Archives for 2017

NBA 2K18 Review – Stop Dribbling

NBA 2K18 is a decent basketball game for next-gen consoles – it has high quality graphics and fun game modes to play, but some gameplay elements need patching quick-smart.

One of the things that stand out about the game in the new version of what was previously known as MyPark. It is now known as “The Playground” and is where your MyCareer player stays in between NBA games. I like the new concept, you can choose to go to the Gatorade gym and do drills to increase your player’s attributes, you can also go to your NBA team’s practice court to do basketball related drills. You can also visit many different stores along the street such as the NBA Store, Foot Locker and a barber shop just to name a few. Don’t worry, there’s still the much-loved MyPark as well.

Other new things about MyCareer is the way you unlock badges. You can now see your progress to unlocking them and they can be earned in Park games, NBA games and practice drills. If you successfully complete an action relating to a badge, you will get a certain number of points towards that badge. To get the bronze badge takes less points than higher ranked badges. Also, the experience of being an NBA player is more realistic, for example, you will only obtain endorsements from shoe companies if you wear their shoes on game night.

The MyTeam game mode has similar concepts to last year’s game. The collector’s rewards have been replaced by goals and the online league system has been swapped out for “Super Max”, which is the same thing, but ranks you before entering a league – so good players don’t end up starting from the lesser league. There are also rounds in “Super Max” where at the end of each round, there are prizes to be won depending on where you are. The domination has another 99 stars to earn with 33 teams for All-Time Domination.

Another big change in MyTeam are the addition of salary caps so people who bought virtual currency don’t smash free to play players with a much better team. I think this idea isn’t great because once you get to a certain point, you can’t improve your team anymore.

The one thing I don’t like about the game is the gameplay. It is more realistic at certain times (for example, you can’t throw a perfect full court pass and have no one to intercept it) and the players move a little more freely. There have been problems of people not being able to dunk during certain times, I also experienced this issue. I created a 6’3″ point guard who could dunk in MyCourt and in the pre-game shoot around every NBA game, but in game I couldn’t dunk. On a number of occasions I’d be carrying the ball up on a fast break with no one around me and I still wouldn’t be able to dunk – I hope that once I upgrade my vertical and dunks it’ll work. Another issue which sounds small but is extremely frustrating in-game is the free-throw consistency. It is way too low in all game modes, even if Damian Lillard or Steph Curry is taking them. In a similar way, the lay-up animations are inconsistent, a lay-up that seems open can be considered contested by the computer causing you to miss it. One that is really annoying is the shot contest and shot block.

When an opponent is taking a shot you have a choice whether to press triangle (block button) or just stand in their way and contest their shot. This issue is quite noticeable when an opponent does a lay-up and you press triangle to block – you instantly get fouled. Equally frustrating is if you don’t go for the block, the shot goes in because there’s limited automatic shot contest. This is really annoying whenever your opponent attempts a lay-up, you will either send them to the line or they get the basket.

Although all these issues are frustrating, they are acceptable as the game hasn’t been out for long, I expect Visual Concepts / 2K Sports to fix these problems in the next large update.

Overall, NBA 2K18 is a promising new game with different and fun game modes and concepts within those modes. However, a few problems need to be fixed with the gameplay. If you are a basketball fan, then this game is still worth checking out.

image source: Playstation Store

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Dylan Cukalac
Teenage video gamer and ausretrogamer contributor. When Dylan isn’t dribbling on the virtual basketball court he is ripping it up for real on the football field.

Follow Dylan Cukalac on Twitter and Instagram

 

 

Death Squared Review – Nintendo Switch

Death Squared broke me.

Now, I don’t mean broke as in a “made me break stuff” kind of way. Rather that on multiple occasions Death Squared reduced me to a near-blubbering mess of a person struggling to comprehend just how I’d solve the puzzle facing me. Yet eventually I’d overcome it, but that fleeting euphoria would last as long as it took for the next level to appear. I’d even go as far to say that there were definitely times where it invoked memories of another isometric problem-solving game from my past, one that also featured two characters who drove me head over heels insane at the best of times…

Reminiscence aside, Death Squared is a 2017 3D isometric cooperative puzzle game from Sydney gamedev SMG Studios. It’s based around an incredibly simple concept: Move your AI ‘bots from point A to point B. That’s it! Sounds easy in concept, right? Once you start throwing lasers, moving platforms, and needing to coordinate moves into the mix, suddenly you’re heading towards ‘broken’ territory. As an added bonus Death Squared is as couch co-op friendly as it gets, meaning that it’s another delightful game to play with people you don’t want to have to like for much longer.

While Death Squared can be enjoyed with up to 3 other people, I opted to spend the bulk of my time slogging through the 80 level single player story mode. I started out simple enough – move from the starting point to the round circles that serve as the goal. As the levels progress, more and more elements are introduced that forced me to use the tricks I’d learnt in a completely different way. The progression feels natural, and I never found the difficulty being artificially ridiculous just for the sake of slowing my progress down. There are times where it does feel like a struggle to push through lots of levels in a single sitting, with my 20 minute bus ride each day feeling like an optimal playtime before I started feeling broken and needing to stop. Your mileage may vary here, but it’s something that is negated by the more people you have to play it with.

Trying to enlist some celebrity assistance

So what about the story you ask? It revolves around a slacker named Dave (Voiced by Rice Pirate Mick) and his virtual assistant IRIS (also voiced by Rice Pirate Mick!). Dave’s a level 1 supervising technician at a futuristic robotics company who has one job: to monitor the AI Test ‘Bots (you!) as they go through their paces. Mick’s delivery and timing on his lines is fantastic, and really sells the banter between the two. This all plays out in the background as you work through the story mode along with the odd company email load screen, and complements the mode well.

When I’m Sixty-fouuuur

It’d be harder if the controls were unwieldy, but beyond a couple of times where I did something dumb and found myself getting stuck on the geometry, the twin-stick control method works pretty well. Left stick moves the Red ‘bot, while the right stick moves the Blue ‘bot, and this setup even plays into the puzzles in later stages. This can make for some rather tricky times when playing solo, as my brain would often assume the left stick corresponded to ‘bot on the of the screen, only to have the other one suicide off a ledge. I even tried giving one of the Joycons to my 5 year old, but he proved to be more frustrating than trying to just do it myself. To him, watching the colourful square dive off the edge and explode was the absolute height of hilarity! The edge detection on the platforms can be a little touchy at times, as I’d find a bot tumbling to its doom despite swearing I had ample space to maneuver. These moments were rare though, which is reassuring for a game that involves some fairly precise movements at times.

Booooom

One thing I’ll say is that this is a game that feels more at home on the Switch than any other platform I’ve seen it on (which is to say, Death Squared is on pretty much everything!). Given the Switch ships with two Joycons by default and the “pick up and play” nature of the system, this makes Death Squared a really good first game to grab if you’ve just gotten the console and want some co-op games to play. Add a pro controller or two into the mix, and there’s a party right there!

Did I mention it’s also only $14.99 on the Nintendo eShop (and slightly higher on other platforms)? Given there’s a good 8-10 hours of play in the story mode, and many, many more hours in the Party or super-hard Vault, Death Squared is definitely worth checking out.

Death Squared was reviewed on the Nintendo Switch. Played story mode to completion, and ran through a handful of the Party mode levels. Review code provided with thanks to SMG Studios.

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blahjediAaron Clement
Tassie based retro gaming guy. Co-host of the Press Play On Tape Podcast. Father of 3 and married to the very tolerant Kellie Clement. Coffee powered!

Follow Aaron Clement on Twitter and Instagram

 

 

If BioShock Was Made In 1998

If BioShock was made in 1998…

Source: 98DEMAKE on YouTube via Laughing Squid

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msausretrogamerMs. ausretrogamer
Co-founder, editor and writer at ausretrogamer – The Australian Retro Gamer E-Zine. Lover of science fiction, fashion, books, movies and TV. Player of games, old and new.

Follow Ms. ausretrogamer on Twitter

 

 

NFL Blitz Turns 20

By: D.C. Cutler, U.S.A.

From the first time I played the arcade version of Midway’s NFL Blitz at a movie theatre arcade, I was hooked. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the release of the colorful, over-the-top football game in arcades. And yes, that makes me feel old too.

Before there was Madden, there was Blitz if you were an NFL fan and gamer. Blitz wasn’t as technical and stylized as a year of Madden, but it was just as fun and competitive to play with your friends. When Nintendo 64 released Blitz, the game was so different than any other football game on the market.

Blitz had a blown up exaggeration to it with the humorous violence when you tackled an opposing player. The explosive crunching sounds and the streak of light behind the ball when you threw it deep elevated the gaming experience. The graphics and play popped off the smallest of television screens.

The “late hits” after plays were a bit much; so much so, it’s one of the reasons, along with some of the graphic collisions, the NFL almost offered to refund Midway’s licensing fee. I’m sure the NFL was pleased when they saw the early numbers of units sold.

Everyone I knew who had a Playstation or Nintendo 64 system owned Blitz. Like Madden or Goldeneye, playing Blitz was a happening at a friend’s house. I can’t count how many times in high school I participated in an NFL Blitz tournament. No money was ever involved, but a friend had to wash my Jeep after I humiliated him in a rout.

On weekends, I would play an entire season (usually with the Cowboys or Broncos) in a single day. And I loved the pitch play. My go-to-play was always “Da Bomb,” or the pitch to my running back down the right sideline. The reverse pass play was always a must on a difficult drive as well.

As much as I’ve enjoyed years of Madden, I think I have fonder memories of playing Blitz. It wasn’t as formal as Madden, but the action was just as enthralling and challenging. When you scored a touchdown against a really good opponent, it was just as gratifying as when you scored in a competitive Madden duel. And, I would know, I’ve played against some exceptional Madden players.

Twenty years ago, Midway created one of the most enjoyable football games ever. It still holds up, and when I play it, I’m flooded with bittersweet memories of close wins and crushing defeats.

I hope, somewhere in a lively arcade, kids are still playing and discovering a version of NFL Blitz.

source: The Arcade Flyer Archive

 

Coyote Peterson Finds ‘Pac-Man Of The Sea’

“On this episode of Beyond the Tide, Coyote and the crew explore the tide pools of the San Juan Islands in search of bizarre marine creatures… and OH BOY do they find them!

From Sea Lemons to Giant Purple Sea Stars almost everything they discover is truly and amazingly unique. 

To top it off they also find the largest species of Chiton, the “Gumboot”, in the world which is a creature so bizarre it hardly looks as if it’s even alive! However it does have a striking resemblance to one of the most beloved video game characters of all time. 

Get ready to meet the Pac-Man of the Sea!”

(Start watching at 13:26 to jump straight to the Pac-Man creature).

Source: Brave Wilderness via Laughing Squid

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msausretrogamerMs. ausretrogamer
Co-founder, editor and writer at ausretrogamer – The Australian Retro Gamer E-Zine. Lover of science fiction, fashion, books, movies and TV. Player of games, old and new.

Follow Ms. ausretrogamer on Twitter

 

 

Super Captain Toad Cake

They say that you can’t have your cake and eat it too, but we say to hell with that!

Press Play On Tape podcast host and resident ausretrogamer contributor, Aaron Clement, showed us his son’s birthday cake which his awesome wife, Kel whipped up this past weekend. Kel’s Captain Toad cake was a work of art that looked too good to eat, but damn too delicious to let sit there for good looks. We may need to put in our request with Kel for our very own cool cake!

Oh yeah, just in case you didn’t know, the Press Play On Tape crew has formally joined the PAX Aus Classic Gaming Area, so we are looking forward to getting our nostalgia on with these very cool peeps!

Top of the world!

Mmmmm, M&Ms!

Oh wow, Kit Kats too!

Boss Fight Books: BOOM SHAKALAKA

BOOM SHAKALAKA! Boss Fight Books latest collection Season 4: Creator Access Edition has conquered Kickstarter!

With the successful crowdfunding now finished, we can’t wait to read about Final Fantasy V, Shovel Knight, NBA Jam, Star Wars: KotOR and Postal. If you missed the Kickstarter, don’t worry, just keep an eye out on how to order this collection on the Boss Fight Books website.

These books are making us drool in anticipation, but it is Reyan Ali’s chronicling of Midway’s arcade hit NBA Jam, that we are most looking forward to reading. With inside information on the game’s creation and interviews with key development people and industry leaders, this tome will definitely be a slam dunk!

source: Boss Fight Books