NBA 2K7 Review
NBA 2K7 is a great basketball simulation, but a multitude of nagging issues keeps it from reaching its potential.
- Individual player shots look great
- Robust online play
- Terrific animation
- More gameplay modes than you can shake a stick at.
- Free throws are extremely difficult to make
- Controls are often unwieldy
- Not significantly improved over last year
- Questionable artificial intelligence.
Neither NBA 2K6 nor NBA Live 06 were quite able to meet people's high expectations when they came out during the Xbox 360's launch last November. Live had sharp graphics and snazzy presentation but not much in the way of substance, while 2K6 was a prettier, slightly enhanced version of what had been released on the Xbox and PlayStation 2 a few months earlier. With Visual Concepts having an entire year in development, hopes were high for NBA 2K7. Perhaps too high. Sure, there are oodles of new animations and gameplay options, but many key issues went untouched. It's still a great choice for anyone who likes a realistic pace to their NBA video games, but it's not the defining basketball simulation that many were hoping for.
NBA 2K7 features a dizzying number of gameplay modes. Quick play, 24/7, season, the association, tournaments, and a robust online component give the game tremendous replay value. There are also a number of options and sliders that let you tweak the game to your heart's content. Having so many choices to pick from is great, but navigating through all the modes and options is made needlessly difficult due to the new menu system. It's unreasonably complex, and you're forced to bring up menus with the right analog stick. Rarely are you able to simply go back a step; rather, you're forced to go all the way back to each mode's main menu and do things all over again.
The association is NBA 2K7's multiseason mode, and it's deeper than ever. You're placed in charge of an NBA franchise and it's your job to hire coaches, set up practices, perform general manager duties, and play the games. Watching your team's chemistry as well as fatigue level is very important, since players will tire after hard practices, thereby not giving you their best effort during a game. Should you need to shake things up in the locker room, three player trades are now supported, though to be honest, we spent 30 minutes trying to pull one off without success. You'll also need to prepare for the NBA draft by scouting players and even putting them through a series of predraft workouts. One thing's for sure--there's never a lack of activities to keep you occupied. For such a complex simulation, the association runs smoothly, without any major glitches. Dwayne Wade did win the MVP five seasons in a row, but other than that anomaly, player statistics seemed realistic and players retired at reasonable ages.
24/7 mode has received a face-lift, and while it doesn't hold a candle to NBA Street, it's surprisingly robust for a secondary game mode. Improved create-a-player options allow for some crazy-looking characters, such as a mullet-haired baller that would make Joe Dirt and Randy Johnson jealous. New street-specific moves like bouncing the ball off an opponent's head and some over-the-top dribbling have been added, giving the game a decidedly arcadelike feel. There's a story that accompanies your player's rise to street-ball glory, but its execution is downright embarrassing. You're a young no-name baller who happens to be on the court while Shaq is practicing free throws. Somehow your buddy is able to talk Shaq into letting you shoot against him, and after you win, O'Neal hands you a flier with details on a legends tournament in New York. The combination of a corny script, so-so voice acting, and silent NBA players who act out their parts like mimes make the story difficult to enjoy. If you're looking for a street-ball experience without the story, you can play one-on-one, 21, and half- or full-court in locales from Miami to New York's Rucker Park.
On the court, Visual Concepts didn't make any huge alterations to how the game plays. Newcomers will likely find the controls difficult to pick up, while series veterans will appreciate them for their seemingly endless depth. Player substitutions, play calling, and more can be done during play by pressing the appropriate direction on the D pad. Effective use of set plays is an integral part of getting open shots, partially because that's how real NBA teams do it, but also because players move around the court as if getting open and cutting to the hoop aren't high on their list of things to do. Crossovers, spins, and hesitation moves are done via the "isomotion" controls (right trigger plus the left analog stick). Shooting is mapped to the X button, or, should you prefer, you can utilize the right analog stick for greater shot control. In theory, using the right analog stick to shoot lets you pick the best shot for the situation. A shorter guard posting up a power forward might want to opt for a fadeaway, while a taller player might go up strong and attempt a power dunk. In reality, using the analog stick results in players frequently putting up unnecessary low-percentage shots, rather than the simple shot you were hoping for.
Final scores and shooting percentages are noticeably lower this year, in part because teams play like their real-life counterparts. One night you might put up a bunch of points against Phoenix, which loves to push the tempo, and the next evening put up far fewer against the slower-paced Spurs. There's also an ugly side as to why scores are so low. Sometimes defenders legitimately play great defense, but just as often you'll skate in place, performing crossovers and hesitation moves against an invisible wall. Down low, the hop step is an effective way of establishing dominance in the paint, but it, too, is often rendered useless by unseen forces. Fast breaks are prone to coming to a screeching halt, either from a turnover due to an errant pass, forced because the camera was too close, or because of streaking players stopping in their tracks to receive a pass. The big way in which the game seems to keep scoring down is with an inordinate amount of missed shots. Blown dunks and lay-ups, wide-open three-pointers clanking off the rim, and missed put-backs are all commonplace. A few tweaks to the gameplay sliders can correct the anomalies, but that shouldn't be necessary.
For a game that bills itself as "the next-generation champion," 2K7 has some significant problems. The artificial intelligence is spotty, with point guards dribbling away 10 to 15 seconds at a time if left unguarded at the top of the key, and players constantly rotating into mismatches. It's not uncommon to see a center guarding a point guard or vice versa. Not all of the AI is bad. When the computer is on defense, defenders will fight through picks, rotate quickly, and double-team the hot player. Players also have a difficult time picking up loose balls--they'll just stand there and watch the ball roll around. When someone dives to the floor to get a ball (99 percent of the time it's the computer), there doesn't appear to be any sort of animation for a defensive player to try and tie them up. Everyone will just mill about as the player on the floor sits there looking for someone to pass to.
- Player Reviews: 223
- Game Universe:
- NBA 2K2 (DC, PS2, GC, XBOX),
- NBA 2K3 (XBOX, PS2, GC),
- ESPN NBA Basketball (PS2, XBOX),
- ESPN NBA 2K5 (PS2, XBOX),
- NBA 2K6 (PS2, X360, XBOX),
- NBA 2K7 (PS3, PS2, XBOX, X360),
- NBA 2K8 (X360, PS2, PS3),
- NBA 2K9 (X360, PS3, PS2, PC),
- NBA 2K10 (X360, WII, PC, PS3, PS2, PSP),
- NBA 2K10: Draft Combine (X360, PS3)
- Offline Modes:
Competitive, Cooperative, Team Oriented
- Online Modes:
Competitive, Cooperative, Team Oriented
- Number of Players:
- Number of Online Players:
8 Players Online