Review by strawhat

"Shaq is on the cover again, but the game's different."

Yes, NBA 2K7 looks eerily similar to the previous game. That's the biggest thing that critics have about this game. We all know that the Xbox 360 version of this game is much prettier and has more features than us PS2 owners can ever imagine. However, the PS2 version still has a lot to offer. There are new additions and improvements that you can never tell unless you pick up the game. Although its face is the same, the game has matured into something smoother and better, and I'm here to convince you of that.

You might notice that the graphics look really similar to the previous year's installment. It might even be the same for all I know. There are no clear graphical upgrades during the gameplay, which might be disappointing to a few of you. Although there really isn't anything new or improved about the visuals, you can't really complain about them. The players still look like their real-life counterparts, the courts look smooth and glossy, and nothing in particular is blocky or choppy. The lack of anything drastically improved is disappointing, but not a fault at all.

Although the game looks the same, it feels different when you play it. For those of you who played NBA 2K6, you probably noticed that even though it was a huge upgrade from 2K5, there were still many problems such as the fastbreak. The fastbreak has been improved greatly. You won't be cursing out your teammates for not running back, resulting in a four-on-one and two easy points for your opponent. NBA 2K7 is also no longer a dunkfest. You can't just pound the ball into the middle every time and use a power dunk with Eric freakin' Dampier and score 40 points every night.

NBA 2K7 also improved on its previous feature, the strip and rip. It's much more responsive now. You can pick off inbound passes more easily, as well as the opposing team if you're not careful. You can't just chuck the ball inbounds. Passing is another thing that has been noticeably improved. Passing to a post player requires timing. You can't throw a lead pass towards the basket and expect your man to catch it with three people surrounding him. And that will happen because yes, defense has also been improved. This is probably my favorite improvement of this game. Whenever you get a strong player into the post, he WILL be doubled. Passing out of the double is a bit harder and you must be quicker doing it. Defending players will also swarm players that drive into the lane making those layups harder to execute and keeps passing in the back of your mind, improving the flow of the game and making it feel more realistic.

No longer can you kill the opposing team with a single play. Pick and rolls take longer to execute, are not as strong, AND you face the double inside. Post players will have more trouble banging against someone with two other dude waiting to swipe at the ball. As I said before, defense has stepped up a lot this year. Although offense still exists, it has been cleaned up a bit so the games have more of a rhythm and you can't dunk over everybody. The quality is still there, you just have to be better at making plays and making the extra pass, just like real basketball.

The last thing that's mentioned pretty often are signature shots. Although the 360 version of the game has a much greater quantity, it's still awesome seeing Shawn Marion's funky frog shot, or Tracy McGrady's kick as he shoots. Only superstars have their signature shots in this game like Dirk Nowitzki(and a few others like Antoine Walker), but it's still really cool seeing them in action and adds to the realism of the game.

Numbers have always been an important part of the game, and boy does NBA 2K7 have them. Each player has more tendency stats. You have the hook shot, fadeaway, contested shot, foul, and other tendency stats. It's great to see Antoine Walker butching a fastbreak layup, just like in real life. And as usual, it's wonderful to see those new faces on new team. Roster updates are always something nice, although the same portrait were used for each player that was in the game last year, something I wish they updated. Don't worry, rookies and their portraits are in there. Theirs are the only new ones.

Association Mode is the most popular mode to play offline. It has some new additions. Multiple players in association is back, so you can play more than one team in one association. Up to eight players as a matter of fact. You can also do three team deals. Trades have been made a bit harder in the game. Teams don't really appreciate first rounders as much as in 2K5, so no more Greg Buckner and a 1st rounder for Tim Duncan anymore. There aren't really too many other changes. The rest is just like 2K6, which IS a good thing. Why fix what's not broken?

NBA 2K7 does many things great. Although it looks like 2K6, it really isn't. So many aspects of the gameplay are improved, something you wouldn't notice until you actually pick up and play the game. Defense and passing were greatly improved, and offense was toned down a bit so you won't get such outrageous scores. The sliders are already great at default settings and the game plays very smooth. Then there's always the addition of signature shots, giving you a small taste of how realistic video games can be now. The Xbox 360 version of NBA 2K7 is definitely better and has the more obvious visual changes, but the PS2 version is still great too. Although it looks like you're playing the same game as NBA 2K6, you're not, and you'll realize that as soon as you start.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 10/02/06, Updated 10/09/06

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