Monday, October 02, 2006

NBA Live 07 (360): If It's in the Game, It's Nowhere Near This Game

If you bought this game, my friend, you are screwed. Screwed, blued, and tattooed.

I look for three things in a sports game: continuity, intelligence, and fidelity to reality.

In twenty years, I've only played a handful of sports games that scored highly in all three categories. A game doesn't need to, though, to be worthwhile to play--but it can't afford to have a zero, either.

Of course, I've played very few sports games that scored zero in one of those three categories.

Which brings us to NBA Live 07 (360).

I received it via Gamefly on Friday and sat down to try it out. In the process, I must have set some kind of record for deciding that a game is complete ass: five minutes.

Let me tell you about those five minutes, because once you know, I think you would have done the same thing.

I cranked up the difficulty to the highest level before starting. That doesn't matter, really, except to establish that this wasn't some kind of rookie difficulty setting affecting what was happening.

I lost the tip and Houston came down and scored. I inbounded the ball to Tony Parker (as the Spurs) and started upcourt.

What the? Did I see that?

Because I thought that what I'd just seen was impossible, I went to the replay. Here's what I saw:
--As Parker dribbles the ball, it goes down at about a 10 degree angle until it's level with his knees, at which point it changes to a 45 degree angle until it touches the court. Then, it rebounds from the court--straight up.
--The next dribble is identical.
--When Parker pushes the ball down with his hand on the next dribble, though, it reaches the level of his knees--and bounces back up. I'm not talking an inch off the floor here--I'm talking the knee.
--the ball bounces back up at the right angle, incredibly, but never reaches Parker's hand before it heads downward again--at a 45 degree angle.
--The ball bounces straight back up, goes up to the top of his socks, and goes down again. In real-world terms, it was at least a foot away from his hand at all times.
--Another bounce up to the top of his socks, then down again.
--After bouncing back up and actually touching Parker's hand, the ball goes back down to his knees, then bounces up, but not quite to his hand. Then it bounces down again.

So how many hours did I have to watch the game to see all these incidents? This is the SAME TRIP upcourt. He hasn't even passed center court at this point!

That's right--one trip up the court. Now mind you, every tattoo and herpes sore is immaculately and precisely modeled in this game, I'm sure, but they can't make the ball bounce. Well done.

So Parker passes to Horry in the high post. Horry's back is to the basket, and he catches the pass at shoulder level. Without moving his hands, the ball bounces at high speed between his legs (between his shoes, actually), then bounces right back to his hands, which are still being held at shoulder level.

Horry turns and shoots. The ball leaves his hand flat, at about a 15 degree angle, but within a foot or two of leaving his hand, the ball's arc changes to about 70 degrees. He misses the shot, and it bounces off the rim--well, it doesn't actually touch the rim, but it hits something invisibly solid and bounces off.

Houston comes down the court and takes a shot. It misses (and actually hits the rim this time), but Yao Ming gets the rebound almost directly under the basket. As he leaps back up to slam home the rebound, the ball and his left hand go through both the rim and the backboard. The ball and Yao's hand up to his elbow are now behind the backboard, while the rest of his body is on the other side.

Did Yao cast a transmutation spell? Is that a button press on the controller?

Yao then slams the ball through the basket, his arm coming back through the backboard as he does.

And just to show that's no accident. Tracy McGray did the same damn thing on the Rockets next trip down the court.

That's where I quit.

I'm pretty sure it wasn't just me quitting. There are a decent selection of You Tube videos already available showing various (and spectacular) anomalies in the game. Here's just one example.

This could be seen as darkly comic if you didn't buy the game, but if you did, you paid $60 for an alpha. A bad alpha. NBA Live '95, which came out more than a decade ago, had better animation than this game.

Seriously, will there be any NBA Live "producers" giving interviews now that the game has shipped and we all see what a gigantic turd they tried to sell us? Of course not. Those guys won't be within a thousand miles of an interview until next year when they want to blow smoke up our ass again, because they don't do interviews--they do advertisements.

There is no excuse for shipping a game in this condition. There would have been no excuse in 1985, let alone today. EA, if we have to pay $60 for an alpha, how much does it cost to get a game that's actually finished?

Site Meter