By JosephBarron 4 Comments
At long last new games are starting to appear on the horizon a bit more quickly as the summer draught comes to an end. Last week I had the opportunity to play the new FIFA game and the sequel to cult favourite PS3 launch-title MotorStorm.
Last year's FIFA was yet another big step forward for the franchise, while PES had yet another season of only incremental change. FIFA 09 has changed dramatically this time around. The graphics have become more gritty (read: less "greasy" players) and the pace of the game has become much faster.
The major issue with FIFA 08 was the very sluggish nature of the passing. To speed up passing and give the game a more realistic pace EA have introduced a power meter even for basic passing, a feature which they attempted before (disastrously) in FIFA 2002. Thankfully they've pulled it off this time and it works wonderfully well.
Somehow they've even managed to improve the presentation. In the last to iterations of the series, your loading screen was a 1-V-1 game against a goalie in a stylised arena. When loading finished you had to press start to begin the match. Now though, the arena fades out and you find yourself playing during a warm-up in the packed stadium. It's a beautiful transition which captures stadium atmosphere like never before.
My favourite new feature though, is the ability to control goal celebrations. After you score you maintain control of your player and can use the left stick to run towards your fans while you pull the right stick in different directions to gesture to the crowd. In 10-V-10 Online matches this is going to be great fun as you run to the corner flag with your mates.
If the final game in 2 weeks lives up to the demo, then FIFA is going to take a massive step towards burying the PES franchise.
MotorStorm: Pacific Rift
I have significantly less to say about the sequel to MotorStorm. I was "lucky" enough to be invited by Sony to play this game early via an exclusive demo download (everyone else gets the demo next Thursday).
If you like the first game you'll enjoy this simply because its more MotorStorm. If not, then you'll be instantly turned off. They've added monster trucks as an additional vehicle, which is fine, but the gameplay is far too similar for me. The change in setting makes the levels look more interesting but the track design has barely changed and the choice of vehicle views remains very limited.
When you're actually playing it all you do is hammer on X and pull R2 the whole time, same as the first game. There are new controls, like being able to duck on the bike. But when you're going at such speed you're never going to see a low hanging branch in time to duck. Most insultingly though, R1 and L1 are used to ram opponants on either side of you. What is the point of having ram buttons? Just steer into people!
Admittedly, if you really want more MotorStorm then you'll have a fun time. But for most of us, more of the same just won't be enough. Especially when that means more irritating game design and opponents which seem to always be in the "catch-up mode" of an 80's arcade racer.
Look out for my review of The Bourne Conspiracy sometime next week.