Fallout 3 Goes Gold / Impressions by Ryan Gray
October 11, 2008, 9:49 pm
Filed under: Gaming News, Previews | Tags: , , ,
It's hell, but I got mah doggy.

It's gonna be hell, but I got mah doggy.

[By Ryan]

The long awaited RPG Fallout 3 has finally gone gold. For those of you who don’t know much about the game or it’s developer, hit the jump for a quick fill-in. Continue reading

An Afternoon With..The Vampire Rain Demo by Steve
August 16, 2008, 9:22 pm
Filed under: Previews | Tags: , , ,

With a demo for Vampire Rain hitting the Japanese PSN, and having nothing else to do on a wet and miserable Saturday afternoon I thought I’d give it a run through, not only that i thought I’d share my findings with you as i go, so what exactly is involved with Vampire Rain? i hear you ask, well I’ve no idea and with only mild curiosity I’ll endeavour to find out.

Continue reading

Preview: FIFA 09 by Anthony Barlow
August 14, 2008, 10:58 pm
Filed under: Event Coverage, Previews | Tags: , ,

[By Anthony]

So here’s the first of the M Festival goodness and we’re kicking off with FIFA 09. Surprisingly this is one of my most anticipated games of the year when you guys play it I think you’ll see why. It might not get the big launch party that Madden gets in the U.S. but it has to be EA Sports’ finest title. FIFA has improved imensely  over the past few years and this latest game looks like it could be the jewel in EA’s relinquished footy crown.

The graphics have always been EA’s strong point and this game doesn’t disapoint. The build I played was six weeks old and I was told that the latest build of the game would be at Leipzig next week. Hopefully i’ll be able to bring you guys some HD footage. Anyway, back to the graphics. As A Manchester United fan I was really impressed with the attention to detail that EA have put into the star players. I have wondered in the past if the team had looked at the players when creating their models but now everything seems in order Tevez looks like Tevez (he even has his scar) Ronaldo looks like Ronaldo (and acts like him too) and from what I saw all of the star players seem to have the right looks and traits to make the game even more realistic.

Speaking of realism, the passing definitely seems more fluent especially with manual settings turned on. The animations for passing, crossing and shooting have all been updated with many of the animations being contextual. For example players will rush passes and crosses when they’re under pressure from the opposition which usually results in a bad pass and missed opportunities. It’s another big step forward for the EA sports footy franchise(s). The animations always get a lift with each iteration of the game, some of the old ones being updated as well as some new additions. I did see that they’d worked on the annimation for finesse shooting which now does not just allow players to place shots directly in front of them but also in either corner of the net in a style similar to Barcelona’s Thierry Henry. When playing against Tottenham the biggest new shot animation I noticed was the over-head kick. You could do scissor kick’s in previous FIFA games but this is the first game to incorporate the full OHK since EA’s ‘UEFA Euro 2004’. Another annimation change can be seen when players are moving on the pitch. In Euro 2008 the running and jogging animations are well done but seemed a little over the top. FIFA 09 changes these animations making them seem more realistic. I also seemed to notice that some players ran differently to others, maybe this was just my mind playing tricks but it’d be cool if it was in there.

EA added the ‘arena’ feature to their ‘next-gen’ versions of the FIFA series and I think it was a great addition to the game, letting you hone your skills before the match. The arena is another of the great features from 08 EA has adapted. The arena I played in was in a more urban setting rather than the generic paractice pitch from 08 but according to Greg the arena can now be changed by the user who will be able to sort of skin the arena with certain themes (a Mexican one was mentioned). Another new feature of the arena is that before the match a player will be chosen at random to use from the team you are playing as and when the match has loaded the arena switches to the pitch you are playing on in that particular game (i.e. Old Trafford). I think this is a nice feature as broadcasts often show players doing pre-match warmups on the pitch before the game kicks-off. Plus it helps pass the loading time (which wasn’t too long).

There has also been a slight change to the HUD during matches. The HUD is larger but is transparent and carries the players name and stamina bar (as usual) as well as that players number to the left of it. It might not be a massive change but I thought i’d make a note of it nonetheless.

Skills have become a big part of EA’s football games and in 09 that doesn’t change. Skills are still a big part of the game but I did think it was a bit unrealistic that Gary Neville could pull off step overs and 360 turns as well and as easily as Cristiano Ronaldo. This has changed, it seems EA have adaped the ease and speed of skills depending on which player you are. So now it’s a lot easier to pull of tricks with Ronaldo and Neville, well he’ll struggle.

Greg also mentioned that the players height and weight had now been taken into account. Players will no longer be able to push over John Carew with Shaun Wright Phillips and this is definitely something that works well in conjunction with the new jostling feature added into the game. The jostling feature allows players to have players fight for the ball and can often lead to free kicks. The height and weight have also been factored in to this too so a player like Evra will find it hard to take down larger opposition but with a bit of persistence you can pull it off. This also means that your star player is less likely to be dominated by a much lower rated player.

The ‘superhuman goalkeeper’ is something that has plagued almost every iteration of the FIFA franchise and is obviously something that had to be dealt with. From what I played it seemed like the keepers were still good and made it hard on the player, but they were doing a lot more parrying rather than catching 30 yard screamers. Another great realistic feature added to the game and one of the best changes I saw the whole time I was playing. Now maybe it was the new gameplay changes, but despite the keepers no longer being similar to Superman it was harder to score. Hopefully this will help make matches closer and once again more realistic.

My last point I noted from my demo were the little things that impressed me about the game. First of all, I noticed that the referee and linesman were now featured on the picth rather than being ghosts who’d only show up to make decisions and appear in cinematics. A nice little touch there. Secondly, I noticed that players would be putting their arms out and calling for the ball if you were running down the wing and also that defenders would raise their arm and try and signal for an offside to the referee. It might not be something that the casual FIFA fan will notice but is another nice touch from EA.

Well there’s my first impressions on FIFA 09. I played the game a number of times at the show in order to get a feel for the game, another reason that this ‘preview’ is so long. It looks like EA have tried (and in my opinion) succeeded to make this game a more realistic approach and tried to make FIFA a game that can be played by fanatics like myself and the casual audience too. We’ll have to see how this pans out but I can definitely see this topping PES for the third year running.

For all you Manchester United fans, I made sure to check the squad screen for any updates I could find and there were a few there. I also noted down some of the ratings of star players.

  • Carlos Tevez – 85
  • Cristiano Ronaldo – 91
  • Wayne Rooney – 87
  • Anderson – 82
  • Nani – 81
  • Fraizer Campbell – 71
  • Danny Wellbeck (NEW) – 65
  • Rodrigo Possebon (NEW) – 69
  • Fabian Brandy (NEW) – 63

So there’s three new additions to the United squad I could find but according to Greg the squads are not finalised so there could be some new additions to the squad (Rafael & Fabio Da Silva maybe?). The ratings of players could also change so we could see some of the players getting higher overalls than i’ve posted here. Players like Rooney and Tevez have seen improvements (I think) but players like Nani could do with a bit of a bump in ratings. Hopefully we’ll see this soon.

I’ll also be writing up my findings from my interview with EA’s Greg Baker. There’s a few scoops to be seen so you’ve gotta check it out.

Oh yeah guys, sorry for this being another day late but i’ve had a lot to do over the past few days and it’s been hard to get this finished but now it’s done.