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Basketball games have pros, cons


Basketball games have pros, cons Question: Why do sports games cheat? I mean, here you are in " NBA 2K10," playing as the L.A. Lakers, and you're killing, say, the Sacramento Kings in the third quarter. And you should be. You're a better team.

Yet suddenly, none of your Lakers can sink an easy shot. Huh? Suddenly, the Kings' defense steals the ball like supermen. What?

As every gamer knows, this is "artificial intelligence," and this "A.I." is meant to keep us gamers invested in the third and fourth quarters. But to me, it's truly artificial, unnaturally stripping away the pleasures of blowouts in games rooted in Basketball, football and other sports titles for years.

" NBA 2K10" is, otherwise, what I'd call "a 12-month game." It is so intense, entertaining and immense, you could feasibly play it for 12 months before getting sick of it, if you're into Basketball games.

If you've played a good "2K" baller in the past, you know what to expect. Regardless of whether you're playing alone or in online multiplayers, you inbound the ball. You set up a play. You pass the ball. You dunk, or shoot a three-pointer, etc. You guard on defense. There's nothing complicated about that.

It's a mostly fluid experience, though marred when I pass the ball to an open player, and he stops in his tracks at times, instead of moving continuously to the basket (as my thumb is ordering him to do). This allows slower rivals to catch up. It's also harder than ever to dribble-backward your way into the lane.

New this year: If you hold down the sprint button, this will wear your player out faster than before. I don't love that change, but I can deal with it, since it makes the game a smidgen more realistic.

Meanwhile, the other big Basketball game out now, " NBA Live '10," is good and similarly smooth but not as fun as last year's " NBA Live."

For one thing, there's no "2K"-type camera angle that directly faces the direction of the basket in play, so you're stuck with a side or curving base line view that can obscure part of the action. But you can fiddle with the camera angle option just enough to make it work.

If you prefer going online, " NBA Live '10" offers 10-person multiplayers, so you plus four gamers can take on any team of five gamers around the world. That's cool.

The frustration I'm having with " NBA Live '10" - which does look fine and feels like a good baller, online and offline - is that opposing teams are constantly stealing the ball in the lane (like, nine steals in a half, which is unacceptable); and there's not a good protect-the-ball button.

That means I'm constantly getting the ball stolen while merely dribbling toward the basket. I. Am. Sick. Of. That.

Do you discern a theme today? I'm not keen on stealing cheaters. But who is?

(" NBA 2K10" by Take Two retails for $60 for Xbox 360 and PS 3; $50 for Wii on its Tuesday release; $30 for PSP and PS 2; $20 PC - Plays very fun. Looks great. Challenging. Rated "E." Four stars out of four.)

(" NBA Live '10" by EA retails for $60 for Xbox 360 and PS 3; $40 for PSP - Plays fun enough. Looks very good. Challenging. Rated "E." Three and one-half stars.)

NEW IN STORES

"Brutal Legend" looks somewhat misleading on its box photo. It shows a leather-bound guy wielding both an ax and a guitar, which could make you think it's a "Guitar Hero"-type game. It's not. It's a third-person action-adventure. But a guitar and lots of metal songs are involved.

The tongue-in-cheek plot: Eddie (voiced by Jack Black) is a roadie who battles demons that aim at making humans their slaves. The look of the game is inspired by fantasy artist Frank Frazetta.

You kill demons by slashing their faces and torsos with the big ax and by playing the guitar. You hit a few notes to make enemies pop up in the air, so you can ax them. Or you hit a few notes to stun them, so you can ax them. Or you play a riff to cause an explosion that pounds them. And you play minigames synchronized with songs to make them melt.

The game retails for $60 for Xbox 360 and PS 3. It's rated "M" for blood, gore, intense violence, partial nudity, strong language and suggestive themes. But you can toggle back and forth between a gory and foul-mouthed game, and a bleeped-out, nongory version.

"Uncharted 2: Among Thieves" is a much-anticipated sequel to 2007's action-adventure, made in the mode of "Indiana Jones," though that's an oversimplification.

In "Among Thieves," you play once more as Nathan Drake, adventurer, on a quest to find great treasures of Marco Polo. This solo part of the game looks great and comes with loads of cinematic scenes. You run through jungles and across snow-capped mountains and other locales, squeezing through tight spaces, hiding behind obstacles, shooting bad guys, and shimmying across ledges.

In the online part of "Among Thieves," you can play multiplayer-competitive battles, or three-person cooperative shootouts.

The game retails for $60 for PS 3. It's rated "T" for blood, language, suggestive themes and violence.

"Where the Wild Things Are" is the kid/family game tied in with the Spike Jonze movie, but it doesn't follow the movie or the book's twists. It's something different from each, though the style is patterned after the movie.

Lest you wonder how much of a kid's game this is, it's a one-button-attack, one-button-jump platform adventure where you follow the monsters over hill and dale and deal with obstacles.

The game retails for $50 for Xbox 360 and PS 3; $40 for Wii; $30 for DS. It's rated "E 10+" for comic mischief and fantasy violence.

- By DOUG ELFMAN

TOP GAMES

Here are the Top 10 best-selling video games, according to retailer Game Crazy.

1. "Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days" for DS; rated "E 10+" for fantasy violence

2. "Halo 3: ODST" for Xbox 360; rated "M" (blood, language, violence)

3. "Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story" for DS; rated "E" (comic mischief, mild cartoon violence)

4. "Wii Sports Resort" for Wii; rated "E"

5. "Madden NFL '10" for Xbox 360; also available for Wii, PS 3, PS 2, PSP; rated "E"

6. "Need for Speed: Shift" for Xbox 360; also available for PS 3, PSP, PC; rated "E" (mild violence)

7. "Gran Turismo" for PSP; rated "E"

8. "Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2" for PS 3; rated "M" (blood, gore, partial nudity, suggestive themes, violence"

9. "Madden NFL '10" for PS 3

10. "Guitar Hero 5" for Xbox 360; also available for Wii, PS 3, PS 2; rated "T" (mild lyrics, mild suggestive themes)

(Ratings: "E" for "Everyone"; "T" for "Teen"; "M" for "Mature 17+")

Contact Doug Elfman at delfman@review journal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 19, 2009

 

 
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