After taking a look
at an early version of NBA 07 for the PSP, I was able to get my hands on the finished product to see how the game ended up. While I thought the preview version was a pretty good game, I had a small list of items that bothered me and appeared to be holding the game back. Most of these were part of the user experience related to control issues, lack of menus or general direction on how to play the game. With the second look, I'm happy to say that most of these were addressed in the final release, which makes the game just that much better.
The advance copy of the game appeared to have most of the graphics and audio fixed in place, which had some good attention to detail. There did not appear to be many changes in this area, and that is unfortunate because the face rendering system still does not do the players justice. I will mention that one major concern I had was the font on the menu's were difficult to read, but that appears to have been fixed through most of the game.
The game controls for the basketball play were a match for what I experienced in the advance copy, including the passing system which I discovered was easier when activated. The analog stick and d-pad still are a touch sloppy and can lead to some bad passes or your player not going where you want him too, but overall the controls meet expectations and don't impact the overall affect of the gameplay.
The gameplay in the advance copy also was close to being finished, but I noticed several tweaks where players reacted appropriately to match the situation. The skill level also seemed to impact the AI of the players, as the studs were more likely to make a play off the ball than some stiff you brought in because a guy was in foul trouble.
As before, the crown jewel of NBA 07 is in fact the mini games and multiple game modes. The single biggest improvement to the game from the advance copy was the addition of menu screens before most games explaining the controls and what the objectives were. Pop a shot came to life once it was known you had to pick the ball up first. The lone exception appears to be Dodgeball, which still lacks a menu screen explaining how to play and what the objective is. Possibly this was left out as it was a holdover from NBA 06, but would have been a nice addition.
I did try and hook up online to play some games, but after 30 minutes of trying around 4:30 in the afternoon, I gave up. There simply wasn't anyone online to compete against.
As I mentioned with the pre-release copy, NBA 07 is a great game for anyone, whether they are a basketball fan or not. The improvements made to enhance the user experience made the games that much better. If SCEA can come up with a few more items of unlockable content and come up with a decent dunk system, this game will continue to be a top performer.
Basketball, schmasketball. NBA '07 is all about the extra game modes. Dodgeball, Skee-ball, Pop-a-Shot, Pinball! Who needs to play any basketball. Seriously, NBA 07 will be appealing to anyone that enjoys playing games and keeping themselves entertained.
Rating: 8.2 Good
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
I spent the greater part of my informative years glued to the front of a Commodore 64 after we wore out our Intellivision. If you were in the Toledo area surfing C-64 bulletin boards in the mid 80's, we probably have already met. When not running the BBS, I spent countless hours wandering around the streets of Skara Brae, as my life was immersed in The Bard's Tale series on the C-64. After taking the early 90's off from gaming (college years) minus the occasional Bill Walsh College Football on Sega, I was re-introduced to PC games in the mid 1990's with a couple of little games called DOOM II and Diablo. I went all-in with the current generation of consoles, getting an Xbox 360 on launch weekend as well as adding a PS3 and Wii in subsequent years.
While my byline is on many reviews, articles and countless news stories, I have a passion for and spent the last several years at GamingNexus focusing on audio & video and accessories as they relate to gaming. Having over 15 years of Home Theater consulting and sales under my belt, it is quite enjoyable to spend some of my time viewing gaming through the A/V perspective. While I haven't yet made it to one of the major gaming conventions (PAX or E3), I have represented GamingNexus at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas for the last six years.
I have been a staff member at GamingNexus since 2006 and feel lucky to have the opportunity to put to use my B.A. in Journalism from The Ohio State University.