Tag: online+gaming

GT5 Prologue

The title that the PS3 has been waiting for or a glorified demo that is a shameless cash in on a game starved community? Depending on how much time you give the game you could easily walk away with either impression.

Playing GT5 Prologue brings back a lot of memories. Lovely menu’s, soft jazz elevator music playing in the background and some slow cars to get you into the game. It’s always wrong to judge Gran Turismo titles on initial play as it usually has real depth that unveils as you play more. However in single player, playing though the first three classes is fairly dull. I don’t think I played a challenge more than twice to complete it until I hit A class. Even then the only reason was to get money to buy cars to complete challenges. What a grind. This was supposed to be a racing game, not a grind game. It took a long time of repetitive gaming to get enough money to buy cars to complete A class.

GT 5

However completing A class open’s up a far more interesting game. S class is unlocked and also car tuning. Suddenly the tweaking that is the heart of getting fast times and better handling out of cars is available throughout the game. I can’t understand why the dev’s would want to lock this out until now. The earlier modes aren’t that challenging and quite a few people will never even get to see this part of the game due to boredom of having to grind.

S class is excellent though. Fast cars and some great challenges. Also excellent are the car models and the variety. For a cut down game there’s more than enough to keep you occupied including a 2007 F1 Ferrari. It only costs £2,000,000 though so it’s something I’ll never probably see. Graphically the car models are stunning – far more impressive than Forza 2. Not so impressive are the tracks. They range from good (as in almost as good as Forza) to poor. Some graphical glitches and vsync issues mar some tracks. There are also only six tracks so not much variety. Remember though that this is prologue only though.

One of the big claims from Polyphony is around the online modes. In fact there have been claims that this is the best online console racer. Ever. With races of up to 16 players it sounded good on paper but in practice it’s pretty ugly. Firstly there are no private rooms, no friends lists and a real lack of community. This will be fixed in a patch. Allegedly. Online works by offering events that you can take part in. Early events use slower cars. People taking shortcuts or barging into others aren’t penalised. There’s also the issue of no car damage and also the fact that on many courses, not slowing into corners and using the barriers to keep you on the track is the fastest route. Cue online gaming at it’s worst. If there is a collision the two cars go invisible to limit damage. I was amazed as someone raced into the back of me, us going transparent and him keeping most of his speed (don’t think he touched his brakes at all) and continuing to drive through me. Unbelievable. Damage is also promised later in the year.

S class events offered some hope in that people taking to grass and barriers are punished by slowing their car for 4-5 seconds. Except that people shunted off track by idiots are the ones punished…not the real cheaters. Hopefully Polyphony will fix this before the proper game. They’ve allegedly got a year.

Something they don’t need to address though is the car handling which is superb. Each car handles and feels differently but feels…right. However it doesn’t feel any better than Forza 2. Computer AI is abysmal though. Awful in fact. AI cars will continue on their path no matter what’s in there way. Polyphony also added events like AI cars spinning out during a race. This is spoiled though when you realise that offline events are scripted. Every race is the same. A car putting a wheel on the dirt and kicking up dirt does it on the same track at the same corner at the same time each and every race. Really takes away from the atmosphere.

So it’s really a mixed bag. Give up before S class and your left with a pretty bad taste. Grind out some money though and there’s a really enjoyable racer hidden away. Just don’t expect much online. Also, don’t buy via download which costs £24.99 while the Blu-Ray disk costs around £18 online. So much for digital distribution reducing costs. More like increasing profits. One final thought. This isn’t a console seller. If you’ve already got a 360 then Forza 2 is a far better game. Next year when the full GT5 is launched could be a different story.

Fifa or PES?

For the football loving gamer this is usually an annual question with an easy answer. If you prefer real stadiums, teams, leagues and players as well as some great graphics you pick Fifa. If you prefer subtle controls, a more realistic game and some flowing animations you pick PES. For me PES has always been an easy choice. Fifa suffered from repetitive gameplay, easy goal scoring and a real lack of challenge. PES was tough and I felt a better sim of football.

However the last release of PES on the 360 was disappointing. Stuttery graphics and more importantly gameplay that was far less fluid than the PS2 version had left a bad taste in the mouth. Online wasn’t bad but it wasn’t exactly glowing either. A subsequent patch had left it almost unplayable as it would drop half way through a match.

The demo’s for this years versions pointed to a far closer battle. PES was smoother in game than before but still stuttered badly in replays. Fifa felt very slow but had a lot more depth than previous versions. Both had camera issues but that was down to poor options in the demo.

Why I Bought PES
So I stumped up for PES yet again. The game was a lot better than last year with all in game stutter a memory that only returned during replays – they were awful! The gameplay was also smoother with a lot more depth and a nice feel to the game. Strict referee’s were back but once again i was happy with PES. Online though was a kick in the teeth. The first online PES 2 years ago was a mixed bag. Cheats could quit without penalty and the net code wasn’t the best. But it did allow 2 vs 2. Last years was less laggy but cheats could still prosper. Also the hosting was shared between the two gamers…meaning you could have a great first half if your hosting followed by a horrible, laggy, torrent spoiled second half. 2 vs 2 was also dropped.

This year still sees only 1 vs 1 and the couple of games I played were mixed. Seemed to go OK but after a period the lag was horrendous making the game unplayable. It was PES but only just. This was disappointing especially with Fifa promising online leagues, a way of playing for your team online and also a 5 vs 5 mode. To be honest I laughed when I read that – they’ve no chance of getting that to work well.

Why I bought Fifa
A couple of trusted friends eventually bought Fifa….and loved it. It didn’t have the depth or the fluidity of PES but online it rocked and the 5 vs 5 mode…..worked a treat. I’ve had the game over two weeks now and it is superb online. 1 vs 1 and up to 5 vs 5 is a very special game mode. Lag free and just a joy to play. It can be spoiled by greedy and mouthy players but played with a few friends is a great experience.

Graphically the game is good although sometimes the animations are a bit clunky. Sometimes the game can frustrate as it just isn’t as good as PES. However the online mode is so good you can overlook those issues.

You also have the ability to create your own public and private leagues, upload video’s and pictures to the net and take part in matches representing your team. Offline has much the same modes as PES but not to the same depth as PES master league.

So what should you buy?
If you only play offline, PES. If you are going to play online at all or never have done but like multiplayer gaming them Fifa is for you. It’s been a long time coming but Fifa has finally bettered PES this year for me. If only Konami could get near Fifa’s performance online – what a game that would be.

Forza Leagues

Over the last three weeks I’ve been beavering away on a new website which is finally ready to roll – www.forzaleagues.com. For the last few years I’ve gamed with a great but dwindling bunch of guys known as The Lickers. We’ve ended up with a core group enjoying mostly racing and first person shooters but we have a problem – no site to run leagues and a habit of starting a league but never finishing it.

So myself and Cheesy (fellow Lick) decided to try and do something about it, hence Forza Leagues. The website allows us to easily run multiple leagues and seasons for Forza 2. It should make the admin part as easy as possible and give us some nice stats along the way. It also allows us to attract 360 users from other forums and websites to join our leagues or form their own using the software we’ve developed.

forzaleagues.com

Now when I say we’ve developed the software it’s really all down to one guy – Graeme (he asked me not to link to his homepage). So it’s a big thank you for the coding you’ve been doing over the last couple of weeks. Everyone’s feedback so far has been really positive. I also need to thank Robert (Foe Real) who’s logo work in Forza is superb and can be seen above. Soon we’ll all be riding using his designs.

forzaleagues.com

Longer term we hope to add more games, leagues, ladders and team tournaments but for the moment, to get us started, we’re focussing on Forza 2 only. We’re looking for clean racers to join up and take part. Don’t worry about fast times as there will be leagues to cater for all abilities. The important thing is that you race fairly and don’t abuse your fellow gamers. If that sounds like you and you enjoy Forza 2 then feel free to register with Forza Leagues and at least give it a go. Hope to see you there.

Curse of the Online Gamer

Stumbled upon a blog where the owner did a bit of stat taking. Not the normal number of kills, number of head shots. No – this was the number of times he heard someone cursing or being sexist/racist while playing Halo 2 (the worst game for this type of thing). Stats make for interesting reading and certainly ties up with what I hear on line. I wouldn’t be comfortable with juniors hearing some of this stuff. Bitch talking is not something I normally get involved in – Roy still holds the title for most abusive in a Halo session.

That’s where The Lickers kick in. It’s a league for folk that aren’t obsessed about being number 1 and where cheating and glitching isn’t tolerated. Certainly friendlier than random Live games although looking at the forums sometimes you wouldn’t think so. It’s also full of folk that are over 20 so you don’t feel like an old duffer when posting at the forums or playing online with them. If interested pop over to the forums and sign up.

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