It's been a long, rough basketball road for the folks at Sony Computer Entertainment. Critics be damned, they keep cranking out NBA titles every year for the PSP, hoping that this time, they'll get it right. Another season brings a new release - and though it's the best one they've put together, it still falls a couple of seconds short of a buzzer-beater.
For starters, NBA 07 has gotten better looking with age. The shiny courts and rotating advertisements aren't half bad, and the players appear relatively like their real-life counterparts. Ian Eagle calls a decent game behind the mike, and though the crowd noise borders on somnambulant, the arena organs, PA announcer, and cries for "De-Fense!" pipe in some vibrant sounds in an effort to awaken the masses.
It's too bad that the on-court action feels stiffer than a two-by-four. Player movements and animations aren't particularly smooth, and your teammates rarely seem to have much of a plan (other than doing a lot of standing around). The speed of play is about 20 miles per hour faster than real life, what with defenders zipping to and fro faster than the Flash on a caffeine binge.
Scoring is the name of the game, after all, and the shooting "halo" returns as a nifty trick - basically, when you press the shoot button, the ball starts glowing, and you have the best chance of making the shot if you release the button when the halo turns green.
What makes us confused (and angry) is why your player will unfathomably quit dribbling in the middle of a play, forcing you to pass or, even worse, take a tough shot. Even more curious is the way the seemingly half-deflated basketball reacts, barely registering a bounce off of the rim when shots are missed - it's more of a sad little "galumph", followed by a dispirited fall to the ground.
There appears to be a tractor beam between you and the defender, as, despite repeated spins, crossover dribbles, called picks and assorted turbo boosts, shaking off your man is nearly impossible. We're pretty sure that Fred Jones can't guard Vince Carter as if he were Gary Payton circa 1994, but NBA 07 sure thinks he can.