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January 15 2007
NBA 08 - PS3 Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
14/2/2008SonySonySony San Diego
Offline Players Online players Price Anticipation
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Go on, press select to show the controls!
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Shoots for the 3-pointer.

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NBA 08 is heading to Australian stores soon.
Basketball games have been around since the dawn of video gaming, and most companies have at one stage or another developed and tested the waters with the sport at one time or another. Years ago Sony had one of the best franchises on the PSOne with their NBA Shootout series from 989 Studios, but after a few years the series seemed to disappear never to be seen again - at least in Australia. Sony are back with a new game though called NBA 08, which has been developed by SCEA San Diego. It will have a pretty tough time gathering sales as it has to go up against EA's big selling but rather shit NBA Live series, and 2K Sports' NBA 2K series. Can this game deliver the goods? Well it has some impressive features.

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Reflections on-court are pretty nice.
As the name suggests NBA 08 is officially licensed by the NBA which allows the developers to use all the teams, players, schedules and additional information from the actual season. If you've played a basketball game ever then you'll know what to expect, if you haven't then it shouldn't take too much imagination to figure it out either. Unique to this game is the all-new progression system which sees gamers complete tasks and goals to earn rewards for experience. This experience can be used to customise characters and show them off as status symbols of your basketball prowess.

The Playstation 3's Sixaxis controller provides a new and deeper set of controls, allowing specific dribbles as well as high and low defensive moves. When you get tired of the main game you can play on your own or against friends in multiple mini-games including ‘Own the Court’, ‘3-Point Shootout’ and the PlayStation Skills Challenge. The "NBA Replay" mode returns and allows players to re-enact great performances from the ’06 -’07 season and work through the entire past season’s worth of memorable gameplay scenarios.

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Player models are solid close up.
Another interesting element is that NBA 08 includes a contact mechanism which takes into account players' momentum when pushing into an opposing player. Rather then hitting a solid brick wall (eg player) they will now react to you running into or bumping them.

Graphics in the game are pretty impressive for one reason, delivering 1080p visuals at a solid 60fps. This years title also includes refined lighting and shader techniques over last years title NBA 07 (which never made it to Australia obviously). Character models have been updated with new animations, more dynamic movement, and new skin textures to give them a more realistic look. Additionally, the user interface has been significantly revamped to incorporate a retro NBA look and feel – from the menus down to the loading screens. Even the coaches, bench players, and crowd have been reworked for improved realism.

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Are these the most realistic graphics you've seen?
Having said that, while Sony claim that it provides the 'sharpest and most realistic basketball experience available' we have to question that. Yes the 1080p visuals are sharper then games released from Electronic Arts and 2K Sports, but in terms of most realistic, well I think you need to question that due to the lack of detail on the players (just check out their shoes) or the crowds. To me, these screens don't indicate the most realistic game ever - at least not visually.

It's great to see Sony releasing their sports franchise back in Australia. While we still reserve judgment about the quality of the game until we get our hands on it there is no denying that the prospect of 1080p 60fps basketball is tempting. Expect NBA 08 to be released here in Australia in early 2008 (American's will be pleased to know it's already out over there!).