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April 24, 2008
NBA 08 - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
14/2/2008SonySonySony San Diego1-22
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Tilt Controls OFLC Rating
Disc825MB1080pDD5.1YesG

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This game actually runs in 1080p.
Last year when NBA 07 was released for the PS3 (in America, it never made it to Australia) it got a pretty mixed response from fans and reviewers. At the end of the day it was a reasonably decent title but nothing spectacular, but being the start of the PS3's lifetime it didn't have a whole heap to smack it down as it tried to get the game going. Now, a year later, NBA 08 has hit shelves and it's much to the same tune as the previous instalment. We give you our full review of Sony's basketball game.

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It also looks pretty good overall.
As with any sports franchise, the main focus here is to take the previous instalment and build upon it with a new character roster for teams, and refining the gameplay. So let's start by looking at what we get in the way of game modes here. There is a single-game option, a single season option, the same set of mini-games as last year and the rest of the expected bits and pieces that come with every other basketball game. The one unique mode is something called NBA Replay, which allows you to try and replay some of the most memorable moments from last year's season. It's a nice idea and executed well enough, but at the end of the day it's not really that different to just playing any other match in the game. One thing worth noting is that Sony will be updating these with new performances from the current season as it goes on. Finally, there is an online exhibition game mode where you can use the interwebs to play against other gamers in exhibition matches.

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Note teh court reflections...
So there are the modes, nothing too inspiring? Oh well, that's fairly much the way to sum up the process of actually playing the game. It seems that, according to Sony, in a sport when a ball is passed from one team-mate to the other, the receiving team-mate has to stop dead in their tracks to receive the pass. Now correct me if I'm wrong but this isn't usually the case. The best part of this is when you pass a long pass to a team-mate, and he stops, while an opposing character moves in the way and intercepts because no one is moving towards the ball. Great move there Sony. But that's okay, it makes up for the way that you can dribble a ball and almost pass straight through them without any issues. So it's at least balanced... (note the sarcasm). You can repeat all these errors and make it more frustrating, if you so wish, by using the rather tacked-on SIXAXIS based control scheme... but unless you're a glutton for punishment (which seems likely given you have not only purchased the game, but spent enough time in it to play with different control schemes) I'd advise resisting this urge. Overall, the controls are okay, but the actual gameplay attached to them is pretty poor, particularly when you compare it to 2K Sports' last NBA title, NBA 2K8, which hit shelves back in November.

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Rockets Vs the Bulls.
I'm not sure if it's apparent, but I seem to have failed to mention the career mode that surely every sports game these days ships with. You know the one where you start as nothing and work your way up, managing a team, making decisions that have to remain for multiple seasons, and so on? Well apparently the developers don't because this is the second year in a row where the franchise has been almost completely devoid of any sort of team management or multi-season mode. It's a pretty major thing to leave out and, as with last year's game; it really does hurt the game. I'm not a massive sports gamer, but when I do get into one I like to spend the time achieving something rather than just playing random games, and NBA 08 does a great job at not facilitating this.

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Player models are very impressive...
At least the game looks good. Running at full 1080p, there's no denying that this is certainly one of the prettier sports titles on the market so far. Character animation is great, even when they are passing through each other, and the court looks awesome. Having said that, it is a sports game and they can only looks so good. It's still obvious it's not real, a promise that the current machines made prior to launch but are still missing the mark by quite some distance. Nonetheless, there's plenty of eye candy to be seen in this release.

Also a fair shot away from realism, the sound in the game is far too computer-timed and well-behaved. Since when do crowds calm down instantly after a big play? And why don't they lose it when you dunk a ball? It makes no sense. Couple that with a fairly standard sports soundtrack and the only thing that raises this above an average audio release is the fact that those well-behaved crowds, and other sound effects, are of a very high quality.

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Nash takes up defensive duties.
Without the awesome gameplay, I'm not sure why you should purchase this title. I guess if you're a hardcore NBA gamer, and you can't wait for the next instalment after playing 2K8 to death, this might satisfy you for a few minutes. On the other hand, if you dislike bad game design this might satisfy your urge to stop playing games. NBA 08 had some promise, but it's all dashed away fairly quickly. Without a career mode, there's no real sense of achievement in the game, and the controls ruin the small amount of fun that was left. You are more likely to get some new and exciting enjoyment out of playing 2K Sports' NBA 2K8 whilst laying upside-down than picking up this half-assed title for the PS3. At least it looks good though.

Review By: Michael Hutchesson

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GRAPHICSThe only strong point of the game. Looks great.
86%
SOUNDAwesome quality, but badly used.
72%
GAMEPLAYClunky controls, no career mode, and unrealistic play.
60%
VALUEWithout a career mode it's fairly pointless. There are a few things to do but nothing to bring you back for more.
65%
OVERALLThis release is entirely average. It seems Sony has more or less missed the point for a second year in a row with this series.
68%

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