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Phil Larsen
21 Nov, 2006

NBA 2K7 Review

360 Review | Swish.
Another day, another yearly edition of a sports title – that undoubtedly starts with an N. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, because most of the bigger names in sports are all relatively enjoyable, and some lesser-knowns are pretty consistently lousy. For today we tackle another sport that, while popular elsewhere, just doesn’t have as strong an impact on Australian culture (and sales) as something like AFL. Regardless, NBA 2K7 is all good to go for us to play, and as a fully fledged simulation as well as a quick blast of fun, it sinks plenty of three-pointers.

For a game that requires deft precision and smooth moves to outplay your opponent, basketball would need silky animations and graphics to really push the experience to the limits. Everything about the game looks great – it seems half of the effort went into making the player uniforms ripple and sway as the team runs about the court. It might be a bit of overkill, but if exaggerated uniform movement is the biggest flaw, there must be plenty to shout about. Well, it isn’t the biggest flaw - that honour goes to player animations. For the most part it looks just fine, but occasionally the players seem a little wooden as they perform some complex ball moves. However, this isn’t really anything to worry about, and isn’t any detriment to the game’s overall appeal.

Visual appeal is a key aspect, and NBA 2K7 boasts some of the slickest presentation ever seen in a sports game. Flashy, dynamic menus and analogue control are all very prominent, and can be taken any way the player wants. Feel like getting caught up in the glitz and glamour of a showdown between the top two teams in the world? NBA 2K7 can provide that experience. Want to bust some old-school skills in a sweaty gym with a bunch of other b-ballers? Head on over.

Sweat and silk aren't a good mix.

Sweat and silk aren't a good mix.
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Although the presentation is always extreme, the sound doesn’t make the cut. There isn’t anything overly annoying, but the songs are repetitive, the effects aren’t impressive and the commentary is rather dull. A neat addition, however, is the fact that players will shout out and make comments during play, flaunting a spectacular dunk or calling for defence. The audio is a mixed bag, but not a disaster.

Games in the 2K series really make you wonder how any other style-specific titles can be justified. For example, NBA 2K7 includes pretty much every facet of basketball one can imagine – including a fully-fledged streetball mode, which render lesser titles like AND1 Streetball completely obsolete. Thankfully, in all areas 2K7 comes up positively – barring one mode that is a little too ambitious for its own good.

You’ll find traditional sports game modes are in abundance. Practice, Quick Play, Tournament, Season, and Multiplayer are all available, with every option imaginable available to tailor the experience to one’s liking. The two noteworthy modes here are the Association and 24/7 – for being the best and the worst aspects of NBA 2K7 respectively. The Association lets you become el capitano, the boss, the main man. You customise everything about a chosen team, from staff, players, rosters, seasons and events. It’s a long journey with almost unlimited appeal for hardened basketball fans, and provides an immersive experience unrivalled by any competitor.

Some stiff competition this year.

Some stiff competition this year.
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24/7 is the equivalent of a story mode, and the aforementioned ambitiously misunderstood epic. You assume the role of a young street baller hoping to make it big, and it just so happens Shaquille O’Neal is shooting some baskets as you and some buddies walk by. Opportunity knocks, so in order to progress you must beat Shaq at his own game. No, not Shaq-Fu. In any case, the story progresses through unskippable cutscenes and really chunky walking animations (play it, you’ll see) as you meet other NBA stars and raise your rep in the streetball scene. It’s a pretty dumb idea, and the supporting cast are unrealistically animated and voiced. It’s a kids game at heart, with big stars, big basketballs and a completely inoffensive street scene. For all else NBA 2K7 has to offer, 24/7 seems rather unprofessional compared to the refinement of other modes, and should probably sit on the bench in future installments.

After all the quantity, the quality needs to be on par to ensure maximum appeal. The good news is that the game plays very well, albeit catering to long-time fans of the sport and the 2K series. There isn’t too much in the way of an in-game guidance system (you could read the booklet, but who does that anymore?), you essentially bust down the doors and pick a mode without any prior consultation. Start up a Quick Play game and start running around, and you’ll find the players control very well – and change in context. For example - no one pass will keep repeating; the players will reach around to grab an incoming pass if an opposing team member stands in his way; the dunks and lay-ups are all very different, and each player feels different. Even by picking people at random in Practice mode, it became clear who were the massive dunkers, who would be the best bet for long-range shooting and who can do a bit of everything. It feels intuitive, and with a basic understanding of the pass, shoot and steal controls a game can be played relatively simply from the get-go. However, if anyone wanted to increase their skills to a level worthy of playing 82 games in an Association, they would need to do their research.

Dynamic uniforms - this is his 32nd attempt.

Dynamic uniforms - this is his 32nd attempt.
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The right analogue stick receives glorious recognition in NBA 2K7. Much like the Tiger Woods golf series moved to analogue stick movement for swinging, NBA 2K7 uses the right analogue stick for speed and timing of shots. Pull back and release as the ball is pushed forward to shoot for free throws, which is theoretically a more immersive way to play. The problem is that even though the game may then award you with a “Perfect Release”, you may still miss, while other early or late releases can still make the hoop. This means that the gameplay relies on luck to some degree, which is a shame if a player has genuinely mastered the intricacies of the analogue control. More casual players may yearn for the simple push-button controls for shooting, which are also present.

NBA 2K7 is a big game – there isn’t really another adjective to describe it. Larger than life presentation and chock full of content, NBA 2K7 screams to be noticed. It would be difficult to find anything that rivals the epic scope, and it genuinely has something for everyone. Not all areas are as accessible as others, and this can limit the appeal to casual gamers as well as those curious to see if basketball may be their thing. Still, it takes a long time to truly appreciate what NBA 2K7 has to offer, and is the best Xbox 360 basketball game to date. For basketball fans this is a sure thing, and anyone searching for the game that will make or break their basketball curiosity should look no further.
The Score
Simply a great basketball game, providing an authentic experience that pulls confidently ahead of the current Xbox 360 selection. 8
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related NBA 2K7 Content

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NBA 2K7 Review
19 May, 2007 Can you forgive Shaq for Kazaam?
NHL 2K7 Review
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3 Comments
7 years ago
Nice review, from seeing videos I was expecting fairly stiff animation from this one. Lo and behold that's what is on offer. Sounds like the number of features within more than make up for any shortcomings though.

One question I do have... how is this game rated MA? Do the players randomly pull out a gun and start massacring the audience? Or do they simply swear at the top of their lungs when they miss a shot and then get kicked off for bad sportsmanship?
7 years ago
If this game received a perfect 10 and was touted as the greatest game of all time i still wouldn't fork out the cash for a purchase.

The more realistic the basketball game, the less fun it is to play. Give me NBA Street and the old school arcade NBA Jam anytime.

A 540 hammer alley-oop jam from half court is just so much better than anything you can do in these games.

Sorry just not my type of game at all.

Who knows, if the players were each given a gloc or a sawn-off shotty it might make it a little more interesting.
7 years ago
the doag wrote
Who knows, if the players were each given a gloc or a sawn-off shotty it might make it a little more interesting.
icon_think.gif I just got a crazy idea. icon_twisted.gif
The game looks good though, basketball games this year havnt been going well
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Publisher:
  2K Sports
Developer:
  Visual Concepts
Players:
  1

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