Last year Sony did everything they could to really revamp their basketball title, which like many of their sports titles, have been struggling tremendously to catch up with the rest of the pack. Last year NBA 06 The Life tried to bring in the first story driven basketball experience and in my opinion had pretty good success in doing so. The game’s story elements were strong, but the gameplay still needed a lot of work. So the big question is could Sony continue to close the gap in NBA 07? Read our full review to find out!
Last year I was one of the few people that were really excited to see what Sony was going to do with their struggling basketball franchise. It s very rare that we see such a gaming powerhouse struggle to the degree that Sony had with its 989 Sports titles, that the change I thought couldn’t have come soon enough. NBA 06 brought a very good first attempt at a story-driven sports game, and although the basketball still needed some refining the potential was definitely there. Now in 2007 I was more interested to see what improvements would be made to get Sony basketball back on the map.
The storyline for "The Life" portion of the game actually is a continuation of what we saw in last year’s game, which is a neat idea. Last year you got to see your player make it to the NBA and really go through what rookies have to go through. Well now you get to take part in their sophomore season, and as many NBA fans know that can really be a tricky season for any player. And NBA 07 takes advantage of this idea with not only giving your player challenges on the court, but off court as well. The story is good and does give another reason to go through a season of basketball. I am a big fan of integrating some storyline into a video game; I believe most will find NBA 07 just starting to scratch the surface of the potential. It is an entertaining and thought-provoking ride that I was very happy to go through.
Now although the storyline is full of great aspects, the big thing in question this year is the gameplay, which unfortunately still hasn’t managed to put it all together. One thing that the developers tried to do last year was mini games, which have been expanded on this year. None of the mini games are all that exciting, and although they are enjoyable, you just kind of wish there was more meat on the bones. But once again although they are not perfect, they give a breath of fresh air from just playing game after game after game.
The game of basketball has been improved from what we saw in last year’s game, but still some problems exist. First off the shot mechanics, which are known for their halo system, which basically give you indicators on when and when not to push the buttons. There is a new hot shot sort of feature that if you get your player in good position the halo brightens and thus makes for a nice shot. Some other minor improvements have been brought into the game to help try to balance the game, but unfortunately these improvements don’t get the job done to the degree that this game needs.
NBA 07 just doesn’t have the gameplay to back up the excellent story-driven game. It does have some great new ideas and the story seems better structured this time around, but unfortunately the end product for NBA 07 just isn’t that big of a gameplay improvement from last year’s game.
You can see the PS2 has started to show its age, as NBA 07 just doesn’t manage to take the game visually any further from what we saw last year. Granted there were some breakthrough titles in terms of visuals recently, but most PS2 title are looking a bit stale and dated. The game does have a smoother frame rate in comparison to last year game, but it still is a game that just feels dated and not up to par with the other sports games on the PS2 this year.
I was really looking forward to seeing what Sony would have up their collective sleeves in this the second game of the NBA "The Life" series. Although it had some great improvements in terms of the story, it just didn’t manage to do much right in terms of the addressing the gameplay issues that they had in last year’s game. The gameplay still doesn’t feel like a well balanced game of basketball, nor does the game feel like it has its own unique style. Sony has some good new ideas but not enough to bring this game over the top.
For so many years Sony has been doing everything they can to catch up to its competition, but unfortunately 2007 is just not the year that Sony is going to manage to catch up. NBA 07 is a good basketball game that still has a great deal of potential, but once again this is not the game that manages to bring all that potential together.
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.