Mike Carabajal

I recently had to take advantage of the extended warranty that the 360 had to offer. I got the news here on the Big Orange Machine and an email with the number to customer service. In about 15 minutes they had my serial number down and a box shipping over to my house so they can repair problems I have had with reading discs.

I hate, and I mean hate customer service with a passion, but this was so easy I recommend doing it to anyone still in the time frame having the slightest problem with their box. I will however be out of an Xbox for three weeks, as such I’ll Game Fly Final Fantasy XI and give it a run.

Beckham shreds.

I just wanted to take time to say that I wish everyone a Happy Holiday, and to thank all our visitors this year. We are very close to celebrating the Snackbar Birthday, so I love to reflect on the birth of the orange machine to what it has become. This year has had by far been the most user participation we have ever had. From our writing staff, to our contributors and of course the forum members.

Special thanks to those who have stepped up and said I want to contribute and be a part of an online community. Im talking about all our amazing writers, our wonderful editor Whoa, and Piniata who has stepped up tremendously and done a wonderful job. All those who helped with the podcast, Deebs, Wytefang we thank you too.

Cone, Dots, Pretz, Wayne and myself give all of you guys a great big thanks. We appreciate everything you all do for us you guys really make this your site, and your community. Soon it will roll into 2007, and we expect another great year for Snackbar Games. We are always open to have people help with writing, or doing whatever you want to get your voice out on the net. We will do what we can to help you make this place more yours as always. Huzzzah!

Neverwinter Nights 2

December 20, 2006

Get out your monster guides, DM handbooks, and twenty sided dice, and then throw them out the window. [i]Dungeons and Dragons[/i] once again makes its way to your computer with the release of [i]Neverwinter Nights 2[/i]. The first [i]Neverwinter Nights[/i] delivered an excellent single player campaign, but moreover, it offered a toolset that let the community create its own role-playing or hack-and-slash worlds to be shared with their friends. Obsidian takes over development from mega award winning uber developer Bioware. Could Obsidian take the franchise and run, or would they fall flat on their face? Depends on whom you ask.

[heading]Two types of people to please.[/heading]

There are two types of people whom [i]Neverwinter Nights[/i] appealed to. You had people who wanted a [i]Dungeons and Dragons[/i] experience to play by themselves, with a rich storyline full of dungeon crawling, riddles, and a little bit of hack-and-slash (err a whole lot). Then you had those people who wanted to birth their own realm, invite their friends to play, and then take the game to a whole new direction.

Let’s not beat around the bush; [i]NWN 2[/i] offers a cinematic experience much like [i]Knights of the Old Republic[/i]. Your main conversations happen in cut scenes, you experience the drama of well-done storytelling, and your character interacts with the world and your companions brilliantly.

On the other hand, bringing a friend along to enjoy the campaign co-operatively is a mess. Because of the nature of the storytelling and cut scenes, whoever instigates a conversation will interrupt whatever the other co-op players are doing. If one player enters a house, all enter the house; it’s annoying and downright unplayable. Don’t have friends that want to play with you is really the bottom line. If you’re going solo, you should enjoy your experience; it’s worthwhile.

[heading]More the same, which isn’t a bad thing.[/heading]

[i]NWN 2[/i] has had a graphical overhaul, but much of the original is reused. The same sound effects, voices, and music are all repeated and very noticeable. New to the game are the subraces and stat adjustments right from character creation. Like in all [i]DnD[/i] games, you build your player, select a class, and then adjust your stats. In this rendition of NWN, you have more flexibility in what your character looks like and his subclass (for instance Drow get bonuses but level very slowly) among many other benefits from rulebook 3.5. It’s a deeper experience than its previous installment.

The gameplay is not changed much- you take quests and get henchmen, whom you can control and level grind. Gone is the clicking system from [i]NWN 1[/i]; the circular right click is gone in exchange for a more drop-down method. While you get used to it, the old system is very intuitive and easy; I wish they would have kept it.

All and all the game is familiar territory. Find dungeon, battle out the baddies, get your new gear, and level up. A fun formula in its simplicity, but thanks to the stat masters that are DnD, leveling up and customizing your character is a unique experience; you have total control of how you build and role-play and affect your companions.

[heading]Satisfactory, but under delivered – Obsidian M.O.[/heading]

Obsidian has under delivered on the multiplayer aspect of the game. The DM client is in beta and pretty much rendered useless at the time this review is written. One of the main aspects that made [i]NWN 1[/i] so ground breaking was the ability to run a plot for your friends. You could really take advantage of the community that made their own modules, and have a Dungeon Master create interaction between players.

While I was most anticipating this aspect of the game, I will have to wait longer. Once again I only question why the release was done when this game is half complete. Make no mistake about it-[i]Neverwinter Nights[/i] is about both the single player campaign and the ability to play with friends.

Obsidian is getting a bad rap, which is unfortunate because they are very talented. Either way the single player experience alone is worth the cost; it’s a well made game, but do not expect to throw out [i]NWN 1[/i] just yet. It’s the only way to get your role-play online for the time being. Personally I don’t expect many development dollars to be spent to see the DM Client finished to the satisfaction of the community. That is a sad state of affairs indeed.


November 28, 2006

The beautiful game, the world’s game, football, soccer, whatever you want to call it, you cannot call it a best seller. With the sport having such a global reach it is hard to argue that the [i]FIFA[/i] series is one of the highest selling games of all time. Although EA Sports has puttered through its next-gen transition with this franchise, its first real attempt is now on store shelves ready for you to pick up. Is it worth the wait? Maybe, depending on your expectations, that is.

[heading]A Brief History of Time[/heading]

Allow me to go through the next-time line for you. First they released (alongside the past generation console versions of [i]FIFA[/i]) [i]FIFA 06 Road to the World Cup[/i]. Many bought this game expecting to get their footy on; however all it was the World Cup game with the qualifying kits on the teams. Weak? Yes, however EA pulled out all the stops for the wonderfully made World Cup Edition, with of course only country teams in the game, no clubs.

They then took a step back, literally to the drawing board. The result is [i]FIFA 07[/i], a totally redone game with its own set of features but only 7 available leagues to play, so fans like me are still waiting for their countries’ leagues to be available. This outraged many fans, and EA’s reasoning was the fact that since the game was redone in totality, they did not have enough time to go through the massive amount of players and leagues it usually comes out with. So now at year two, we Americans still have no MLS unless we buy past generation, that is.

[heading]Getting Into the Beauty[/heading]

While I love playing with my home league, the leagues that are in the game are the ones that really count, the Euro Leagues including: English, Spanish, Italian, French, German, Mexican, World, and International Leagues. While not the lineup we expect, you can get some excellent clubs out of those, and arguably, the clubs with the most hardware to prove it as well. What about the actual game? Allow me to explain.

In the past, you could take any player to the corner and swing a cross to the middle with pinpoint accuracy. It was annoying and one of the reasons purists gave the [i]FIFA[/i] series the “arcadey” title. [i]FIFA[/i] was easy- one button presses for skill moves, perfect passes and crosses; I mean this game was fun but with an emphasis on scoring.

EA has not made the ball its own object with its own physics, so the football you get is pretty close to a chaotic representation of what you see on your television. Balls bounce every which way, players fight each other for control, and there is a clumsiness to running with the ball and trying to change direction. It is frustrating at first, but when the ball is in the air and players challenge for it, you are seeing a pretty spot on translation of what you should see.

The football in the game is excellent, with an emphasis on control and finding space. There is also a much more important midfield battle for getting the ball to the teams scoring third. With the ball being its own object, the player with control of it really has control of the ball, and instead of a one button skill move, players with high dribbling stats can really pull some amazing moves with the analog stick. The stick reacts to touch, so if you have someone like C. Ronaldo, then you can expect to pull of some great moves that leave the defender embarrassed. You can say that you, the player, pull off the skill moves yourself. The result is some “Ohhhh” moments all throughout the game. Overall the gameplay itself is brilliant.

Also you have a new shooting button that allows you to be more precise with your shots at the cost of power. These are excellent for free kicks as you can just bend the ball right into the net behind the goalie, finally.


As you can expect, there is a manager mode still where you take your team and try to fulfill expectations of the club; if you don’t, you get canned. In this mode it’s more of the same- you can get transfers, scout for youngsters, and pretty much build a club from the ground up. Although, you have access to every club in the team, so a club like Manchester United really has all it needs, so you can try to take the league title if you want.

Challenge mode is another feature that gives you objectives to complete, a nice touch, but manager mode is where it is at.

You can also now practice your one on one right there on the menu. Although no team is there, you can try out the new dribbling and finesse shots. Gone is practice mode. Another cut, argh.

Take the game online and participate in Live tourneys where if your team is not doing so hot, you can take control yourself, if you are into that.

The modes in the game are a step back. Again you can assume the fact that the rework of the game itself is to blame. The footy that is here is wonderful. Though a part of me wants to create my own tourney or play in the various tourneys clubs participate in throughout the year.


The game is lacking in features and clubs, and a whole lot, but why am I so into it? For one, the presentation is amazing. The game brings you into the stadium (Although I wish you could pick a Spanish announcer like you used to; something about listening to the English folk call a Mexican League game bugs me). This game, despite its lack thereof-s, is beautiful. The game plays just so remarkably that EA has literally (to me at least) bought themselves some understanding. While it is unacceptable to under-deliver, the footy itself is a polished gem. I understand why some people remain upset; I wish they would have just released the game later with everything attached, but so is the world we live in.

Rent this bad boy if you are hesitant. If not, then pick it up and grab a friend and play.

Public Apology to EA

November 4, 2006

Dear EA,

Allow me to show how sorry I am for speaking ill of FIFA 07 for the Xbox 360. Understand that I am upset that not all teams are in the game, however after playing the game I do leave with a bit of understanding. This game is one of the few times I have seen a sports game, completely changed. This is like no other football game I have played, its footy like I see it on TV. Thank you, please work hard to bring me all the clubs from all the leagues as promised but you have bought yourself another 365 days of understanding due to this amazing game. Thanks.

Your friend again,