enfrdeitptrues

Sports

  • Steep: Winter Games Gold Edition (PS4)

     

    boxart
    Game Info:

    Steep: Winter Games Gold Edition
    Developed by: Ubisoft Annecy
    Published by: Ubisoft
    Released: December 2, 2017 (PS4, Xbox One, and PC), 2018 sometime (Nintendo Switch)
    Available on: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch (2018)
    Genre: Sports
    ESRB: T for Teen, Comic Mischief, Language, Mild Violence
    Number of players: 1-4
    Price: $39.99
    (Amazon Affiliate Link)

    Thank you Ubisoft for sending us a review copy of the game.

    Note: This review is based on the PS4 Pro version and might not look, sound, and perform the same on other consoles and PC.

    The big games released today are usually sports games, first person shooters, and epic open world adventure games. Steep takes the snowboarding sports genre of video games and ramps it up to the ninth degree. It's been a while since a snowboarding game has offered passionate winter sports fans a true work of beauty. The last game to bring this much fun in my humble opinion was 1080 Avalanche on the Nintendo GameCube.

    Steep: Winter Games Gold Edition has you start off from the beginning on a very snowedcapped mountain in the Alps (Europe) and then teaches some of the basics of the game. I was blown away by how beautiful the game looks. Sadly, I didn't take in all the graphical beauty since I was too busy learning the controls and trying different flips and other basic tricks. However, after I was done with the initial tutorial I had a chance to look around and see the beautiful scenery.

    Steep: Winter Games Gold Edition
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Beautiful graphics and sound. Many winter sports to enjoy. Massive mountains with tons of activities to keep you busy for many hours and days.
    Weak Points: Lack of main menu which can be jarring. Micro transactions that ask for real world money and not just rely on in game currency. 
    Moral Warnings: Violent crashes into buildings, trees, and more. Use of the word "sh*t" through out dialogue. Revealing outfits in purchased costumes.

    After you go through different initial areas to get yourself familiar with the game and the variety of modes, you are free to really just explore and discover the vastness of the open world you have been given to either ski, snowboard, wing suit fly, or paraglide. You can open an overview of the entire mountain and choose different events to try to compete in. Each event will have a time limit that offers Gold, Silver, or Bronze awards. This Winter Games Edition gives you the option to travel to South Korea and Japan to compete for a spot in the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

    Steep Winter Games is an online-centric experience. You play solo but you can compete against friends and other competitors. I pretty much was too busy trying to get a better score in each event I competed in. The events in the game can be really addicting, and I enjoy the amount offered throughout the game. For parents I want you to know that your teenager can play solo an have tons of fun without the worry of other gamers harassing them on how well they played.

    The game offers tons of customization of your character and equipment which allows the player many varieties in how they look and how their equipment looks. This could be an important feature for many gamers since they love to really make their character very special to them. Myself, I pretty much tinkered with how my snowboard and other equipment looked. I appreciate that developers in many games the last few years have given gamers real control over their character's appearance. There are tons of costumes and gear to purchase through the in game store with earned in game money and also real world money. I would recommend parents to beware of the micro transactions that are present in the game.

    Steep: Winter Games Gold Edition
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 86%
    Gameplay - 15/20
    Graphics - 9/10
    Sound - 9/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 90%
    Violence - 9/10
    Language - 7.5/10
    Sexual Content - 8.5/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    Graphics and sound are top notch in every way. I love how the snow sprays up and how majestic the areas that I competed in look. Everyone who plays will be astonished by how they can see for a very long ways away and gorgeousness of the environment. The sound quality is very well done and I very much enjoy the sound of my snowboard gliding across the snow and hearing the crispness of snow being crunched under my snowboard. In regards to stability and controls I had no issues. The game runs very well and the controls (once I got use to them) were very good.

    My one major negative is what the game does as soon as you load it up, that it will thrust you immediately into the start of the game with you not even being sent to a "Main Menu" area. For many gamers this can be jarring and confusing. I would have preferred the developer allow me to go to a "Main Menu" area like pretty much every other game and allow me to adjust sound, controls, and perhaps allow me to create my own character before entering the game. Instead I was thrust into the game with a generic character that I had no control over how they look. I know later on you can customize the look of you character, but it would have been better if the developers had done what is standard in most games. This could cause confusion to many gamers and they might not like this new approach to gameplay.

    In regards to how family friendly the game is, I would have to say good, except you will hear the word "sh*t" in the dialogue (the game would have been rated E for everyone or at least E 10+ if not for the use of this word). Also there is mild violence in that you will crash into buildings, trees, and other items on the various courses (try avoid them since they will affect your score). Lastly, some of the cosmetic items have your character in shorts and no shirt.

    I would recommend this for older teenagers and adults who enjoy winter sports events. I very much enjoyed the snowboarding and wing suit flying the most. The graphics and sound are very well done and I appreciate the developer showing that they support this game well beyond the original games' release. The micro transactions are in the game, but they are cosmetic only so they won't affect gameplay.

  • Stickman Super Athletics (3DS)

    boxart
    Game Info:

    Stickman Super Athletics
    Developed by: CoderChild
    Published by: CoderChild
    Release date: August 4, 2016 (3DS)
    Available on: 3DS
    Genre: Action, Sports
    Number of Players: Single-Player
    ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
    Price: $2.49

    Thank you CoderChild for sending us the game to review!

    With the Olympics being all the buzz this year, Stickman Super Athletics from CoderChild aims to offer a similar gaming experience on the 3DS. With seven different events to complete in, there's always room to improve in this rhythm sports title that features stickmen. 

    In order to actually see the events individually you'll have to play the qualifying mode. In this mode the player must complete all seven events in a timely manner. After which, the individual events can be played. These are classic Olympian games like: the 100-meter dash, swimming laps, cycling, the long jump, and other running games. It's a decent selection, but it becomes a little stale after long periods of play.

    Stickman Super Athletics
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Engaging gameplay; Online leaderboards; Excellent entry-level rhythm type game
    Weak Points: No online multiplayer; No way to play all the events against A.I.; Only seven events
    Moral Warnings: None

    The key to success in the events themselves is mastering the rhythm-like game mechanic. As the game takes place on the top screen, the bottom screen displays the targets that must be tapped or held with the stylus as it moves across the screen. Depending on how well your timing and precision are, you'll receive different point values from the targets. Getting closer to the maximum of 100 points will usually give the player's stickman a faster speed boost. This mechanic allows for improvement every time you play an event, which is what kept me coming back to try and get higher on the leaderboards.

    Visually, this one is pretty nice. As you'll be looking at the bottom screen while you play, you won't really see what is happening on the top screen. This isn't an issue as after the event a nice replay will come on screen, giving time to appreciate everything with a nice 3D layering. It's nothing too impressive, but since this game has you playing as a stickman, you can't really expect next-gen graphics. The music is also nice and fits well with the events. It's hard to explain, but it sounds like something you'd expect to hear in a game about the Olympics.

    Stickman Super Athletics
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 70%
    Gameplay - 12/20
    Graphics - 7/10
    Sound - 6/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 100%
    Violence - 10/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    There are a few issues though, mainly the lack of online multiplayer. This game would have been perfect to actually compete against others around the world, rather than just see who has the fastest time on a leaderboard. There's also no way to complete in all events against A.I. The qualifying mode only has you racing by yourself, and the events can only be played one at a time against computer stickmen. It's also frustrating having one go at an event before it boots you back to the title screen.

    Stickman Super Athletics isn't the most in depth experience when it comes to these Olympic themed video games. It certainly doesn't compare to the Mario and Sonic Olympic games, but this also isn't a full priced AAA title. At its introduction price of $2.49, I'd recommend picking this one up as it's a cheap and entertaining experience in short bursts. Just remember, it's all about accuracy!

    -Kyuremu

     

  • The Golf Club 2 (PS4)

    boxart
    Game Info:

    The Golf Club 2
    Developed by: HB Studios
    Published by: Maximum Games
    Released: 27 June 2017
    Available on: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
    Genre: Sports
    ESRB: E for Everyone (Comic Mischief)
    Number of players: 1 to 99+
    Price: $29.99
    (Amazon Affiliate link)


    Thank you Maximum Games for sending us a review copy of this game.

    Note: This review is based on the PS4 Pro version and might not look, sound, and perform the same on other consoles and PC.

    The Golf Club 2 is the second in the series of golf games developed by HB Studios. The first game was mildly successful due in part to the course creator and the lack of golf games available for consoles and PC. I purchased the first game on a deep discount on the PlayStation Store and for the price ($7.99) it was worth it. However, that game had numerous stability and control issues that frustrated me and others despite the game being patched many times. So when HB Studios announced The Golf Club 2 with a lovely trailer, I was curious and actually looking forward to it in the hope that they fixed the stability and controls.

    The big draw for golf gamers to this franchise is the nearly infinite number of courses that you can play. These courses are designed by you, your friends, other online gamers, and also by HB Studios. In The Golf Club 2, HB Studios added more base layouts, items, and other goodies to help you create the course of your dreams. It really is a very addictive feature. I created a course and I spent many hours tinkering with it and still have yet to get it to the way I want it. Once a player does get the course the way they like, they can then "Publish" it and then everyone in the community can enjoy it. The gamer can create as many golf courses as they like, which could keep you designing for years to come (well, until The Golf Club 3 comes out). Another really nice added touch is that if you owned the original Golf Club. you are given the option to import your masterpieces (courses) into the current game. This gives the game the extra special thank you for all the course designers of the original game.

    The character creator in this second game in the series is much more fleshed out. I spent a few hours customizing my lady golfer from what blouse she is wearing, to her skirt, shoes, and hat. There are tons of choices. I loved that after I made a choice I could go in and change the primary and secondary color of each part of her outfit. Also, after deciding which clubs I wanted in my bag (I went ahead and stayed with the preset clubs after some deliberation) I was given the option of customizing the club's head, neck and grips to my liking. I really enjoyed this and wish other golf games would follow suit.

    The Golf Club 2
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Tons of official and user created courses to play on. Character customization, ambient sound, and announcer play by play.
    Weak Points: Stability issues need more improvement. Controls are frustrating and difficult. 
    Moral Warnings: Perfect morality. No skimpy outfits or vulgar language. Just clean fun!!!

    At the main menu you have several options: Play, Training, Career, Online Societies, and Course Designer. Play is just giving the golfer the ability to play courses they designed or what other players/HB Studios have created. I do like the ability to go through created courses and add them to "My Favorites" tab so that you can play your favorite courses anytime without having to be forced to search for them again. You can also play courses friends created. This makes all the courses offered a little less daunting.

    The "Training" area allows you to work on a variety of areas of your golf game, from putting, club and shot types, and just going to the driving range to name a few. The "Career" area is your own personal page that gives you your own private clubhouse. You can name your clubhouse, add a club logo, and choose a background. There are a lot of options to make the career area the way you like it. You can create your own private season of golf with you competing against AI opponents or invite some friends for a nice round of golf. Online Societies is your option to join a society that is open to other golfers. You can even create this type of society yourself to allow other golfers to join. Lastly, there is the course designer area which I discussed earlier.

    The graphics in the original were pretty well done, but this new edition has shown an improvement with lighting and draw distance. EA's Rory McIlroy PGA Tour graphics are far superior but The Golf Club 2's are nothing to shake a stick at. There is far more behind the scenes computing for each golf course in The Golf Club 2 than EA's Rory McIlroy PGA Tour since each course is designed by gamers ( a few by HB Studios) and are so vast and different than the predesigned courses EA created.

    The sound quality in the game is well done, from the sound of the animals, to the trees blowing gently, to the sound of you hitting the golf ball and the golf ball hitting the fairway or green. The announcer in the game is not at the level of EA's Rory McIlroy PGA Tour announcers, but that is not a bad thing. I enjoyed the friendly announcing that made it seem like he is your friend and just trying to be encouraging. I also enjoyed the relaxing music in the menus.

    The Golf Club 2
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 77%
    Gameplay - 17/20
    Graphics - 8/10
    Sound - 8/10
    Stability - 3.5/5
    Controls - 2/5

    Morality Score - 100%
    Violence - 10/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    The big negatives that plague this game are the stability and controls. The stability has slightly improved with recent patches, but it still has a ways to go. Even the first game in the series had stability issues after several patches and now the second game in the series seems to follow the same pattern. I hope that this will get fixed more so that it will become an afterthought to gamers and not something they fear.

    Controls on the other hand are horrible. HB Studios refuse to go back to the tried and true 3 button clicking option that most golf games use. This game has you use the thumb stick to swing back for how much power you want to use and then push the stick up to try get within a narrow red area on the swinging gauge to successfully hit a ball to where you are trying to aim at. This kind of control is very frustrating because if you just move your thumb slightly, the ball goes wildly left or right. You think you moved your thumb perfectly down (for power) and up (for direction) and then to your anger the game sends your ball off to the left or right. No matter how many hours you put into the game this predicament could occur and cause great frustration. I hope HB Studios will realize their frustrating controls and patch in the 3 button click swing option.

    There are no morality issues to speak of in this game. All the clothing that you choose for your male or female golfer are family friendly. The lady skirts are not too short and the blouses are not revealing at all. There is no foul language in the game (except for the gamers yelling bad things at the controls).

    Besides the controls and the stability issues the game is well done. I really enjoyed my time creating my golfer and hope other golf games take notice. The course creator is a lot of fun and addictive. It's just sad that the golfer and course creator are the fun part of the game and not the actual golfing.

     

  • Tony Hawk Ride (PS3)

    boxart
    Game Info:

    Tony Hawk Ride (PS3)
    Developed By: Romondo (PS3, Xbox 360), Buzz Monkey (Wii)
    Published By: Activision
    Release Date: November 2009
    Available on: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii
    Version Reviewed: PS3
    Genre: Sports
    Single/Multiplayer
    ESRB Rating: 10+
    MSRP: $59 new $38 used

    Tony Hawk Ride is the tenth game in the Tony Hawk series. What makes this game stand out from the rest is the skateboard peripheral.   The skateboard is sturdy and has sensors on the front, back, and sides. There are no wheels and you can put Velcro on it to help keep it from slipping and sliding on your carpet or scratching up your floors. Because of the unique hardware, the retail price was $120.  I’ve always wanted to look good skateboarding so the game concept intrigued me.  Not enough to pay $120 though; I got my like new copy on Amazon for under $30 to my door.    

    The game play is geared for both casual and hardcore gamers. The casual game mode is like riding with training wheels. You don’t have to worry about navigation and you just follow and choose pre-set paths. Your main focus in this mode is to do tricks and there are icons letting you know good spots to do them. The confident level still has the trick hints but the paths are gone and you’re free to roam wherever you want. The last mode, Hardcore, is initially locked and can be played after you progress in the confident mode.  

    The single player campaign is called Road Trip and your goal is to travel around the world and meet pro skaters along the way.  I was happy to see my hometown, Chicago, represented. You can also skate in California, New York, Frankfurt, Barcelona, and Toledo.  Each location offers challenge, trick, speed and free skate sessions.  With the exception of Free Skate, the other modes give you points as you complete them and with the collected points, you unlock skaters, gear, and new locales to play. Although the campaign is linear, you can often unlock going to the next locale before completing the one you\'re on. In the other single player mode, Exhibition, you can skate in any of the cities you’ve unlocked.
    Highlights:

    Strengths:Unique game play; sturdy controller
    Weaknesses:
    Defective hardware that impacts game play.
    Moral Warnings:
    Mild language

    In challenge mode you have to complete specific tricks at certain spots on the map. There are often multiple tricks and if you mess one up, you have to restart from the beginning. The trick sessions let you choose what tricks and where you want to them; your goal there is to rack up as many points as possible before the time runs out. Sometimes trick mode takes place on the streets and other times it’s on a half-pipe. Time is also a factor in the speed session. You goal is to get from point A to point B in the shortest amount of time.  There are obstacles in your way that can add or subtract from your time.  

    Performing tricks is generally easy to do. A jump/Ollie is performed by lifting the board up from the front; a Nollie involves raising the board from behind. On the harder difficulties the board only turns if you lean to the left or right. Many moves require you grab the board while it’s in he air (in the game); all you have to do is cover one of the sensors to register a grab. For the life of me I cannot do certain moves in this game due to hardware and calibration issues.  After looking at various gaming forums, I’m not the only one experiencing trouble with this. Fortunately you can bypass certain tasks and move on with the game play, but I like to complete everything and unfortunately this is not possible because of the hardware limitations. Even though the board has all the controller buttons on it, you still have to use a system controller to navigate the in-game menus. When you first plug in the batteries it’s recommended that you calibrate the board for accuracy which takes about 10 minutes to do. There are various game play modes and before you start each mode you have to do a mini calibration to determine your foot stance (Regular or Goofy). It’s a little annoying to have to re-affirm your foot stance every time, but it doesn’t take too long to do so.

    The board is pretty responsive but the harder difficulties have quite a learning curve. Keeping the board balanced and performing tricks gets quite complicated. It can be quite a workout as well; I often broke a sweat while playing. I prefer to play the casual settings so I can just focus on doing tricks. The casual mode seems too easy at times. While I\'m playing I don\'t feel like a hardcore skater since many of the moves are watered down quite a bit.  The skateboard itself feels too sensitive and other times I can\'t trigger the move I\'m trying to do no matter how easy it should be.  There are video tutorials on how to do the moves but I think the hardware is a limiting factor and adds much frustration to the otherwise fun game.
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 68%
    Game Play: 13/20
    Graphics: 7/10
    Sound: 8/10
    Controls/Interface: 2/5
    Stability: 4/5

    Morality Score - 94%
    Violence: 9/10
    Language: 8/10
    Sexual Content: 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural: 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical: 10/10

    When I first set up my game I calibrated my board and set up my skater profile and was happily on my way. The next time I went to play my board wouldn’t turn on. It turns off on its own but in order to get it back on I had to remove the batteries and put them back in after a minute or two. Technically, it should be calibrated after each battery change. I called Activision and they were great about sending me a replacement and asked that I only send back the battery cover from my defective board. They put a temporary charge to my credit card for $69 that should have gone away after they received the battery cover with their UPS tracked label. They got the battery cover back, but still charged my credit card.  After I called them, they took it off. To make matters worse the replacement board I got does the same exact thing.  I refuse to go through that process again. Oddly enough my first board will sync with either USB dongle but the replacement board only works with one of the dongles. There are definitely some hardware quirks here.

    If you do manage to get a working board, you can skate with friends in party mode. Since there is no support for multiple boards, you have to share it. There is online multiplayer game play but I didn’t see any sessions to join.  

    Graphically this game won’t blow you away. The scenery varies but nothing is too incredibly detailed.  On the other hand, the character models and animations are well executed. My kids enjoyed watching the ragdoll physics as my character fell down.  I was surprised to experience the PS3 slowing down when there’s a lot of rendering to be done. When you unlock a new location there’s often a video of a pro skater in that area and you’ll get to watch them doing some slick moves. Afterwards a cell shaded rendition of the skater will introduce them self and give you some pointers for the next area. I was disappointed to see the lip syncing was often off. The music is grunge style and fitting and pretty much what I expected for this style of game. I didn\'t notice any bad lyrics.

    This game is pretty clean but there is some swearing as you skate past pedestrians they’ll will shout stuff at you. I’ve heard the D word but I don’t remember hearing any other swear words. The only violence is when you fall down; there’s very little blood, or breaking of any bones to add realism.  

    This is a generally a safe game to play with kids. Quite honestly, this will be the only reason I’ll keep it around. It could be fun to watch or take out if we have any skater wannabes come over. I’m sure glad I didn’t pay retail price for it. On the other hand it’s not worth trading in for $6 either.  As nice as the controller is, it just doesn\'t seem to work well for this game. Then again, I believe I have two faulty ones. I\'m curious how they will work with future titles which I don\'t plan on paying full price for.
  • VR Ping Pong Pro (Steam VR)

    boxart
    Game Info:

    VR Ping Pong Pro
    Developed By: Reddoll Srl, IV Productions, ONE-O-ONE GAMES
    Published By: Merge Games
    Release Date: November 12, 2019
    Available On: Windows (Steam VR Compatible headset required, including HTC Vive/Valve Index/Oculus Rift/Rift S), PS VR
    ESRB Rating: N/A
    Genre: Sports
    Mode: Single Player, with online multiplayer
    MSRP: $24.99

    Thank you Merge Games for sending us this game to review!

    While I have never been a 'sports guy', there are a few of the lesser-known sports that I've always enjoyed, and Ping Pong is pretty much near the top of my list. It also helps that I have worked at two employers, current one included, that has a Ping Pong table available in the rec area. My day job is a Systems Administrator, so when nothing is broken, we can often spend some time at the end of the day playing Ping Pong. Over time, we've built up quite the crew of table tennis aficionados, and we play doubles (4 players, one table) usually at least once a week, for a good hour at a time. Given my deep familiarity with the real-life sport, I was very excited at the opportunity to check out a VR game, to see if it could help me get better in real life.

    VR Ping Pong Pro is actually a sequel of sorts to the team's previous effort, VR Ping Pong. While that one has a low-quality graphical aesthetic, this one is much more realistic and pretty. There are several different environments, including outdoors in a city, indoors in a garage, indoors in an arcade, and a couple other outdoor locations, like what I believe to be Japan and China. The graphical fidelity is quite good, and it looks great on the Rift S. There are people walking by, background noise and chatter, birds chirping, the works. The multiplayer arena looks like a real table tennis competition hall, which is a nice touch. I am really pleased with the environments available, as they are all unique and give a different vibe.

    VR Ping Pong Pro
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Nice visuals; simple hit physics work well; ambient sound effects are really nice; interesting arcade training modes
    Weak Points: Serves are wonky; spin physics, especially topspin, has room for improvement; net doesn't flex at all and behaved more like a wall (which it rarely does in real life)
    Moral Warnings: None!

    Both you and your opponent are floating paddles; they almost look haunted. I am not much for cosmetic upgrades, but you can unlock different colors and patterns for your paddle, as well as the ball, by winning against opponents. I beat the computer a few times and got new paddles, but I haven't unlocked a ball yet. The ball has a dot on one side, so you can easily discern what kind of spin is on the ball. You can also adjust how the paddle is in your hands, with adjustment arrows from the main menu. It took me a while, but I was able to get the paddles to behave reasonably close to what I expected, if I hit the ball straight on. Spin is another matter.

    Once you have been playing Ping Pong enough, you soon learn to deal with spin. With backspin, the ball can slow down mid-air, and drop long before it normally would. Returning the ball can also have a surprise result, as it can quickly drop right into the net, so adjusting your returns to compensate is necessary. Topspin is almost the opposite; while the ball can drop a little bit as it heads towards the table, when returned, it get a huge kick in velocity, as the ball wants to keep going. Sidespin can do all kinds of crazy things, like having the ball bounce back opposite to the expected direction when it lands on the table, making returns much more difficult. Dealing with and dishing out spin is pretty much required for advanced Ping Pong play, and it's basically all but missing here.

    After this review was written, but before it was published, the developer pushed out a huge physics update that drastically improved the physics, especially around spin. It's way better than it was, but I still occasionally try to apply spin and it doesn't work, or it seems to have an effect, but the ball's graphic doesn't spin in any way to show what's coming. It's kind of hard to tell if it's the physics simulation, like how the ball interacts with the surfaces and air, or if it's how the ball interacts with the paddle that's the problem. It's hard to tell because without being able to apply spin consistently, I can't really prove it one way or the other. When I play the real game with my buddies at work, I often apply backspin and sidespin to keep things interesting; while it is definitely improved from how it was pre-patch, I still can't consistently apply it all the time. Also, serving is quite a challenge and I was lucky to get it over 30% of the time. I got better with more practice, as I stopped trying to make it a 'good' serve - just get it over. Backspin seems to work on serves okay, but topspin and sidespin is hit or miss.

    VR Ping Pong Pro
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 86%
    Gameplay - 15/20
    Graphics - 10/10
    Sound - 10/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 3/5

    Morality Score - 100%
    Violence - 10/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    Outside of the base single player, of which there are five difficulty levels, there is also multiplayer. I love the idea, but I was never able to find anyone online to play against. There is one suggestion that I saw on the Steam forums that I agree with: make it so that you can play against the computer while waiting in the lobby; that way, most people would be willing to wait for a competitor.

    Other than the main single player games, there is an Arcade mode where you can train up your skills in certain areas. For example, there are a few scoring games where you try to aim at a target on the other side, keep volleys going against yourself, or knock over cans. One mode that I really liked was a simple variation of regular table tennis where the table is a large grid, and wherever you bounce the ball off of, that spot disappears from play. So each volley, you have to adjust and not return the ball exactly where you did it last time. I feel like it could have been even more interesting if it was permanent (it resets after each point), but it’s the beginning of what could be a really enjoyable game mode. There are three other planned arcade modes that are planned but not yet available to try.

    VR Ping Pong Pro, before the recent patch, was going to be a mixed review at best. Now, it is much easier to recommend. Even still, it's not without flaws. In one sense, it’s really fun – I love Ping Pong, and it’s a nearly perfect fit for VR. The environments are really nice, and everything looks and sounds wonderful. Serving is wonky at best, but you eventually get used to it. The spin simulation is massively improved after the recent patch. I used to try to execute moves that I’d gotten down in real life after years of practice, and it just didn’t feel right. Now, it often works, though not always. With that said, if you are a casual player, or are just looking for something to play against that looks great and has a decent AI opponent, then you can’t go wrong with VR Ping Pong Pro. It is definitely enjoyable and well done. If you are experienced, I was going to recommend giving this a pass; now I can say give it a shot - it is good enough now that it's definitely worth a try.

  • Xavix Bowling

    The Xavix game fitness system was released in 2005 and has not shared the same success as the Wii. The concept is very similar but each game has it’s own unique and realistic controller. The Xavix Bowling game has a florescent yellow bowling ball that interacts with a sensor built into the cartridge. It is very important to select the right ball for bowling games. https://aboutbowlingballs.com/ can give you more information about it. The accuracy of the game depends on the placement of the console/cartridge.

    Tell me about the game

    There are three game modes: regular, tournament and challenge games. The three different challenge games are the most unique. My favorite is Panel Crusher, in which you have to knock down blocks at the end of the lane as they drop down. You can’t let them stack too high or you’ll lose. The best way I can describe this is Tetris bowling. Against the clock mode is pretty fun as well. In this mode there are various pins you have to knock down in 99 seconds or less before you get to the next stage. You have as many tries as the clock allows. The final challenge game is moving pins, which is self-explanatory. The yellow pins are good, and the black pins are bad. If you hit too many black pins you lose. The regular and tournament modes are your typical bowling games with the standard rules.

    What about the characters?

    You can have up to four players in this game. Everyone has to share the ball, but each player will need a unique character. There are eight characters to choose from. You can customize their ball color and bowling handicap (straight or hook), and you can even enable bumper guards if you wish. The game will record each character’s bowling average.

    Controls/Interface

    In order to navigate the menu on the game you have to press buttons on the console itself. This is a bit annoying at times. The accuracy isn’t the greatest but it all depends on the placement of the console and your angle to the sensor on the game itself.

    Graphics

    The graphics on the Xavix system are very poor. They are somewhere between Nintendo 8bit and Super Nintendo quality. The characters are not super detailed but the bowling lanes and pins don’t need the latest and greatest in graphics to enjoy it. The physics engine used on the falling pins doesn’t seem realistic.

    Sound

    Sound is not a strength on this system either. The background music seems like MIDI quality. There are some classic rock songs I recognized. In the game options you can set the sound in mono or stereo mode. You can also disable background music however it’s not disabled in the challenge games!

    Appropriateness

    Bowling is a pretty clean sport and this game is fun for all ages.

    Final Thoughts

    Although I like some of the challenge games in Xavix Bowling, it’s not the best game out for this system. It is fun but the Wii sports bowling is much more accurate and has a better interface even if the controller isn’t shaped like a bowling ball.

    Final Ratings

    Game Play 12/20 Graphics 4/10 Sound 4/10 Controls/Interface 2/5 Stability 4/5 Appropriateness 50/50

    Final Score 76%

Latest Comments

About Us:

Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

S5 Box

Login

Register