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As the hoop season explodes upon us, so does the plethora of computerized basketball games. Hot on the heels of EA Sports NBA Live franchise comes 989 Studio’s NBA Shootout for the year 2001. Last year Shootout experienced a rebuilt game engine but it still ended up playing second fiddle to the mighty ‘Live’ series. This version could be Sony’s last chance to finish top of the Playstation 1 hoop league.
Seeming as we touched on the subject of the ‘Big Two’, it’s worth pointing out that the fundamental difference between them remains. NBA Shootout still has that ‘pure arcade’ feel to it, even when playing in simulation mode. The CPU controlled players shoot a mighty percentage of hoops, even on the easiest difficulty setting making for some ultra-high scoring games. So much so that I had to keep checking that the opposing team of Mr. Averages were not included in any of the All-Star squads.
If it’s simplistic control you are after then look no further. When touch shooting a meter is displayed on screen displaying the chance of success in a certain shot. This actually changes with the environment and ease is dependent on both defensive pressure and shooting position of the player. While the CPU team performs to a testing standard your own AI controlled teammates really do assist in the game, grabbing rebounds and taking steals without any further instruction from yourself. By using the Total Control option intelligently you can switch to a specific payer rather than simply the nearest to the ball. It’s probably worth mentioning the automatic defend button, which when held down allows the CPU to assist in holding back the current attack.
It is also possible to play out an entire season as one specific player by using the Lock option to keep control of a desired player, even when the ball has been passed. This really feels like you are really part of a team rather than just taking part in a single player video game. It’s having access to aids such as these that should make playing Shootout enjoyable to both rookie and pro.
Visually, I couldn’t help but feel let down. While there are a wide range of adjustable camera angles I couldn’t find one that allowed me to pick out my player from a packed defense. This leads to numerous occasions when the correct pass is ignored because of poor vision. The players are somewhat grainy and lack realism in both appearance and motion. Although identifiable by shape and hairstyles most players faces look as if they’ve been involved in a multiple road pile-up on the way to the gig, which I’m sure cannot be true (not in every single game). While the frame rate moves at a lightening pace the animation is non-too convincing. The player’s race up the court as if they’ve had a broom-shank inserted up their bottoms. A bit too robotic for my liking. Roll on basketball on PS2.
The sound effects are squeaky fine, although the crowds seem totally oblivious to what is actually happening on the court. The background music is average, however I liked the auditorium tunes during defensive transition. Play-by-play from Ian Eagle does help to create the big game atmosphere, but I couldn’t see where the supposed 100 hours were as I quite often heard repetition.
· Exhibition, Season, and Playoffs modes
· Four levels of difficulty, a choice between arcade and simulation modes, as well as a close scores option
· Create-a-dunk feature makes a return. Control the bend, twist and tilt of all the major joints in the player’s body, then view the changes to the animation in real-time 3D.
· Sacramento King Chris Webber, Jason Williams, Jason Kidd, Robert Horry, Paul Pierce, and Jerry Stackhouse are among a group of 12 who assisted with the motion-capture
· TV-Style presentation
· Accelerated 3D engine
· 50 signature dunks and over 100 hours of play-by-play
4 Block required on Memory card per save (min)
Up to 2 Players (without Multi-tap)
Up to 8 Players (with Multi-tap)
Uses Dual Shock Pad Buttons
Uses Dual Shock Pad Analog Sticks
Uses Dual Shock Pad Vibration facility
REVIEW SCORE GUIDE:
We promise that we have fully played 'NBA Shootout 2001' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
SUMMARY OF FINAL RATING (%)
00 - 59 This makes your console seem like an older machine. It utilises little or none of the PSone power.
60 - 69 This game is little more than average and we advise renting or play-testing before considering a purchase.
70 - 79 This is a good solid title that should still appeal to those who like this type of game.
80 - 89 This is a fantastic game that we think you will enjoy playing for quite some time.
90 - 100 This game either pushes the boundaries of it's genre further than ever before on this system, or creates a completely new gaming experience. Either way, it should not be missed and is an essential purchase in our opinion.
IMPORTANT - PLEASE READ:
It is very important that you are aware that the criteria we use to obtain review scores on the PS2 is very different to that used for games on the original Playstation (PSone). The Processing and Graphical power of the two consoles are vastly different and as our reviews are graded against what we estimate is the achievable potential of each system, it does not mean in any way that a game scoring 80 percent on PS2 is worse than a Playstation (PSone) equivalent which scores 95.
A more detailed breakdown of this guide can be read here.
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