Arcade basketball titles have been a major success in the video game industry, who can forget the first time you picked up NBA Jam and did a major dunk. NBA Jam for me was one of the most addictive sports games I have ever played. Then came the demise of the franchise and the beginning of EA’s NBA Street franchise which to brought its own unique flare to the genre. Now we have Midway who came out a few years ago with the very impressive NBA Ballers that really surprised many. Now in its first go around on the next generation of consoles, does NBA Ballers: Chosen One have what it takes to take on the competition? Read our full review to find out!
I remember when I picked up the original NBA Ballers, it was a game that looked interesting but I really didn’t think it was going to amount to anything fantastic. However the game really impressed and managed to bring everything together into a very good arcade basketball game. The second outing for the NBA Ballers franchise in NBA Ballers: Phenom which was nowhere near as engaging and innovative as the original game. Can Midway bring NBA Ballers back to its prior success in the PS3 version of NBA Ballers: Chosen One?
Unlike other arcade basketball games, NBA Ballers: Chose One starts you off by creating your own "baller" which of course is trying to give the game a more customized approach. Following the creation of a player you are then placed into the career mode which tries to change the way in which a career mode is typically played. Most games attribute points based on winning and loosing a game, however NBA Ballers: Chosen One kind of switches things up a bit by rewarding you for playing the game the way they want you to play it. The games career mode is divided up into six chapters which try to be different but when its all said and done the six chapters have far to much in common.
What really bothered me about the career mode wasn’t the mechanics which seemed to work but was the way in which you progressed. The story was good, nothing wrong there, a bit repetitive, but it was good. The progression of your player however was as random and as ill-fated as they come. Half the time I had no idea why some attributes were getting more points then others, and why other times I would blow out the competition and get minimal attribute points, and that to me was very frustrating.
The other issue I had with NBA Ballers: Chosen One was that the game mechanics work but the controls don’t. The controls are much too touchy, and to be quite honest they just feel clunky. Not to mention the fact that learning how to really get the most of your player takes far too much time and effort for what it supposed to be a pretty straightforward arcade basketball title. By the time you understand how to do everything you have probably lost interest or are so frustrated that caring about the game becomes the last priority.
The game does have "super moves" which are really the flashiest the game gets. Pulling off these moves isn’t the easiest puzzle to solve, but once you get the hang of it they are pretty compelling. However what happened in my case was by the time I really began to understand the flow of the game, I really wasn’t interested in the game anymore. Playing with friends does help the experience but in the end even with solid ideas the game just doesn’t manage to give enough compelling reasons to stick with it.
The presentation in the game is really the strongest card in the deck for Midway’s NBA Ballers: Chosen One as this is where the real strong points come out. The cut scenes in the story mode are good, and the visual aspect of the game is really the only thing that kept you interested. The PS3 version seemed to have some really deep colors, and from what I could see a very good overall feel. From the menu’s to the in game content the presentation of the game really did a fantastic job, its just to bad the rest of the game couldn’t have followed suit.
When a games controls become its primary concern, then you usually have a pretty big issue. NBA Ballers: Chosen One is a game that really fails right out of the gate, and all the "glits" and the glamour of the graphics can do nothing but fall flat in comparison. NBA Ballers really needed to go back to the basics of the original game, what made that game so engaging was that it was easy to pick up and play and at the same time added a new flare to the genre. This game offers a new look at the arcade genre but unfortunately doesn’t make it all that enjoyable in the process.
As good as the game could have been, you cannot manage to overlook the fact that the experience just isn’t up to par with other basketball games that are out there right now. A trip back to the drawing board would probably be the best bet for the developers as this is a game that has some good intentions but not great execution.
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.