Thursday, December 13, 2007

College Hoops 2K8 rocks, baby

It's college basketball season. Time for late-night West Coast games, buzzer-beaters, Billy Packer and Dick Vitale.

It's also time for college basketball video game simulations. And after an impressive season of NBA games, I was curious to see what we'd get with the college versions.

The first one I've tried this year is 2K Sports' "College Hoops 2K8" (rated E for Everyone), which is the follow-up to the top seller in this category last year. I tried the Xbox 360 version, but it's also available for PS2 and PS3.

I tried it out in my friend's basement, where he's got a 58-inch 1080p Panasonic plasma HDTV (the best TV reasonable money can buy) and a state-of-the-art sound system with seven speakers.

The graphics just keep getting better and the frame rate is excellent. This game, like many of the recent sports titles, can really fool you into thinking you're watching a real game. Part of that was the TV. Part of it was the attention to detail utilized by 2K Sports, which has completely redesigned its game arenas to make them look deeper, bigger and more realistic.

It also sounded great in Dolby Digital, from the pep bands and announcers right down to the sneaker squeaks.

The thing that most impressed me was the gameplay. The players move like the real thing, and don't slide around. If you ask the controller to turn left, you turn left -- sharply, without any oversteer. And home-team advantage really plays a role: You get it going, and the crowd can get loud.

The hard rap soundtrack may bother a few gamers, but that's about the only thing I could find wrong at first blush. It gives you nearly everything you can ask for.

Grade: A.

Review: `The Golden Compass'

Sega has released this for all game console platforms and PCs. The game (rated E for Everyone) is based on the new movie of the same name.

You play as Lyra, a young girl out to rescue her uncle and her kidnapped best friend. Lyra takes off on her mission with her pet, Pan, and a huge polar bear, Iorek -- plus a golden compass, a truth-telling device that gives you crucial information and unlocks bonus content.

There are 11 universes to explore, and this game is awful deep. It plays, to me, as a slightly more mature Mario game that should enthrall younger and older gamers alike.

Grade: B.

1 comment:

L3GeND said...

I'm hoping to get College Hoops for christmas. Those games are so much better than March Madness, although I heard NBA live was better than 2K8 this year.