NBA Live 07 ReviewCain Dornan
Yearly updates from sports titles are to be expect. There are always rosters that need to be changed and player models to be updated that reflect new styles and appearances that are being adorned by the superstars. Most importantly, however, is that theres almost always ways that the gameplay can be further expanded or improved, tweaking things here-and-there and adding completely new modes and features to keep sport fanatics happy for another year.
While NBA Live 07 does feature accurate rosters, player models and a few new gameplay additions, what it doesnt feature is improved gameplay from last years edition. The problems that were evident in last years edition are still clear in this years offering: clipping character models, poor collision detection, somewhat ineffective controls, and a disappointing online mode that is plagued by frequent lag issues. These are problems that should have been fixed before attempting to throw in other new additions, as the new inclusions simply dont make it possible up for the various problems that drag down this years experience.
That isnt to say that NBA Live 07 is a bad game. As a stand-alone basketball game, its quite solid, offering a satisfying experience that should please general basketball fans. However, if youve played previous NBA Live games, youll likely be disappointed with EAs latest effort on the Xbox 360. The visuals are solid, yes, but the animation still leaves plenty to be desired clipping visuals, iffy collision detection that sees players moving through other players or somehow making impossible reaches for the basket from outrageous angles, coupled with inaccurate animation that sees players instantly switching from move-to-move, without any plausible transition, ruin the visual splendor. As a result, close-ups of the game in action simply doesnt look very pretty or realistic, as players continue to move in a very forced, unrealistic manner that just isnt impressive on a next-generation platform.
Character models themselves do look realistic, offering great detail that sees clothing moving and reacting accurately, as well as facial expressions and muscle definition looking very realistic. The stadiums and courts are also equally impressive, with great court detail and accuracy.
The inclusion of the Dynasty Mode in this years edition, which has been making the popular rounds of EAs latest sports titles, makes a solid entry into the NBA Live series. The mode puts you into the role of a teams coach, where you must make all key decisions both on and off the court for an entire year that is spread over twenty-five seasons. Youll need to manage the hiring of appropriate staff, such as assistant coaches, trainers, assistants and scouts to help run your team. Youre also able to send your team on a training camp before a season begins, improving their abilities in a range of areas.
Furthermore, your role will also see you needing to manage your teams chemistry, focusing on various factors that you have control over, and in some cases, have no control over, to improve the overall performance of the team. The better the teams chemistry is, the better the teams performance is.
The NBA All-Star Weekend provides a great alternate to the games general Season mode, allowing to paricipate in various more specialist events that can be plenty of fun to play in. Theres the NBA All-Star Game, as well as a fun and move-packed Slam Dunk Contest. Theres also the 3 Point Shootout, as well as the Rookie Challenge where the first-year recruits take on the second-year players.
Unfortunately, EAs online offering for NBA Live 07 is fairly sub-par, completely void of allowing you to take on others online in Slam Dunk contests or 3-Point Shootouts, with both holding the potential for some great online multiplayer fun and leaderboards. Theres only the typical ranked and unranked matches available, and even these are flawed with the frequent lag problems that regularly plagued many of the matches. It becomes pretty damn difficult to score penalty shootouts when the lag interferes with the shootout process, which sees you pushing the right analog stick down and then straight back up when the ball reaches the top of the players head at the right time. The same goes for general defending and attacking, when the game slows down to a choppy crawl or begins skipping.
While not an awful basketball experience, NBA Live 07 is a fairly subpar offering from a company that should know better. While it is an expanded offering over last years edition, the failure to solve many of its gameplay flaws makes for a disappointing experience.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.