All right! It’s finally time to get into some of the Basketball titles! Next to Football this sport has always fought it out with Tennis for being the next most enjoyable one. There’s just a lot of fun to be had in Basketball and the games are always nice and fast paced. I feel like my fundamentals from 2003 hold up fairly well although there have definitely been some changes to the gameplay since then. I can’t say that they are for the better, but they are the kinds of changes that make the game deeper so I’m sure I would like them if I played more often.
If you know the game of Basketball then you basically already know how the gameplay is gonna work. The goal here is to score more points than your opponent. You score points by firing the ball into the basket and naturally you want to prevent the opponent from doing this as well. To that end the controls are a little more straight forward than the other games. Also, it’s only 5 on 5 I believe so the court never feels all that packed. You can just go in and get the stuff done. That being said, don’t expect to just run up to the opponent and start firing off shots though. You could do that back in the day, but times have changed.
One new addition to the series (At least it wasn’t around in 2003) is a new accuracy meter. When you shoot you need to time the button release just right so you shoot when it’s in the green. That will result in an automatic basket. If it’s yellow then you’ll make the basket more times than not. Any darker color and that’s it for you. This adds an extra layer of difficulty because now even shots that you would normally make won’t be so easy now. On the other hand, if you master it then there’s no way you’ll be losing to the average player. I can respect the developers wanting to give this game a higher skill ceiling, but it is tough for us casuals.
I got the gameplay down pretty well by the end though. I came back from what was a 60 point deficit and only ended up losing by 3 points. It was pretty emotional I’ll admit and I would have been tempted to upload a replay if I had gone further. I went for a high risk approach by the end and just kept going for 3 point shots. I felt like I was getting the timing down pretty well too. Defense is where I really turned it up though. Initially I couldn’t stop the opponent for beans. The problem is that it’s very hard to stay with your man in this game.
The opponent can spin or pass at any given time. If you over extent in trying to stop the opponent then you’ll just end up being stuck behind as they score. I found that the best defensive strategy was to not really do anything. Just let them miss the shot as you stick by or force them to pass and try to intercept. It may not be as exciting, but I found that to be the best way to go. My usual tricks weren’t working otherwise. So that does mean that the defensive side of the game is a little less exciting than usual. I also feel like the game is less explosive in general as you don’t get knocked over when trying to block and there’s less contact. Maybe it’s trying to be like the modern NBA in that respect as all of the sports have less contact now.
Aside from the main mode there are minigames and franchises to start. Pretty much the usual sport modes as those don’t really change from game to game. There’s a lot of content to keep you busy here and in theory just playing the Basketball games is enough to really hold you all the way til the end. Even when I was getting schooled it was just a lot of fun to play the games. In that respect sport games have always been high tier because you’re guaranteed to have a fun time. It’s hard to imagine a Basketball or Football game ever being bad.
Of course the graphics are pretty solid here. There are less cinematics and presentation compared to some of the other sport games, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that starts to change as we get more caught up in the years. This was all the way back with 07 after all so you can only imagine that an NBA 16 will be a lot more modern. The soundtrack is less impressive as it’s your standard EA tunes. They’re fast enough to get you ready I suppose, but that’s about it. Once you’re in the actual matches you don’t have time for such things anyway. You’re 100% focused on winning at that point.
Overall, NBA 07 is definitely a game I highly recommend. I think you can get it for under a dollar nowadays so that’s basically a steal if you ask me. Of course, realistically there isn’t much reason to buy this game when you can probably get 08 or 09 for basically the same price. It’s a solid title, but one that is basically nullified by the newer entries. It’ll definitely be fun to see how the newer titles stack up though. I’ll be playing NBA 08 shortly as I continue this sport marathon.