After years of building a reputation for mediocrity, Sony's sports division finally found its hook last year with NBA '06, a basketball sim that put players into the shoes of a single baller. Instead of controlling a whole team through season after season of straight-up games, gamers created a custom player - a point guard simply called The Kid - and followed his story all the way through to the championships.
In NBA '07 - due out in September - The Kid is back again, this time rejoining his team after rehabilitating from an injury. And similar to NBA '06, he won't be playing through games so much as he'll be dropped right into the middle of them to complete objectives and assist the other players, as ordered by the head coach. It appears that it might take some getting used to, but could be ideal for players without enough attention span to make it through an entire straight-up season in a game such as NBA Live. And besides, this time The Kid has competition.
We recently got a chance to see NBA '07 in action, and while it looked sharp, it was the new storyline that really caught our collective eye. Big W, The Kid's rival from the first game, is now playable in the game's story mode (The Life Vol. 2), and he looks a lot more interesting than your custom-created goody-huge-shoes. Not only is his single-dad-with-a-sick-kid story a little more compelling, but as a powerful small forward, he can be a lot more selfish, driving straight for the basket while ignoring the team and the coach.