NBA 2K7 Review

NBA 2K7 is the latest edition of the 2K roundball series, and is the second to be released on the Xbox 360. 2K6 was a solid basketball title but it was in desperate need of a polishing; the overall experience was fun, but lacked anything that really defined it as a next-gen game. 2K7 has made many improvements, but the question remains: is there enough in the 360 version to warrant an extra $30?

In order to truly enjoy what this version of NBA 2K7 has to offer, you first need to learn to appreciate the small things. Players waiting to be subbed in will sit in front of the scorer’s table; this is an example of one of the many small refinements that only hardcore basketball enthusiasts will really appreciate. But it’s these seemingly insignificant details that come together in order to make NBA 2K7 the most immersive basketball game on the market.

The most significant upgrade and most exciting feature for basketball fans is the unparalleled sense of realism that 2K7 provides. Player animations are absolutely spot-on; from Kobe Bryant to LeBron James, all of the NBA’s star players’ mannerisms and shooting styles have been faithfully recreated within the game. Players will throw themselves into defenders who gamble on a pump fake, tip bad passes out of bounds and intelligently move around the court on their own. The list goes on and on, but 2K7 flat out does a wonderful job of realistically simulating real NBA players’ actions on the hardwood. It still wows me when I see Shawn Marion take a jump shot – though I’m not sure if that’s simply due to his ridiculous shooting style or not.

However, this sense of ultra-realism also causes some issues within the game. While shooting styles and player animations look as if the actual players were performing them, other minor problems become glaring. Big men such as Shaq and Andrew Bynum move far too quickly, and can at times keep pace with some of the fastest players in the league. During replays and free throws, the basketball will quite frequently have clipping issues where it will go through the players hands. The same can also be said of players’ arms, when they will penetrate their bodies. It’s quite the contrasting juxtaposition that could be compared to older video games, where the background would be a painted matte that would scroll separately behind the action on-screen.

Other distractions that the game suffers from include problems with some of the newer features. Subs sitting in front of the scorer’s table will often times walk out onto the court itself, completely unaware that they’re doing such a thing. Like the clipping issue, this isn’t really something that will kill the game for you; it simply detracts from the sense of immersion that 2K7 has taken such large strides to provide.

Another new feature (if you want to call it that) is the intrusive advertisements that are shown during some replays. They basically equate to an unskippable, second-long black screen with the Toyota logo on it. Whereas instant replays seem to fit into the flow of sports games, these ads are nothing but invasive and really interrupt the flow of the game.

NBA 2K7 sports a new 24/7 mode, which allows you to create your own character and gain respect for him in street ball. It’s the same process that we’ve seen for years now, and despite the nice character customization, 24/7 remains to be nothing more than a distraction from the rest of the game. It simply isn’t worth the investment of time required to really enjoy 24/7, and your time is better spent online or in Association mode.

Association mode has received some minor upgrades over 2K6, but it still is lacking in some of the more complex qualities of managing an NBA franchise. Three-team trades and all are nice, but options to allow for more advanced contract management, player development and scouting remain absent.

Both of these game modes are the focus of single player, but neither manages to deliver much in the way of a new experience for veterans of the series. It’s the same old game, just with a new look. Likewise, the online portion of the game remains wholly unchanged; you can still participate in leagues and tournaments, along with your usual selection of ranked and player matches, but there isn’t anything new here. The online game plays with a hint of lag that makes it noticeably slower than offline play, and is just enough to throw off your timing. The transition from playing offline to online is rough, and could have used some work.

Commentary is some of the best around in a basketball title, and features Kevin Harlan, Kenny Smith and Craig Sager. Luckily, we never have to see Sager’s funky blazers, and he never says all that much. Harlan and Smith are a solid duo, but personally I would have preferred to see a hometown radio play-by-play guy a la Madden 06/07. As for the game’s soundtrack, that comes to personal preference as to whether you care for the rap/pop selection that’s available.

What NBA 2K7 boils down to is entirely based upon the player’s desire for realism. For those dying to see the authentic animations in a basketball title on the Xbox 360, 2K7 will suffice. But anyone looking for a totally new basketball experience will be sorely disappointed. The rest of the game is the same, albeit solid, experience that we’ve played for several years now. There just isn’t enough here to justify a purchase for casual fans. 2K7 is just another step forward – just not the leap you would expect from a second generation next-gen title.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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