NBA 2K7 PS3 Review
Sports games, especially the kind that get released each and every year, are the most difficult games to review. Even worse are the kind of sports games that are of high quality as the developer wants to change very little of their product as they don’t want to break the winning formula they have hit upon. Now, in case you have not been keeping up to date, NBA 2K7 is one of the games I speak of. Throughout the past few years, and across numerous consoles, it has offered gamers some of the best basketball action possible so what more can it to try and keep itself at the top of the pile?
Well, for a quick answer to the question that ended the last paragraph it would be easy to say that not a whole lot. In fact, once again NBA 2K7, just like its predecessor, is more a case of a few small tweaks here, and a new mode there. The game however is still as great as it always as been and is a joy to play, especially if you have in-depth knowledge of the sport involved.
As any series regular will tell you, the NBA 2K series boasts a staggering number of different modes and options and things have not changed for this edition! From the menu screen you are able to access Quick Play (which speaks for itself), 24/7, (which is basically a mini version of NBA street with 2 on 2 matches!) Season (also speaks for itself), The Association (puts you in charge of an NBA franchise), tournaments (you should know by now!), and an online mode (go on guess!).
For a game that prides itself on realism I found the 24/7 mode to be a whole load of fun as you can create your own player and start of at the very bottom to work your way up and gain rep as you play on concrete courts in front of a little crowd. Personally I found Association mode a little too much for me to handle as it gave me nearly too much to do with general manager duties, asking me to basically manage a whole team, and checking endless stats along a whole load of other options. The mode is very in-depth, and I can see how it would appeal to someone but it was just too much for me! Online also has loads of options that could keep you playing well until the next version of the game arrives. Tournaments, 30 player leagues, and basic one-on-one battles are all available to play so there is something there for everyone. Even better is the fact you can give detailed feedback after every match to warn other players if you found a sore loser or, in the best case scenario, if you found someone who is fun to play and a welcome addition to the NBA 2K7 community.
The only notable change between the PS3 version of NBA 2K7 and the other console versions is the inclusion of some Sixaxis motion-sensing capabilities for free throws. The idea behind its inclusion is that you mimic a free throw by tilting the controller back and then tilt it forward again as the ball is being released. Unfortunately in practice the idea does not seem to work very well, and I personally had very little success when using it as my timing always seem to be off. Also different players seem to have different throw animations which does not help when you are trying to learn something that is already very difficult to grasp!
Undoubtedly, the game is at its best played online or with a friend sitting smack-dab beside you but for those looking to work their way through the multitude of single player modes described above there is the good news that the AI has received a bit of a reworking. The changes the upgraded AI bring sees the CPU-controlled player acting slightly more realistically. The most notable of the changes is that they now seem to notice when the end of a quarter is approaching, and if they are behind at the time they push forward and try to get the crucial points needed. Of course, some bugs still rear their heads and if you are in for the long haul you will most likely notice a vast selection of them though the course of a season. None of them however, ruin the game and they are usually just one off annoyances that appear usually never to be seen again.
In terms of visuals there is no doubt the game looks great, with most of the players, particularly the well known ones, being a joy to behold on a capable display… the game even supports 1080p if your TV is up to it! Other little effects such as the reflection on the court, the animation and flow of the player jerseys, and even the sweat all add to the realistic feeling the game tries to set. Another graphical aspect of the game that Visual Concepts and 2K seem happy to boast about is the game’s new signature-style animations. These supposedly give most of the big name NBA players a unique look and drastically alter how to move when playing the game. If some players throw a free throw differently, has their own way of jumping, or have a unique style of shooting or dunking, it is all supposed to be captured in game to give 2K7 an air of authenticity. Personally, even though I love to watch a bit of basketball I did not notice many of signature styles in the game and I’d be willing to bet the majority of people that pick up the game on Euro shores will not be that impressed either. However, if you are a big time basketball fan there is no doubt this is a very nice touch to help immerse you in the game.
In terms of audio things are not as hot, but in all honesty the audio has never been particularly impressive in any of the series’ iterations. The two main commentators – Kevin Harlan and Kenny Smith – put up a respectable job of calling the action but if you compare it to what is on show in recent Madden and FIFA titles it sounds very repetitive. Even worse, some of the phrases come off rather lifeless and have the feeling the two guys were getting a bit bored coming to the end of their recording session. On court things are much, much better as the players talk amongst themselves and call out when they are open and want the ball. Finally, there is the game’s soundtrack which is 100% hip-hop. It’s the kind of soundtrack you will either love or hate so if you find yourself in the latter then thankfully there is an option to turn the music off.
When all is said a done, NBA 2K7 is another fantastic edition to the now long running series that started life on the Dreamcast seven years ago. It terms of gameplay it does very little different than its predecessor, and as such is not a necessity to pick up once again. Nevertheless, fans will most likely want to get their hands on it for the small changes and extra modes it brings to the table. In closing I would say that if you were still playing NBA 2K6 for months after you bought it then there is a great chance you will be doing exactly the same with this year’s version should you choose to buy it… in fact I’d be willing to guess you’ll be doing the exactly same thing with 2K8, but I don’t blame you!
The best basketball game your money can buy.