Publisher: Sega Sports
Developer: Visual Concepts
Genre: Basketball Sim
|FIMP: ESPN NBA Basketball [XBX]|
Well guess what. It still is.
...but not by much. Perhaps this will change when I finally get my mitts on my own copy and the means to play it with, since I have had extensive time with NBA Live 2004 and only a smidgeon of time with ESPN NBA. But so far I have to say that Sega Sports' new game, complete with new moniker, is only "somewhat" better than EA Sports' new game.
What does Sega Sports do right? Well for an idea of wonders past, check out our reviews of NBA 2K2 and NBA 2K3. Now, remember the good parts. Then add in horrendously floaty jumping. Then mix in a dash of too-much-like-an-arcade-game style shot blocking. Finally, blend in a touch of they-move-too-slow.
There you have it: ESPN NBA Basketball's flaws. They may sound like only three small flaws but, it really changes the flow of the game for me and I found myself crying for the previous year's edition.
I did like IsoMotion -- I felt it was effective when it needed to be, but not an overpowering hulk like FreeStyle is. If you get too overzealous you're called for the charge -- irritating at first but, considering it keeps you in check AND you can't really just juke and spin and bully your way *through* a defender -- it's a good way of keeping the on-court action real. However, to give NBA Live credit, it doesn't make the defender helpless all the time -- and they did this without penalizing you with a charging foul.
I also liked the defender-splitting jump-stop, which happens automatically rather than with the push of a button a la live. Which method is better? Personally I wished ESPN incorporated the button-method. However the fact that you don't have to worry about initiating the jump stop on your own is a relief at some times. (At others you'll be screaming at the game for it to happen.)
Surprisingly, I didn't sample much of the post-up game. Strange considering I obsess over it, but I was mostly playing in cooperation with my friend so I wanted to remain in the flow of the game and not bog it down by taste-testing it. What little I did sample, however, was largely the same. I'll have to see if pressing the juke button in the post sends you on a wildly idiotic spin like 2K3 did.
All in all, given the fact that this is only a FIMP and Live is already in review form, what's my basketball choice for 2004?
Well... NBA 2K3 of course. (Preferrably a version that doesn't crash.)
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