NBA Ballers PS2 Review

NBA Jam, from the now defunct Acclaim, was a series that left a mark on the games industry. The over the top gameplay was something that captured the hearts of gamers the world over. Basketball games are still in demand, but it’s the truly over the top titles that seem to be favoured by those hungry for hoops. A new upstart from Midway in this newest addition to flamboyant basketball titles joins NBA Street and NBA Jam.

One-on-one basketball is exactly what you get with Midway’s effort and this works surprisingly well. In fact as we’re not fans of basketball we prefer the less crowded feel to the courts. Basketball fans need not worry though, as the game retains a lot of the rules, albeit in a much more over the top nature.

Some might think that the lack of any teammates may rid the game of any form of strategy, although in some cases that may be the truth, there is still an air of strategy involved in proceedings. Players can pass to “friends” in the crowd, who in turn can return the ball to your player with the tap of the X button, allowing you to get into some sort of perfect position to hopefully make the perfect dunk. There are also various dupe manoeuvres to trick your opponent, some of which are comically executed.

These little neat tricks are pulled off with the use of the Juice bar and when activated things are slowed-down as your player gives any opposition the red face, as he showboats around the human obstacle. These can be countered by a simple press of the X button, and again it places strategy into what could have otherwise been a dull one-on-one game based on a team-based sport. In fact the game has a lot to learn and the complexity should satisfy those, who like to unleash total humiliation on an opponent.

The Rags To Riches mode is based around a reality TV show and from the off promises to allow you to come from the doldrums of back alleys to the sparkling backdrops of mansions owned by major NBA stars. Along the way, you’ll earn new skills, friends, clothes and even cars and houses. Aside from this, it’s basically a showy tournament with cut-scenes and lots of glory. It’s a fantastic mode and one that should keep fans occupied for quite a long while.

For an arcade basketball title this is superb. The one-on-one nature and the Rags to Riches mode assures that the game is more about you, rather then you and your team. The loading times may be shocking beyond belief and the online mode is as desolate as a desert, but the game itself is one worthy contender for the arcade basketball gaming throne.