This year’s edition of the NBA 2K series for Xbox is little more than a roster update of last year’s game. However, considering NBA 2K6 was a very good game, and that NBA 2K7 is selling at the bargain price of $30, there’s not much to complain about. As a matter of fact, NBA 2K7 offers a more realistic game experience than the “other” NBA franchise does, mostly due to the fact that the game doesn’t turn into little more than a dunk fest.
For the most part the controls are tight and responsive; you can either shoot the ball by using the face button or by using the right stick. One problem I found was that shooting with the right stick doesn’t always result in the shot you were trying to put up, which is a downer for people who want precise control over their movements but probably won’t affect those gamers who just want to “put the rock in the hole.” Calling plays and making substitutions is simple enough, as both are controlled via the D pad, and the right trigger is used for what NBA 2K7 calls “isomotion control.” Holding down the Isomotion Control button while selecting a direction with the left thumb stick allows you to pull off hesitation, crossover and spin moves. It will take at least a couple of hours to get comfortable with all the combinations of face buttons and stick moves, but with some practice you will be pulling them off with ease.
Once you’ve got the controls in order, you can use them in a number of different gameplay modes: quick play, tournament, street season, association and an online multiplayer mode. For those of you who enjoy managing a team, you will be most impressed by the Association mode, which puts you in charge of the franchise of your choice and makes it your job to hire and fire coaches, set up practices, scout for new players and trade your current players. It’s the sort of depth EA tried to create in its NFL Head Coach game, only it’s actually enjoyable. Heck, you even have to be careful not to push your players too hard at practice, because if they become too fatigued it will affect them during the next game. In other words, you’ll never run out of things to keep you occupied in the Association mode.
NBA 2K7’s online multiplayer mode allows picking up a quick game of one-on-one, an exhibition game, a tournament or a full-blown league option. The league option lets you set up a custom online season for up to 30 players, make trades and even check out other player’s VIP profiles. You can even upload custom difficulty settings.
While the Xbox is undoubtedly showing it’s age when compared to the Xbox 360, NBA 2K7 is quite good-looking for an Xbox game. The player animations are outstanding to say the least; they move and react just like real players do. The player models, too, are very good representations of their real-life counterparts, as even the players’ mannerisms and signature jump shots have been added (at least for the well-known players). All the well-known players are instantly recognizable, but less-popular players are not quite as detailed and share some generic animations and moves. Like the NBA’s marquee players, the arenas are also exact replicas of the real things, and small details such as close-ups of fans reacting to good plays or bad calls and cheerleaders taking to the floor during timeouts add to the realism.
The sound effects are mostly well done and sound just as a basketball game should: shoes squeaking, balls bouncing and players yelling “I’m open.” The soundtrack is mostly hip-hop, as to be expected in an NBA game, but you can also create a custom soundtrack from songs that you’ve ripped to your hard drive. The announcers become very repetitive, though, as they say the same phrases over and over again, making you want to turn them off entirely.
That can’t be said for the overall game, though, as NBA 2K7 is a worthy title to add to your Xbox collection. It doesn’t add an incredible amount from NBA 2K6, but its bargain price also indicates that the game’s not pretending to be something it’s not (an original title). If the NBA is your thing, and if you don’t have an Xbox 360, NBA 2K7 is one Xbox game you won’t want to miss.
- Overall: 8
- With a very good representation of the real game and a host of single-player modes, 2K7 is a must-have for any NBA fan. The deep and rewarding online League mode is just icing on the bargain-priced cake.
— Randie Kilgore