Review by Chaos Control

"Feels like a real NBA game, but with a few minor miscalculations"

2K Sports brings basketball back to the PS2, and this year's game looks sharp and clear. While it is similar to NBA 2k6 is many ways, the presentation this year is almost a perfect simulation of a real NBA game. The game starts out quick, with a pre-game talk and then the opening tip off. This is an excellent game when you've got friends over.

Game play:

The game play certainly shines, because there are so many possible ways to score and defend. During a fast break, the computer AI will actually play some defense, meaning that you won't be dunking for two easy points. Speaking of dunks, the cheapness of power moves has been toned down. No longer can Shaq use a power move and dunk on every possession. The game balance has actually been improved, because you won't be seeing Steve Nash dunk the ball!

The offensive computer AI can be really boring at times, because for some reason, the ball is always in the hands of the point guard, and the point guard is the one that takes 30 shots a game and scores half his teams' points.

There are sliders in this game that will give you the power to severely imbalance your game play. Even when shooting percentage set to the default value (50), both teams will still be shooting over 50%. When the slider is set to 70, both teams will be shooting 80-90%! Sure, this does defeat the purpose of defense, but it is hilarious to watch Shaq pull up for a three at the top of the key… and make it… twice… while other players like Gilbert Arenas put down 11 threes in one quarter.

During a game, a player can pause the game and view a checklist of accomplishments. After achieving a certain goal, like getting a double-double with any player or scoring over 100 points, the game will reward you with points that you can save to your VIP profile. A player can use these points to purchase fan gear and other team paraphernalia, including several mini games as well.

There are also many different game modes that will soak up a lot of time. There is a Franchise mode that experienced gamers will be familiar with. Become the general manage who will draft and sign players. You can even assign practice drills to players to help him improve. Just be sure to watch your budget. There is a situation mode where you can set up any scenario between two different teams. You can set up a situation where the game is tied with 5 seconds left to play and try to get the winning three point shot… with Shaq. There is a comprehensive practice mode where two teams go on the court at the same time, much like the pre-game shootout.

The game play is certainly a plus factor for this game and if anything, is the reason why this is the best NBA game out this year.

Controls:

Like any sports games, there are quite a lot of controls to memorize, whether it is on offense, defense, or free throws. Those who have played last years game would be more familiar with the controls. The R1 button is one worth mentioning. It allows the player to turbo, but by combining it with the left control stick, the player can perform amazing crossovers and drive to the hoop. The player can also post up and put down a one handed shot. After a few exhibition matches, the controls should become more second nature.

Graphics:

The graphics are really good and really odd at the same time. It is really good because the team uniforms and arenas look almost exactly like the real thing. The player shots look exactly like they do in real life, as you will instantly recognize Kobe Bryant's signature jump shot. At some points in the game, the game will pause for a moment and show you the scorecard for one player who is having a monstrous game, which is what they do in real life.The pre-game and halftime shows look pretty convincing too, if only they weren't rinsed and repeated every game. The player's faces either look like the real person, or nothing like him. Some of the coaches look a little disfigured.

The dunks look great, and the backboard shakes with the impact, too. Another good detail is the net, which will swish after a shot like it would in real life. Sometimes, it will seem like the ball passed through the actual net itself. There is a certain shine factor that is a bit overdone. The basketball court and players do look very good, but the uniforms do look a little too shiny, like it was made of metal. There are no “paper” fans, as the crowd looks 3D and make individual movements. The only aspect I find a little odd is the movement of the players, especially the passes. The passes feel kind of unusual, and the player motions are sometimes choppy. Otherwise, the graphics are above average and another positive factor for this game.

Sound:

The standard sounds of basketball are present, which is good. The swish sound that is made when the ball goes through the hoop is very satisfying, and the ball can even rattle against the hoop. Shoes squeak from contact with the ground, and the referee whistles also sound real. The color commentary is very nicely done, because the announcers to make relevant comments and even show some enthusiasm. They don't really have a large script, so they will repeat themselves. The pre-game and halftime shows sound nice as well.

The music… isn't really as impressive. The jukebox songs are mostly rap related to basketball, as you will hear many top NBA players' names chanted. The point of NBA 2k7 is game play and graphics, not so much the music. On a side note, the pre-game music is exactly the same as the single track for MLB 2k6, so 2K sports is doing a bit of recycling.

Playtime:

You can choose how long each game will last, and the clock keeps real time. On average, each exhibition match should take about a half hour. This is the most impressive NBA game out this year, so players can expect this game to last until NBA 2k8 is released. The Association, or the “Franchise Mode” will actually take quite a lot of time, to those who have the patience to finish it. Casual gamers will be more than satisfied with messing around with exhibition and practice modes.

Replayability:

The replayability is high, not just because of the team depth and many game modes, but because it has many hilarious moments. When I said “minor miscalculations”, I was referring to the fact that ANY player can swish a three. It's just so ridiculous to have you big man throw down the game winning three from 27 feet out. You won't get tired of this game.

Final Recommendation:

This game is cheap now, with a new copy up for $20. At a local EB Games, you can pick up this game used for $17. This game is a fantastic buy that is worth the price. I recommend that you pick this up as soon as possible, as this complete package will bring some good times.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 03/28/07


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