NBA Basketball 2000 from Fox Interactive is a solid basketball game that any casual fan of the sport will enjoy. However, video-game basketball veterans will discover problems in the game's AI, and, unless they simply stick to multiplayer games, will dismiss Fox's game as a valiant, but slightly flawed attempt.
Without a doubt, NBA Basketball 2000 is easily one of the best-looking PlayStation basketball games available. It, of course, includes all the standard sports-game features and licenses, so you'll see real teams and players, create-a-player mode, and the like.
From the game's explosive FMV intro sequence to the effects-laden replays, it's easy to see that NBA Basketball 2000's visual presentation is top-notch. Before the game, you'll see players on the court practicing shots just like at a real game. Following the brief warm-up, the home team's starting lineup is introduced with a dramatic light show. On the court, the animation of the players executing their moves, such as dunking, dribbling, and shooting, looks not only fluid, but also physically correct. Unfortunately, the players don't have too many unique visual characteristics that set them apart from each other. Their faces vaguely resemble those of their real-life counterparts, as do their body types and overall appearance. But out of the ten men on the court, you'll see there are big men like Laettner and Shaq, little guys, and medium guys, but that's it. There are no further variations other than the three basic types. All the action can be seen from several different camera angles, which all have adjustable zoom sliders that let you set the camera up just how you like it. Plus, the game has these really cool instant replays that do things like split the screen in half and show you a dunk from two different angles at once.
NBA Basketball 2000's two-man announcing at first seems incredible and even on par with the announcing found in Sega's Dreamcast basketball game, NBA 2K. However, by the third or fourth game, you'll realize that while they do chatter a whole lot and make cute references, there's only about three games' worth of material to recycle. Fortunately, the game's music, sound effects, and crowd cheers are there to keep you company.
The control of the game feels just a little off when you first start playing, due to the lag between the time you hit a button and when the action gets to your player on the court. You do eventually get used to this lag time and naturally account for it after playing the game for any length of time.
The AI of the computer is unfortunately a little too inconsistent. Even on the game's hardest level, the computer makes stupid mistakes that affect each team. For instance, the defense on the transition is horrible. You can run the ball down on most transitions before the defense gets properly set. This is true when your team is on defense, as well. The bad transitions result in most points in a game being scored by easy dunk after easy dunk. On the rare occasion when the defense is set and the computer must work the ball around and wait for an open shot, the computer is extremely competent.
In the end, NBA Basketball 2000 is a great first effort from Fox Interactive, but, unfortunately, it looks better than it plays. The AI is a little too quirky and won't keep you interested in playing past a season. This isn't a big problem if multiplayer is your game. Die-hard basketball fans who are looking for something new should definitely give the game a go, but try before you buy.