The first game I ever played for my PSP was the original NBA game, which seemed like a great way to start of my experience with this device. However after playing the game for the first few minutes, I was proven wrong as the game was much too simple and not all that exciting in terms of controls or gameplay mechanics. Now a year later and the NBA license still available for all parties to use, and Sony is back with their latest basketball game for the PSP in NBA 06. So does this game make the necessary improvements to make for a must have game this holiday season? Read our full review to find out!
One of the things that I had a problem with this game, as with the previous NBA title, was that it was truly lacking in the game modes department. There was really nothing to really do but play the game either online and offline, or try out some of the mini-games outside of this the game really was pretty bare. This time around the game modes include quick play, exhibition, season, playoffs, shoot around, free throw mode, and online play. So comparatively speaking to last year’s game, this time around the game has many more options to choose from, which is a great way to begin!
The season mode was the nicest mode to see make the list this time around, as this helps give the game a much needed depth, something which was literally absent from the previous game. The season mode is pretty basic, but does have some options like free agents, trades, and some pretty basic GM features that help you get involved in your season, which is nice. Of course don’t expect some extremely in-depth franchise mode out of this, but it is enough to make for a good solid experience that may not be a revolutionary season experience, but for the PSP you cannot really complain.
One of the things that I think we are going to be seeing more and more of from the PSP sports titles are the mini games, which are quick easy experiences that don’t take up too much time and are pretty fun to play. In NBA 06, you have a few different ones to choose from, including Horse, Own the Court, Dodgeball, Skills Challenge, and 3 Point Shootout. All of these mini games are enjoyable, but I always love a great game of horse, something to this day I still enjoy playing in real life as well as on video games.
The actual gameplay has improved from last year’s game, but not as much as a lot of us would have liked. This whole NBA series from Sony has been a mix of simulation and arcade, and this continues on in this game. It seems as if it doesn’t know how to make up its mind on what it wants to be. The shooting, which was downright terrible last year, has been reverted back to the simple style of single clicking a button and going for the shot. While this may seem like a good thing, the gameplay now just feels a little unbalanced. One of the issues I had with the game was the AI, was kind of spotty. This to me made the gameplay a little less appealing then it would have been. I say this because some times the AI doesn’t seem to know what they’re doing. They just kind of wander around and take ridiculous plays or shots.
Overall NBA 06 is just a good game that has improved a bit over the previous game, but nothing really revolutionary. The online support was good, and although there weren’t many games were on the servers I played on, it was very smooth. I think that from my experience, I hope more games go online as it is a lot of fun. With that being said, NBA 06 needed a more clearly precise view of what they wanted to do with the gameplay, as right now it is too much of a mix of arcade and simulation.
I personally thought the visuals in last year’s game were actually very impressive, although it is hard when there were only a few other games to compare it to. NBA 06 has improved even more of the original game with some much better textures, especially in the character models, which have a ton of detail and just seem very life like especially for the PSP. Another thing I should mention is that the arenas have much more detail and offer up a rich view as well.
Reiterating a point I made earlier, NBA 06 is a game that I feel still needs to decide which way on it would like to go, either as a simulation or arcade-style game. With that being said, you can see there were improvements made in the short time between games that have improved this game immensely. If the developers really sit down and really do the same sort of improvements next year, then we should be in for an even more enjoyable game, as long as they decide if they want to go arcade or simulation.
NBA 06 is a good basketball game but it is nowhere near as good as the potential for the game allows it to be. The game still needs more options in the season mode, and a more definite gameplay strategy would be a great thing as well. For those that are wondering whether to purchase this game, I would highly recommend renting it first, as it is one that has a unique target audience in mind and I can see some gamers not enjoying this style. So although this game is not perfect, but if nothing else, it sure would be a good rental choice.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.