NBA Showdown delivers in the presentation department. The game sticks to the more realistic-vision of the game seen in NBA Street Volume 3 rather than the over-exaggerated style seen in the game’s first two iterations. As with other PS2-to-PSP ports, the game is slightly pared down, yet still manages to have a nice, fluid look. It’s still amazing to think that these types of visuals are coming out of a handheld. A few slight enhancements have been made to the game to make it a little better-suited for the PSP’s smaller screen. Numbers and names are slightly bigger to help them stand out and the action doesn’t get so fast that it blurs up the screen, making it hard to tell what’s going on.
The absence of commentary is a welcome addition – or should I say subtraction – to Showdown. I’ve never liked the commentary in NBA Street, so I didn’t miss the constant jawing of DJ during the game. There are still a few choice comments used during big plays, but overall you’ll really only hear the background music during games.
Showdown uses the same soundtrack as Volume 3 and is heavy on the hip-hop. Tracks include De La Soul’s “Me, Myself and I” and House of Pain’s “Jump Around”, just to give you a taste of what to expect. How much you like the soundtrack will depend greatly on your personal feelings towards hip-hop, but even if you don’t particularly like it, it works well enough within the context of the game.