Sports games have gone from being a filler between those RPGs and shooters to a popular genre on its own rights by consistently pushing the envelope in terms of visuals and game features. Well today we are looking at a game that tries to take a new step for sports games by making the story mode its core. Does this help change sports games as we know it? Read our full review to find out!
Compared to the great line of platformers and RPGs that have graced the PS2, they have not had much luck with the sports genre. Apart from offerings from third party developers such as EA Sports, Sony’s own studio haven’t managed to consistently do the business for years now. Well Sony has been trying anything to get this series back on the right track, and they even took a year off with there latest basketball game to try and revamp the series and make it a competitor in 2006. Did Sony manage to create a winning formula?
Well one of the biggest draw to NBA 06 is The Life Volume One, which is actually a totally story-driven gameplay mode that takes a team sport and makes it into a game where you are primarily focusing on your own character. You own character "the kid", is really just a rising superstar in college as a point guard, and you catch up with him at the NBA draft. A sequence of events happens and you end up getting picked up by your favorite team. The mode basically continues and takes you through the highs and lows of being an NBA superstar.
One of the big questions is how does the game allow you to really focus on your own player? The answer is simple. Instead of making you go through seasons after seasons, you instead have objective to be accomplished in some sequences. For example, there are times where you may play the first half, or only a quarter, or may just jump into a game with only a few minutes left. The game also has you do drills, and some practice sequences to really learn about some of the deeper aspects of the game. So does this all work? Well actually the story itself is good, but the execution of the whole ordeal leaves a lot to be desired. The story mode towards the middle of the season feels like it ran out of ideas, and so you spend a lot of time with your character in pretty meaningless cut scenes. I never found the story to really take me on an interesting ride, it was just kind of a slow moving train that never got enough steam.
The gameplay faces a lot of the same problems that have plagued the previous NBA Shootout games, and that is just the lack of a smooth quality that we have found in both EA’s and 2K Sports series. NBA 06 uses a nice new shooting system that has a meter in which requires a good skill of timing, but after a while you can easily get the hang of it. The basketball in the game works, but doesn’t do anything in order to separate it from other basketball games on the market.
When I look at NBA 06 for the Playstation 2, I see the groundwork for what in the future could be a great concept. You can see that The Life Volume One introduces some great ideas, but they just aren’t overly well developed. The objectives become very repetitive and tiresome after time, and the story definitely slows down during the middle of the season. I give the nod for the team for trying to separate itself from other basketball games with the story mode, and I just hope they can continue to improve it in the future games to come.
Visually NBA 06 is not a bad looking game, but when compared to the other basketball games on the market, I have to say that it has plenty of room for improvement. The character models don’t have the same sort of smooth textures as we have become accustomed to, nor does the game ever really use a whole lot of detail on the characters either. The courts are good with a good amount of lighting effects that can be seen right away.
The biggest issue with the presentation are the animations, which to say the least look like problems we saw a few years ago rather then in late 2005. The game suffers from a lot of clipping issues, and just doesn’t have an overly great looking animation engine. NBA 06 is still a decent looking game, but unfortunately is going up against some really great looking games.
I have to say for the first few hours I played NBA 06 I enjoyed the game, because of how it was different from the rest of the pack. But as time wore on, I saw the downsides to the story that came in its repetitive nature and the fact that the story itself never really gained any steam. The game has some nice online options and some good depth, with a lot of different options to choose from offline as well, but the game never really managed to shine compared to games already in the market.
I was one of the few people who were probably really looking forward to NBA 06 and the new story mode, but I come before you now to just say that I was left rather disappointed. The game had some nice ideas by really getting you involved with your player, but at the same token the repetitive nature of the mode just really takes a toll on your interest. I would highly recommend giving this game a try for its new ideas, but don’t waste your money with a purchase.
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.