| NBA Live 08 (2007)
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Available for: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii
There was a time, back in the good old arcades, when basketball fans would literally line up to play “NBA Jam,” the Midway classic whose popularity was rivaled only by that same company’s own “Mortal Kombat.” It was arcade basketball at its most extreme, and offered a fine amount of competition at the same time. And players plunked quarters into the damn thing like there was no tomorrow. You see, they could input their own info into the game and then it would be saved so they could come back any old day and attempt to be king of the local machine. But you remember all of this if you were around at that time. If not, then just know the start of that franchise was just huge.
The game’s series also enjoyed a huge success on the 16-bit home consoles as well. But the popularity started to die out at home when the next round of consoles came out and things could be approached realistically in a more successful fashion. Soon enough, arcade style basketball was going the way of ye olde “Arch Rivals” once again, and players wanted to really compete. By the time the PS2, Dreamcast, and a little later, the original Xbox came along, realistic sports games were in full swing. Electronic Arts staked its claim into about every sport you could think of and thus a mini-monopoly was born.
It’s actually kind of funny to still be talking about the PS2 these days. The system’s so damn old, yet a powerhouse in sales thanks to its affordable price and tremendous library of games. Yet you can’t help but feel that the thing is close to the tapped-out point or developers just don’t bother to try very hard for it any more. Case in point: EA’s latest basketball installment “NBA 08.” Man, this thing feels like it’s gimping around on a pair of crutches while simultaneously trying to roll around in a wheelchair. It’s understandable (and to a degree honorable) that EA wants to keep the PS2 fans sated, but when product like this are rolled out, maybe it’s time to put the franchise to sleep in regards to that system.
So what do we have this year? Not a whole lot. The game plays, at times, like it’s been drugged. Hey, could my passes possibly catch a cab and get to my intended receiver to speed this up? Thanks. Oh and thanks for those stellar clunky animations that fill the screen as well. I thought there was some grace to be seen in the game of basketball, but apparently I was wrong. So gimme something here. A little something? Dynasty mode again? Ugh. Hasn’t this feature been tapped out already? It doesn’t feel like anything’s been added to make it fun. Oh, I’m right. Nothing has been added to it.
These rosters are all effed-up as well. A lot of these guys shouldn’t be rated as highly as they are, but that doesn’t seem to matter here. And hoo-boy, the graphics overall have tanked in the most major way. This game is starting to look last-last-gen on the PS2. As I said before, it’s probably time to put the thing to bed. So is there any hope for gamers who are still playing Sony’s golden child into submission? Sadly, there probably isn’t. “NBA Live 08” is so lackluster that you wonder why EA even bothered. The problem is, they didn’t with this version, and it shows greatly. If you really need to fix your basketball jones, then give this one a rental at best. Otherwise, steer clear. It may seriously be time to buy a new system if you haven’t by now.