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Are you going to buy an Xbox One X This Holiday Season?

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Game Profile
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
Xbox
PUBLISHER:
Midway
DEVELOPER:
Midway
GENRE: Sports
PLAYERS:   1-2
RELEASE DATE:
April 05, 2004
ESRB RATING:
Everyone
IN THE SERIES
NBA Ballers: Chosen One

NBA Ballers: Chosen One

NBA Ballers: Rebound

NBA Ballers: Phenom

NBA Ballers: Phenom

More in this Series
 Written by Alex Fitzgerald  on July 21, 2003

First Impressions: No! Not those kind of balls you sick perv!


One of the biggest mixed blessings we have in this industry is copycat games. Games like Aggressive Inline, Street Hoops, and any puzzle game that slightly resembles Tetris are good examples. These titles, amongst many others, are games released by publishers simply hoping that they too will catch a bit of the audience that a previous hit game just picked up.

Copycat games aren't necessarily a bad thing though. Even though the appearance of them is a big reminder of how video games are now a business, some of the greatest titles in recent memory were copycat games. For example, Grand Theft Auto 3 could be considered a copycat of Driver if you think about it, and Silent Hill was basically a copycat of Resident Evil (all though to the developer's credit they did innovate a lot).

A new player in the copycat game is NBA Ballers, a game that shows a lot of inspiration from NBA Street but also manages to add its own flair to the title. The Midway game's premise focuses around a fake TV show called NBA Ballers (wahoo?big surprise) where various basketball players from the NBA challenge each other to one-on-one matches.

The one-on-one gameplay is shows equal parts basketball game and fighting game. A lot of the time you will be focusing on countering your opponent's moves, using a variety of jukes to stop your opponent dead or take the ball from him. Another way the game resembles a fighting game is in the game's round structure. In NBA Ballers games are divided into rounds that end after a certain amount of points are scored or a certain amount of time passes by.

To vary up the gameplay, Midway Games development has added some extra touches to the traditional gameplay. For example, one addition Midway's planning is a special mode that's more one-on-one-on-one than anything (let's just hope it's two girls?oh wait). The mode offers a unique take on their own formula, and when coupled with specific animations featuring one player busting through two players, the mode's very appetizing.

The real interesting thing though about NBA Ballers is how different each of the 60-plus NBA players are. Just like in real life, Larry Bird dominates with long 3-pointers, Shaq kills you on the paint, and Kareen Abdul Jabbar just holds the ball up in the air and laughs at you.

Of course, all of this basketball gaming bliss has to be channeled into some game modes. Fortunately, Midway's got all the bases covered here as well. The game's three big modes, Rags To Riches, Ballers Tournament, and an online multiplayer mode look absolutely awesome. Rags To Riches takes after Def Jam Vendetta in that you will take an unknown and help him or her work his way up to the top. The way this works is that you will first make an NBA Baller through the game's comprehensive create-a-player mode. When you've got your digital boy ready to hit the courts, you then will take on NBA player after NBA player, winning things to put in your mansion (which will be implemented through a nifty Sims-like interface).

If you want something more arcade-like though you can go after the game's Ballers Tournament mode. As the title implies, this mode plays out more like a tournament than a career mode, as you make your way up either ?Tower of Power? (familiar players) or United Nations (foreign players). To vary things along the way, the game will make you compete in games with different amounts of players, or adjusted rules.

The final big mode that NBA Ballers will be featuring is an online multiplayer mode of some type. Little is known about the mode, save for that it will feature large tournaments and that it will Xbox only. This stinks for us Xbox Live subscribers, as it seems that the online mode will also feature gambling of mansions and other stuff.

The graphics and audio are shaping up quite nicely. The player models for the NBA stars featured in the game are extremely detailed, and only look better when they move. This is exemplified when you see a player you created being animated in the game's cut scenes, and seeing every little bit of the player you created moving and breathing just like a normal person. The audio is shaping up nicely, with a good mixture Hip Hop and Rap filling out the soundtrack, and announcing duties being handled by none other than freestyling God MC Supernatural.

Final Thoughts
Ever since the days of Jordan Vs. Bird one-on-one basketball games have always been an interesting niche genre. Now, NBA Ballers, featuring the NBA Players license and the NBA Legends license, is set to rule the courts this November with a unique mixture of fighting and sports gameplay. Keep an eye on this game?it's definitely worth your attention.


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