When I first saw the screenshots to this game about two months ago I was very impressed to say the least. Coming out almost a year after the launch of the Xbox in America I was hoping for some top notch graphics and gameplay as I consider this game to be the start of the second generation of Xbox games. Also in it’s favour it is an Xbox exclusive meaning no port so we should expect high quality visuals and sound as well for our money.
I am pleased to say I haven’t been disappointed. My first mistake was to play the game on the wrong camera angle. You are given the choice of two viewing angles. Sports View and Action View. Sports view was the one I started with and I was bored after just 5 minutes. The graphics were just not detailed enough but thankfully I tried the other angle before throwing down my gamepad in frustration to find that all was better.
The Action viewing angle proved to be perfect. The graphics shown off to their fullest, and the sound surrounding you much better then before. The problem with the Sports view was it was simply to far away to appreciate the graphics and even the gameplay became drab. The second angle showed off the lovely bump-mapping and gorgeous lighting and gave a better feel for the game itself. So what is the aim of the game?
Without going to much into the story line, this is a sports game. A futuristic sports game, but don’t run off just yet as this game actually makes a good idea into a great game. There are two teams of 4 players. The aim is to get the disk and throw it through the centre of a circle in the opponents end of the arena. Sounds simple doesn’t it? Well actually on top of this you have the opposition kicking, punching and generally performing allsorts of painful brutality. On your controller there is a punch button, kick button and if you press the two simultaneously and you are rightly positioned you can perform an even nastier attack which you see in slow motion to add that encouraging smack sound for even longer.
There is a league type system called “Conquest” in which it is your job to manage your team and recruit extra characters, earn cash and maybe even some performance enhancing drugs with just the odd side effect. By following the conquest you hopefully earn enough money to purchase extra arena’s for single player games. The Arena’s are nothing short of wow. Wow with a big grin on your face. Well designed, beautifully created and even obstacles and different levels for you to jump, dodge and ultimately score from. The characters are also very well detailed and all distinctly differently to the next. Even voices are individual and with 120 characters that’s impressive in itself. The downside for me was reading the back of the box and reading: “featuring explicit swearing”. After playing games like Kingpin in the PC a few years ago swearing in games for me has become pointless and totally unnecessary. This game although featuring and apparently boasting the fact, does use it in some moderation rather then every 2 seconds hearing another curse.
Multiplayer is a nice addition when you have a friend round, but not the greatest of fun you’ll ever encounter on an Xbox game due to the fact you loose a lot of detail as the screen gets squashed. Much more entertaining to watch a friend and smirk at the precious graphics bursting on to your screen. If you visual’s are not enough the sound is very helpful if you have a 5.1 system. When using a camera angle so close to your player you loose a lot of what is going off around you. With a 5.1 system you can get a much better grasp of the area around you. The opposition cursing you from behind is a big give-away to their position.