Many of you will be calling me out for my "Blind defending of the Xbox One console," but the fact of the matter is that a vast majority of you jokers are on this website for a reason. You are a MINORITY when it comes to the video gaming crowd. You are the hardcore, the indie-related (or ever indie-creating), and even the play-the-shitty-game-so-that-you-can-tell-everyone-off-about-it crowd. Be proud of you are, because I am proud that your style of gamer exists, even though I am not part of that crowd anymore. But understand that "the casual gamer" has changed over the last few years, and many many people want to still incorporate video games into their lives, and an entertainment console that narrows that down is BENEFICIAL to our crowd. Also, cutting down on third party benefit on trade-in games will KEEP THE COST OF GAMES DOWN...
Don’t even argue it, NHL 09 was a fabulous game even if you loathed the sport of hockey. It has possibly one of the best features in a sports game yet, the EASHL, which is an online league where you create a player, join or create and manage a team along with fellow teammates and play against other player in the online league. Within this you level up your player RPG style and in a way the game encourages making friends online to create a thriving team, something that has in my experience spread common social networking in online gaming. This feature alone has managed to bring in enough EA NHL fans and newcomers alike to make it easily the most popular sports game of the year.
The popularity of this game has dragged in a widespread desperation to win of course, which in turn leads to players’ “glitching” of the system, as with any other game. In the early months, the game was plagued with easy goals that involved a simple move and then “toe-drag shot” after crossing the opposing team’s blue line, which almost made the game unplayable unless you had teammates that could stop the play on command. It then became a game of “who could glitch the game the best and most” which has all but polluted several excellent multiplayer games in the online console age.
Since the first major “glitch-goal” as many have come to call it, there has been an update to the game which also fixed several other hiccups in the game. But this certainly has not stopped players from polluting the game with their many different efforts in destroying other teams with plays that shouldn’t happen in a real life NHL game. I mean, that is what EA is going for right, a real life NHL simulation? Since the update, players have also found that to skate backwards is to automatically score on breakaways, the computer goalie does not cover his nearside post very well, and that any computer defender has hardly any ability to stop passes directly in front of their goalie. Of course, all of these are quite annoying to any team that doesn’t have a full set of human players at all times, which the game does seemingly try to push for (You receive more ranking points per game with the more players you play with). I will admit that I have been guilty to one or more of these incidents on a few occasions, along with some of my online teammates, but that is only the minor junk in the game.
Wrap Around Slap-Shot
(I won't even mention or show the other less obvious ones)
Try playing as a hitting defenseman, or even as a forward with good speed and checking capable of lining up a good hit. You’ll soon see that lining up such a great hit worthy of some stress relief is quickly averted by a cheap player with quick enough fingers. With a quick button tap, players have found that they can simply jump right up in the middle of a hit animation which can lead to breakaways (where usually they use the backwards skating goal) because even the successful hit takes your player out of position. Another big problem is the lack of interference calls. I played a game the other day and counted up 26 hits on my player. Three had been called penalties, Three had been legitimate hits, and the other 20 were well away from playing the puck. It almost looks like a football game on the ice (compared to 5 yards within the line of scrimmage I guess), which takes a lot of flow out of the game. The biggest thing to complain about is the fact that players have been cheating the system and creating players with 99 stats in everything, making the game incredibly fun (sarcasm INCLUDED). I won't even get into that too much, if you want to cheat too then you can probably youtube it and hopefully get your account suspended eventually.
As a hockey fan, and former player, I always look to this game for some personal gratification. NHL 09 really has delivered, but its such a shame to watch a great game be crapped upon by gamers that don’t even seem to respect the game of hockey but would rather just beat it to a pulp. In the end I’ll still be playing this game (in division 9, Muffin Men represent!) of course, but I look forward more and more to those patches and updates every day unfortunately.
So, welcome my friend who has established recognition with the game by the well established title of Fable 2. I entice you to delve further into my realm of opinion and utmost self amazement in how knowledgeable of game development I am. This game was one of my favorite flop picks of this gamer year (flop pick could possibly be defined to the non-fantasy football participator as a pick that would be really anticipated but yet come up so short, recognize it now? good...).
Fable 2 is a simply astonishing game when you start it up. It really slammed me with some intriguing moments as to what I could possibly get to do in the game sooner or later. I really was on the edge of my seat for a good while. That was until about 10 minutes after the first hero in the game was recognized and recruited (you guys probably should recognize her as the humongous ultra female that is the exaggeration of any feminists fantasy hero) when the game hit bland-mode and threw only about one more curve ball before the end of the game. Still the game had a really good amount of substance to offer before I was really skeptical.
Beginning the game after the intro (which serves as your childhood and actually influences some of Albion the most after your actions in the makeshift tutorial) you get to jump into a new world ready for adventure and freedom. This is somewhat haulted as you have to complete a few quests to really jump into a little bit of freedom; familiar if you're accustomed to Oblivion or similar games. Beat up or kill a few bandits maybe some innocent villagers, earn a some XP, and become a "Hero" and learn some magic. Your dog will show you his most usefullness right in the beginning, finding treasure and buried items; Both of which are mostly useless, but then again this isnt Oblivion or Champions of Norrath; you'll get most of your useful items and weapons through shops. During this procedure, you should experiment with as many thing as you can think of. Try getting killed, oh wait you can't be killed. Anytime your "knocked-out" in Fable 2 you get knocked to the ground and then you get right back up ready to go with a newly aquired and permanent scar on your face (I thought it actually was a nice effect when I first heard of it), then actually look at it and realize how not cool or compelling it looks. It becomes more or less a reason to not EVER get knocked out again, point taken Peter.
Taking on one of the several jobs in the game will reward you with the gold that youll miss from questing in other games. These jobs are no more the glorified and simplistic mini games that you complete over and over until you level up in the profession of your choice. To become a master in the particular job will take a little bit of patience, timing, as well as time itself, but it is all too easy to eventually earn all that money you need to eventually buy the equipment you think you need to get yourself through the game's story. Better weapons will make the world of Albion easier to get through of course but thats the only way youll get that equipment (except for the legendary weapons which you'll probably need a guide to find and then eventually not feel the worth of said weapon anyway). The simplest way to get money in the game is to earn enough to buy out a decent business and then earn the gold per 5 minutes that it will earn for you until you can afford multiple businesses and then eventually earn all the gold you could need assuming you have the time to wait, otherwise i would suggest playing poor and making a challenge for yourself.
The fighting itself in the game was a great success. I loved being able to get into firefights with bandits on a hillside then fighting some of them face to face (the game could have utilized a minor cover system ala gta 4 and wouldve added another combat element here and there, but you can only ask for so much). I enjoyed all conflicts in the game, making my own style of fighting (shoot a few rounds off first, decapitating enemies later in the game, and then melee fighting with magic mixed in on the toughest of situations). Melee is really nice with new and attaintable means of using it through XP. The only gripe with melee is that it seems most attacks are all the same looking with all weapons, just at different speeds and of course different damage dealt out. The ranged attacks are the real icing in this game. Second only to Devil May Cry when coupled with melee attacks in my opinion, the ranged attacks felt very cool and enpowering. The rifles and crossbows packed a different style but seemed really fun picking off foes from afar, and the pistols were really fun dropping some enemies at a little closer range, epecially after being able to target specific body parts through levling up (Loved being able to decapitate baddies from a decent distance). You could really level up the ranged attacks to take out a good amount of bandits (or any other enemy for that matter) from aftar but it wasnt overly effective in that you had to use other attacks when the bad guys closed in. The magic in the game was definately a welcomed abiltiy in that mana wasnt a factor but the fact that you had to level up then charge your spell to that level to achieve more powerful attacks, but unfortunately only 4 of the learnable magic styles were actually effective and useful.
The enemies in the game were interesting to a point. I never felt very challenged or threatend by any enemy, but then again I was not able to be killed. There are only two enemies in the game that can actually serve as bosses (asside from the bland "shard" boss that poses a minor but interesting end battle). More boss battles with different ways of beating them would have been welcomed to add to the longevity of the fighting in the game, but to me would've been even more icing (or maybe even those little chocolate crispies in the ice cream cake I love so much) on the cake rather than the one of the layers to it.
While playing the middle of the game, I decided to delve into the other advertised attractions of the game. I actually met a girl in the game that seemed attractive enough and interesting enough to take on a date somewhere. At this point I thought, this could not possibly be as easy as the Sims or Sims 2 (yes, I had a few days of interest in these games)where you can take someone out and with repeated comments that you already know will appease them, somehow marry them in one sitting! After marrying my chosen female counterpart and then eventually having offspring with said person, that whole "feature" of the game was essentially completed, not unlike any other mundane side quest in the game. The only difference was that you had to go back and appease the family you had with the uninspiring and cartoony expression wheel or else youd find yourself getting divorced with your wife. To me that was just a chore to do in the first place so I really didnt mind all that much.
The middle of the game threw you into the enemy's (Lucien) castle as one of his many recruits in order to rescue the second hero and also to get on with your "path of knowing thyself" as I kind of told myself repeatedly.This part was supposedly the make or break part of the game where Molyneux was going to test the absolute power of your righteousness versus your evilness. It was the decision to kill your new found friend to save your faithfulness and disguise toward your cover or let him live and suffer what happened next. I won't even tell you what happened after my decision, because frankly I could sum up the difference in story by about one to two sentences. I'll save you (and myself, if you don't mind) that trouble in saying that Fable 2 turned out to be a very enjoyable game, when it comes to its combat, customization, and general overall feel of the game itself. I really enjoyed being able to pull out a flintlock pistol and blow away an enemy or two at point blank before rushing in and chopping away with melee attacks and even mixing it up with magic if the enemies numbers became overwhelming (that was my basic strategy that i built and leveled up around, and that does not mean that many different strategies can be cooked up with some imagination and thought), but the story was very front loaded and seemed rushed and unfinished by the end, leaving me and my imagination wanting much more.
My final verdict:
If this game could have been about 5 to 10 hours longer with as much imagination added to the story as was put into the whole interaction system and combat functions, it would definitely rival that of Oblivion or possibly even Zelda. I felt the overall weight of my decisions most of the time, but they were mostly predicting like other games and if not they seemed to be easily overturned by a few extra minutes of opposite actions to get back on the path you were trying to follow. The family and townsfolk interaction is a great novelty and nice distraction here and there, but does no more than 4 to 5 minutes of distracting you between quests rather than be a whole new place to occupy your time and effort, just another chore much like everything else in Fable 2 where nothing really is more rewarding than beating the game itself, which just simply turns out to be quite unsatisfying to most.
My Cake Score: Walmart Cookie Cake (Great game when your anticipating it, but you can only eat so much before you want more)