|NBA 2K8 (2007)
Publisher: 2K Games
Available for: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Well, this is it. We’ve finally come to the end of the line. Suffice it to say that we here at Bullz-Eye have covered just about every new major video game sports title that has been released this year. We even managed to cover NASCAR and rugby, which has to be worth something. Above all else, we got to try out all the similar games from different developers. You know, multiple football titles, hockey games, and now we can seal the deal by throwing 2K Games’ “NBA 2K8” up against EA’s “NBA Live 08.” Whose game is better? Who, indeed, brought their game to the court?
Like its yearly hockey competition, 2K wins the contest here as well. The company usually manages to outshine its competitor either through smoother game play, extra features, good online, or a combination of all. Not to say “NBA 2K8” isn’t without some flaws, but if you’re trying to make a quick decision between the two titles, then this game is the better of the two. Hey, it got a revamped movement system that relies on the players planting their feet on the ground and going with the old forward momentum science. There’s also a new and groovy slam dunk contest which is always fun to play against your favorite competition. And to top that off, dig the franchise mode, which will have the basketball freaks praising the skies with its many facets and tweakability.
Yet it isn’t perfect by a long shot. The new Lock-on D system is meant to give players an edge over the competition, but too many times it works a little too well. With this feature, players can have one of their men stay on a certain player on the other team for an extended duration. The problem is that the feature is so essentially broken that it makes for completely unrealistic situations on the virtual court that would never be possible on the real thing. Consider it arcade ball going a step further, and dumbed down enough so that the player has an insane advantage. Want to see a player pull off mad skills that they never had in reality? Then rock the Lock-on D. Thankfully, this isn’t a required-use feature, but had it actually worked the way it was supposed to (instead of being an all-out illogical game-winning tactic) it would have been a much cooler feature.
The insanely deep franchise mode is successfully built around a personality engine that really works for once. Team members can be laid back, expressive, unpredictable and neutral. Each of these four personality types will indeed play a major role based on how well the player’s team is doing over the course of the season. It’s nice to see a system like this in action and finally working as it should. Too often, these sports titles feature a variation on this theme and the only thing it all boils down to is how well a team member can shoot the ball. This time around, that isn’t the case and each player’s overall performance is truly affected by his personality category.
For those who just want to get some good old hoops in, there’s the new Blacktop mode that is a fun and entertaining street ball game. Don’t expect the likes of “NBA Street” (one franchise where EA does excel), but nevertheless this mode is certainly a fun break from the serious side of the game. As mentioned earlier, there’s also a terrific slam dunk competition for those who just want some in-your-face action to claim bragging rights against their buddies. Add to this a revamped graphics package and sound effects that truly do seem to react to how the game is being played, and you have a pretty well-rounded basketball sim.Next year, 2K would do well to just ditch the Lock-on D feature, or fix it so it would work as intended. Something like that -- touted as a key feature of the game on the back of the box -- shouldn’t be broken at all. There are also a few minor graphical glitches here and there that don’t take away from the game overall, but still shouldn’t be an issue this far along into the 360’s life. Other than those complaints, “NBA 2K8” is a solid experience that pulls off enough of its tricks to keep hoops fans entertained until next year’s version.