NBA Live 07 - PS2 - Preview
The last finishing touches are being applied. Lifelike faces and body types tell you who each player is the minute that you look at them. During the draft, players can now choose from a few recommended picks. Though a reason was not given, the injured list has now been renamed the "inactive list."
Big or small, NBA Live 07 is all about cramming as many changes and/or additions into the game as possible. Most of them can be found within the existing Dynasty mode. A lot of the player's success is riding on the rookies this time around. Rookies can be found all over the world. It's important to scour the world for new players because every region has the potential to breed a new superstar. Regions also differ in the types of players they breed, with size and strength being two of the aspects you'll have to consider.
At least one scout must be hired at the start of the season (in Dynasty mode) to acquire the knowledge of the hottest players around the world. Two scouts may be hired to maximize your potential for snatching a superstar, but only if you have the money to afford that luxury. Early on you most certainly won't.
The ESPN Mock Draft gives you a brief look at what might happen. They'll point you in the right direction, assuming you need some advice, and tell you exactly who they think the opposing teams will choose.
Aside from your team's selections, the real draft will be simulated. Amusingly, during my first draft, the Clippers forfeited. I don't follow any basketball teams except for the Pistons, but I'm aware of their records for most losses. Nonetheless, I just had to know: was this on purpose? Is the game truly aware of what it was doing?
I started over and tried again. This time the Lakers forfeited. I'll let you draw the conclusion.
Players will find that the satisfaction of each member on their team is based on several different categories. The grade of your assistant head coach is also noteworthy, as it impacts the quality of team chemistry info you receive about other teams.
Speaking of chemistry, it's back and it's just as important as ever. This time around you won't be the only one affected by player synergy. Check your opponents' chemistry ratings and you might find that they are better matched for each other than the players on your team. If that's the case, watch out – your next game against them could be one of the worst of the season.
Toward the middle of the Dynasty mode season, players will get the chance to participate in the All-Star weekend.
Playing in the All-Star game is a no-brainer, assuming you have a top player on your team, of course. The three-point shootout lets players test their timing skills while the slam dunk contest goes for moves with style. Set up the run by pressing one of the face buttons a fair distance from the net, then press and hold another button until just before you've reached the net.
Release at the right moment and you'll slam into it for an NBA Street kind of experience. The game event lets you slow down the action mid-air. To do so, just keep holding down whatever trick button you pressed to execute your dunk. NBA Live 07 might have more in common with the Street series than any other, but this time-stopping feature brought another game to mind: Burnout. The possibilities for where this feature could be taken – either with the next release or an NBA Live title being planned for the next generation - are endless.
One of the most subtle (yet most interesting) developments is the ability to influence simulated games. No, you can't control them. If you could, then you might as well just play the game. But you can decide who will play and how many minutes they'll spend in the game. I simulated two games without making any changes – lost both of 'em. Next, I extended the playtime of some while decreasing the play time of others. I also replaced a couple of players who I didn't think were getting the job done. Of course, outside of statistics, I had no way of knowing without actually playing in that game.
But I was right. The decision allowed me to win the next three out of five games. It wasn't magic, but definitely an improvement that has made me want to explore this area more in the future.
Going live at the end of the month, NBA Live 07 is shooting for success via updates. Expect a gameplay system that's not all that different from its predecessors, but hopefully will turn out to be a polished, exciting, and extremely entertaining game.