NBA' 07

NBA 07

Sony's in-house roundball offering is surprisingly solid. Who knew?
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: November 30, 2006
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Sony has been preaching this whole 1080p doctrine for a while now, and while I'm still not ready to think of it as anything more than a marketing bullet point right now, it's still nice to see that Sony is the one, not surprisingly, that is offering a game that really pushes the 1080p nature of the system. What is a bit of a shocker, though, is that it's coming from Sony's sports game studio, who have traditionally played catch-up in terms of not only hardware but in the technology department as well.

NBA 07 may not sport the same level of detail as something like NBA 2K7, but it also performs markedly better than that game does at all resolutions, running at rock-solid 60 frames a second even in 1080p. Coupled with some great mini-games and an extremely speedy game of basketball, NBA 07 ends up being far, far better than one would expect given the history of Sony's basketball franchise.

At the core of things is the game's vastly improved AI and the basic sense of speed. Whether because it was a pre-planned move or just because of the PS3's additional hardware muscle, your teammates and opponents are quite a bit smarter, which keeps the game from feeling like a straight arcade game of b-ball, and these two things put together, you get a game that feels entirely unique among basketball sims.

There's an attempt to stop momentum; your teammates automatically stick tightly to their man but read screens well enough to shift things quickly. On the other side, you'll see any habits you pick up like long range shooting being picked up on fairly quickly. It's not all perfect, of course; your opponents still apparently aware of the score, so even late in the game they won't attempt to make up deficits as much as they should, and if they do, they'll shoot without moving the ball around. Your team is also apparently too stupid to realize they're tired, as even completely drained players can still hoof it with the freshest of 'em.

Shooting and rebounding, two of the things I think Sony's brand of basketball does better than any other version, are even more improved this time around, with a smoother build-up in shots and windows for rebounding. In fact, the whole game is smoother; there's better animations, players respond to jostling and shifts in weight better, and everything just flows with a kind of smoothness that the series hasn't really seen yet. It feels like more than just a hi-res version of the PS2 game, which is important given that it's $20 more.

Given that this is a first-party title, it's hardly surprising that the game supports the SIXAXIS' motion-sensing features, and they're pulled off relatively well. While driving in, twisting the controller will cause a spin and nudging it to the left or right will start a crossover. It takes a while to get used to, and I never really could get it to work consistently, but when it did, it really did add to the sense of immersion. Gimmicky? Yeah, certainly, but that doesn't mean it's not fun.

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