NBA 2K7 Review
I have fond memories of playing NBA Live back in the days of the Sega Mega Drive. It was a great arcade style experience, a blast in multiplayer, and had legendary moments such as Michael Jordan jumping from one side of the court to the other, dunking the ball, and so on. This was how I always remembered basketball in the form of a videogame. Now however, we live in a generation where HD graphics and realism seem to rule the roost.
NBA 2K7 is a Basketball Sim, much like Pro Evolution Soccer is too the football genre. It is rated on how faithfully it can recreate the game and how realistic it looks, plays and even sounds. As expected, NBA 2K7 faithfully recreates all the major teams of the NBA, and also includes an up to date roster of all players any basketball fan would expect.
The game also boasts several game modes and features. There is a quick play mode that will get you into a game in less then 10 seconds, great for quick games before heading out to school or work. There is a fully fledged Season mode featuring all the teams from the NBA. A new mode found in this years game is the ‘24/7: Next’ mode; this is essentially a story mode where you create your own player and you progress through the street courts to try and prove you belong with the NBA’s elite. Other modes that feature include, The Association, Street, Tournament and Practise. The Street mode, which is essentially a 1 on 1 match up set in the urban street of the city, could have been a lot more padded out, as overtime it can get a bit monotonous due to the lack of enough opportunities to show of your new found skills. But never the less the dizzying amount of single player gameplay modes will no doubt provide endless single player replay value. In addition to the vast variety of modes, there are tons of unlockables which can later be viewed in ‘The Cribs’, which is essentially a home for your player, which features a trophy cabinet, hockey tables and other objects to keep the player amused, making room for tons of customisability.
If that wasn’t enough to keep you busy the game also has plenty of Xbox Live features. You have choices ranging from quick plays, to tournament to an entire season all online and fully customisable. There is also opportunity to save replays from matches, edit them and send them to your friends for them to view. This is a great example of how online sports game should be delivered. The usual suspects during a match up against an online opponent are present, such as voice chat and so forth. But the online certainly provides a benchmark to future sports titles.
“… the visual treat that follows is completely seamless…”
On the court is where the games main focus naturally lies. Upon starting a match, you instantly notice that the development team have taken their time in perfecting the presentation of match ups. Once a match loads, the visual treat that follows is completely seamless. The animation of everything is very well presented, although the overall animation of the players could have been improved slightly. Die hard fans will realise some of the more unknown sports personalities have not been digitally recreated so faithfully in comparison to the accurate portrayal of the bigger named stars. During play, you notice such subtleties such as cloth movement on the player’s team uniform to the very detailed reflections on the polished floor, all of which adds to the immersive experience. Despite this entire visual pleasantry, there are a few bugs that can be rather distracting, like when the play stops, the camera focuses on a player here the animation starts to get very jumpy; of course this is a bug that can easily be addressed in the future however, and does not hinder the gameplay at all.
The gameplay itself is where the game shows how difficult it can be. The face buttons are the mainly for shooting, passing and intercepting, and you also have the opportunity to use the right analog for shooting more accurately, although this does have a very steep learning curve. This right analogue technique also handles the free throws, which when a player is awarded, you are required to nudge the right analog down, and then hit it up with timing, this gaming mechanic is incredibly hard, and takes a lot of practise, and in later stages can be one of the crucial aspects of winning a game or losing it. Rewarding once perfected.
Finally, NBA 2K7 delivers what can be expected from a Basketball game in terms of audio and soundtrack. Strong Hip-Hop based attire accompanies your gaming, which is fairly predictable, and caters well to the genre. Alternatively you may use the custom soundtrack feature to dunk to your own tunes. During gameplay a great variety of sounds can be enjoyed, the crowd sounds are crisp, to the squeaking of the floor, all the way down to the commentary. All this adds to an already immersive experience making the world of Basketball all the more fun and believable.
Plenty of modes, and an impressive roster of features make this a must have for any basketball fan, and those new to the genre can also find plenty to enjoy.