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NBA '07: Conquest and Basketball

When it comes to handheld basketball, Sonyís NBA series has been hit and miss. The series' launch debut was less than spectacular, but was followed up by a decidedly better í06 version. The game wasnít without its flaws, but it did show potential. As with any good series, NBA 07 aims to fix problem areas in the last two versions while also adding a number of new additions.

All of the game modes from previous yearís versions will once again be featured in this yearís. These include Exhibition, Season and Play-Off modes, as well as a number of mini-games. The returning mini-games havenít changed much. In HORSE, you try to force your opponent to spell horse by missing shots. In 3 Point Challenge, you try to score as many 3 pointers against a defender. My personal favorite mode, Dodgeball, also makes a return.

The already existing mini-games are joined by Carnival mode, which is a collection of basketball themed arcade games similar to what you might find on a carnival fairway. One game has you making as many baskets as you can in a set amount of time, while another has you trying to make a series of shots for different scores (think skee ball). As you complete games, you earn points that you can spend on various items like movies, throwback jerseys and classic teams.

Among the new modes in NBA '07 is Conquest, which is sort of like Risk, only with basketballs instead of cannon balls. Here, five man teams battle for territory on a map. Each time you win, you take over the opposing teamís territory and assimilate their team into your own. If you fail to conquer the city or successfully defend your own, you must swap players with the opposing city. Rather than playing for points, each basket will drain points from the opposing teamís life bar.

The traditional 5-on-5 gameplay will also see a number of new features and tweaks. Chief among these is a more aggressive A.I., which should lead to stronger on court gameplay and a better all around game.

From a visual standpoint, NBA '07 improves on what was already a decent package. Animations have been expanded and player models have been touched up a bit. Sound has also been tweaked to include new player introductions and commentary.

Having played previous installments, it was easy to see the marked number of improvements Sony has made from the Ď06 version. Time will tell if NBA '07 is able to deliver that one great portable basketball experience, but so far things are looking good.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker
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