With the NBA season already bringing a lot of interesting sports stories there are probably a lot of you out there who are wondering about this year’s basketball titles, and which one you should go pick up. Well today I am here to check out one of the latest basketball games to hit the market from EA Sports. Now a month back we review NBA Live 07 for the Xbox and it got pretty high marks. However today we are checking out the next generation version of the game for the Xbox 360. With the PS3 version being canceled, can NBA Live 07 manage to make itself the worthy next-gen basketball game this year? Read our full review to find out!
So being that we are getting to the start of the second year for the Xbox 360, you can get the feeling that gamers are starting to expect more and more out of their games, especially with the $60 price tags. The idea of just trying to add features seems marginal in terms of being worth an upgrade, so in order for NBA Live 07 to really be successful it was going to need to pull a lot of new tricks out of its hat. Well EA did manage to bring in some tricks to the Xbox 360 version, unfortunately though most of them are not very new.
The entree, if you will, for NBA Live 07, is of course the Dynasty Mode, which has been implemented in the previous Live games for the current consoles. The dynasty mode (also a fancy name for franchise) is where playing each season game, is only a small percentage of the grand scale of what you have to do. In the dynasty mode you will hire and fire coaches, schedule practices, deal with injuries and trades, and even team chemistry. Also when the season is over, you get to deal with those who want to retire and also draft the new up and coming stars. The dynasty mode in NBA Live 07 for the 360 is a very good dynasty mode, with a ton of depth and just a really well rounded experience. Although it seems like it should have been their last year, this year’s dynasty mode finally brings some depth to the next gen basketball game.
One of the other big additions to the game is the controls, which now support the previously current console standard of freestyle controls, which enjoyed a partial revival on the 360 version. You have five different moves you can pull off with the right analog stick that of course are to help deepen the basketball game, although this is still not as deep as what we saw on the current consoles, which is kind of disappointing. Also I should mention that when using these freestyle controls, they just don’t seem to have the same responsiveness that we once saw from the controls, and thus makes them a lot more unnoticeable.
The game of basketball has always been a fan favorite in terms of gamers, but unfortunately NBA Live 07 for the 360 just doesn’t manage to put the mechanics all together. Similar to last year, this game still feels rather shallow and doesn’t manage to really give you a very smooth game of basketball. The game itself feels very choppy and the AI to go along with it just seems like something from a high school basketball game and not the pros. The game just doesn’t feel as smooth or satisfying as what we have on the current consoles, mainly because it still feels like EA is trying to work out their own ideas and are using NBA Live 07 to accomplish this.
In the end, NBA Live 07 is not a bad playing game, it is just not overly polished either. I really believed that after last year’s game, this game would really be taking the series to the next level. In terms of depth, NBA Live 07 does have it, but in terms of gameplay this is a game that needs some more time in development making things much smoother and much more balanced.
One thing that NBA Live 07 does extremely well is it manages to bring in even better visuals than what we saw last year. This first can be shown in the character models, which aren’t as varied in quality as we saw last year, with most all players having a much more detailed and smooth look that manages to work to the game’s favor. Like I did mention earlier though, the game doesn’t manage to run as smooth as many would have hoped, and during some of the fast breaks and high traffic sequences slowdown manages to occur. In the end, visually this is still a stunning game that will look even better once the frame rate improves along with it.
I was happy to hear that there were so many modes coming to the 360 version, as that is really what all of us gamers wanted to hear. However it seems like too much work was put into building up a fact sheet rather than the gameplay details that really needed some ironing out. The gameplay in NBA Live 07 really just doesn’t manage to bring all of the new concepts together. This leaves us with a game that has a lot of potential, but the final product just isn’t the best game of basketball we have seen.
NBA Live 07 is not a bad game, however it is pretty disappointing. We have seen so many great Live titles in the past, it is a shame that NBA Live 07 struggles as much as it does. The game is much deeper, and has some new features, but still manages to wind up short with gameplay that is less then satisfying.
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.