Friday, May 22, 2009


All right, yes, I know - twenty-four hours late. I'd like to report that this week's game was worth the wait, but let's be honest with ourselves here.

You know, it can't be easy to make a good sports game. After all, most hardcore gamers shy away from any and all physical activity whenever possible. Before the Wii came along and ruined everything, people were content to live vicariously through their favourite athletes by simply mashing buttons. But for such a game to be successful, it had to have that special something, that secret formula that would entice gamers to pull it off the shelf with their chubby little fingers and waddle off home for several hours of strenuous hand exercises.

So, does HardCourt have that je ne sais quoi that entertains and excites?

What are you, dense? Are you retarded, or something? This is Big Mean Flash Gamer.

So anyway, HardCourt features a series of one-on-one basketball contests, with the winner being whoever scores the most points within a certain time period. The player is given quite an impressive level of customisation, choosing the hair style and uniform of your character.

What makes HardCourt different from other basketball games on the Net is the ability to punch your opponent and leave him stunned while you throw high balls from the three point line. What this really means is that your character will be left doing his best Rodney King impression for much of the game, while Dennis Rodman here skips around the court and dunks baskets to his heart's content.

Even when you do get a chance to shoot for the hoop, it's hard to tell whether or not you actually scored. The angle from which we watch the action, and the poor movement of the characters, makes it very awkward to tell what's going on half the time. I didn't even realise I was in the lead for half the game until I caught a glimpse of the scoreboard. There is a "swoosh" sound effect that indicates a basket, but are you really going to be focusing on the sound when your opponent is shunting you to the floor?

The most annoying thing about HardCourt is the ridiculous Stamina bar. As your character runs around, he inevitably gets tired. That's OK, but this guy seems to have less athletic ability than a World of Warcraft addict. The stamina bar runs down after only a few seconds, giving your opponent ample opportunity to score points, or just to whack you to the floor before ambling up and putting the ball away.

Looser? Looser what? This typo is just the cherry on a crap cake, served steaming to the gaming masses. Basketball seems to be the toughest sport to turn into a game, but that's no excuse for this piss poor attempt. HardCourt is the Minnesota Timberwolves of online basketball - largely irrelevant.

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