We take an in-depth look at all the new features in Visual Concepts' latest NBA title, including IsoMotion controls, and the brand-new 24/7 mode.
Sega Sports and Visual Concepts' NBA 2K series has made a name for itself with what many consider to be the most accurate reproduction of the sport of basketball on the market. However, since it left the now-defunct Dreamcast and started appearing on other consoles, the series seems to have been somewhat in decline, even though it has continued to produce quality games each year. This year's game, ESPN NBA Basketball, is poised to change all that and to give the series a hefty boost of forward momentum. Several new, key features are set to make their debut this year, including an all-new dribbling and defensive control system called IsoMotion control and a brand-new single-player mode titled 24/7, which lets you create your own personal baller and train him against the best the NBA has to offer. We've spent some time getting a feel for everything ESPN NBA Basketball will offer, and thus far, we're extremely impressed.
The gameplay system featured in last year's NBA 2K3 is largely intact in ESPN NBA Basketball. However, one major upgrade has been implemented: the new IsoMotion control system. Similar in concept to NBA Live's freestyle controls, IsoMotion will give you infinitely more control over your dribbling and defensive moves by letting you move your player to duck and dodge defenders when on offense and to match up to the ball handler when on defense. IsoMotion is effectively a test of reflexes, as the key to beating your opponent is largely based on timing. When on offense, you have to note the proximity of your defender, because if he manages to stand his ground in front of you, you'll take a charging penalty. To counter this, you can cancel your initial direction with a hesitation move, and then juke to the other side, leaving your defender with some nearly broken ankles.
The passing game has been upgraded as well. ESPN NBA Basketball features a new lead passing system that lets you throw a behind-the-back pass in front of a teammate heading toward the net by double-tapping the pass button. This is an especially key feature when playing the point, since it gives you a much easier method of getting the ball to players with an open lane. Also, this year's game actually lets you control alley-oops. By pressing the shoot and pass buttons together, along with the analog stick in the direction of the basket, you can perform an alley-oop if you've got an open teammate.
But the new game doesn't just add control and gameplay features. ESPN NBA Basketball also adds new play modes, including the all-new 24/7 mode. 24/7 gives you the ability to design your own player and put him on the road against some of the best ballers ever to hit the court. You'll begin by creating your player similar to the way you would in a standard create-a-player mode--naming him and giving him your desired appearance--and there are plenty of options to choose from, ranging from neck, arm, and forearm tattoos, to what type of socks you'd like him to wear. Once he's created, you're presented with a map of the United States, complete with a number of marked locations. You'll start at your home location, where you can view your player's current attributes, items, and other acquired goodies, though when you first start out, you won't have much.
In order to progress in 24/7, you'll have to challenge other players in different types of competitions; but before you can compete, you'll need to train. 24/7 mode has a training camp that lets you improve a number of different aspects of your game, including shooting, defense, passing, and offensive and defensive awareness, and it will give you a chance to become more familiar with the IsoMotion control system. In each section of the training court, you must refine one specific aspect of your game with a unique challenge. For example, if you opt to work on your close shots, you'll be placed one-on-one against an NBA player, and your goal is to make at least one dunk or layup. Each time you make one, you'll boost your player's dunk/layup attribute by one point. Training isn't required to bring your custom player into a game, but if you really want to ball with the best, you'll definitely need to upgrade your game.
- Release Date: Nov 28, 2003 (EU)
- PEGI: 3+
- Release Date: Nov 28, 2003 (EU)
- PEGI: 3+