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MLB 08 a grand slam

<p>“This is a very simple game. You throw the ball; you catch the ball; you hit the ball. Sometimes you win; sometimes you lose; sometimes it rains.” This quote from Nuke LaLoosh in the classic film, Bull Durham, pretty much works for baseball video games, too. Except for the rain.<br /></p>







MLB 08 The Show



Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment



Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PSP



Reviewed on: PlayStation 3



Rated: E — Everyone



Game type: Sports



Rating: **** 1/2 (out of five)





What’s the premise?


“This is a very simple game. You throw the ball; you catch the ball; you hit the ball. Sometimes you win; sometimes you lose; sometimes it rains.”





This quote from Nuke LaLoosh in the classic film, Bull Durham, pretty much works for baseball video games, too. Except for the rain.





This game is most similar to…?


Reggie Jackson Baseball for the Sega Master System. Man, I loved that game. Well, actually it’s a lot more like its predecessor, MLB 07 The Show, but whatever.





Is it suitable for younger gamers?


Because MLB 08 The Show is more of a simulation than an arcade game, there’s certainly going to be a learning curve for younger gamers. Fortunately there are varying levels of difficulty, so they don’t have to master all the nuances of the sport right away.





One player or more?


Play head-to-head at home or online.





What’s missing?


Like all baseball simulation titles, the biggest drawback for MLB 08 is the amount of time it takes to play each game — let alone a season. The addition of the new in-game save feature that allows you to save your progress at any point in a game and return to it later does make things a lot more bearable, though. It might be nice (and please no hate mail from the baseball purists) to have the option of four- or five-inning games.





The (not-so) secret to success is…?


Timing is everything. Whether it’s learning the batting, pitching or fielding, you’ll need to work out your timing to have any success. Don’t be ashamed to start out at “rookie” level and work out the kinks before moving up to the big leagues.





And in the end?


MLB 08 The Show captures the look and feel of Major League Baseball extremely well. The presentation — especially in hi-def at 1080p — is top notch, the gameplay is very solid — including some fun new features like the “rob home run” indicator that lets you steal sure dingers from your opponents — and baseball gaming fans are sure to think it’s a grand slam.










Frontlines: Fuel Of War



Publisher: THQ



Platforms: Xbox 360, PC



Reviewed on: Xbox 360



Rated: T — Teen



Game type: First-person shooter



Rating: **** (out of five)





What’s the premise?


In the year 2024, the world’s need for oil has escalated to the point where countries aren’t interested in buying it, trading it or negotiating for it — they’re fighting for it.





You play as a member of the Western Coalition, made up of the U.S., the European Union (and I assume Canada) as you fight on foot or in countless vehicles on the frontlines near the Caspian Sea against the Red Star Alliance (Russia and China) for control of the world’s largest remaining supply of black gold.





This game is most similar to…?


Star Wars: Battlefront (sans Wookies)





Is it suitable for younger gamers?


I’ll go with my usual rule: Guns and kids don’t mix.





One player or more?


Strangely and sadly, this one’s only one-player offline, but there’s some massive team fun to be had online with battles of up to 32 players.





What’s missing?


No two-player versus or co-op modes? Weak.





The (not-so) secret to success is…?


Shut up and drive. You have lots of weapons at your disposal when you’re wandering around, but you’ve got a lot of area to cover, so vehicles are essential. They’ll also save you from going David vs. Goliath against a tank every five minutes.





And in the end?


Lots of variety in weaponry and vehicles combined with huge and intricate maps make Frontlines a very solid choice for fans of first-person shooters.









Lost: Via Domus



Publisher: Ubisoft



Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC



Rated: T — Teen



Game type: Role-playing



Rating: *** (out of five)





What’s the premise?


Enter the world of the hit ABC TV show, Lost, as a previously unknown passenger on flight 815 — a man whose memory is gone and whose life may be in danger from more than just the “smoke monster” in the jungle.





This game is most similar to…?


Resident Evil (sans zombies)





Is it suitable for younger gamers?


Like the show, this game contains mature elements and can be pretty creepy. I’ll say no.





One player or more?


It’s all you, Mr. Amnesiac.





What’s missing?


Professional actors. The lack of any of the show’s actors portraying the characters they’ve become so identified with definitely delivers a body blow to this game’s credibility.





The (not-so) secret to success is…?


Now with more RPG in every bite. Via Domus is pretty standard RPG fare, so talk to everyone to gather clues, pick up every item that you find laying around and you’ll be fine. Also make sure you’ve actually watched the first two seasons of Lost, in which this game is set, or you’ll be pretty darned confused.





And in the end?


Fans of the show will likely enjoy the chance to poke around the infamous island and interact with their favourite characters, but if you’re not into Lost, you’ll probably find yourself that way fast if you try this game.




jonathan.kuehlein@metronews.ca

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