Graphics:
7.0
Gameplay:
6.0
Sound:
2.0
Control:
7.5
Replay Value:
5.0
Online Gameplay:
4.0
Overall Rating:
5.9
Publisher:
SCEA
Developer:
SCEA
Number Of Players:
1-8 Players
Genre:
Genre
Release Date:


Let's face it, outside of the MLB franchise,
Sony's sports endeavors really have little going for them. At one
point NFL GameDay was the reigning champ of football games, but
Madden would take the crown in 1999 and Sony never got it back.
The now defunct 989 Sports has been blamed for ultimately
destroying all of Sony's credibility as a sports game publisher.
But things seem to be picking up. As mentioned earlier, the MLB
series is not one to be forgotten about; it's the premier
baseball sim on the market. But as of late, Sony's been giving a
lot of focus to their NBA games and understandably so. The NBA
series has been seeing some improvements as of late. The PSP's
version of NBA 06 garnered some pretty decent reviews, and was
received almost on par with EA's NBA Live 06. But as EA gets
lazier with their franchises (NBA Live 07 and Madden NFL 07),
Sony is getting a little wiser. As one of two NBA titles present
on the PS3 (NBA 2K7 being the second), how well does NBA 07's
first foray into next-gen stack up? Surprisingly…not as bad as
I thought it would.

What surprises me the most about NBA 07 is that
it feels pretty fluid. It controls well and the shooting system
feels nice. In NBA 07 you make your shots by holding the circle
button until the shot meter highlights green. Obviously if you
don't hold it long enough you'll shoot a brick. Likewise, if you
hold it too long, the same will occur. On the harder difficulties
the technique will require some finesse and solid timing. Where
as in Rookie, completing a shot takes absolutely no effort; as
the meter will have a much larger chunk of green in it than in
the other difficulties. Free throws also don't feature any quirky
or frustrating techniques, and are done using the same shot meter
just mentioned. Controls are pretty easy to master, and use of
the SIXAXIS is made decently by allowing the player to juke, spin
and do crossovers (likewise you can do all of that with the right
analog stick too).

But NBA 07 is pretty barebones as far as sim games go. There
aren't a whole lot of management options to tinker with unlike
Visual Concepts' NBA 2K7. Essentially what you have is a quick
game, online play, a season, and playoffs. Honestly, it's hard to
recommend a $60 purchase this barebones when you have another
game as complete as NBA 2K7 out there. The A.I isn't very smart,
either. There seems to be issues with missed calls, but primarily
the athletes doing the wrong things. For instance, Manu Ginobili
covering Ben Wallace? Shaq stepping behind the three point line
asking for a pass? Must I go on? It doesn't happen all the time,
and these issues seem to even themselves out on harder
difficulties, but the fact that something as elementary as that
is present really demonstrates some poor A.I. work.

Much like Madden 07, there are mini-games in NBA
07, as well. But much like Madden once more, the mini-games
aren't very good. Own the court is sort of fun for the first
three or four times, but it loses its novelty quick. The 3-point
shootout is always good fun, but only if you've got someone else
to play with. The lack of a HORSE, street ball, or Around the
World mini-game is sort of a sore spot, as it's certainly
something that would've helped the value of the game. The online
mode is feature-less, as well. But it can be decent fun if you
just want to play a quick pick-up game. So if you manage to pick
up a copy of the game for a decent price, give it a shot; the
gameplay mechanics make playing this game online fairly
enjoyable.

It's unfortunate that there is no career-like mode present for
the gamer to dive into and spend countless hours on. NBA 07 does
offer a mode called NBA Replay, where you have to successfully
re-enact various highlights taken through the 2005/06 NBA season.
The game will detail a certain criteria you have to meet in order
to complete the challenge during the allotted time. There's a
plethora of these Replay scenarios to complete, but some of them
can be fairly confusing at times. Still, the feature doesn't
quite stack up or numb the pain of a missing core mode.

The foundation of NBA 07 is a solid one. Sony's
got a good playing b-ball game on their hands and all they need
to do is just put some weight on it. A full blown career mode
complete with management options, as well a mode where you can
turn a custom player from rags-to-riches would be ideal.
Otherwise, right now the game is more of a feature-less tech-demo
showcasing some of the PS3's brute.

Yes, brute. NBA 07 may not be filled with a
magnitude of features, but there's no denying that it can be one
pretty looking game. Sony goes all out to point out that this
game is capable of running 1080p. Not only does the game have it
imprinted on the front of the box and the back of the box, but
also when the game starts up and you're greeted with a large
'1080p compatible' splash-screen. But 1080p isn't something we'd
recommend, as the frame rate takes a hit. So you can play the
game either in standard resolution, or in 720p. That said, for
the most part NBA 07 is a good looking game, but not without a
number of little visual glitches.

The good first…the players look pretty solid, with the
exception of a few, and they look especially good when viewed
up-close in a replay. The textures on every player are incredibly
detailed, but that doesn't prevent some of the players from not
looking quite right compared to their real life counterpart. The
jerseys will animate and bounce when a player leaps for a dunk
and then lands, and that's a pretty nice touch. The crowds react
quite well to the action on the floor, as they'll throw their
hands up in the air, stand up to cheer, and so forth; they're
simple touches, but they add a bit to the game, overall.

Although, things do get ugly in some places. NBA
07 has some collision detection issues where players will run
through each other and even have the basketball get shot through
the backboard. This glitch is also commonly called
"clipping". Because the collision detection suffers,
the gameplay actually does a little too. For instance, players
will often step out of bounds or commit a backcourt violation,
but the game doesn't detect it many times, so the error goes upon
blind eyes. Moving on, while some animations look nice, the
athletes in NBA 07 don't animate anywhere near as fluidly and
realistically as they do in NBA 2K7. Even though a number of the
players in NBA 07 do demonstrate their signature shots, it's no
where near as in-depth as it is in Visual Concepts' title.

What especially bugs me is some of the poor transitional
animations, where the player doesn't motion smoothly as he
changes direction, ball in hand or not. And as I mentioned
before, the game isn't much good in 1080p with the frame rate
takin a hit. Little things like this hinder the overall aesthetic
appeal. Specifically if Sony can work out the motion-capturing
and get those animations down, they'll have a much more
convincing title to look at.

Now lastly, and perhaps worst of all, is the
game's sound. Much like the rest of NBA 07, the audio is severely
lacking. What is it lacking in? Presentation. Just like EA's
Madden, Sony's NBA 07 has absolutely no commentary to speak of
(pun intended). There is a boring soundtrack that plays during
the menus, then when the game is paused there are some knock off
songs that play in the stadium (Nirvana, Lil' Jon, etc.), and
that's about it as far as music. You'll hear the court announcer
make calls as the players make a shot, foul, error, or aid with
an assist. On the court there's a little bit of chatter between
players as they run around asking for a pass, shouting to D-up,
calling for a pick, and so forth. For the most part, all you're
going to hear is a bouncing ball and sneakers squealing against
the floor-board. By now it should be clear to see that the audio
is practically non-existent.

I've certainly played sports games worse than NBA
07, so I have to say that the game is playable, there just isn't
much to play. The game has a number of critical problems, all of
which I expect to see fixed next year. Visually, we've got a
pretty decent looking game on our hands. It needs some tightening
up to get rid of the clipping and the animations needs to be made
smoother. The player models look good for the most part, but if
Sony can just fix some of the faces, they'll be golden. It's the
fact that NBA 07 is so downright hollow that makes this
impossible to recommend as a $60 purchase. There is no "The
Life" or any career-mode variant present in the game, the
NBA Replay mode is a novelty that wears thin, and the mini-games
leave a lot to be desired. NBA 07 makes for a decent pick-up game
with its standard offerings of a quick-game, season mode and
playoffs, but that's about it. Likewise, online suffers the same
'pick-up game' status, as it doesn't begin to measure up to NBA
2K7. Sony seems to be moving in the right direction, as they've
got a good foundation to build on — but NBA 07 isn't ready to
hang with the NBA 2K series just yet.

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