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Review: NBA Game Time App (PS4)

November 13, 2014 | by Herija Green | Comments (0)
NBA Game Time
Let’s tip it off!!

A year ago, we checked out the NBA Game Time App with Broadband League Pass on the Xbox 360 and found it to be an uneven experience — due mostly to poor stability in the actual stream. This time we’re jumping to next-gen and checking out the other console by reviewing the app for the PlayStation 4. The cost remains unchanged from the premium pass ($199 for all 30 teams), while the choice package (where you select any five teams) has gone from $140 to $149.

While the app is available on numerous platforms (Roku, Xbox, Android, etc.), for the purposes of this review we’ll be focusing on the PlayStation 4 version.

PROS

Cost: Even though the price has jumped slightly, the choice package still represents a $50 savings over the cable/satellite League Pass. That assumes you’re okay will following just five teams, but if you’re not, the $199 cost for six months worth of action is still reasonable.

Convenience: It goes without saying that Game Time allows you to stream live games as well as those that have already been completed. New this year, however, is a condensed version of previous games where entire NBA contests can be viewed in roughly 15 minutes. Granted, you lose some flow and miss a substantial amount as things like missed shots and free throws are often removed, but it’s certainly a nice option to have if you’re in a hurry but still want to experience more than just highlights.

Home/Road Feeds: One of my favorite features of any digital sports service is having the option to listen to whichever set of announcers I want. That’s present once again — assuming the game is being carried in both markets — though the aforementioned condensed versions default to the home call.

Background Music: It’s not nearly as bad as it was for last season, doesn’t play during commercial breaks and, better yet, there’s an option to easily disable it. Hallelujah!

CONS

Scanning: One of my pet peeves from last year has yet to be addressed as there’s still no easy way to jump to various points in the game. Maybe it’s too much to ask for the NBA to mimic MLB and provide a nice timeline of highlights, but you’d think they’d at least allow you to jump to the start of quarters or the last two minutes or something like that. Nope. You either go live or start at the beginning and then have to fast forward to wherever you want to go.

MIXED

Stability: A year ago this was the biggest problem with the service. It’s still not perfect, but watching games on the PS4 is a much more pleasant experience. It’s rare for the signal to buffer excessively or time out, and you won’t see the hiccup loops that plague the NFL Sunday Ticket app. It’s still not silky smooth, however, and it definitely seems like streaming past games doesn’t work nearly as well as the live stuff — maybe it has to do with bandwidth allocation.

Picture Quality: While Sunday Ticket does have its moments of déjà vu, 95 percent of the time it looks like you’re watching a high-def cable feed. With Game Time you rarely get that level of clarity. Instead you get something in between that typically keeps pace with the action but looks somewhere between high and standard definitions. You can really see the difference when streaming highlight packages from NBA.com, which consistently look much better.

THE VERDICT

NBA Game Time isn’t perfect, but the PS4 version of the app feels like a significant improvement over last year’s Xbox 360 version in a lot of key areas. This is especially true in the streaming as we never ran into issues where we simply couldn’t watch a game, which is something that happened routinely early in the 2013-14 season. As long as you’ve got a decent internet connection, the NBA Game Time app with Broadband League Pass looks to be an even better buy this year.

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Video Game Review: Just Dance 2015

November 11, 2014 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
If you’ve never played a Just Dance game before, the concept is simple: follow the moves being shown on the screen to the best of your ability and get scored for it. In that way it’s comparable to Guitar Hero or Rock Band, though here you’re actually performing the actions and not pressing colored buttons on a guitar-shaped controller. As you’d suspect, the game skews young with lots of pop tracks, but it’s easy enough to be accessible to most ages.
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Video Game Review: Halo: The Master Chief Collection

November 9, 2014 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
While every system has its signature characters, none are more inseparable than Microsoft and the Master Chief — hell, they named the Windows phone’s personal assistant Cortana. Thus, the arrival of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, highlighted by the all-new Halo 2 Anniversary, on the Xbox One is a landmark moment that brings all four of the Chief’s adventures onto one console and sets the table for next year’s Halo 5: Guardians. Cue the Gregorian chants, it’s Halo time.
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Video Game Review: Sunset Overdrive

October 27, 2014 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
As previously alluded to, the story of Sunset Overdrive is played almost entirely for laughs. Nothing is taken seriously, and the game delights in pointing out how it’s following industry clichés. That approach keeps things feeling light as the challenge elevates — even deaths are treated as mere momentary setbacks accompanied by silly respawn animations. If you string too many story missions together, however, it loses its impact as the humour gets repetitious.
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Video Game Review: Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition

October 21, 2014 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
Over the years a number of games have stood out to us as deserving considerably more attention than they received. Titles like Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, Singularity and Spec Ops: The Line, just to name a few. Well, at or near the top of that list is Sleeping Dogs, so when  Square-Enix decided to upgrade the graphics, add all the downloadable content and bring it to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 with the moniker of the Definitive Edition, you’d best believe we wanted to review this title.
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