Review: NBA Courtside 2002
Posted 12 Nov 2002 at 08:11 by Freddy
I'll start off by saying just one thing about NBA Courtside 2002. It's for basketball fans only. If you are not as crazy about b-ball as you are about gaming itself, then by all means possible, steer clear of this title. But, if b-ball is your thing, then this may be just what you're looking for. NBA Courtside 2002 is a realistic basketball game that sticks as close to the rules as it can get. But bear this in mind; it's still not a very good game.
The true highlight of this game. Right from the beginning, NBA Courtside 2002 really takes advantage of the Gamecube's power. From the moment you turn on your Gamecube, the introduction (which you annoyingly can't skip) starts to show what the game will be like. Flashy. Slick. And it doesn't end there. When you press start, you are greeted by a nicely laid out menu, which is based around machinery. Everything is crisp and sharp, and blurring is minimal. Which is always nice.
And it's not just the menus and the intro that are beautiful. Start a game, and you will see just how detailed everything is, from the court itself, right down to the players faces. Players stay as true to their real life counterpart as possible. The animation of the players is really amazing. It's like you were really involved in the game itself. What's even better is the replay mode. You can track the camera as close as you possibly can to your player as he slam-dunks the ball home, watching him gurn as he jumps. Another great feature is the court. It's so shiny you can see your reflection in it. Nice.
One snag: The crowd looks crap.
What you've come to expect from a sports title. Whooping crowds, grunts from the players and every squeak and scrape you can think of. There isn't much more to say about the games sound, other than you may want to turn it off. Not nice at all. The commentary is repetitive (but then again, which sport game doesn't have repetitive commentary?) and over exaggerated, you hear nothing from the players or the subs and the crowd just get louder or quieter accordingly, without any humourous/serious outbursts from anywhere. Dull dull dull...
Probably the worst thing about this game. It's far too slow (although there is an option to speed it up or slow it down), it's repetitive and in the end, there aren't really enough gameplay options to keep it going. The three-point shoot-out is the worst mode of the game, and possibly of all time. You press B, then you press A. That's it. There is no skill involved, just pure luck. This usually results in you losing. Boooo…
There are many in game options that you can fiddle about with, including the '3-in-the-key' rule, which is possibly the most annoying rule ever, and the shot timer. But it's the lack of game types that let this game down, as well as the amount of luck involved in the game. Stealing is practically impossible and is down to pure luck, as is shooting from anywhere outside the 'key'.
However, the controls fit the game nicely, and are quite possibly the best configuration that could've been chosen. It's just a shame really to see a Nintendo licensed product turning out this badly.
It's strange, because the game itself handles quite nicely. You have full control of your player, which can be anything from making him leg it down the court at top speed, to shielding the ball before turning elegantly and looping the ball into the awaiting net. You can make your player pull off incredible dunks, steal balls and foul. But it doesn't end there! Oh no. You can play the whole NBA season (a whopping 82 games) which lets you manage the team as well as play the games. This involves buying players, and sorting positions. But that's about it.
Aside from that, possibly the best option of them all is the create- a-player mode. You can concoct absolute freaks of natures, and then sign them up to the Western All-Stars. Classic.
Tough one this. Erm, let's say this. Not long. The lack of options is a real bummer, as there isn't much that will keep you entertained, other than the impressively large NBA season mode. But get a few mates round, and you may just be able to squeeze the most out of this game than is humanly possible.
N-Europe Final Verdict
If you really, really love basket-ball, then by all means, make Nintendo some money, but otherwise, steer well clear of this game.
Full Player Control
Lack Of Options
Dull And Repetitive