Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 09/25/06 | Genre: Sports
With all of the issues Sony has had developing a good NBA game on the PSP, one would think they might quit trying. However, never content to give up, Sony delivered the third incarnation of the NBA series to the PlayStation portable. And while it is an improvement over the other two titles, the game still lacks some of the features of its PlayStation 2 brother.
First off, Sony has done a great job in creating a fluid 60 Frames Per Second title on the PSP. NBA 07 may not be the prettiest basketball game ever seen, or push the PSP to its limits, but the visuals are good. The game's framerate is also so high that the game plays at a very fast pace that can make it difficult to manage. But that is sure better than having slowdown issues.
The graphics appear to be very similar to the PlayStation 2 version of NBA 07. And while the game is not a straight port, it should be expected that they would share similar visuals and shows that a PSP game can look close to some PS2 games.
I found myself to enjoy the mini-games in NBA 07 more than any other mode. But before I get into that, it seemed very odd to me that Sony would leave out The Life Vol. 2 from the portable version of the game. You can read more about this feature in our PlayStation 2 version of the game. However, to sum it up, it gives players challenges to complete while playing through the game.
While you won't find The Life Vol. 2, players will discover something very fun called Conquest Mode. Here, you can compete in the basketball version of Risk and try to take over all franchises in the NBA. You start off with just one team and its standard roster of players. On your turn, you can elect to go fight an opposing team. This will begin a battle on the court with no fouls and no shot clock. Players who give up a three pointer or get blocked will be slowed down and will not regain normal speeds until their team scores. As you score points, players will knock down their opponents score meter. Whoever has their score meter depleted first will lose and be forced to join the winning team's club.
The CPU will also be actively trying to defeat other franchises during their turn. Should anyone try to take you on and you are successful in defeating them, you can take any player off that squad and give them your worst player. Having better players not only helps in giving you more skills on the court--but also increases your score meter.
Besides Conquest, there are other mini-games here as well. Dodgeball, HORSE, Pinball, Big Shooter, and others. Some of these are playable via multiplayer wireless but participating in this mode can make the game play very slow. This caused me to give up on this mode fairly fast.
The actual basketball portion of NBA 07 is improved over last year's version. However, there is still not a franchise option for more than one year. This means that players can feel free to ignore any salary cap restraints and make insane deals to other clubs without fear of any penalties. On top of that, the AI can be so bad that opposing GM's will agree to just about any trade.
On the court, the action runs into a few problems. Players do not run fast breaks effectively and will constantly stop to grab a pass from you... that is if you can actually get the ball to them. The CPU usually can snag anything other than a short pass out of the air. This is the only NBA game franchise, that I have played, with this problem.
Overall, NBA 07 is better than past NBA PSP titles from Sony. However, the game is still lacking in several areas and appears to need some more development to make the game a magical handheld experience. Since we have already seen three versions of NBA on the PlayStation Portable, I am sure Sony is hard at work on the fourth incarnation. Hopefully they can take time to listen this feedback and deliver a much-improved NBA 08.