Did SCEA finally get it right, or is this strike three for Sony?
Can Sony ever get it right? I mean, here we are at their third NBA licensed game for the PSP in a year and a half and there's still a list of problems bigger than the roster of teams in their game. NBA 07 does make a couple of improvements here and there, and outside the general game, there is some stuff that'll keep you busy. But then you have the actual basketball game itself, the main highlight, and it comes up short in a pair of key areas. It's like you're attracted to a car's outer shell, and then you get around to driving it and find it underperforming every mile you take it.
Let's talk about the good stuff first. Sony has been able to nail down the graphic interface for the game, and it looks even better than NBA 06 did. The game runs at a smooth 60 frames per second, and the animations on the players are rather pleasing. Further helping your basketball performance is a color-coded system that surrounds the ball, giving you a better idea on the timing of your shots. If it's red, the shot's dead. If it's green, it's as money as shots like that get. The camera system's not bad either, as you always seem to have a pretty clear view of the court from a number of perspectives.
The audio's more of a mixed bag. The game does feature various rap tunes and other beats that help capture the attitude of basketball nicely, but the commentary seems to run rather dry, at times it gets downright inaccurate. Crowd noise is decent but nothing amazing.
But it's the main game itself that we should take a look at, for if a basketball game can't get basketball right for the platform, then when the hell is the point? The bad news is that the general gameplay that NBA 07 represents is broken. While the color-coded ball system is ideal, the passing is unbalanced thanks to two things. One, your teammates are as dumb as a bag of hammers, and can't really help you complete the big plays. Secondly, the computer AI is surprisingly sharp, so you can't even score on the accidental fast break or try to come back from a major lead. I was playing in a game as the Lakers against the Hawks and lost by seventeen. SEVENTEEN. Stuff like that isn't supposed to happen in a basketball simulator, unless the Hawks somehow acquire Shaq and Kobe again in a miraculous trade.
The passing isn't really that great to begin with, but the fact that your teammates aren't that wide open and the other team intercepts more often than expected will become frustrating. The game does support multiplayer through Adhoc and Infrastructure, but it comes across as choppy, and sometimes a big play can be broken up because of this. If Sony had somehow spent more time testing out this game's feature, I might have forgiven the shortcomings of the talented AI. As is, it's just another letdown.
Another negative is that the game has no signs of The Life, the story mode where you can build your own superstar player and input them right in the league. You do have various championships you can win, but none of the personality to really go with it. Nope, I'm afraid the only personality the game shows is with its vast array of mini-games. Not only can you engage in fun little events like slam-dunk contests, horse, and dodgeball, but you can also take on a fun pinball game with a basketball theme, as well as shoot out baskets on a moving backboard, like in all those Dave and Buster's skill games. The problem is, only a few of these are multiplayer, meaning that the competition is cut severely short. It would've been nice to have a shoot-out with a friend. There is Game Sharing, but only the game is shared, and not the get-together experience that was intended.
Nope, sorry, Sony. You went for a bucket and came up with a brick with NBA 07. The general game isn't any fun because there's no personality and the AI hunts down too many shots for its own good. The graphics deliver, but the sound needs some work, especially with the stiff commentary. And you guys need to touch up your multiplayer as well...it's shoddy. Maybe next year, we'll get the NBA game that'll really get us on our feet. For now, we can only quote Otto from A Fish Called Wanda- "DISAPPOINTED!"
What's Hot: Great graphics; the various mini-games are fun.
What's Not: The AI can be incredibly brutal; general gameplay is mostly lackluster.