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NBA 07
Score: 60%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America
Developer: SCEA San Diego Studio
Media: Blu-ray/1
Players: 1 - 4 (Online)
Genre: Sports (Basketball)

Graphics & Sound:
NBA 07 runs at a resolution of 1080p, something the game does makes sure to point out. While few of us will ever get a chance to see the game running at that resolution, what we will see is stronger than past efforts, but nothing that shows off what the PS3 can do.

Players showcase fluid animations and show a range of emotions during the game. At the same time, players have a fake look and the transitions between the otherwise fluid animations are rather stiff. There is a noticeable plastic sheen on players than makes them look like the old Starting Lineup figures that were popular back in the early 90's. The only thing that keeps the players from looking completely plastic is the movement of fabric, but even these have a thick, unnatural bulk to them. Players also have a tendency to pass through most in-game objects, including other players.

Except for the PA announcer, NBA 07 features no in-game commentary. I still canít figure out why this was left out in the first place, especially when the PSP version manages to include it (along with a host of other gameplay optionsÖ but more on that later). Other than a few clips of music, the atmosphere of arenas is completely dead.


Gameplay:
NBA 07 is a different game than the PS2 and PSP versions. You still have normal game modes like Quick Play and Season, but it is also missing several aspects found in the PS2 version, namely ďThe LifeĒ, a game within a game of sorts where you lived the off-the-court life of a player. It didnít add a whole lot to the game, but it was that little something different that made it stand out.

One new addition is NBA Replay, where you get to play through memorable moments from the '05 Ė '06 NBA season. Each situation is broken down into a set of performance-based goals like scoring, assists or rebounds. In addition, you can also try and complete bonus objectives that are usually harder than the main objectives. Challenges are unlocked as you complete previous ones. As the current season unfolds, moments from the current season will also be uploaded, adding a little more longevity to the game. How well this works out remains to be seen though, so check back for an update later in the season.

A very basic online mode is available, though it doesnít offer much.


Difficulty:
Player A.I. has been upgraded with the jump to the PS3. It isnít a major leap beyond past games, but it is still noticeable. Players are more active in games and react to situations rather than taking a few plays off. The A.I. also adapts to your tactics quickly, forcing you to vary your strategy, so you canít find that one thing that works and keep doing it the entire game.

On defense, the A.I. will actively try and block shots, go for rebounds and basically try to foil your game plan. Of course, the A.I. still has its flaws that can be exploited; they just arenít as apparent as in previous games and happen with less frequency.

There are a few minor cases where the A.I. will outright cheat. Violations and fouls are called when nothing even happens; yet not called when the infractions are blatant. Also, once or twice I noticed a player stepping out of bounds and not getting called on it. A.I.-controlled players are also masters at stealing the ball, even when youíre more or less just handing it to your teammate.


Game Mechanics:
NBA 07 holds onto the colored shot system used in previous installments. Before shooting, a colored halo appears around the ball. If you release the shot button while the halo is red, your chances of making the shot arenít very good. Yellow means you have a pretty good chance, while green indicates that youíll more than likely make the basket. The mechanics donít change, though the haloís appearance feels just a little faster than it was in other games. It isnít so drastic that it is impossible to shoot, but it will take some adjustment if youíve developed a rhythm from past games.

NBA 07 also makes use of the Sixaxis controller. By moving the controller forward or back, you can hesitate for a step. Twisting the controller allows you to perform spins, and crossovers are performed by moving the controller to the side. The concept is neat, though it really doesnít work all that well. Movements are easy to perform, but the controller doesnít always respond to the movements you make. Sometimes there is a slight lapse in time between the movement and on-screen action, while other times it wouldnít work. I found that the more exaggerated my movements were, the more likely it was for the move to work. But, if youíre not too keen on flailing your arms around like a spastic monkey, you can always just stick to the right analog stick.

The deal killer is that the PS3 version costs $20 more than the PSP and PS2 versions, both of which are superior versions of the same game. NBA 07 is not a bad game of basketball. It manages the basics well and tries some new things, but at the same time, it doesnít take many risks nor does it try to excel at anything, making it hard to compete with a much stronger NBA 2K7.


-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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