Two PS2 games on tap tonight. Both are relatively new, both are the latest and greatest in their series , but one really blows the other away for me. EA’s “Burnout 3” was exactly what a sequel should be, bigger and better, but not messing with the basic formula of its book of ra predecessor. On the other hand, Sega’s “NHL 2K5” was good, but a little disappointing and I doubt I’ll be buying this one.
This highly anticipated (at least by me) sequel of Burnout 2, had me a little worried before I played. I didn’t actually rent this one before purchasing, which I usually don’t like doing but I liked and played its predecessor so much, I was hoping the people at EA wouldn’t completely screw with the winning formula for race car driving mayhem and insanity. I wasn’t disappointed. Burnout 3 is essentially Burnout 2, except with better graphics, more races, more types of races and way more cars.
For those of you who don’t know, the Burnout franchise is a car racing game with one distinct difference. Crashing is cool. In fact there is a “Crash” mode where the purpose is to create the most destruction. During races, crashes don’t hurt you too much which allows you to take a few more risks. The new “Takedown” mode in Burnout 3 is inspired. In this mode, you have to cause your opponents to crash without crashing yourself. Kind of like bumper cars at 150 mph. Really fun. And the cars in Burnout 3…there are a lot of them. From little compacts all the way up to garbage and fire trucks.
I’ve finished Crash mode on the Burnout World tour, and I’m working on finishing all the races. I’ve spent hours playing both online and off and I’m still having fun. I highly recommend this one.
The reviews for this latest offering from Sega were saying it was the best hockey game of the season, and if that is the case, then this is a crappy season. I rented this one, since I’m in the market for a new hockey game, what with the NHL lockout depriving this Canuck of his hockey fix. I don’t know, NHL 2K5 looked nice enough, the play was fine, but it needs a lot of polishing. There were too many obvious bugs and as a software developer, I have no tolerance for it.
Here’s a list of the problems I noticed in two and a half days of playing. I probably played 20 or so games.
- Screwing with my lines – I still can’t believe this is such a problem. It was a problem in NHL 2002 and I hope EA has figured it out in NHL 2005. Sega has not. The problem is that whenever an injury occurs, the game wants to rearrange all the lines on your team. Now, it does ask before it does this, thank goodness, but the job it does at screwing up the lines is unbelievable. It puts defenseman on forward lines, forwards on defense lines and just generally screws with whatever you were trying to do. So before pretty much every game, I had to spent 10 minutes fixing my lines. The solution to this problem is simply to replace the position vacated by the injury and nothing else. I’d rather have my top line screwed up by having a sucky player placed on it, then having all four lines screwed up by having the game try and figure out what combinations are best given the dressed roster. Someone, PLEASE fix this.
- Play-By-Play Problems – Problems with the wrong play-by-play being played is still a problem. I admit this is probably a harder problem then the issue above, but come on. Announcing a save by the wrong goalie is just rediculous. At one point I scored a goal in the middle of the 1st period and the game announced that I had just won in overtime. Like, what the heck? And as usual, the announcers were too repetitive. I’m sure if I played different teams every game it would be ok, but I chose a team (Calgary in this case) and played a bunch of games with them. If I heard one more time how good a move it was to bring Mikka Kiprosoff to the Flames from San Jose, I was going to throw the game out the window.
- Crash in franchise mode – What more can I say? The game froze up about 10 games into franchise mode. No explanation, no error message. I tried to simulate the game that was having problems, but still no go. I started a season instead of a franchise, and about the 10th game in, it also froze up. Anyway, crashing is not good.
I still have to try EA’s NHL 2005, and I hope it is much better. I’ve been a long time EA Sports player and I was thinking of exploring the Animal Jam Free Membership via Sega line of sports games, but if NHL 2K5 is any indication, I think I’ll stick with what I know.