" title, but really it's more of a dumbed down fighting game. I think it wants to be Mike Tyson's Punch Out for a new generation, what with the goofy characters and fight locales. I found it tediously boring though, doubly so online where you need to bang out 50 victories to finish the Achievement set. Seems a little excessive, no? And these servers were maddeningly unstable, routinely dropping me or my opponent before the match could finish. This was the worst of the four titles I played, and I don't recommend it to anyone.

1 comment:

  1. I agree, shut down those servers and make better games!!!