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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Sports

 

Publisher

Microsoft

 

Developer

High Voltage

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

Q4 2004

 

 

- Solid game play engine
- Online Play
- Right analog stick control
- Player streaks
- Simulation style game

 

 

- Poor Presentation
- Average visuals
- Some limited player animations
- Some AI pitfalls
- Little replay value

 

 

Review: NBA ShootOut 2004 (PS2)

Review: NBA Inside Drive 2003 (XB)

Review: NBA Live 2003 (XB)

 

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NBA Inside Drive 2004

Score: 7.5 / 10

 

nba inside drive 2004 xbox review         nba inside drive 2004 xbox review

 

Iíve always found it peculiar to see how first party sports titles struggle when compared to third party titles. It seems like a reoccurring pattern, since third party publisher, Electronic Arts (EA), has dominated the last decade. It seems like the first party sports titles are gaining some ground on the competition, but not enough. NBA Inside Drive 2004 (NID) like NBA ShootOut 2004 (on PS2) relies heavily on simplicity. The simplicity is one of the reasonís why the game fails to achieve its full potential, when itís got so much going for itself.

There are only a few game modes to choose from, which include Quick Play, Season, Online and Practice. The game play is more simulation than arcade and the tempo of the game is good. The game play engine is solid, but everything that encompasses the game play seems to have lacked the developerís attention. In the

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season mode you can choose from different teams and take your team(s) through one season and see if you can win the Championship. The Season mode is basically a Career mode in which you can play up to 25 consecutive seasons, including the draft and player progression, etc. (word has it that this combo will be separated with next year's iteration).

Like I mentioned above,

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the game play engine is solid, but not perfect. There are some noticeable problems with the AI. One of my biggest gripes is the unbalanced AI of your teammates. There are instances where I would be dribbling down the court and my center would set up outside the key, usually around the three-point line and wait for a pass. In most other basketball games your teammates usually are kind enough to set up screens for you. This happens rarely in NID. Instead youíre usually left calling for a screen instead of the computer recognizing the situation. (Of course, this can depend heavily on what kind of plays you're running!) On defense itís even worse, as your teammates often leave an open man under the basket leading the way for easy points. Other times the AI shines as theyíll set up for alley-oops and pick up any rebounds that come their way. The AI also shines when it comes to chasing balls, which are going out of bounds. You frequently see the computer dive for the ball and try their best to keep it inbounds.

The rebounding in the game is nicely balanced, as you wonít see too many offensive boards. Playing offence is concise and easy as well and is way more fun than playing defense. For example, it's difficult to stop players who post up near the basket. Hook shots are the worst. They are impossible to block and most of the time they go in. It would be nice if your teammates would set a double team on the fly, but unfortunately that doesnít happen.

 

nba inside drive 2004 xbox review         nba inside drive 2004 xbox review


The game incorporates player streaks, which are determined by a playerís performance throughout the game. The player cursor will change color at certain times depending on how well the player is doing. If your player is on a shooting streak then his icon will turn red. It reminds me of the good old days of NBA Action 95 on my old Sega Genesis. In this yearís game you can now use the right joystick on the controller to do freestyle moves. You can carry out different types of crossoverís, post moves, dribbles, etc. The free throw system is very simple and finally makes the art of shooting a free throw simple, rather than complicated.

The graphics are a mixed bag. On one hand the player models are excellent, but on the other hand the player faces need work. Some of the most noticeable players in the NBA like Vince Carter, Ray Allen and Gary Payton donít look fully like their real life counterparts. There are some similarities, but not a whole lot compared to what other basketball games have displayed. The player animations seem to come up short as well. Some of the regular player movements such as jogging or running seem a little awkward.

Other problems: the commentating is terrible, slow and boring with too many dumb jokes. The only bright spot for the audio is the player intros. The crowds act realistically when players are introduced and cheer louder for certain players.

NBA Inside Drive 2004 is a solid basketball title that has the general mechanics down pat, but everything else still needs work. NID lacks the replay value of its competitors (although with a Live subscription you're pretty set), which makes it difficult to recommend as a purchase. NID is a good rental and should appeal to those who were fans of the previous games of the series.

- Siddharth Masand
(December 21, 2003)

 

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