NBA 07 Hands-On: Tilt Controls and NBA Replay Mode

We hit the hardwood with the tilt controls of NBA 07 and check out the brand-new NBA Replay mode.

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It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that NBA 07 for the PlayStation 3 is making more extensive use of the tilt functionality of the Sixaxis controller than many third-party games. After all, the hoops game is being developed in-house by the team at SCEA. As we discovered in our hands-on look at NBA 07 during today's Sony PS3 event in San Francisco, the new tilt-controlled moves run the gamut from the merely OK to the surprisingly cool.

If you want to get stylish in NBA 07, you'll need to get your Sixaxis on.

The moves you pull off when maneuvering the tilt controller aren't new to the game entirely--instead they are merely previously existing animations that have been remapped to the Sixaxis. However, it's the implementation of those moves that, in some cases really make a lot of sense. Motion-sensitive moves are only available on offense but there are a number of both standard and low-post moves that keep things feeling fresh. Here's how the moves work: Juke moves are pulled off by pushing the controller either forward or backward; moving the controller left or right horizontally will pull off a crossover in that respective direction; and finally, you can pull off spin moves to the left or right by twisting the controller either counterclockwise or clockwise, respectively. Down in the post, you can try to create space with spins or even back your opponent down under the basket by moving forward or backward with the controller.

It's the aforementioned spin moves, though, that hooked us. The motion to execute them made more sense than any of the others and, depending on your position relative to your defender, it was really easy to see exactly what you needed to do to get around him. A little space to the right, for example, and you can easily spin right and leave him looking foolish while you make a beeline toward the basket. On the downside, while the tilt functions all worked more or less fine individually, it seemed tough, if not impossible, to string together quick combinations of moves--such as a crossover followed by a quick spin. That NBA players regularly do that kind of thing in real life means there's still a way to go with the refinement of the system in the game. That said, producers said they are not only looking at adding sliders to adjust the sensitivity of the tilt controls in future iterations of the NBA series, but also looking to find new ways to integrate the Sixaxis' functionality into the game.

The other big addition to NBA 07 is the NBA Replay mode. This feature is basically split into two parts, though the general idea of both is to relive (and replay) exciting moments from the real NBA in the game. The prepackaged portion of NBA Replay mode will feature highlights from every week of the 2005-06 NBA season. Two challenges for every week of last season are included and your job as a player will be to re-create some of those star performances in the game.

The very first challenge in the mode, for example, stars NBA 07 cover athlete Kobe Bryant who, early on last year, managed to drain eight points in overtime to help his Lakers beat the Denver Nuggets by two points, 99-97. Your job, then, will be to re-create Kobe's eight-point overtime performance. The catch here is that you will have some restraints on you, all based on the actual game from that night. For example, Bryant didn't score any three-pointers in the overtime period, so none of your required eight points should be threes. To add more pressure, you can go for a number of "extra mile" goals which are spelled out before you agree to the challenge--extra mile goals in this particular challenge include committing zero turnovers and keeping the opposing team under seven points in the challenge. At any point in these timed challenges, you can check your progress against the basic and advanced goals to see how close (or how far away) you are from completion.

Think you've got LeBron's skills? Prove it in NBA Replay mode.

The other half of NBA 07's replay mode has yet to be built, specifically because they all will come from the various games that make up the 2006-07 NBA season. On a weekly basis, the NBA 07 developers will create five scenarios based on that week's games, which you will be able to download and try out for yourself. Even better, you'll be able to upload your score (which is calculated based on your performance in the challenge) to Sony's online servers and compare your performance against other NBA 07 players. As an aside, though NBA 07 developers use the term "data-mining" to describe the process of creating these scenarios, it sounds to us like the just watch a lot of basketball games on TV, perhaps while enjoying a frosty beverage or two. And that's the kind of data-mining we can get behind.

With 1080p graphics running at a silky 60 frames per second, NBA 07 has a nice, crisp presentation that is a nice step up from what we've come to be used to on the PlayStation 2. Now it's up to the game's updated controls, and new game modes such as NBA replay mode to ensure that Sony's NBA series makes a gameplay step up of its own. We'll have a full review NBA 07 after the game is released in mid-November.

Discussion

24 comments
jesshorton78
jesshorton78

Um ya ... the shine is um sweat haha. Go look at the 360 version it's the same thing haha.

NobodysFool990
NobodysFool990

trigger501 said: is it juz me or the PS3 cnt create good "shinny" graphics?? I noticed that too. I guess we will have to wait for later games to see what happens

vodkamattvt
vodkamattvt

Rofl, half of the people say the graphics look terrible, the other half are like, wow those are great. How can anyone not see that the players look like mannequins? Looks like they are plastic models. These sony games can't hold water to NBA2k7 or even Live for that matter. Am I the only one that doesn't care about stupid controller gimmicks? I don't want to feel like I'm playing basketball ... you can always get off your ass and play for real. Especially if it potentially hampers gameplay.

jmrntjb
jmrntjb

the downloads are free and the motion sensors are just a feature and not necesary to play the game

_Sam_
_Sam_

which game is this, in the series?

trigger501
trigger501

is it juz me or the PS3 cnt create good "shinny" graphics??

oo769er
oo769er

Graphics look ugly. It's just way to shiny and fake looking.

EPaul
EPaul

This one might actually be good

Muazzin
Muazzin

Smooth graphics but good game?

Muazzin
Muazzin

Graphics look sick! but fight night round 3 pulls off alot better, most of the NBA were crap, this one, might be a hit

santiagochile
santiagochile

Those graphics look really weak! Who would pay $600 for that garbage?!

MikeE21286
MikeE21286

this games graphics look horrible, they look like plastic molds of players. I can't believe they would even release this.

standcm12
standcm12

they're so SHINY! they look like plastic. eww

Marblefist
Marblefist

This is the first ps3 game that seems to clearly surpass the 360 version in graphical and potentially gameplay terms. The sixaxis could yet be more than a gimmick.

4esth
4esth

"Anybody else find this distracting? Other than hardcore Kobe fans? " Nope. He is an athlete and he is a good one. I could care less what he did or didn't do on his own time.

Monstromo
Monstromo

"The very first challenge in the mode, for example, stars NBA 07 cover athlete Kobe Bryant " This guy is like the biggest jerk in the NBA. I know he is a fantastic player but his attitude sucks. I really don't want my kids to see him as role model or person to look up to. Sometimes I just can't get past the fact he was charged with rape, even if that chick was a skank. Still, something happened and he was married at the time. The whole sordid affair along with his less than stellar attitude puts a negative arc over this game. Anybody else find this distracting? Other than hardcore Kobe fans?

bobbetybob
bobbetybob

why are they trying to combine a normal controller with tilt sensitivity, sorry but i just see it getting annoying after a while i mean for the Wii the majority of the game is motion sensing for most of these games you use it to do mandatory things, either use a normal controller, or motion sensing, not both

RaiKageRyu
RaiKageRyu

Sounds promising but the past NBAs of Sony, we're pretty bad.

LVLLNKIM
LVLLNKIM

Hm, will the downloads be free?

Hisairness2345
Hisairness2345

Haha, it's funny that Kobe Bryant is on the cover of this game but his player model looks nothing like him.

Cloud987
Cloud987

I hope the gameplay matches up the graphics..If it does-NBA may just take Live's place and finally offer a real competitor to the current King NBA2k