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Midway NBA Ballers: Chosen One
- New counter moves; good assortment of modes; loads of customisation
- Unfair officiating; generally generic feel to gameplay; long load times
Some fun—but probably not long-term playability
Price$ 79.95 (AUD)
It isn't enough to be in the NBA these days—you gotta be ballin'. Rolling onto Xbox 360 with new high-def graphics and remixed gameplay, NBA Ballers: Chosen One puts a little bling into basketball. Showy new moves make it an entertaining experience, even if balance problems and unnecessarily long loading times put its cool factor on ice.
A six episode televised contest between b-ball's best and rookies pulled from the streets gives NBA Ballers its subtitle. Rapper Chuck D. hosts the fictional Chosen One contest in which you take a customisable baller through a series of challenges to become the game's anointed player. One-on-one play, three-way match ups, two-on-two team battles, and even three-point shoot-outs line your path to the top. Win these events and you can earn the title of chosen one, not to mention unlock new threads to personalise your athlete. The single player story mode takes the spotlight, although any of the events can be played on their own or online via Xbox Live.
All is fair in love and basketball
Head-to-head match-ups make up most of your rise from rookie phenom to total pro. These three-minute games blur the line between simulation and arcade play, keeping many official rules as a way of balancing the stable of over-the-top moves available to your baller. Each game differs in what rules are used, how many points you're playing to and the number of players. It's intended to keep things interesting and varied, although it ends up being confusing and annoying. One challenge may have you playing by-the-book, only to completely throw all the rules out in the next event.
For instance, challenges that do away with having to clear the ball before scoring tend to be a complete mess since it's possible for you (or your competitor) to go on a scoring spree. Everyone just crowds under the basket vying for possession, while one dude racks up points. There's a reason that rule exists—it provides balance and fairness to the game. NBA Ballers just throws it out. Fairness also crops up as an issue in officiating. The game has no problem calling out your fouls, but forget being given the same courtesy when it happens to you.
An unbalanced format may have it tripping, but the core gameplay is nothing but smooth. NBA Ballers introduces a suite of defensive counter moves that provide much needed balance, not to mention pumps energy into the game. Special moves prompt timed button presses; however, when an opponent tries to pull one off you can counter it by pressing the buttons before they do. It's straightforward, intense and totally fun. Playing defence usually sucks, but here it's a blast because counters give you the opportunity to turn the game back into your favor if you're quick enough.
The graphics are pretty smooth too, although it takes forever to load them. Loading times are frequent and long. It's rather annoying to sit through 30 seconds of loading for a 3-minute game. Not a flagrant foul, but when taken with the unbalance structure it leaves NBA Ballers short of its potential. The core gameplay is great—the counters are brilliant and the energy stays high—yet it isn't enough to be chosen as more than a casual distraction.
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