By Ryan McNeill
Every October I head out to Best Buy to purchase the latest NBA video game and most years I pick up NBA Live. This year I thought about going with my traditional pick but during the past week I noticed on a short clip You Tube showing all the glitches in NBA Live and read an online report about possible glitches with NBA Live. Instead of forking out $50 on a game that’s full of problems I elected to switch it up and try a new game instead. I thought about checking out 2K7 but elected to go with Sony’s NBA ‘07 – despite the fact that they have Kobe “Black Mamba” Bryant on the cover.
This game had all the same features that I’m used to with NBA Live but they’ve added a couple more options that I had a blast using. The Play Station version has two cool options that I liked in Eye Toy Functionality and Character Fidelity Engine. Eye Toy Functionality allows you take a snapshot of your head and then put your head onto the body of any NBA player in their system and Character Fidelity Engine is a feature that involves facial mapping of NBA athletes, realistic head shapes, expressions and attitudes.
One of the in-game features that I really enjoyed was Conquest mode. With this style of play you were able to challenge NBA squads in a game of “territory” that provided a fun balance between strategy, basketball knowledge and gameplay skills. Earlier this spring I noticed that EA Sports produced a game in association with the NFL called “NFL Head Coach” and this is the closest match to this that I’ve seen for basketball fans. In NFL game you are given complete control over a NFL team – hiring a coaching staff, running a draft each spring, calling plays during games, deciding which players to play each week, what plays to run during games – and this hoops game by Sony is the most comparable option to that for basketball fans. While playing in “Conquest Mode” In NBA ‘07 you get to take control of a team and then play other teams while adding a player from each team that you beat. You need to realize who your opponents top players are and what players on any team you beat can fill holes on your squad. This was a fun way to use a bit of strategy while also playing a “streetball” style of game.
Another feature that I love using was the pick-up mode. In this mode the computer randomly gives you and your opponent teams with 10 NBA players and then you compete in an outdoor full-court game. This didn’t require nearly as much strategy or thinking and was just a fun game to play because it reminded me of playing hoops in the summer with buddies.
My buddy Matt – who’s the artist and designer for the Hoops Addict Magazine – isn’t a big basketball fan but he enjoyed playing all the Carnival Games that were included (Pop-A-Shot, Pinball and Skee-Ball). We also duked it out playing dodgeball, H.O.R.S.E and competed in a Slam Dunk Contest. The bonus games that are included with this game are tight so even if you aren’t a huge basketball addict you’ll still enjoy playing this game.
After spending my entire weekend playing this game I’m happy to announce that I wasn’t disappointed with my choice. Between all the fun carnival games, the streetball/gm style of Conquest mode and the great format of their League play this game was hard for me to put down.
If you’re looking for a fun NBA game that isn’t full of glitches I’d highly recommend Sony’s NBA ‘07 for your PSP.