Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Demo: NBA Street Homecourt (360)

I have a bit of affection for the NBA Street series. Both the debut and the sequel were entertaining and fun. What made the games so much fun, for me, was that while there were always elements that were over the top, I never felt like they dominated the game.

In other words, it wasn't NBA Jam. It was a highly stylized version of basketball, not a cartoon.

I downloaded the demo for the latest version of the game--NBA Street Homecourt--and played it for about an hour.

The good news: it looks fantastic. The bad news: it's NBA Jam.

That's right, unfortunately. Everything is a trick now. Everything is over the top. It reminded me much, much more of NBA Jam than NBA Street.

I assume that's the curse of putting out five, or ten, or twenty versions of a game. Even if you make one version that's great, you have to change it substantially to get people to buy the next version. So NBA Street Vol. 2 was the sweet spot for this series, and it's been downhill from there.

As a rental, this game will be lots of fun for a few hours. As a glorified version of NBA Jam, though, it's not going to be worth sixty dollars.

It's going to review really well, though, because it looks spectacular.

Here's one other oddity I noticed: why in the world is the ball animation smoother in this arcade game than for NBA Live? It's still not outstanding, but it's leagues above NBA Live.

The single best thing that anyone who develops a basketball game could do would be to focus for an entire year on the flight of the ball and the interaction between the ball and hand. Making that as flawless as possible would make a basketball game exponentially more immersive.

Site Meter