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 The collector’s rewards have been replaced by goals and the online league system has been swapped out for “Super Max”, which is the same thing, but ranks you before entering a league – so good players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

 

 

Let’s Get Physical with Wonder Boy The Dragon’s Trap

Hold onto your swords peeps, Limited Run Games will be releasing physical copies of Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap on the PS4 this Friday (August 4) – North American time (midnight Friday in Australia) !

There will be 5,000 copies of the Standard Edition and 3,000 of the Collector’s Edition with limits (per customer) to ensure everyone has a fair chance of grabbing this wonderful game!

Standard Edition: 5,000 copies, with a limit of two per customer!

Collector’s Edition: 3,000 copies with a limit of one per customer!

source: Limited Run Games

 

Sonic Forces: Gameplay Footage Teaser

Just in case you missed it, at last week’s SXSW (South by Southwest) in Austin, SEGA revealed the first gameplay footage of the upcoming Sonic Forces game. We must admit, it is great to see Sonic back in force (Ed: sorry, it was there for the taking). The blue blur is smooth and as speedy as ever!

Sonic Forces, the latest in the Sonic the Hedgehog games series is being developed by the gun Sonic Team. The game is scheduled for release later this year on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC!


source: Five Star Games

 

A Retro Gamer’s Stroll Through 80s Yakuza 0

Before we begin, let’s set the record straight – I have never played a Yakuza game! Yep, you read that right. You may throw out a “WTF?” at this point, and you’d be justified in asking exactly that – what the fudge, dude?

Well, I won’t bore you with why I haven’t played any of the previous Yakuza games (you can blame it all on those retro games I keep playing!), but at least you’ll get a perspective from a player experiencing the franchise for the very first time! I come into the Yakuza universe as a total noob, so go easy on me.

The vibrant lights of Pink Street!

So,”What’s this Yakuza 0 all about anyway?”, I ask myself. Well, first and foremost, I had heard that this prequel Yakuza action game, dubbed Zero, was set in the 80s, my favourite decade! That was enough to pique my interest in the game, so I thought I’d jump in the deep end and have a go!

Sobering up some drunkards, the old fashioned way!

Beating up peeps can work up a thirst

From a noob’s point of view, Yakuza 0 eases the player into the game with great cutscene sequences that set the narrative for the protagonist, Kazuma Kiryu, or simply just Kiryu. Obviously the title gives it away, Kiryu is a yakuza, a lowly debt collector for the Dojima Family (of the Tojo Clan). Kiryu is framed for murder and is then used as a pawn by a bent crime family lieutenant who aspires to be top dog. I’ll spare you the rest as I don’t want to spoil it for you!

Visiting the ‘family’!

No mobile phones in 1988, so pay phones were the best way to conduct business on the streets

I’ll be honest, I really wanted to play Yakuza 0 to roam the streets of 1988 Kamurocho, the notorious redlight district of Tokyo – to explore its karaoke bars, dart parlours and of course, its amusement centres – Club Sega and Hi-Tech Land were high on my list so I could play some (well, a lot of) Out Run! I really didn’t care for the story as to why I was setup for murder and the whole Empty Lot business.

Smoking can kill you! So can a bent lieutenant…

But before I could explore Kamurocho, I would have to dispense some good old fashioned beat-downs to street punks and hoodlums that were dumb enough to move in on my turf. Oh yeah, cash is earned the more peeps you beat up. These fight sections definitely reminded me of classic Dreamcast brawling action games, just like Shenmue. And just like Shenmue, it’s fun to explore the vibrant city you find yourself in.

Giving the vocal chords are work out with some karaoke

What I wasn’t counting on was the game’s ability to suck me into its story-line and its fascinating characters. I had to put the idea of exploration and playing Out Run to one side, as I set my sights on finding the people that framed me for murder and then confronting the bent Dojima lieutenant, Kuze. To say that I was now hooked on Yakuza 0 would be a gross understatement. With about 80 hours of gameplay, I have a way to go, and that is before I even touch any sidequests! So if you excuse me, I need to get back to being a yakuza and kick ten shades out of some really bad people.

Behold, the holy grail of arcades!

Damn, it’s closed. Can’t wait to play some Out Run!

image source: Yakuza 0

Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap

Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap is Ms. Ausretrogamer’s favourite Sega Master System game, so to say she is excited for the remake of the 1989 classic would be a gross understatement!

The Dragon’s Trap remake is being developed by Paris based Lizardcube and published by the awesome DotEmu! We eagerly read each development blog entry for how things are panning out, and we wait with bated breath for this game to come out on all modern consoles, including the Nintendo Switch and also PC.

No matter your choice in systems, 2017 is going to be a great year for gaming! We can’t wait for The Dragon’s Trap.

wb4

wb3

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source: The Dragon’s Trap

 

Double Dragon IV: Billy and Jimmy Lee Are Back!

Just in time to celebrate their 30th anniversary since kicking ten shades out of the Black Warriors gang, Billy and Jimmy Lee are back in Double Dragon IV! This time, the Lee brothers are bringing back the gritty 80’s with them, however the battleground has moved from New York City to Japan!
This instalment of one of the greatest co-op beat’me ups will be coming to the PlayStation®4 and Steam (PC) at the end of January (Jan 30 in North America). We have yet to hear if that is a worldwide release date – we hope it is! Either way, all Double Dragon fans should rejoice as key members from the 1987 arcade version including Original Planner, Yoshihisa Kishimoto, Designer, Koji Ogata, and Composer, Kazunaka Yamane, have teamed up to recreate the next chapter in this awesome saga.
Details about this sequel are sketchy, but the screenshots show that the game will follow Double Dragon‘s old school pixelated visuals and will offer both a story mode and a two-player duel. The catchy Double Dragon theme song has also been remixed for your aural pleasure.
To say we are excited for Arc System Works’ Double Dragon IV would be a gross understatement! Get your baseball bats ready!


video & image source: Arc System Works

 

First Impressions: PlayStation VR

psvr_boxedWe’ve had our fair share of Virtual Reality (VR) experience, albeit, from the 1990s. We’ve even written about our walk-through the VR graveyard from two decades ago. When PlayStation announced that they were going to produce a VR add-on for their PS4 console, we reserved judgement till its release. Well, the PS VR is now out and we got our trusted friend and VR aficionado, Alex (aka:Alexpletives), to give us his first impressions based on the ease of setup, design, comfort and most importantly, performance and gaming experience.

Ease of setup:
The first thing that struck me about the PS VR was how easy it was to setup. Once switched on, position your head in the centre of the camera, and that’s it! Doesn’t get much easier than that!

Instructions! Bah, seems easy enough, and it is!
psvr_instructions

Design:
The design is genius, making the plugging in of the bits and pieces an absolute breeze. Just in case there are some of you that want to know how all this VR’ing hangs together, here we go: the VR headset plugs into the extension with the inline remote which features the volume, mute and VR on / off buttons. The other clever design are the raised volume buttons and sunken mute on/off buttons – you’ll always know, by feel, which buttons you are interacting with.

Turn me up!psvr_headphones_vol

All leads lead to the Processor Unit. Each lead is numbered which makes it damn simple to get all plugged in. The best part is, you can connect other systems via HDMI, like the Xbox One!

Easy as 1, 2, 3!
psvr_proc_unit

Comfort:
Right off the bat, the PS VR was way more comfortable to wear than the Oculus Rift. When using my Oculus Rift I tend to get quite sweaty, but with the PS VR, I didn’t have such a problem. The strap tightness is cleverly independent of how near the actual headset is to your face. The button under the visor enables it to be moved forward and back independent of the strap. This provides superior comfort as you can have the strap nice and tight, with the the visor just resting against your face. In comparison, the Oculus feels like wearing a diving mask.

Strap me in baby!
psvr_rightside

Lenses and surrounding rubber – very soft and lovely, oo’er
psvr_top

The PS VR aural experience is provided by in-ear headphones which clip in the inline remote on the main cord running from the PS VR. Volume still comes out of the TV so your guests can hear and see what you’re doing.

And I can’t go without mentioning the lens cloth that comes with the PS VR – it is beautifully embossed with the triangle, circle, X and square buttons, a very nice touch indeed.

psvr_cloth

Performance and gaming experience:
The very first game that I tried was DRIVECLUB VR. I noticed immediately that the VR version had lost a fair bit of detail compared to its non-VR graphical tour de force counterpart. The vehicle detail was still as good, but track-side detail was vastly cut down (with reduced lighting). You don’t really notice it when racing, but you do if you look around. I’m sure the casual DRIVECLUB VR player will not notice these little niggles, as it doesn’t impact the racing.
DRIVECLUB VR
driveclubvr
Scavengers Odyssey
scavengers
 source: Playstation
The next experience was provided from VR Worlds, via Scavengers Odyssey – it was damn good! I did suffer some motion sickness, which was generated by moving back and forth and side to side within the game but not in the real world. The brain was seeing you move but no feeling to match it, so that stuffs up spatial awareness. It didn’t make me stop playing (it was that good), but its effects did linger for a few hours.
Ocean Descent
oceandescentsource: Playstation
Also from VR Worlds, I hit Ocean Descent, where you are lowered in a cage deep into the sea. I didn’t do the shark attack part though, as I knew it was scary (it was that real!). The experience was intense – you felt like you were right there in the cage with full 360 degree views, with fish everywhere and an absolutely beautiful manta ray with a 9-foot wing span leisurely gliding about. It was very impressive. There was a nice touch with the light on your helmet spilling light on wherever your head turned.
VR Luge
vrlugesource: Playstation
The other VR Worlds game I tried was VR Luge. This one was a bit of hit and miss. There was a nice sensation of speed, but for some reason the 3D felt flat. Having limited depth perception made it difficult to judge how far things were. Apart from this issue, VR Luge was as good as it could be given the power (when compared to a high-end PC rig with an Oculus Rift).

Overall the performance was as expected, nothing more, nothing less. What PS VR really needs (to succeed) is a VR killer app. Just like Tetris on the Game Boy, the PS VR needs its own special bit of software that can provide its unique experience that would not work without VR.

Final thoughts:
One point that keeps plaguing VR is the inducement of nausea. Whether that goes away the more you use it, I don’t really know. Do astronauts get used to zero gravity? Well, they learn to live with it, don’t they?

Every person I have shown PS VR has been blown away by it. VR is something that can only be appreciated by experience. I could talk until I’m blue in the face about the immersion and instinctive feelings it generates whether they be fear, exhilaration or just plain enjoyment. But experiencing it really is believing.

These are pioneering days of VR, if you discount the crude shenanigans of the 90s. Developers will need time to harness the power of VR which will hopefully lead to wonderful games and experiences. We just have to be patient.

The future is here
psvr_isometric

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alexpletivesAlexisms (aka: Alexpletives)
UK based gamer with a taste for the bleeding edge in gaming. Cystic Fibrosis sufferer, 15 years post heart and double lung transplant, diabetic. You’ve got to laugh, er I think!

Follow Alex on Twitter and Twitch.