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February 4, 2007
NBA 2K7 - PS2 Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
10/11/2006Take TwoVisual Concepts1-8GMedium
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
864KBDolby PLIIYesNoNoneYes

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While these screenshots suck...
While the average consumer recognises Electronic Arts as the biggest "Sporting Game" developer, hardcore gamers have - for the last couple of years - preferred other options. That's not because Electronic Arts are 'evil' (although many would say that is true given the number of companies they purchase and then essentially destroy), but rather because companies such as Visual Concepts and Kush Games are producing titles that introduce new features to the sports games, push new boundaries, and don't just offer minor upgrades. Visual Concepts is the company which has developed NBA 2K7 - and with EA's NBA Live 07 averaging a terrible 65% on Gamerankings there is no better time for the casual gamer to check out this offering from 2K Sports.

So basketball is basketball. We can't really offer you a storyline, and going through the rules would pretty much bore anyone reading this review so we'll head into the game modes in this title. Naturally the title includes a Quick Match so you can hop right into the action. A practice mode is also included so you can get used to the moves outside a main competition while Tournament allows you to select a number of teams and enter into a short tournament while a Situation mode allows you to relive some major moments in the sport. A street mode is also included which allows you to select from a variety of options including a full court of half court game, one-on-on or a game of 21. A season mode is also included of course which allows you to play through a complete season - an option which most gamers will want to take up of course.

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... the game does look good.
After those modes you then get into the best feature of NBA 2K7 - the Association mode. In this mode you take the role of General Manager of an NBA team and take them though several seasons. This mode opens up by asking how many teams you want to manage, how long you want to make the seasons (29, 58 or 82 games), turning on or off trade deadlines or allow the CPU to control trades and so on. Then you get into the main game where you control the player practice, injury management and of course the team management before hitting the court. This is a brilliantly detailed game mode and a reason alone to own this title.

Of course these game modes don't mean squat if the game doesn't stack up on the court, but fortunately NBA 2K7 is among the most entertaining recreations of the sport in game form. While the left analogue stick is used to move your players around the court the right analogue stick can be used to strip the ball from the opposition. It's also possible to cause an intentional foul by hitting the L2 button. Impressively the D-Pad is used to change the teams formations and issue commands as the game continues. This stops you having to exit the game and hit the menus. It's intuitive and works superbly. Visual Concepts have also given gamers full control over the various aspects of the game through a series of sliders in the menu. These can determine everything from team effort, the frequency of fouls and so on.

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Goes for the lay-up...
Multi-player has also been well catered for. Up to 8-player can play on a single console and it must be said that this is great fun (although we couldn't muster 8 friends to play at the same time here sadly). Online though is where the title really impresses as you can play with between two and ten players - thatís two full teams. Fantastic effort Visual Concepts - and another area where you have Electronic Arts absolutely beat.

Problems with this game are few and far between. Sadly one of the XBox 360 features, the 24/7 mode, hasn't made it into the current generation. This story mode would have been a nice addition, but it was not to be. There were moments in the game when the game would pause for a fraction of a second - possible to bring up some information regarding a foul. This certainly occurred when there was a charging foul, and when players went out of bounds. The AI is occasionally a little glitchy, and very occasionally the players don't quite react instantly to your commands but these are few and far between. Finally I felt that using the right analogue stick to strip the ball resulted in a few too many fouls. In fact, there are still some occasions in the game when foul calls are obviously incorrect. Still, minor niggles that happen infrequently.

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Player models are nice.
Now before I talk about the graphics I must apologize for the screenshots throughout this review. For some reason it is impossible to get PS2 screens of NBA 2K7 from Take Two or 2K Sports as they have only released next-gen versions. What we can tell you is that on a nice TV the game looks a lot better then these screenshots would suggest. Sure, the XBox 360 and PS3 versions look a lot better with much more detailed players and backgrounds as one would expect, but this PS2 version is no slouch and is probably the best looking NBA title on the PS2 to date. The players are superbly animated, although there doesn't seem to be as many instances of unique player animations (which 2K Sports dubs 'Signature Style') as the next-generation versions. Where this game shines in terms of graphics though are the smaller details such as cloth simulation on their clothing, and the movement on the sidelines that really capture the essence of the sport.

Naturally the audio is highlighted by the commentary which, while it does get repetitive, does a decent job with enough variety to never become boring. The music is suitable while the crowd effects add plenty of atmosphere to the title. The game also supports Dolby Pro Logic II.

What more can I say about this game. Although we never reviewed EA's NBA Live 07 we did play the game - well enough to realise just how horrendous the title was. Electronic Arts dropped the ball big time with their game this year. Fortunately there is no such concern with NBA 2K7. Not only is the game on of the most visually and aurally impressive titles on the PS2, but the gameplay is just as stunning. Dare I say it, but this is likely to be the greatest basketball title of the PS2 era and the only reason not to buy this game would be if you own (or intend to one on March 23rd) a next-generation console.

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version).
GRAPHICSCharacter models and backgrounds good, but animation that rocks.
87%
SOUNDGood commentary. Solid effects and music set the atmosphere.
84%
GAMEPLAYProbably the best basketball game on the PS2. Fast and fluid.
90%
VALUEPlenty of modes with online gameplay. Will keep you hooked.
91%
OVERALLThis is, and will probably be, the best basketball game ever on the Playstation 2. Technically everything is polished while the number of game modes and options is second to none. Wonderful.
87%

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