Video Game Review: NBA 2K7
Release Date: September 25, 2006
Distributor: 2K Sports
Microsoft Xbox 360
· NBA 2K7 Official Site
by Scott Juba
Published: December 20, 2006
With the NBA season in full swing, "NBA 2K7" gives gamers the opportunity to hit the virtual hardwood to do battle against some of the NBAís top talent. While last yearís "2K6" marked a solid entry into the world of next generation basketball games, "2K7" takes the gaming experience to the next level.
The player movements have never looked so fluid and lifelike, and the graphics are as good as, if not better than, any other sports game on the market. From the lighting reflections on the court to the way sweat drips off a playerís face, "2K7" immerses you in the NBA experience. Even if youíre not using a high-def television, there are times when you could mistake playing "2K7" for watching an actual NBA broadcast.
The improved crowd interaction during a game also enhances the experience. The crowd becomes fired up by keys play and becomes louder or quieter depending on how the home team performs. Visually, they move not as a collective unit but as individual spectators. Throughout the game, youíll see fans walking up and down the stairs and freely moving about the arena.
Thankfully, the developers at 2K Sports didnít reserve this added attention to detail only for the spectators. The depiction of each player is faithful to his real-life counterpart. For example, LeBron James often bites his nails while heís standing along the lane waiting for an opponent to take a foul shot, just as he does in real life. But itís not only the big-name stars who are presented with authentic detail. Even lesser known players such as Eric Snow and Brevin Knight look and act realistically.
Aside from the graphics, the game controls are similar to the ones used for "2K6". The shot stick is great for flashy, creative dunks, but still could use more refining if the gameís developers actually expect gamers to use it for jump shots.
The computer AI marks another improvement from last yearís version, with defenses more apt at preventing dribble penetration, particularly on the higher difficulty levels. The computer still seems weak on baseline defense though, where itís rarely difficult to squeeze past a defender for an easy dunk or lay-up. Also, when an offensive player drives to the paint and gets shut off by a defender, sometimes the players bounce off each other, resulting in a momentary delayed response that prevents the ball handler from dishing off a pass or going up for a shot. In such a situation, it would seem more realistic to have one player hit the floor or have the ball handler get rid of the ball rather than having such a noticeable pause. Overall, though, the gameplay is quite fluid and allows for quick, precise player movements.
When looking at areas where the game needs improvement, the create-a-player, although improved over the one in "2K6", could have more depth. Also, as good as the crowd can sound at times, they can be strangely silent when a player throws down a ferocious put-back jam. In addition, during a season, the standings donít always seem true to life. For example, Iím almost halfway through a full-length season and Seattle sits near the top of the Western Conference standings, while Detroit is out of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference.
These shortcomings aside, "NBA 2K7" is still the best basketball game on the market. With Christmas just days away, it would make a great stocking stuffer for any NBA fan who owns an Xbox 360 console.