As fun as missing a free throw.

PlayStation 3
Released in 2007 by Sony Computer Entertainment
Rating: 1 out of 5

Don’t be fooled by its pretty looks. This is a game with little substance, and it just isn’t fun.

Where it falls in the series

What started as the NBA ShootOut series back in 1996 on PS1 eventually became simply the NBA series. The first on PS3 is NBA 07: Featuring the Life. Then there’s this, simply NBA 08. And the series called it quits after NBA 09: The Inside. To my knowledge, there isn’t a single version in the series that is highly regarded by my fellow dorks.

Gripes

From the second you start playing, something seems off. The control feels odd and the players don’t move like they should. The game incorporates the controller’s motion sensor for dribble moves on offense and putting your hands up on defense, and it’s cumbersome. (You can turn the motion sensor off if it’s an annoyance, which it is.)

The camera views are terrible. There’s nothing similar to the user-friendly baseline camera available in EA and 2K’s games. You’re stuck with two low baseline cameras — both are too low to see the court, and one of them swings around so much it makes me queasy — and two sideline cameras that make certain actions tough to do.

Getting by a defender 1-on-1 happens rarely. The dribble moves are almost useless, and the defender is consistent in stopping your movement. In general, the physical contact between players doesn’t seem natural. (It’s funny that Sony mastered baseball, which doesn’t rely on players in contact with one another, but failed with all other sports.)

You’ll resort to passing around a lot, which is a chore. Passes are slow and follow a basic player-to-player path. Anyone who has played basketball, even against a few drunk bums at the local park, knows that you don’t always pass right to a teammate’s chest, sometimes you pass it to where he’s going. This game just doesn’t have the flow you want.

Praises

The graphics are pretty impressive, which doesn’t stop this game from sucking, but I’ll give credit where it’s due. The arena environment is super detailed. The players look smooth (although the animations don’t). And the color has a very realistic look.

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