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Platform

PlayStation 3

 

Genre

Sports

 

Publisher

Sony Computer Entertainment

 

Developer

SCE Studios San Diego

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released
October 2008

 

 

- Full 1080p presentation
- Life mode adds a new element†

 

 

- A.I. continues to frustrate
- Overall depth of the title will disappoint some players

 

 

Review: NBA 08 (PSP)

Review: NBA Live 08 (360)

Review: NBA Street Homecourt (360)

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NBA 09: The Inside

Score: 6.5 / 10

 

NBA-09-Inside-1.jpg (61990 bytes)          NBA-09-Inside-2.jpg (37101 bytes)

 

If youíve been following this series on the other platforms (PS2 and PSP) then you are probably familiar with the ďLife ModeĒ which is a unique story mode added onto a basketball game. The PS3 version finally adds this mode to its bag of tricks and starts three entirely new storylines as you follow a player based upon their position. As you progress through various challenges you find yourself moving up in the ranks and this addition does make this game somewhat more interesting than just a straight sporting affair.

 

NBA 09 is more of an arcade basketball game so if youíre more interested in the pick up and play gameplay style, this might have more appeal to you than say what is being offered from EA Sports and 2K Sports. The controls have changed Ė but not entirely. For example, the free style throws that used to use the six axis controls are gone Ė or so you think. They are actually just options that have been 

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turned off by default. You now use the right analog stick to perform the same functions and itís interesting to see that they backed off what I thought was a unique control method in favour of a more traditional one. Personally, I would have rather seen them tweak the freestyle controls with the six axis instead of burying the option in a set of menus.

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During regular gameplay youíll notice improvements in the artificial intelligence (A.I.) over last yearís offering but I still found the computer controlled characters working just a little bit tighter and smarter on the opposing team than on mine. The PS3 version now offers native support for trophies which is a nice addition but you might find yourself frustrated with the difficulty here. Cherish the trophies you do get because trust me, youíve earned them.

 

NBA-09-Inside-3.jpg (62171 bytes)          NBA-09-Inside-4.jpg (59038 bytes)

 

The graphics are quite good in this game, being rendered in full 1080p if youíve got the gear to support it. The animations are solid and well rendered but again frustration comes into play when you find out that once youíve committed to a certain move or direction that animation needs to be played out in its entirety. This was a common situation in previous generations but there is a little excuse for this oversight with the technology that the PS3 gives us.

 

Another drawback in my mind about the gameplay mechanics is the way the game (like the aforementioned animations) commits the result of a throw once itís made. When a team comes in for a shot or dunk, the result is essentially immediately known. You canít interfere with that shot once itís gone and somehow this feels to me like you are being cheated. I hope this is addressed in the future because although it might be acceptable for a more arcade-like game I still think they can provide more control and the arcade experience all wrapped up in one.

 

NBA 09: The Inside offers a fair improvement over last yearís title and itís definitely a step in the right direction. The Life Mode adds value to the title but for every improvement made there seems to be something else holding the title back. This is unfortunate because this series has the potential to reach a much higher standard of gaming but as it stands now, itís nothing more than average. Iím hoping that next year will be more of a slam dunk.

 

- Syd Bolton
December 21, 2008

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