Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Steel Diver" airtight, "Madden," not so much

Madden 3DS

Published by: Electronic Arts
Developed by: EA North Carolina
Available: NOW
Number of Players: 1-2
Rated: E for Everyone
Price: $39.99

Madden has been around video games since the days of the Super Nintendo and enjoyed a healthy life in the virtual realm. It was no shock when gamers learned that the lion of the gridiron would suit up for the launch of the 3DS. What EA should have done was study the Madden playbook, stick to elements that made the franchise awesome and call that play. No, EA has released the video game version of Brian "The Boz" Bosworth, slapped a Madden name on it and expected stellar results. Jaja.

The game isn't horrible - it just feels like a stripped-down version of the football franchise, thrown together quickly to cash a quick buck on folks who aren't scared to drop $249 on a 3DS.

The game features a season mode, but don't expect stats, the draft or even multiplayer action. You can play through a season - a single game, as well as training/drills. The modes are limited and gameplay is "meh." If you are like me, I love to roll my QB out of the pocket and run like I'm Forrest Gump. However, in this offering, forgetaboutit. You can't get away from speedy defenders until you are out of the pocket.

3-D verdict:

The 3-D gets ok use - it seems more like a gimmick than adding real value to Madden. The game graphically is ok and while the 3-D offers some depth, it's still got a long way to go before it is a must-own game on the 3DS.

There are some cool features in it though. I really enjoyed the color coding with the wideouts. When a receiver's color goes green, you can pass with no worry of getting picked. Another cool feature is the ease of calling an audible. Yet the game suffers with the enabled Gameflow playing caller. It skips through the football game quickly. At times, I felt like my 3DS was a DVR remote as I was playing just highlights from the game.

As much as I love football, I'll rent this game instead of buying it.

Verdict: 4 (out of 10 stars)

Steel Diver

Published by: Nintendo
Developed by: Nintendo
Available: NOW
Rated: E+10 for Everyone 10+
Price: $39.99

You see your enemy. Using stealth, you creep behind them and get ready to unleash holy hell on them. I'm not talking about a FPS or Splinter Cell. I'm talking about running silent and running deep. Steel Diver puts you into the role of a submarine commander, who will prowl the calm (and 3-D rendered stormy) seas looking for unsuspecting cruisers, battleships or any unlucky enemy vessel in your periscope.

There are seven missions (two are locked initially), eight time trial missions and a grip of different modes to keep you busy for several hours. You can also battle other 3DS owners via Download Play.

The graphics are ok - not awesome - and the sounds didn't impress me either. However, given that during most of the game you are looking through a smudged-up periscope, I'll forgive the graphics.

The gameplay is solid. You learn quickly how to walk your torpedoes to your target and lead them so they meet the vessels perfectly. The screaming guy on the sinking ship is a hoot as well.

The game does require a good amount of spinning, literally. Regardless of mode, you'll best play this game in a chair that spins. You'll find yourself doing a 360 to find which ships are hitting you with depth charges.

3-D verdict:

Excellent use of 3-D on the 3DS. The lower half of the 3DS screen has the controls, but the 3-D screen features the action. It is very engaging, especially when you play with the storm setting enabled. A co-worker said he felt seasick playing a mission in 3-D.

The verdict: 8.5 (out of 10)

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