Although we didn’t review them, we are well aware that EA managed to balls up – no pun intended – this year’s NBA Live updates. One reviewer even reckoned that it was “literally” impossible to stop opponents from scoring. Wait just a second. Do you hear that? That’s the sound of 2K Sports coming to the rescue.

nba2k7b.jpgPassing, running with the ball and scoring – be it a three pointer from afar or a humble two pointer – is exemplary. We even managed to jam one in, if that’s the correct phrase, within twenty seconds of our first game. Holding down the right shoulder button brings up icons above player’s heads to make passing to the appropriate player as effortless as possible. Learning to catch rebounds, block shots and snatch the ball out of a rival’s hand, however, takes a bit of practice. The 24/7: Next story mode, which involves a group of geeky basketball fans on a mission to play against their idols, does a good job of teaching the more involved manoeuvres, pitting you against various challenges along the way.

Like NHL 2K7 – NBA 2K7’s ice-based counterpart – there’s an interactive crib (their word, not ours) in which you can view trophies, fiddle with novelty bobble head toys and play air hockey and darts mini-games. And whereas NHL 2K7 gave you the chance to play hockey outside on a frozen pond, here you can take to the streets for some urban basketball. We found that the camera wasn’t as responsive in outdoor matches, probably because of the fewer players involved. The accompanying hip hop soundtrack is also something of an acquired taste.

The unlockable achievements are slightly disappointing – around a quarter have to be gained by playing online, and about half are unlocked by scoring X points with player Y. There’s still plenty to get your teeth into though. You can create your own player – a feature not present in the standard Xbox version – partake in the infamous Association franchise mode, and set up your own challenges. We spent ages playing around with the latter, seeing if we could score the winning points in the last thirty seconds of the fourth quarter and other similar tasks.

Although players have their own moves, the animation isn’t as fluid as we would have liked, but it’s definitely on the right side of remarkable. The most impressive thing is how players’ kits now hang freely off their lanky bodies instead of being super imposed on their skin. We’re also fond of the various mascots in the background doing stupid things to entertain the crowds – and occasionally falling over benches – and the ability to knock over cameramen with stray balls. Little things and all that.

The commentary also impresses – sometimes a third commentator makes a guest appearance for an ‘Around the Water Cooler’ Gatorade-sponsored chat. Speaking of shameless product placement, there’s the Toyota Fast Break Cam which bolsters replays with fancy special effects. You won’t find our minds altered by the marketing men’s ways though – you can’t even buy Gatorade in this country.

Matt Gander

Matt is Games Asylum's most prolific writer, having produced a non-stop stream of articles since 2001. A retro collector and bargain hunter, his knowledge has been found in the pages of tree-based publication Retro Gamer.

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