Operation Sports's Reviews
Despite the somewhat inflated price, Tiny Football is a fun, bite-sized football game that doesn't take itself too seriously in its quest to bring back that vintage feeling when pixelated graphics dominated and games were supposed to be about fun. The developers have committed to pushing out updates so don't be surprised to see even more items added. For now, we'll definitely continue to come back to this one and play a few tournaments to see if we can top the digital table.
Criterion has delivered another outstanding experience with Need for Speed Unbound, and while it's not shocking that Criterion has made a good game, it is nice to remember that they're still capable of ripping off a banger, and the same goes for NFS now having another entry that's worthy of the lineage. From the unique art style to the fantastic racing, Need for Speed Unbound is a racing game that feels authentic and sticky enough to stay relevant through the winter.
Another hidden gem from New Star Games, Retro Goal's super affordable price, throwback graphics, and surprisingly deep modes make it a great game for both the soccer enthusiast and kid who wants to get into the sport and/or video games. At its core, the game's simplistic controls lead the way to an addictive obsession that can see you breeze through half a season before you know it. While perhaps not as fun as its cousin, Retro Bowl, there's still a ton of enjoyment to be had with this one.
The struggle with sports simulations that are released every year is determining whether the newest title is worth the upgrade. For me, Draft Day Sports: Pro Basketball 2023 is an instant upgrade. Even if you have purchased every version available, the visual upgrades would still be worth it.
With a pretty strong community online and daily bonuses, there's enough to keep most coming back, but only if they exercise patience as waiting for certain upgrades/tasks to complete leaves gamers with a lot of dead time that could put some folks off. Even the most sim of sim games, Football Manager, has worked tirelessly over the years to eliminate the amount of dead time with popups and little helpful hints to aid you in your journey. While this game does offer something unique to fans of rugby, it will be hard to envision casuals becoming too invested in this title.
NKR3 may not be on the same level as some of the kart-racing juggernauts like Mario Kart, but Slime Speedway offers a fun experience, especially online, and one that people of all skill sets can enjoy. It just may take those with a bit more background in this genre to find a true challenge.
It would be easier to view NHL 23 favorably if it was merely a gameplay update of NHL 22, but as its own standalone release, whether intentionally or not, it serves as a good argument for implementing a subscription model rather than sticking with an annual release cycle that will produce something this similar. Everything that happens on the ice is a little slicker thanks to new animations and better physics, while the game's improved AI immediately boosts the appeal of playing franchise mode. World of Chel remains one of the best online sports experiences out there, especially if you have some friends to play with on a team together, and they've injected some variety into the kinds of players you can create. Delayed or missing features like cross-platform play, franchise strategies, and pregame presentation make for some major letdowns at launch. Integral modes like Be A Pro and Hockey Ultimate Team are prime examples of just how little has changed from NHL 22 to NHL 23.
I preferred the Nintendo Pro Controller to the Joy-Cons as it created a more consistent experience. However, with some time and practice, controlling your car with the original Joy-Cons can be done, but it can feel frustrating when in a pack trying to race clean. If you're a NASCAR or racing fan in general, having Rivals available on the Switch should be enjoyable enough, and it's a game that should lead you into the official 2023 season.
On the more worrisome side of things, the way that you're able to use skill points and club fittings to boost your abilities and give you a better chance of success calls into question the competitive balance that has typically been a calling card of the series. Online play hasn't been given much attention, with the casual playlists continuing to need an overall focus and Online Societies returning largely untouched. The antiquated replays are frustrating in the lack of control they offer the viewer and in how terrible they can present a great shot that just happened. More customization would be appreciated when sculpting your MyPlayer, like the chance to design your own unique swing.
Dakar Desert Rally impressed me at every turn, jump, and twist from a visuals perspective. The AI is fun and unpredictable and will give you a run for your money on the right difficulty. I genuinely appreciated what the AI had to offer in Dakar Desert Rally, especially with the title being slightly shallow in terms of alternate offerings.
I can truly say that if you're considering getting NBA 2K23 to play a great game of basketball, do so without hesitation. Just be wary of the fact that you'll have to shell out some extra money if you want to get into and keep up with the rest of the community when it comes to running in the Park, Rec, or Pro-Am.
What elevates WoO is the solid career mode, excellent driving model, and online offerings. Online or off, the game offers an exciting track experience. Add in the career mode that is addicting, authentic, and deep, and that combination will have you playing the newest release from Monster Games for months after its official release. World of Outlaws: Dirt Racing is available now for PS4/PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S for $49.99 (USD).
In short, Flashout 3 takes some getting used to, and in today's world, that is not the typical way to keep people involved. Still, once you understand the mechanics and controls, Flashout 3 delivers on enough fronts to create a fun and immersive experience, just one that lacks longevity and depth.
The ball is in Konami's court as to what kind of game they want eFootball to evolve into. Will it be a mobile-based game with online play being the driver like it is in its current state, or will they get back to their roots with a more robust experience? Only time will tell.
Still, it lacks depth, game modes, presentation, and the visual fidelity of even a PS4/Xbox One high-end game. If you're accepting of that, and career mode can hold your attention, then adding NHRA Championship Drag Racing: Speed For All to the rotation is a simple choice. It will not be a game I consistently play, but it will be something that occasionally fills a void.