Stolen Maniac Machine – 30.03.13

So Easter is upon us and my second year of University is pretty much finished as my last two pieces of coursework were handed in earlier this week. All that’s left now is a minor exam in mid-May but for the coming months I will have an insane amount of free time to crack on with a load of TV series, movies and games that I’ve been meaning to do for a while. It should also give me some time to start putting up some creative stuff on here and if you swing by the blog next week I’m going to post a part of one of my short stories that will progress each week, I hope you’ll enjoy them. I also plan to enter a few competitions in the next few months and will be keeping you updated as to how that goes.

As for now it’s time for me to plough on with some House of Cards, continue my rise to greatness in FIFA and get excited for the start of Game of Thrones Season 3 tomorrow. In amongst that I hope to throw in some vibrant splashes of quality movies too and I’ll of course be keeping the reviews ticking on here. As for the reviews of the past week I kicked things off with my take on Maniac a gruesome horror remake starring Elijah Wood. CAGE RAGE season got its first cinema trip in the form of Stolen. And finally The Strokes returned with new album Comedown Machine.

In terms of stuff to get excited for there’s only one thing on everyones mind and that’s the aforementioned Game of Thrones but rather than leave you with a trailer for the new season you need to see this awesome creation that some saddo has spent a year of their life making. A year well spent to be fair:

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FIFA 13

So last week saw the latest FIFA hit the shelves and as always countless hours have been spent getting to grips with all the minor differences in gameplay and layout. The question is has EA done it again and managed to produce another FIFA that’s even better than the last?

Yes is the answer. When playing the game the most noticeable change in gameplay is the new, harder first touch control, it’s far more likely now that if you pass to a sprinting player it’s just going to bounce of his shin and he’ll lose control. This makes it much harder to play like Barcelona, but, personally, I like it because it makes it a bit more realistic. The only other differences I’ve noticed in actual gameplay are that it’s much more difficult to score when you’re one-on-one with the goalkeeper, it’s easier to catch up with an attacker and tackle them from behind and that if you’re under pressure and you pass they quite often put a bit of loft in the pass in order to get it over a defenders foot, all of these features take a few games to get used to but I think, ultimately, just improve the realism just that little bit more.

A lot of work this year has been done on the career mode, which now for the first time, allows you to manage an international team alongside your club, I’m incredibly excited to be able to manage England to World Cup glory while steering Southend towards the Champions League, but obviously it may take a while before I get there. I think this is an absolutely fantastic new feature. Other changes are the classified results that are read after each match, nice touch, and the choice of what other league games you might want score updates on during your match. This links in to the new commentary cut-away’s where we get handed over to someone who tells us the other scores or how an injured player is doing or what they’ve done to themselves. All of which just make the career that bit more real.

Elsewhere there’s the new match form feature which can be used on exhibition matches where the form the players are in in real life affects how they will perform in the game. Online there’s little changes from the superb FIFA 12 online seasons feature, the only real differences being that every division now has an attainable title if you clock up a certain amount of points and that the team line-ups change more or less every week to reflect current injuries and managerial choices, but you can, at the same time, save your own custom line-ups for each club which is useful.

So overall, yet again, FIFA has managed to improve itself and remains the greatest football series of all time, now lets see how quickly I can get the 50 hours on the pitch trophy…

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3

I know this game isn’t really new any more but after Max Payne and SSX its the next newest game I have and as promised I’m attempting to build up my game section, with a more respectable catalogue. I’m a relative newcomer to the Marvel vs Capcom series the original 3 being the first I’ve ever played. I wasn’t expecting quite what I got and I decided after not too long that I had to have it for myself, but with the offer of new characters including one of my favourite Marvel characters, Ghost Rider, the lure of the newer Ultimate edition was far too strong to resist.

Before I first played MVC3 my understanding was that it was a rival to the DC Universe/Mortal Kombat games, the same as every other platform fighter around at the moment but what I got was something with a complete style of its own. Here we have the closest thing you’re going to get to Super Smash Bros. on PS3 or XBox. It’s tag team insanity that becomes so addictive you can play it all night and not realise how long you’ve been going. It’s the only game, bar FIFA, that I’ve played on a latest gen console that has a versus mode more addictive than it’s campaign. As I mentioned in my SSX review these days there’s far too much emphasis on online multiplayer, that most titles seem to forget about multiplayer in person. Although it’s basic, playing with a couple of mates round is what makes this game great.

Playing versus online, though, I found is different kettle of fish. I can’t grasp the combo’s, fighters have never really been a strong point of mine but here I can’t seem to grasp any of the skills no matter how much I practice, so I tend to steer clear of multiplayer online. The arcade mode I also find pretty difficult but still provides some good entertainment if you’re a bit lonely. The Ultimate edition comes with the new Heroes and Heralds campaign which basically just adds another aspect to the game and I find is more fun to play through than the standard arcade mode. I must add though that it seems a bit unfair on fans who paid the same price for the original release to then just release the Ultimate edition where everything is better, seems like a shameless cash coup to me. But still this is a great game that reminds me of the days when I used to stay up all night at a sleepover bettering people in smash bros. and what fond memories they are.