FGR – 20th April 2011 – NBA Dynasty and Zombie Lane

Welcome to the Facebook Game Review! In this daily series (except perhaps on the weekends), I will be looking at, sharing my thoughts and giving verdicts on the hottest and coldest entrants to the Social Gaming ring. Each post will feature a new game, an update on existing ones, and a final score.

Sorry for no FGR yesterday! I was doing some real life FarmVille, shovelling, pushing wheel barrows and filling in a trench as a Landscaper for the day. It’s bloody hard work! It’s the next morning and I’m in agony. Also a little game called Portal 2 came out, so I played that in all the spare time I had!

Introducing… NBA Dynasty

Sports management games give me a weird feeling. I always like the idea of playing one, and I have played Football Manager on a number of occassions. However, I always give up and get bored after the transfer window closes! Perhaps I’m just not a very good manager, but I always seem to do badly. I like the idea of bringing a lower league team into the Premier League, but it’s boring down there! I had one good career as a virtual Football Manager. It was in Championship Manager 2: European Leagues, where I took Serie B team Salernitana and won everything with them! Since then I’ve failed with everyone.

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Pre-Coaching Simulation

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NBA Dynasty is a basketball coach simulation and it’s actually looking quite good. The problem with simulation games on Facebook is that they like to restrict the amount of games you can play, while management sims are generally based on huge addicted streaks. It’s a bit like Civilization. When you get into the game, you play it for 8 hours a day. This is tough on Facebook with energy. This is why I’ve avoided games such as FIFA Superstars.

Another reason is that they tend to use trading card mechanics. You can’t search players and then put in a bid for them. You have to buy a pack of players (and at the start you can only afford bad players) and pray that you get someone you either recognize or that has decent stats. You can’t uncover hidden gems, you can’t scout. Buying players is the most fun part of management sims and these games tend to get rid of it!

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4th Quarter Coaching

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NBA Dynasty changes some things around, by letting you search for players and play as much as you want. This is good. Unfortunately, superstar players cost real money and buying individual players is very expensive… but at least you have the option.

Overall it is quite simple, with a focus on the coaching side of the game rather than any upgrades to facilities or anything. You start with 10 players, you enter a game and you see a playthrough of the first 3 quarters. When it hits the 4th quarter, you start coaching. Coaching is actually quite interesting in this game, there are lots of little things you can tweak that set it apart from FIFA Superstars (for example).

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Highlight of the game

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Your players have stamina, so you must switch them out using Timeouts. There are hot and cold streaks, where a player can be shooting really well or really bad. There is the ‘go-to guy’, a status you can put on one person in your team which uses their energy quicker but makes sure you can take advantage of your strongest player, There are fouls, injuries and even momentum (which was just introduced in the last game I played). NBA Dynasty is by far the most tactical sports simulation I have played, which is brilliant.

So far, my only gripes is that it looks a bit crap. There’s no style at all on fonts, except in the in-game effects. The game came out today, with only 7500 MAU so I forgive it! One thing that is really cool is that at the end of the game there is a highlight. This is a short video of a certain one of your players doing something awesome. Yes it will be against a different team to the one you actually played, and will involve players that aren’t on your team… but damn it’s a cool feature anyway! I can’t wait to get Steve Nash so I can see his mesmerizing moves when I win a game!

Overall, NBA Dynasty is looking very good. There has been a lot of thought put into it and it’s not got the restrictions that other Facebook management sims have. Will be keeping a close eye on this one.

Daily Review

Zombie Lane

Quick Zombie Lane update. After punching a riot cop with my fireball gloves, I’ve been introduced to farming. Why can’t a game just not have farms?! Anyway, farming is in Zombie Lane and it serves another function as you can use it to get food (allowing you to purchase more energy). I also got a mission to upgrade my house, so I’m killing construction zombies to get the blueprints.

I say this all the time, but the way you’re guided through new features with a loose narrative is really nice. The more you play Zombie Lane the more you start to appreciate the things that are different from other Facebook games.

Tetris Battles

Not really much left to say on this one. It’s Tetris. It’s the same every time. This and Wine Guru haven’t really been very interesting to review!

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Sam

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