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Game Over Online ~ NBA Ballers (c) Midway

NBA Ballers (c) Midway

Published: Tuesday, March 16th, 2004 at 08:23 PM
Written By: Jeff 'Linkphreak' Haynes

Most people know how incredibly rich basketball players are. It’s not uncommon to see expensive cars, designer clothes and plenty of diamonds dripping from their neck and hands. This doesn’t count their entourage or other “friends”. While it’s a long way from the playground, these are just the basic advantages of being a star in the NBA. Well, Midway’s decided to shine a spotlight on the lifestyle of these superstars in their latest title, which promises to give players a taste of basketball celebrity. Grab your bling bling and get ready to become one of the NBA Ballers.

If you’ve ever played a game of street ball or horse, you’ll be somewhat familiar with the basic mechanics behind Ballers. Games between players are best two out of three, with game point set at 11. However, the winner also has to win by two points, so if the score is 10-9 and someone makes a two point bucket to make it 11-10, the game continues. Yet unlike street matches, there is a confined time limit of two minutes to get your game on. This ensures quick, flashy gameplay from everyone involved scoring as quickly as possible before time runs out. But you’re not just going to hit the courts with just any old player. You’ll be choosing from the cream of the NBA crop, including Iverson, Mashburn and Shaq Diesel himself.

There are quite a few modes in Ballers that should provide plenty of replayability. There’s the usual quickplay and versus modes which starts a B-ball battle off quickly between players. There’s also the interesting 1 vs. 1 vs. 1 gameplay, which puts three human or computer controlled players on the court to fight it out for court supremacy. The TV Tournament pretends to be a TV Show like NBA Inside Stuff, which “focuses on the lifestyle of the player.” In actuality, it provides gamers a chance to go up against a number of the NBA stars in categorized tournaments. For instance, Rising Stars places some of the new rookies in the same “league” for you to play against and hopefully beat. Any of your winnings from these modes can be used within the game’s “store” to unlock new gear, courts and other secrets. It’s rumored that there’s at least a thousand unlockable items hidden away in Ballers, so you’ll be playing for quite a bit.

The last, and perhaps most interesting mode is that of Rags to Riches. The closest Ballers comes to having a storyline, Rags to Riches is what passes for the create a player mode found in other games. Once you’ve made a character, you start off at the legendary Rucker park playing other street hustlers to be the winner of a street tourney. However, when you’ve proved your skills, you’re approached by MC Supernatural, who’s hosting a show. He and his producers are scouting for new talent to take on the NBA’s finest in a new kind of reality show. Winners receive new gear, cars and other items to make their dreams of being a big time baller come true, while losers get nothing. One of the cooler parts of this mode is that you improve your character by working on your skills in game. For instance, players that throw up a lot of long range shots get better at three pointers as the game goes on, while warriors of the paint get good low post skills. Once you’ve succeeded, you can also transfer this character into the regular game and take on other players with your new star.

Midway’s spent a lot of time shadowing these players and making sure their likenesses are exact, and it definitely shows. The stars in the game look exactly like their real life counterparts, and there are some items that they’ll wear that you may have seen during post game interviews or pre-show features. Along with MC Supernatural’s skills as a play by play man, he lays down tracks with other artists like the Jurassic 5 to provide a beat heavy soundtrack. Hey, let’s face it, everyone wants to be rich, and Ballers just gives players a piece of what that’s like. While it’s still a month away, this game looks like it’ll be one of the best party games around, requiring gamers to talk smack when they embarrass their friends with a slick crossover. Check back soon for the iced out review!

Questions or comments about the upcoming release of NBA Ballers for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox? Talk to us!

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