Winner: NBA Ballers: Phenom
Midway | PlayStation 2, Xbox
Granted, NBA Ballers: Phenom was a passable streetball game. But Phenom earns the pointless story award thanks to its generic RPG-style missions that break up the on-court action. Phenom's off-court gameplay is filled with thrilling basketball-themed fantasy tasks, like kissing up to Kevin Garnett's agent by searching a generic outdoor urban area for KG's missing cellphone, or joining a hip-hop record label's street team to put up posters around a generic outdoor urban area.
We know somebody who had that putting-up-posters job; it sucked in real life, so why on earth would anyone want to do it in a video game? Even missions with some potential, such as washing cars with the Laker Girls, fell totally flat. We couldn't even tell if their uniforms were wet! Phenom's tacky, tacked-on story did nothing but create annoying busywork that took the focus away from the main event.
Collateral Damage: Sonic Rivals
Sega | PSP
"As Tails' quivering voice reaches Sonic's ears, there is a sudden blinding flash, and when it fades, Tails is gone. In Eggman's hand is a new card bearing Tails' image. Sonic stares in panicked disbelief. Then, who should appear but Knuckles, Sonic's more 'physically assertive' friend." - Sonic Rivals' manual.