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Fraser Gilbert

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Saturday, April 15, 2017
10:04 AM - April 15, 2017. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Fraser Gilbert

Iím based in the UK, and my knowledge of sports such as baseball, basketball and American football is limited. Iíve always taken a great interest in the NHL since discovering EA Sportsí series back in Ď98, but those other sports have somewhat passed me by. Sure, I used to play Madden, NBA 2K/Live and past series such as High Heat: Major League Baseball when I was younger, but I never really sampled them to their fullest.

Last year, I detailed my more in-depth experiences with both Madden NFL 16 and NBA 2K17. Now, Iím doing the same with MLB The Show 17 -- the first iteration of the series Iíve ever properly owned. Until a few weeks ago, modes such as Diamond Dynasty and Road to the Show meant nothing to me. I didnít know the difference between meter and analog pitching. I didnít even have a favorite MLB team back then (I do now!).

With a couple of weeks playtime under my belt, this is my opportunity to give you some first impressions from a self-confessed noob.

Read More - MLB The Show 17: A Noob's Perspective

Game: MLB The Show 17Hype Score: 9/10 - Vote Now
Platform: PS4Votes: 32 - View All
Saturday, April 8, 2017
11:56 AM - April 8, 2017. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Fraser Gilbert

In recent weeks, I've noticed some OS forum dwellers stating their confusion about EA's Frostbite engine, and wondering what it means for the future of their favorite EA Sports games. For the most part, this discussion has emerged following the announcement that Madden NFL 18 will transition to the engine later this year.

There are many fans that don't know the difference between Ignite and Frostbite. For those of you in that boat, this is an opportunity to learn what the Frostbite engine is, how it's affected the games industry thus far, and what you might be able to expect from it going forward.

This isn't a technical discussion by any means. It's purely a basic rundown of the engine and how it operates based on known facts, interviews and my own personal perspective.

Read More - EA's Frostbite Engine: What is it, Why You Should Care

Friday, March 24, 2017
06:26 PM - March 24, 2017. Posted by Steve_OS. Written by Fraser Gilbert

Itís almost that time of year again! Before you know it, weíll be inundated with new information regarding the latest iteration of EAís long-running hockey series. As we get ever closer to that date, itís time to get our brains into gear and think about what weíre hoping to see in EAís upcoming addition to the franchise.

What do we know about NHL 18 so far? Very little. It seems doubtful the Frostbite engine will make its debut, given there's been no indication of its inclusion during EAís recent earnings conference call.

Here at OS, weíve always loved creating wishlists for our favorite games, and the NHL series is no exception. Iíve used this opportunity to detail both my own personal desires for NHL 18, as well as including some items found in our forums over the past few months.

Read More - NHL 18 Wishlist: Features We'd Like To See (Written by: Fraser Gilbert)

Game: NHL 18Hype Score: Vote Now
Platform: PS4Votes: 0 - View All
Friday, March 3, 2017
12:32 PM - March 3, 2017. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Fraser Gilbert

If you know me, you'll know I've been totally hooked on Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 for the past few months. While I've often enjoyed releases by Konami in its long-running series, the latest entry is the only title that has gripped me like the franchise did in its heyday, back when it was pumping out dominant iterations on a yearly basis for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC.

I'm not biased towards PES or FIFA. I've adored both franchises with varying degrees of passion over the past 20 years, and at present, I enjoy them both. That said, I've found myself more enticed by Konami's game over the past few months, and I want to take this opportunity to discuss why PES 2017 emerged as my surprise game of the year.

Read More - Why PES 2017 Was My Game of the Year

Game: PES 2017Hype Score: 9/10 - Vote Now
Platform: PC / PS3 / PS4 / Xbox OneVotes: 10 - View All
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
12:57 PM - February 14, 2017. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Fraser Gilbert

I can still remember the moment I first laid eyes on a copy of FIFA: Road to World Cup 98 as a kid. I was just beginning to discover my affection for video games at the time, but I was instantly captivated by its addictive gameplay, and it'd go on to dominate my spare time over the next year.

I don't know where the last 20 years have gone, but my love for that game remains strong. I still fondly recall many of its unique features, such as its famous intro sequence with the sound of Blur's "Song 2" providing the perfect background. I even put The Crystal Method's "Busy Child" on my local bar's jukebox recently, purely to reminisce about FIFA 98's fantastic soundtrack. I was the only one in there that seemed to know it.

If you ask many fans who can remember back that far, they'll tell you that indoor mode was one of FIFA 98's most memorable qualities. Amazingly, we've yet to experience another iteration of the mode in EA's main FIFA series over the past 20 years, so let's take a trip down memory lane and remind ourselves of this classic feature.

Read More - Looking Back at FIFA '98's Indoor Soccer Mode

Monday, February 6, 2017
10:41 AM - February 6, 2017. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Fraser Gilbert

Okay, hands up, who can remember the disappointment that was NHL 15? The jump to current-gen was a tough transition for the NHL series, as it was for many other long-running franchises. In the midst of the move, a whole range of features were stripped away, including the ultra-popular EA Sports Hockey League. In some ways, it felt like a lockout year for our beloved hockey series as our collective, team-based aspirations of virtual glory went on hold for 12 months.

As disappointing as it was to be a fan during this time period, that first current-gen release implemented a wide variety of gameplay and presentation upgrades, thereby establishing a solid base for the future. Since then, an additional two iterations of the series have been released on Xbox One and PS4, and while upgrades have been made across the board, certain presentation features have been left largely untouched. Of course, NHL's visual and audio aspects aren't exactly sub-par in general, but while many of them remain impressive, others have simply grown stale.

I personally love EA Sports' NHL series, and above all else, I'm a huge fan. Like any dedicated supporter, I've got bugbears and wishlist items to detail, so here are my thoughts on the future of NHL's presentation suite.

Read More - How Could Presentation Be Improved In NHL 18

Game: NHL 17Reader Score: 8/10 - Vote Now
Platform: PS4 / Xbox OneVotes: 5 - View All
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
09:05 AM - January 18, 2017. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Fraser Gilbert

I've never been the biggest Formula One fan, but I've played my fair share of F1-related games over the years. Those familiar with these games will likely recall memories of Geoff Crammond's Grand Prix series and EA's F1 2002, among others.

Since 2008, Codemasters has been in possession of the F1 license, and they have built a franchise that has impressed more often than not. Last year's F1 2016 was released in August, and OS' own Robert Kollars described it as, "an outstanding race sim, and should be in any race fan's rotation." He's not the only one who lavished praise on it, with many suggesting it might have surpassed its predecessors as the best Formula One game of all time.

Despite the acclaim, I haven't seen it on all that many Game of the Year lists thus far. With Forza Horizon 3 releasing just a month later, F1 2016 arguably hasn't enjoyed the recognition it deserves. Of course, that's not to suggest the game has sold poorly, topping the UK sales charts in its debut week. But, Formula One doesn't have the same appeal across all areas of the globe, so for those of you who have never heard of Lewis Hamilton or Max Verstappen, here are three reasons why F1 2016 should be in your collection.

Read More - F1 2016: The Most Overlooked Sports Game of the Last Year?

Game: F1 2016Reader Score: 9/10 - Vote Now
Platform: PC / PS4 / Xbox OneVotes: 4 - View All
Friday, January 6, 2017
01:32 PM - January 6, 2017. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Fraser Gilbert

It's a tough ask to expect consumers to give up their hard-earned money on a yearly basis. There's only so much developers can do to make worthwhile changes in 12 months, and that's partly why new features are a necessary addition.

Still, most of them aren't just there to fill a void. Many of 2016's sports games introduced features that greatly enhanced or even revolutionized each series.

We gave you the chance to vote on your favorite new feature of 2016, and the results were incredibly tight. Check out the video above, subscribe to us on YouTube and click below to see the results of this year's reader's vote.

Read More - 2016 Sports Game of the Year: Best New Feature/Mode

Monday, December 26, 2016
10:21 AM - December 26, 2016. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Fraser Gilbert

It's no secret that PES 2017 was released to great acclaim this year, building upon previous iterations to provide a soccer simulation that not only rivaled its biggest competitor, but arguably surpassed it.

If you've been following PES' progression in recent years, you'll know the markings have been on the wall for years now. The introduction of the Fox engine marked an upward turn in fortunes for the series, and although its sales figures might still be dwindling in certain parts of the world, it's finally being taken seriously by fans of the sport once more.

I'm going to use this year-end opportunity to discuss why PES 2017 is such a dramatic improvement over its predecessor. Like others, I came into 2016 with only a moderate interest in rekindling my love affair with the PES series, but I'm coming out of it with an intense appreciation for the latest release. Here's what PES 2017 got particularly right this year.

Read More - PES 2017: Another Successful Release in the Books

Game: PES 2017Hype Score: 9/10 - Vote Now
Platform: PS3 / PC / PS4 / Xbox OneVotes: 10 - View All
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
09:55 AM - December 20, 2016. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Fraser Gilbert

I've always enjoyed the thrills of NHL's EA Sports Hockey League, but this year's iteration of the ultra-popular mode is my favorite yet. It builds on last year to deliver not only a balanced gameplay experience, but a tailored level of customization unlike anything we've seen before.

Read More - Has Customization Revitalized NHL?

Game: NHL 17Reader Score: 8/10 - Vote Now
Platform: PS4 / Xbox OneVotes: 5 - View All
Thursday, December 8, 2016
01:44 PM - December 8, 2016. Posted by Steve_OS. Written by Fraser Gilbert

It's always pleasing to see virtually underrepresented sports getting full-blown game releases in this day and age. In the case of Handball 17, the game marks the second iteration of a re-branded series that got off to a disappointingly rocky start 12 months ago, suffering a generally negative reception from critics and fans alike.

Read More - Handball 17 Review (PC) - Written by: Fraser Gilbert

Game: Handball 17Reader Score: Vote Now
Platform: PCVotes: 0 - View All
Friday, December 2, 2016
10:31 AM - December 2, 2016. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Fraser Gilbert

As a UK-based contributor, I'm lucky enough to possess a unique perspective on the world of sports gaming from across the pond. Unfortunately, I'm also left out of my depth in regards to certain sports, and basketball is one such example. It's not that I don't understand the basics. I've played my fair share of basketball games over the past twenty years, but I've never ingrained myself in the culture of the sport to the point where I understand the tactical techniques or terminology involved.

Back in February, I published a 'noob's perspective' on Madden NFL 16, and following the recent weekend-long trial of NBA 2K17 on Xbox One, I set myself the task of tackling a new variation of this challenge. In the process, I gathered further impressions from a copy of last year's game to add extra longevity to my playing time.

Keep in mind that these are a small selection of initial thoughts from someone who doesn't understand the sport or the mechanics of 2K's NBA games all that well, but it might be illuminating to you as to how a more casual fan sees the games we play. Go easy on me, folks!

Read More - NBA 2K: A Noob's Perspective

Game: NBA 2K17Reader Score: 6/10 - Vote Now
Platform: Xbox 360 / PS3 / PC / PS4 / Xbox OneVotes: 11 - View All
Monday, November 28, 2016
10:11 AM - November 28, 2016. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Fraser Gilbert

If you've had a chance to get your hands on FIFA 17, you've probably spent some time with The Journey. It's a big part of the experience this year, utilizing the power of the Frostbite engine to deliver a story-based, single-player feature for the first time in the series' history. It has been generally well-received thus far, and player engagement has been high, as noted in a recent EA infographic.

Still, it isn't perfect. The mode follows a fairly structured form that never deviates from the script too dramatically, whether you're excelling in front of goal or making countless blunders. The mode's detractors will understandably point to this as a negative factor, but fail states do exist, and the game will adapt to your inconsistencies to a point if you're unable to perform up to scratch.

We're going to take a look at a few fail scenarios you might encounter, but keep in mind that spoilers are ahead.

Read More - What Happens If You Fail in FIFA 17's The Journey?

Game: FIFA 17Reader Score: Vote Now
Platform: Xbox 360 / PS3 / PC / PS4 / Xbox OneVotes: 0 - View All
Friday, November 18, 2016
09:27 AM - November 18, 2016. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Fraser Gilbert

I'm addicted to Pro Evolution Soccer this year. In terms of gameplay, it finally feels like Konami has recaptured the essence of the series' glory years, improving on its previous iteration to a substantial degree. PES 2017 is packed with brand-new additions that contribute to this, and Advanced Instructions is one of them. It's a feature that makes the act of coaching a more streamlined experience, and if you can master this element of the game, you'll have a big advantage over those who don't even know it exists.

Let's take this opportunity to break these instructions down and discuss this feature in detail.

Read More - Breaking Down Advanced Instructions in PES 2017

Game: PES 2017Hype Score: 9/10 - Vote Now
Platform: PS3 / PC / PS4 / Xbox OneVotes: 10 - View All
Friday, November 11, 2016
08:38 AM - November 11, 2016. Posted by MMChrisS. Written by Fraser Gilbert

Oh no, it's that time of year again. I try to avoid Football Manager as much as I can, purely because of its addictive qualities. I'm a writer with a busy job these days, and my time gets too easily invested in a multi-season save, falling prey to the game's alluring nature. It's not just me that suffers in this way. Since its original inception back in 1992, this series has destroyed marriages, ruined school grades and been the catalyst for a multitude of sick days at workplaces across the world.

In recent years, its momentum hasn't slowed one bit. Each year presents new challenges to keep the game feeling fresh and new, and that's no easy feat for a series with as much depth as this one. This year's game didn't need to reinvent the wheel, and it doesn't, centering its focus on fine-tuning and making subtle improvements across the board.

Read More - Football Manager 2017 Review (PC)

Game: Football Manager 2017Hype Score: Vote Now
Platform: PC / MacVotes: 0 - View All

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