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NBA 08 PS3 Review - -

Gameplay 9.2
Graphics 9.5
Sound 9.0
Value 9.2
Distributor: Sony
Review Date:
February 2008
Tony Lomboro


NBA 08

Basketball returns on the PlayStation 3 early this year in NBA 08 which boasts an all-new progression system, customizable characters, improved SIXAXIS functionality and amazing graphics. Although there were some complaints over the previous installment of NBA, Sony have really gotten it right this time that promises NBA 08 to become one of the most definitive basketball games of 2008. EA Games... it might be time to move over!


  • All-New Progression System – NBA ’08 introduces a new system of rewarding players for game exploration and advancement by providing numerous customizable player options. As gamers play NBA ’08, they will be challenged to complete tasks and goals that will earn experience. In turn, experience can be used to customize characters and show them off as status symbols of game achievement. Reaching higher profile levels will grant access to better gear and unlockable content, and players will be able to house awards in a virtual trophy room.

  • Greater Online Accessibility – Utilizing an online hub where players can readily share game features and data, NBA ’08 provides a streamlined approach for online basketball gaming. For this year, gamers will be able to participate in a social environment where they can easily show off custom created players and gain access to streaming NBA video, player-created pages, and improved leaderboards.

  • NBA Replay Mode – Back to test the skills of the most hardcore NBA fans, “NBA Replay” is once again available for players to re-enact great performances from the ’06 -’07 season and work through the entire past season’s worth of memorable gameplay scenarios.

  • NBA Replay (Games of the Week) – Returning with an all-new set of upcoming highlight-reel plays, “Games of the Week” will allow players to download five scenarios each week involving real NBA games from the upcoming ’07 -’08 season and attempt to replay those magical moments within the game.

  • Brand New Full Audio Commentary – NBA ’08 now delivers the sights and sounds of an NBA broadcast to the user with authentic play-by-play and in-depth color commentary. Newly incorporated audio, cut scenes, and UI elements blend together to transport gamers into a slick and organic NBA-themed world.

  • Enhanced Gameplay and A.I. – In addition to the core fundamentals of gameplay, NBA ’08 improves on team gameplay elements. Offensive and defensive player positioning is more authentic, where players space themselves correctly on offense and defenders react more realistically to shots, layups, and shifts in offense. Passing and catching is revamped to reward users with good shots when a quality pass is made. Additionally, a new game management system requires player strategy to determine play calling, when and who to substitute, and when to call a timeout.

  • Greater SIXAXIS Controls – Expanded SIXAXIS functionality provides an all-new and deeper set of control options including specific dribbles as well as high and low offensive and defensive moves.

  • Expanded Character Movement – A new contact mechanism takes into account a player’s momentum when pushing into one another, introducing a “physical” (as opposed to finesse) game play mechanic. Additionally, more emphasis is placed on off ball play, where gamers use skills to improve team abilities including reaction time and attention to passing windows.

  • Brand New Animations – Animation variety is significantly increased, featuring a variety of new passing and dribbling styles, defensive postures that include high and wide coverage, as well as new looks for box out and post-up activity.

  • Updated Environments – Arenas given more life with more dynamic movement and animations, particularly with coaches, bench players, and crowd.

  • Enhanced Character Models – Utilizing a refined version of lighting and shader techniques, NBA ’08 produces characters that look more authentic and realistic than ever.

  • Full HD at 1080p –NBA ‘08 continues to deliver true high definition at 60 frames per second, delivering the sharpest and most realistic basketball experience available.

  • Mini-Games – Play on your own or against friends in multiple mini-games including “Own The Court”, 3-Point Shootout, and the PlayStation Skills Challenge.

The best part of NBA 08 is that it's easy to start playing the game from as soon as you pick up the controller but what really sets the title apart is the "Free6" controls that apparently makes it easy to perform moves in the game. The Free6 controls go for both offense and defensive moves which adds an extra level of difficulty to the mix, or an ease if you get into mastering these controls. It should also be noted that the SIXAXIS functionality is not for everyone but more for the professional gamer and inexperienced gamers can give this a pass until they are ready.

Aside from the Free6 concept, the controls in NBA 08 are simple to master and addictively charming. The shot meter which is a timed meter is perfect to add a little stress to those three pointers. Jump shooting, hooks, dunks are also simple to connect with and easy to learn. You can also use a No Look Pass to try and get by a persistent defender which is helpful most of the time.

On defence the game is similar, being easy to learn. Even a novice basketball gamer can winning most of the matches, stealing balls left and right and setting up some sic offensive plays. One added bonus to showcasing you dexterity with the controls is the Showtime feature that boosts your team up when you perform well on the court. This will boost energy, speed and give an added skill to your shooting. This meter is filled mainly by alley ooping, no-look passing and fast break scores. With the Showtime activated its time to turn up the heat and start knocking them down the court.

The title also returns the NBA Replay featuring 34 weeks of the 06-07 NBA season. In the replay mode you will have to hit shots and recreate the exact performance from the real game. This is more than tough and something I couldn’t invest the time into. If you ready for the challenge, NBA 08 has three difficulty levels for you to shadow real life within the digital court.

Graphically NBA 08 on the PS3 is a beautiful looking game at 1080p that also supports 60 frames per second. The players are extremely realistic and move with a humanlike grace and sometimes its as if you are watching TV. The stadiums are also quite realistic as is the ball animation that assists in making this game almost fully complete in terms of next generation graphics. 

The commentary of NBA 08 features Kevin Calabro of the Seattle Super Sonics on the play-by-play action and Mark Jackson from the YES Network for colour commentary and analysis. The commentary is a little hit and miss at times but it's quite impressive. There are also a variety of realistic basketball sounds and some great music to go hand-in-hand with the graphics and gameplay.

In conclusion, NBA 08 is a decent basketball game on the PS3, however the SIXAXIS controller system will still need some time getting use to. Brilliant graphics, engaging commentary and good old fashioned basketball fun is what NBA 08 will offer PS3 gamers. Definitely worth investigating... go out and SLAM DUNK NOW!


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