College Hoops 2K7 is a very good college basketball game, but its value is somewhat lessened by the fact that it follows College Hoops 2K6 by just eight months.
- 200 fight songs
- Legacy mode is very deep
- Captures the feel of the college game
- "College Hoops Tonight" show is an excellent addition.
- Lots of little glitches detract from the experience
- Isn't vastly different from 2K6
- Players miss too many layups.
Just in time for the tip-off of the of the college basketball season, 2K Sports has released College Hoops 2K7. People who don't follow college hoops may dismiss the game as little more than NBA 2K7 with a different coat of paint, but it's really much more. Sure, there are similarities, and both titles share the same game engine, but it's the little things that separate the two: The best season-ending tournament in all of sports, raucous crowds with crazy student sections, pep bands blaring fight songs, average players who can sometimes dig deep for a special performance, and coaches who actually teach are just a few of the many differences between the two games. Unfortunately, there's one game which College Hoops 2K7 is just a little too similar to, and that's College Hoops 2K6, which was released just eight months ago. 2K7 is a very good game, and it's better than 2K6 to be sure, but not by a large-enough margin to justify the 40-dollar price difference.
Whether you want to play a single game or lead a university to the promised land, there's no shortage of ways to stay busy in College Hoops 2K7. You can play a quick game, a single game rivalry, enter a tournament, or head to the practice court if you need to polish your skills. Here you can practice, shoot free throws, and take part in a number of drills including fastbreak, monkey in the middle, dribble and shoot, knockout, and many more. Not only will you be coaching your team in coach mode, setting defenses, tendencies, and substitutions, but you can actually watch the game from a coach's vantage point, too.
To get the most out of the game you'll need to play legacy mode, where you control nearly every aspect of a college basketball program. There's quite a bit of depth here and it can be a little overwhelming at first, but the mode's more user-friendly than before, and as a result, more enjoyable. There are two ways to play legacy mode. In career legacy you can select from a group of small programs where you'll need to establish a solid track record before getting offers from bigger, more prestigious schools. An "open" legacy lets you take the reins of any team in the game. This gives you a better chance of success right out of the gate--but with the higher-profile jobs come higher expectations, so you'll need to win--and win quickly--to retain your job. Both modes place you in control of day-to-day operations such as recruiting players, hiring coaches, and scheduling your games. For those who prefer the sim aspect of legacy mode, a new feature called hoopcast has been added this year. You can still simulate your games with the press of a button, but hoopcast lets you set tendencies, sub players, and, in general, just keep a closer eye on the game. It's perhaps not quite as user-friendly as it could be, but it's a nice idea, and it should be interesting to see how it evolves in future iterations of the game.
As they did last year, Greg Gumbel and Clark Kellogg host a preseason show that covers the top 25 as well as the best players in the country. Near the end of the season they host a Selection Sunday show that breaks down the NCAA tournament. New this year is a weekly show called College Hoops Tonight, in which Gumbel and Kellogg break down all the big games of the previous week and discuss upcoming matchups. The presentation here is a bit dated and the lip-synching is atrocious, but the content is fantastic, and watching the show is a great way to keep tabs on what's going on outside your conference.
Should you grow tired of playing the CPU, you can play with or against up to three friends on one console, or you can head online to play a quick match, join or create a league, and even participate in tournaments. There have been some reports of people being unable to play and finish online games, but other than one laggy game (and some opponents who shot way too many three-pointers), the online experience was as smooth as can be.
2K7 does a great job differentiating the college game from the pro game. Teams play a variety of styles, mostly sticking to their real-life tendencies. Knowing when to apply pressure on defense and how to break a full-court press on offense is very important, as this can often be the difference in a close contest. You'll also need to be adept at patiently picking holes in zone defenses while also being able to run the floor to keep up with teams that like to push the pace. As in real college basketball, there's often a great disparity between the talent levels of teams, but that doesn't mean the less talented squad is always destined to lose. Players have a confidence meter that builds as they have more success on the court, and when it's full they'll be able to perform at a higher than normal level. The new team unity feature works in a similar way, but it's the entire team that gets a boost. By playing well and keeping players that are working well together in the game, your team's unity will increase and perform even better. Sometimes the effect is noticeable, but even when your team unity is low, you can still mount a comeback--it's just easier when your team's meshing.
For the most part, College Hoops 2K7's gameplay is very solid, thanks in no small part to how much it has in common with NBA 2K7. They have similar control schemes, so you're able to shoot with the right stick, and pull off crossovers and other dribbles by holding down the right trigger and moving the left analog stick. You can also shoot with the X button, do crossovers with the B button, and spin moves with the Y button. This works out fine, especially for people who don't like the "isomotion"-style controls. This added dribbling control comes at the expense of the passing, as there's no lead pass with the default control scheme (there is a lead pass option in an alternative scheme). Not having the ability to lead players on a break leads to a lot of fast breaks coming to screeching halts as players often stop to catch a pass. It also makes turnovers much more prevalent than they probably should be because passes often end up behind players. Calling plays and changing defensive sets on the fly is as simple as pressing a direction on the D pad.