It’s been a long time since we’ve scored so high in a basketball game. In fact, it brought us back to the NES days when we would hole up in our living rooms playing Konami’s Double Dribble scoring well into the 100s because there was little to no defensive strategy. Even the free throws in NBA Live 08 have a double ring that bounce up and down. While the graphics are, of course, on par with today’s expectations (especially for the PSP) it was a little disappointing to find nothing new in this year’s installment except for updated rosters and a couple of mini-games.
The controls seem to be seriously amiss in the PSP version. The fancy dribble moves are awkwardly placed on the square button and you’ll find yourself performing more fade away jumpers than you’d like. However, once you get a feel for the timing, you’ll be hard pressed to miss shots. The offensive action is relatively fast and this is where the title really suffers. The AI is extremely quick and always seem to give the star players the ball. Before you can get situated to set up any strategic defense the opponent is already driving up the paint tossing the layup or dunking in your face. Even if you’re quick at switching players to get ahead of the offensive player you’ll find it difficult to get the ball away from the opponent. This leads to extremely high scoring games and a lot of frustrating moments. Thankfully, you can use the same strategy and quickly get the ball in the basket, but if you’re not quick you’ll find yourself seriously in the hole.
The voices of Steve Kerr and Marv Albert return in the game and they do a fine job of keeping up with the action. They even throw in relevant banter that had us laughing at times. Try skipping through the introduction of the teams and you’ll hear what we mean. Furthermore, if you really let the other team get a good lead on you (and trust us if you don’t convert they will), the announcing duo will really let you know how much you suck.
NBA Live 08 is a fun basketball game, especially if you utilize the ad hoc functionality and play a friend, but the lack of defense really makes this game just a offensive speed fest. The mini-games include a two-on-two shoot out game and a Dance Dance Revolution style dribble game, but both don’t really aim to impress. If you’re into high scoring games with little strategy then NBA Live 08 is definitely for you.
- Overall: 7
- NBA Live 08 offers quick offensive gameplay, but the difficulty of implementing solid defensive maneuvers leads to high scoring games and frustrating moments.
— J. Thomas