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Review: Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 (PS3)

Oh how the mighty have fallen....and fallen quickly. Just a few years ago I would have been chomping at the bit in anticipation of a new Konami soccer game. However, after the utter garbage that was Pro Evolution Soccer 2008, I approached PES 2009 with a great deal of trepidation. In fact, this was the first year in quite some time that I didn’t bother importing the Japanese version – I’ve been more than happy spending my soccer gaming time between FIFA 09 and the most recent J-League Winning Eleven game.

Fortunately, my fears weren’t met; PES 2009 isn’t the unmitigated disaster of PES 2008.

Question is, how does it hold up to the new competition?

Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 (PS3)


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Previews: Winning Eleven 9 First Impressions
Posted by Jared on Thursday, August 11 @ 19:44:11 PDT
Soccer By Lavan Chandran

Presentation/Graphics/Eye Candy

1) Menus have been reverted back to the old-school vertical tree style and the menu graphics have been changed and look pretty sharp. One particular addition I really like is the fact that if you choose to skip the intro sequence to a match you get to see the opposing team’s formation and line-up as the game loads which is useful.

2) Slowdown has been pretty much eliminated as it was in WE8:LE.

3) TV-style presentation has been improved with more varied in-game instant replays (of shots wide, saves, etc.). There are also a bunch of new goal celebrations (a lot more group celebrations….which still have more than a hint of the homoerotic but some would argue that that’s accurate….lol) and there are better celebrations following a penalty shoot-out win. The animations for substations are also better and it’s nice to see the player coming off giving a massive high-five to the player coming on. Ref interaction sequences are also more varied and there’s a lot more sequences of players bitching to the ref and also a few more scuffles between players after the whistle (and these don’t necessarily lead to a red card for one of the players). Finally, fouls/injuries are more varied and you’ll actually see players limp off to the touchline rather than be stretchered off.

4) Player models have been improved. Perhaps KCET are nearing the max they can do with the PS2 hardware so there’s not a drastic change but the player models are noticeably better with more facial details and more player paraphernalia. The variety of boot styles is also impressive and now certain players have their shirts hanging out of their jerseys.

5) Animations, of course, are improved and the even more detailed player interactions are portrayed in a realistic manner. There are now even more scuffles between players and so many more fouls, bumps and shoves between players. Kicking animations have also been improved and the new ‘inside of the foot’ shooting animation is sweet. Keepers also routinely launch 30-40 yard throws and there are appropriate animations for that.

6) The kits are pretty much the same as in WE8:LE with official licenses and sponsors for the Spanish, Italian and Dutch leagues. However, there are also sporadic licenses for other club teams such as Arsenal and Chelsea.

7) Stadium graphics and pitch textures are top notch and there’s now the addition of snow as a weather condition and you can see the condensation from the players’ breathing. There are also now 3D animated fans for close-ups of the crowd and new sweeping stadium introductions.

8) The in-game displays have been changed with a different look for the attacking bias indicators as well as an option to have your controlled player’s stamina bar be displayed when he has the ball which is neat (and something that’s been in other sports games for a while now).

Options

1) Since this is a KCET game the rosters are not up to date with respect to the litany of summer transfers that have taken place. This really needs to be addressed and especially so with the European release of PES 5. I understand that the more recent transfers such as Julio Baptista and Robinho to Real Madrid aren’t in the game but neither are transfers that took place more than a month ago such as Zenden to Liverpool.

2) Nippon Challenge Cup Thingy is an Asian football federation competition that features a whole host of Asian teams that haven’t been present in previous versions of Winning Eleven/Pro Evo.

3) I haven’t had time to check out the Master League but at first glance it seems similar to that in WE8:LE

4) There’s now a profile option that tracks your individual gamer statistics (games won, lost, goals etc) which is a nice addition and one that’s been a long time coming.

5) There are new positional and tactical additions but I haven’t fiddled around with them much to comment yet (look for that soon). One new special skill/ability is the ‘Middle Shoot’ which is basically a shooting from distance ability that players like Gerrard and Lampard have (sorry for the EPL-centric focus) and you do notice a major difference when shooting from outside the 18 yard box with these guy.

Gameplay

1) Side-step dribble. The changes in controls (and there are many) is already a contentious issue amongst many of the hardcore WE/PES gamers. One of the biggest changes comes in the fact that the side-step dribble is performed by a single d-pad (or analog) press perpendicular to the direction you’re dribbling (when you’re NOT sprinting). This is a maneuver that used be complicated by the fact that you had to press L2 in tandem with the perpendicular movement. There are many theories as to why KCET has made this change, one theory I heard (er…read) floated around the Evo-Web forums had to do with the fact that KCET are bring Winning Eleven to the PSP (which has no L2 or R2 buttons) and want to have a unified control scheme. While this is a possibility, I think one of the good things about this change is the fact that you can no longer do those tight controlled stop-on-a-dime 90 degree turns that you could do in previous games. I think this makes for a much more realistic looking dribbling model. At this point you’re probably asking yourself – “but what about regular 90 degree turns with the ball”? And my response is how often do you ever see anyone dribble with the ball and then make a COMPLETE 90 degree turn with NO forward movement? Rarely ever, rather the player dribbling will first make a diagonal turn then complete the turn to move in the perpendicular direction – this is what you now get with the change in dribbling in WE9! Furthermore, the fact remains that you can only do this side-step dribble when you’re not sprinting so you don’t see ridiculous things like someone sprinting with the ball at full pelt and then instantly moving into a sidestep with the ball.

2) Other control changes include the addition of an instep/inside-of-the-foot shooting maneuver that has greater accuracy and can be performed by pressing R2 while the powerbar is filling up.

3) Free kick controls have also been changed with curve dictated by L1 and R1. Furthermore, when you hold down Triangle after the powerbar is filled you put topspin on the ball while holding down X after the powerbar is filled puts backspin on the ball. Adding a player to the free kick routine is now done by holding down L2.

4) Throw-ins finally have a powerbar for the long throws which is fantastic if you have a player with a ‘Long Throw’ special ability as you can really use the powerbar to place the throw in a precise area. Unfortunately, it’s useless if you’re doing the throw with a regular player as there’s little gradation between the strength of throws and the powerbar for players without the aforementioned special ability.

5) Keepers now can routinely hurl the ball 30 or more yards to facilitate a counterattack which is fabulous.

6) One of my favourite additions to the game is the vastly enhanced player interactions – not only is there more jostling for the ball there is far better shielding of the ball. Now when an opposing player gets the ball with his back to you and you rush him from behind (steady on now!) he won’t just stumble forward under the weight of your challenge and give the ball up. Rather, now he can also shield the ball and hold you off, or you’ll foul him or he will perform the aforementioned stumble forward. This is a great addition because it means players that subscrible to the headless chicken school of defending (such as MYSELF!) and have the square button constantly pressed when on defense to bring a second tackler into the picture are in trouble. Now with that style of defending you give up A LOT of free kicks and/or expose a lot of space by double teaming the player with the ball. As such you have to play a more realistic style of defending and close down lanes/angles rather than rushing the player with the ball.

7) My other favourite addition are the enhanced ball physics but not so much with respect to the ball bouncing realistically, but rather how it affects passing and dribbling. The turning arcs of players when dribbling has been reduced and is more proportional to the dribbling skill of the player with the ball. As a result the jinking and juking is even more realistic and the higher skilled players are more pronounced with their dribbling skills. Secondly, because of the reduced turning arc with the ball at your feet it means that those blind, acute angled passes are the realm of only the most skilled players (and I mean the very top galacticos). This means that you have to position your players more realistically to have an accurate pass. Combine this with the player shielding and you have orgasm-inducing (well, maybe only for me) situations when you play a ball into your big burly forward with his back to goal, he controls it while holding off the defender behind him, turns slightly and then dishes off a perfect pass into the path of on incoming attacking player. The improved animations make situations and interactions like these look phenomenally realistic.

All in all, WE9 appears to be yet another great addition to the series and after only 8-9 hours of play has made WE8:LE obsolete so unfortunately my triple assault on the La Liga, the King’s Cup and Champions League titles with Getafe in WE8 will have to be shelved. Oh well.

(Read More... | Previews | Score: 5)


Previews: First Impressions: NCAA Football 06 (PS2)
Posted by God on Sunday, August 07 @ 16:06:22 PDT
Football While I've owned this game for a few weeks, it wasn't until last night that I developed a definitive first impression of the game and realized how good it is.

Note: All of my games have been played on Varsity level with NO slider adjustments and HFA off.

First and foremost, I haven't run any "experiments" on the game or put it through a rigorous "test". This impression is based solely on gameplay and how much I enjoyed the game while playing. I've come to the conclusion that no game will ever be perfect and that there must a balance between realism and fun.

Having said that, I believe that NCAA Football strikes a good balance between the two. Offense and defense are both enjoyable and satifying to play. The controls are tight and responsive and EA has fine-tuned the control scheme. For instance, the X button is used for sprinting on both offense and defense by default (there was an option for this in previous games) and you no longer need to press ∆ to bring down your passing icons to run with your quarterback. It may not sound like much but it does make a difference during gameplay.

A nice new feature on defense is the ability to change the defensive line and linebacker assignments while on the line of scrimmage by using the shoulder buttons (L1 & R1) and R3 (right analog stick), making the number of pre-snap defensive adjustments quite impressive this year. Defensive line and linebacker shifts are still available and work the same as last year's game. Swin/spin and bull rush moves have also been moved the right analog stick this year.

The offensive side of the ball has seen some improvements too. Right analog stick controls have been added to the running game and the offensive lines seems to do a better job of blocking this year. While "mario-running" still exists in the game, it can almost be eliminated by covering up the ball (pressing the right analog stick up). The option is also easier (and more fun) to run this year. There has been talk of the deep ball being a money play this year and there is some truth to it. Fortunately this problem can be solved by taking control of the DB and swatting the ball down.

NCAA's most touted gameplay feature this year is the addition of Impact Players. Each team will have certain "Impact" players (indicated by an icon underneath them) that can make a big play at any time. While at first I doubted how much this would add to the game, I've come to appreciate what it brings to the game. For instance, last night I had a hard time getting my running game going even though my halfback is an "Impact" player, but by sticking with my running game, my halfback broke a few nice runs and got "In the Zone" (indicated by a pulsing icon underneath the player) and started getting more consistent runs after that. So far, it doesn't appear that "In the Zone" Impact players become too invincible, but I like the idea of getting a player into a groove.

The graphics have been slightly improved, but nothing that will blow you away. The animations, on the other hand, seem to have been given a nice upgrade. I've noticed quite a few new animations and still see more each time I play. The play-by-play has also been improved quite a bit. My biggest complaint so far is that there is a limited amount of slowdown on certain plays. It's a shame since past versions on the PS2 have never had this problem. It's not enough to hurt the game, but enough to be slightly annoying.

As you can probably tell, I'm pretty happy with this year's game. Is it perfect? No. Is it the ultimate sim? No. Is it a lot of fun to play? Absolutely, and that's all that really matters.
(Read More... | Previews | Score: 3)


Previews: More NCAA Football 2006 Impressions
Posted by Jared on Saturday, July 09 @ 12:11:30 PDT
Football Here are some random first impressions from a few hours of gameplay:

I started a dynasty with Florida (rosters are out already!) and the first game is against Wyoming. They've got a decent team, with a very good QB and one star WR (92 rating). I never got through the game (no game report....was doing lots of slider tweaking and resetting), but they kept passing and looking for the star WR throughout the game. I had to change my strategy to take him away, and then they'd pass pass pass to their #2 and #3 receivers, where they were less effective.

I also played a full game against Tennessee, a 31-28 thriller. Tennessee ran on most plays, and I wasn't doing a very good job of stopping the runs up the middle, so they kept on going up the middle. I don't know if they would have ran more outside if I was stopping the inside run...but I like the fact that they were (or at least seemed to be) attacking my weakness.

I've only done rather minimal tweaks with sliders. I'm probably bumping human WR catch a notch or two, increasing human tackles a bit (because every now and then you have one of those "bump against the guy that doesn't initiate a tackle animation" moments...which is ok unless that guy is THE tackle necessary to make any play), decreasing kick and punt accuracy and distance a bit...and that's about it. I might want to tweak a few more things, as my outside running is a little more effective than I think it should be (maybe I'll increase breaking blocks by the CPU).

Haven't fooled around with the dynasty mode options much. Recruiting is definitely different than last year....primary thing is that it's in-season recruiting. You set targets and then....well, I'm not sure, since I haven't gotten any farther than game 1.

One thing I'm concerned about is that having the A button as the run button might make it easier for the cheesy players to go crazy with the Hail Mary roll out and run plays. Not sure though...it's tough to really see if there are gamebreakers without lots of people online. But there seems to be LOTS of QB spy plays...I think I remember seeing one with 3 spies (!).

There are still the usual EA football annoyances though, such as Mario running and DBs being excellent and jumping up and deflecting passes at their backs when they're face-guarding the receiver. Also, the field feels a little small (but I've had this gripe for a while now...and I have no idea if it's just in my head or not).

But overall, the game is definitely solid. I'm kind of thinking that this is what NCAA 2005 should have been.

(Read More... | Previews | Score: 2)


Previews: NCAA Football 2006 Impressions (Xbox version)
Posted by Jared on Wednesday, July 06 @ 07:29:20 PDT
Football ScoopBrady writes "Thanks, in large part, to the very disappointing NCAA Football 2005 it seems like it's been a long time since a college football title has been released. After several days of excitement and letdowns due to chasing every lead imaginable to procure a copy of this years NCAA offering from EA I was finally able to pick up my copy at a Coconuts in Oak Lawn, IL. I never would have thought to check at Coconuts but thanks to a thread at Operation Sports I did. Was it worth the wait? Is it another poor outing for EA? Read my initial impressions to find out my first thoughts on NCAA Football 2006.

Upon starting the game for the first time you are asked to select your favorite team. After selecting Notre Dame I was brought to a character creation screen. I was asked for my players last name. I entered Brady and next I was asked to pick the type of drill I wanted to take part in. Being that Walter Payton is my childhood and adult hero I selected the halfback drills. I took part in the running back drill and after I completed it I was offered scholarships from 3 different schools. I was free to take a scholarship from one of these schools or be a walk on at the school of my choice. I decided to take the scholarship from Texas A&M. After accepting the scholarship I was able to go to my new dorm room or the main menu. The new Heisman mode could wait so I went straight to the main menu.

EA Trax are the default menu music but you can change it to the marching bands if you prefer that. The EA Trax are really cool in NCAA. I heard some old De La Soul and Neds Atomic Dustbin. The main menu screen has the logo of your favorite team and on the right side it shows old footage from college football greats like Peyton Manning, Herschel Walker, Ricky Williams, and Walter Payton. Very, very well done.

Enough with the fluff, let's get down to what really matters: gameplay. I started a game as Notre Dame at home against the 17th ranked Eagles of Boston College. I was playing 8-minute quarters on All-American difficulty. I've read elsewhere that All-American was too easy out of the box so I was cocky going into the matchup. A combination of my football game rust, a so-so Notre Dame squad, and an excellent BC squad saw me down 35-0 at the end of the first quarter. I was in shock.

I gave up 2 big plays for touchdowns. One in the air and one on the ground. The touchdown pass was a thing of beauty I can't ever recall witnessing in a football videogame. The wide receiver caught the ball over his right shoulder while looking back at the ball and he did it in full stride. He was off to the races and there was nothing I could do. I was impressed. The touchdown run was a result of great blocking, misdirection, and an Impact Player making an impact. BC ran a counter and my defense totally bought the fake to the right. My safety was in position to contain the damage to a 10-yard gain but BC's half back flattened him and scampered the rest of the way for a touchdown. I was impressed again.

The 3 other touchdowns were a result of 2 interceptions and a god-awful punt of mine. Down 35-0 it was time to check out the competition from a lesser team. I backed out and started a new game at home against the Tarheels. Notre Dame had a slight edge on paper so I was interested in seeing how this game would turn out. It turned out to be the best game of football I've played in 2 years. I had more fun in this game than I did combining every game of NCAA 2005 I played.

Right off the bat I broke a 77-yard touchdown run. NC answered back with a 78-yard touchdown run. It was tied 7-7 not even 2 minutes into the game. In NCAA 2005 I would routinely see 7-7 scores well into the fourth quarter. The rest of the first quarter saw a lot of stalled drives and only 3 more points for North Carolina. I was losing 10-7 after one quarter.

I was being pressured by the Tarheels defensive line in the second quarter and ended up throwing 3 picks in the quarter resulting in 10 more points for the Heels. Neither team ran the ball very well in the second quarter. I was losing 20-7 at the half.

North Carolina started the second half with the ball and marched down the field for a field goal to make the score 23-7. I knew it was time to step it up. I felt pretty good defensively only giving up 23 points on 3 turnovers and 2 horrible punts. On offense I wasn't finding any rhythm and I needed to back off the relentless pursuit of the Tarheel d-line so I made a conscious effort to take the pressure off a struggling Brady Quinn and utilize my impact halfback, Darius Walker. The plan worked and I was also able to incorporate my impact wideout, Rhema McKnight, into my attack. My defense also forced 3 interceptions in the second half that really helped my offense get going.

I won the game 38-23. I ran Walker 34 times for 304 yards and Quinn threw a touchdown pass to McKnight and finished the game 7 of 20 for just under 200 yards. Not the most accurate stats but I still had an absolute blast playing the game. I always like to start off any sports game on the second-hardest difficulty so I have room for growth in case I start dominating the CPU. I will stick with All-American for now but I will need to raise the qb accuracy for both human and cpu and lower human running. I'm hoping to find a nice balance through sliders.

My initial impressions are very favorable at this point and I have a lot of hopes that 2006 will turn out to be the game many of us expected last year.

Quick hits:

Positives -

NCAA 2006 is easily the best it's ever looked on the Xbox.

I didn't notice any slowdown.

I noticed a huge difference in difficulty and skill between Boston College and North Carolina.

Dropped passes are much more reasonable. I ended the game with a combined total of 7 dropped passes (4 for me and 3 for the cpu).

The CPU finally mounts a rushing attack.

The CPU mixes up their play calling and keep you on your toes.

The overall pace and feel of the game feels much more like football than 2005 did.

Great college atmosphere.

Great presentation.

Division 1AA and 1AAA player names can be edited.

Sliders are assigned a code to easily share with others.

Negatives -

Mario running is still present but the new backwards juke might help in this area.

Some questionable late-game offensive AI witnessed. The Tarheels were down 38-23 with less than a minute and were going into the hurry up offense only to run 3 reverses in a row before finally taking a timeout with 4 seconds left.

Slider tweaking is always frustrating."

(Read More... | Previews | Score: 4.66)


News: OOTP 6.5 announced
Posted by Jared on Friday, May 27 @ 14:08:09 PDT
Baseball OOTP is coming out with an update in mid-Fune (6.5) to hold over fans until the much anticipated SI Games release in early 2006. The upgrade adds new player evaluation algorhythms, modified player development, better roster management AI, enhanced play-by-play, and more for $9.95. For more information on the update, go to the OOTP Website
(Read More... | News | Score: 0)


LOTD (5/9)
Posted by bdoughty on Monday, May 09 @ 13:00:13 PDT
Digital Sportspage

IHRA Professional Drag Racing 2005 Screens
http://www.worthplaying.com/article.php?sid=25268&mode=thread&order=0

Football Manager 2006 Announced
http://www.worthplaying.com/article.php?sid=25284&mode=thread&order=0

Squadra Corse Alfa Romeo - Trailer #4
http://www.worthplaying.com/article.php?sid=25288&mode=thread&order=0

Football Manager on the move
http://www.gamespot.com/psp/sports/footballmanager2006/index.html

Forza Review
http://195.157.98.220/article.php?article_id=58951

Football Manager Interview
http://195.157.98.220/article.php?article_id=58958

Nokia Announces 2K5 NBA Championship
http://sony.gamerfeed.com/gf/pr/8697/

Head to Head: GT4 vs Forza
http://www.gamepro.com/microsoft/xbox/games/features/45068.shtml

Ridge Racer Review (NDS)
http://www.gamerseurope.com/articles/704

Fifa Soccer Review (PSP)
http://psp.gamezone.com/gzreviews/r24013.htm

ATV Review (PSP)
http://www.nlgaming.com/nl/asp/id_1167/nl/reviewDisp.htm

NFSU Rivals Review (PSP)
http://www.gamevortex.com/gamevortex/soft_rev.php/2577

Wipeout Pure Review (PSP)
http://www.digitalentertainmentnews.com/review.php?story_id=8662

GT4 Review (PS2)
http://www.gamingnexus.com/Review.asp?ID=725

World Snooker Championship 2005 Review (PS2)
http://www.ic-games.co.uk/index.php?location=1&&articleid=2819

Midnight Club 3: DE Review (Xbox)
http://www.3davenue.com/1165.html

Update

NBA Live 2006 - Dwyane Wade on the cover (Screens & Info)
http://sports.ign.com/articles/611/611189p1.html

(Read More... | Score: 0)


Blog: Forza First Impressions
Posted by Jared on Saturday, May 07 @ 21:13:02 PDT
Racing PK500 writes "For my first hour of Forza, which I spent online, I was a bit -- emphasis on just a tiny bit -- underwhelmed. It just didn't feel that much more advanced or better than TOCA 2 online. There was nothing that made me stand up and say, "WOW -- this advances the breed of console racers."

But then after about an hour or two, the strength and beauty of Forza hit me: This game is so polished, so refined. It takes nearly everything we've always wanted in a console racer, the stuff that some games almost include but with some sort of niggling flaw or omission, and puts it in one, compelling, complete, polished package.

This game does nothing astonishing, really. But it does everything so well. It's so polished, so refined, right out of the box. Again, there's nothing in the game that blows me away, but everything really impresses me. I really have to reach and rack my aching brain to find any major flaws.

Here are the things I really like about Forza:"
(Read More... | 7042 bytes more | Blog | Score: 0)


Previews: Wipeout: Pure (PSP) First Impressions
Posted by Jared on Monday, March 21 @ 17:48:52 PST
Racing From Spooky in the DSP Forums:

For those who have ever enjoyed this series previously and are intrigued by this title I can most definitely say that you will NOT be disappointed.

Presentation:

The overall look of the game is absolutely top notch. The menus and environments are all classic Wipeout and yet feel completely fresh and new to me. I have not really played any Wipeout games since the PS1 so that helps, but I can imagine that even if you have played more recent version of the series, this game will feel like a full blown sequel. The menus and options are exactly what you would expect from a console version of the game. A nice thing to note is that the controls are completely customizable.

Graphics:

Ummmm…WOW! Is the PSP secretly the new PS3!?!?! I am kidding of course, but it is just so cool to see graphics that would be considered impressive for the PS2 on a handheld system. I think most would agree with me here. The overall look is definitely on par with a new PS2 title. One thing to mention though is there are a fair share of noticeable ‘jaggies’. Yes, they are rearing their head in the PSP now as well. I have seem them a bit in all of the games I have played, but they are not anything to freak out over. They are about as noticeable as they are on a PS2 and we have been used to those for years now. I have a feeling that these ‘jaggies’ will decrease as development continues though. I wonder if it is just going to be something that is inherent in a system of this type? Perhaps it is a trade off for the type of graphics they are pushing out of this unit. We’ll have to wait and see I suppose, but again, they are not too bad and NO worse than anything we’ve seen on a PS2.

The environments and ships are classic Wipeout and look amazing. The viewing distance is incredible and I have noticed no draw-in. The backgrounds are lush and really give a nice three dimensional feel. The tracks themselves are so cool (especially when you start opening up the locked ones). Lighting effects for weapons and explosions are INCREDIBLE and are completely ‘show off your system’ worthy. Shooting a missile down the track is a sight to behold. There are also some nice weather effects such as rain and snow. The different lighting for times of day are also extremely well done and greatly add to the feeling of variation.

Audio:

The sound is more than decent and all the normal effects are intact. The music is typical Wipeout fare and helps add to the atmosphere of a futuristic racer. Headphone use really adds nice stereo separation and provides a pretty decent three dimensional feel.

Gameplay:

This is truly where this title shines. The developers really nailed the feel of the game and kept it right in line with the series. The control is spot on both with the D-Pad and the analog nub, but I ended up feeling more comfortable using the ‘nub’ myself. That floaty Wipeout feel is perfect and the overall control of your ship could not feel any more ‘console like’. One of the first things I noticed from the initial stages on the easier level was a lack of speed. I had also been a bit weary of this from some gameplay movies I have viewed. Well, I am very glad to say that this lower sense of speed is only inherent on the initial difficulty level and increases quite nicely as you move up to the higher levels. In the second class of difficulty, I was extremely happy with the speed. It was completely Wipeout worthy. In fact, as the races started to ramp up, the speed and overall hectic racing became incredibly intense!

The high intensity is greatly helped by the track and weapon design. Once again, the tracks are all classic Wipeout and really feel well designed. The twists and turns are well thought out and are nicely complimented by some very fun and fast straight-aways. The speed boost and weapon placements are very well done and if played correctly, can give you an extremely fast and intense ride.

The weapons/pick-ups in Wipeout: Pure are very cool and add a nice combat element to the racing (almost Mario Kart style). In my play time so far the appear to be very well balanced and some of them are downright cool (especially cool looking). My favorite so far is the ‘Autopilot’ pick-up. It takes control of your vehicle for approx. 4 seconds and is extremely useful for those hard to navigate twisty sections. What is really cool about this pick-up is that is helps show you the correct lines to take and gives you an idea of just how fast a section can be played if run correctly. The rest of the weapons/pick-ups are fairly standard fare (missiles, homing missiles, shields, ect…).

I have yet to play more than a couple races via the ‘AdHoc’ multiplayer mode, but the few that I did were perfectly smooth and fun. It should be noted that you cannot have any AI racers in ‘AdHoc’ mode though. You can have up to eight other human players. There was no lag or slowdown at all and the synchronization worked very well. Even the music was synced up exactly between the two PSP’s.

One other thing to note is that there is also an option for downloads, and while there is nothing available yet, choosing this options brings you ‘online’ and to a screen that says ‘downloadable content coming soon..’.

Overall I am extremely impressed with this title and floored that this is what a launch title for a handheld system can produce. If you are a fan of the series already, it is a no-brainer pick up. If you are grasping for launch titles and want something that will show off the power and future potential of the PSP, this should be heavily considered. If you are not that familiar with the Wipeout series but like futuristic racer type games, it is a very worthy purchase. And please know that this game is NOT stripped down at all feature or size wise. It is completely on par with a full console version.
(Read More... | Previews | Score: 5)


Features: The Future of Gaming: Part 1
Posted by Jared on Wednesday, March 16 @ 16:28:58 PST
Digital Sportspage Here I sit aboard a 3 hour flight, with the option of real work, or the musings of my mind to fill the time. I chose the latter, and opted to begin an analysis ranging from ridiculous prognostication to the sobering realities of the gaming world just ahead of us. My goal is to hypothesize about things to come, how it will impact the industry, the big companies, and most importantly: the gamer. We are at the precipice of a radical era of change, not only in hardware power & creative ability, but of the business that drives our little hobby. Millions stand to be made, and lost, in the next 5 years, which will mark the successful end of gaming’s transition from closet-habit of adult geeks to an accepted, commonplace, and big-business entertainment medium. Some would argue we’re already there, but this is only the beginning, our little club is about to get a WHOLE lot bigger...
(Read More... | 12498 bytes more | Features | Score: 5)


Blog: Sorry about the downtime...now go buy MVP
Posted by Jared on Friday, March 04 @ 10:55:08 PST
Baseball First, we'd like to apologize for the downtime over the last few weeks. We're hoping that our server issues are now behind us and that we'll have decent site performance in the future. Please bear with us, though, if we continue to have intermittent problems.

Second, go buy MVP. We'll have more detailed impressions after the weekend, but it's worth it. The game may have 162 game potential....that is, it might be good enough to enjoy over 162 games with a few slider tweaks. As good as High Heat's peak? Quite possibly. It's definitely worth purchasing, and it's a complete shame that EA won't have the MLB license next year, whereas the bug fest that is MLB 2K5 will.
(Read More... | Blog | Score: 3)


  
Past Articles
Friday, March 04
· Sorry about the downtime...now go buy MVP
· Fight Night 2004 First Impressions
Saturday, February 12
· EA pursuing exclusive NCAA license
Thursday, February 10
· FIFA Street: Say goodbye to ball physics
Wednesday, February 09
· WE8: J-League Asia Championship
Monday, February 07
· Head to Head: Madden 2005 vs ESPN NFL 2K5
Monday, January 31
· Winning Eleven 8 (PC) will have online play
· Let's hope this isn't the future of online gaming...
Monday, January 24
· Take-Two signs an exclusive contract with the MLBPA
Wednesday, January 19
· DSP Awards: Best Sports Games of 2004
Tuesday, January 18
· Sports Gaming Shoots Itself in the Foot...
Monday, January 17
· Another exclusive license: EA and ESPN together for 15 years
Friday, January 07
· EA Rugby 2005 announced
Tuesday, January 04
· Winning Eleven 8 Online? Yes...but
Wednesday, December 22
· Give the gift of the holidays…
Monday, December 20
· EA's intentions?
Saturday, December 18
· EA looking for soccer researchers
Thursday, December 16
· Good news for MLS fans getting FM/WWSM
· The NFL/EA boycott petition
Wednesday, December 15
· Worldwide Soccer Manager is out....sort of
Tuesday, December 14
· Electronic Arts and the NFL/NFLPA: Our Perspective
Monday, December 13
· EA Sports has EXCLUSIVE NFL and NFLPA license
· Has anyone seen Worldwide Soccer Manager in the States?
Wednesday, December 08
· No XBox Live for Winning Eleven 8 (US)
Thursday, November 25
· DSP TW 2004 Tour News
Thursday, November 04
· Tony Fritz Claims Advanced Tour Event - 2nd Tourney Now Set
Wednesday, September 01
· Pro Evolution Soccer 4 and XBox Live
Tuesday, August 31
· Baseball Heroes of the MLBPAA
Thursday, August 26
· DSP ToCA MLR DTM Series, Round 3: Eurospeedway
Friday, August 20
· Winning Eleven 8 in North America


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Reviews
· Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 (PS3)
· FIFA 09 (360)
· Beijing Olympics 2008 (360)
· NCAA Football 09 (Xbox 360)
· Top Spin 3 (360)
· UEFA Euro 2008 (360)
· MLB 2K8 (360)
· Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 (PS3)
· MLB Power Pros (PS2)
· FIFA 08 (XBox 360)


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