NBA Inside Drive 2003Game, you must have your game. These hoops are insane. Play for the love of the game. Nothing but net, sink the J, itâ€™s all good. B-ballinâ€™ down the court, set up for the alley oop. Show your mad skills son! Do you have game? NBA Inside Drive goes down the lane and takes a shotâ€¦Swish for the 3 pointer or is it packed? Read on to find out. Last year, mostly everyone can fully agree that they were surprised how good NBA Inside Drive 2002 turned out to be. It was well developed, well designed, well planned, and looked fantastic. There was only one main problem to ID 2002, there was no Franchise mode, just your standard modes. This year, ID 2002 has come back with a lot of the same stuff (A lot) but joining the game is a Dynasty mode which fills in the need for a Franchise mode. Unfortunately, thereâ€™s still more void in the game that needed to be filled, but there was nothing to fill it in. The fact that there is no online capability and the game is published by Microsoft really puts the final nail into the coffin. This all doesnâ€™t mean that the game is overall bad, itâ€™s just that more could have been done to make it another big contender for the 2003 season. The competition has gotten better than ever this year. EA Sports NBA Live 2003 and Sega Sports NBA 2K3 have both released very impressive basketball titles thus far. NBA 2K3 seems to be the most flawless and top notch currently at the moment. Itâ€™s really a three round fight between these titles and Iâ€™ll tell you soon enough why nothing comes close to the winnerâ€¦ Features: â€¢ All official NBA teams â€¢ Kenny Smith joins the crew to do color commentary â€¢ Create a player mode â€¢ Dynasty mode lets you play up to 25 years â€¢ New practice mode â€¢ Trophy Case allows gamers to collect trophies Gameplay: Letâ€™s get one thing straight. NBA Inside Drive hasnâ€™t changed at all except for a new Dynasty mode and now Paul Pierce appears on the cover of the game instead of Vince Carter. Thatâ€™s it! It looks like developer â€˜High Voltageâ€™ added new rosters, and added the one part that was desperately needed in the series, a Franchise mode. So fans of last yearâ€™s version might be already asking â€˜Thatâ€™s it? Why nothing else?â€™ Well, there were minor improvements to the gameplay and the visuals but really, thatâ€™s all folks. The other main concern was how the game was going to play. I spent time playing both NBA Inside Drive 2002 and NBA 2K2 last year and for some reason I was more drawn to ID 2002 more than 2K2. I completely knew that NBA 2K2 offered me much more that Inside Drive 2002 did, but it was how the game played that drew me right into it. NBA Inside Drive is more quicker paced than the other Bball titles and jams were simply well done. I was really surprised with the player animation and how smooth it ran with the game. With this yearâ€™s version, I have many mixed feelings going through me. The game just didnâ€™t have enough this second time around. Donâ€™t get me wrong, itâ€™s as good as last years, but itâ€™s exactly the same as last years! Thatâ€™s what really hurts this title which has some great potential. Instead of building on what they had, High Voltage took a baseball and threw it through the window. There were some other minor issues taken care of for this yearâ€™s version such as the post game. Holding the left trigger allows you to push back on the defender to deploy a hook shot. Also, players now can be called on the fly by using the D-Pad on the Xbox controller. This will allow you to set to multiple levels of defense will can greatly help your defensive game to a better extent. This year, the create a player option is finally available. It still bogs my mind on why High Voltage didnâ€™t add this feature in last year but itâ€™s finally here. There was certainly a lot of effort put into this area because you can put together a mean Bball machine to bring a game to the courts no one has seen before. Your created player also helps himself. For example, the better you perform with your created player in the game, you get attribute points to give to your player to increase his skill. This feature is great because you can keep adding on to the areas of concern of your player. One area of the game which caused many problems was the amount of fouls called on the team I was controlling. I tend to play a more physical game but the calls against me were totally uncalled for and half wouldnâ€™t be called in the NBA today. Fortunately, the penalty calling has gotten much better and there are different difficulties for penalty calling. So if you play a more physical game, set the game to lenient officiating and if you like a lot of fouls called, turn the officiating to strict.
The modes of gameplay are the exact same that were featured in the previous version which are exhibition play, season, and playoffs. While there no surprise to be in the game, there hasnâ€™t been much added to increase the level of play. The Dynasty mode is the new and only added feature to NBA Inside Drive 2003. But is it that could that it could carry this game all the way? No chance that could happen. The new Franchise mode is a very solid performance for the first time around. It doesnâ€™t offer the same features as NBA 2K3 or NBA Live 2003, but it offers some modes that are sufficient enough to keep the game going. There is no scouting available, but there is a fantasy draft which is fairly good. At the end of the season and playoffs, there are awards given out in certain categories such as player of the year and league MVP. Overall, the gameplay is a little dry, but it still offers the same fun as last year. The only problem is that it is basically still like last yearâ€™s version. One area of great concern is to be more creative and add more features to make the game more interesting. Right now, the variety of dunks is absolutely atrocious. I havenâ€™t seen many new dunks from last yearâ€™s moves. There has just got to be a better selection of moves to finish off a fancy play or getting by a defender. Letâ€™s not forget the biggest disappointment of them all, NO ONLINE PLAY! Letâ€™s hope we donâ€™t go further back in time with the next installment. Graphics: If you thought that the gameplay was identical, wait till you check out the visuals NBA Inside Drive 2003 are boasting. Itâ€™s nothing special and no real difference at all. Maybe the visuals werenâ€™t changed at all. Itâ€™s really difficult to tell when both versions look so much like each other. Going back to last year, there was no competition with the visuals in NBA Inside Drive, now you can clearly see who boasts the best visuals (NBA 2K3). The worst effect of the game is the dim lighting. While some might enjoy this approach to the game, I find is clearly unnecessary to do. The dim lights really take away from everything. Like I said before, there isnâ€™t much done to the play animation. There might have been a small variety added but there isnâ€™t enough. You can clearly see the repetitiveness in the moves and dunks. The player taunts are a nice treat to see and the animation done to them are superb. But that doesnâ€™t cover up everything else. The crowds and stadiums are overall well done. The dimmed lights in the game give the stadium a unique glow that isnâ€™t in any other NBA game. Stadiums have some great detail and depth as well as the crowd. Sound: NBA Inside Drive 2003 tweaks around with the commentary and decides that four commentaries can provide a great calling game. Well, itâ€™s true. The commentary is absolutely fantastic in Inside Drive and nowhere else will you find commentary better than this. Thereâ€™s one commentator located on the floor, and the rest are up in the booth. Kevin Colabro and Marques Johnson are back again with the play by play. Now added to the booth is the humor of Kenny Smith who loves to crack jokes and talk smack. The combination of all these commentators are top notch, nobody can defeat their efforts calling the game the way these four do. Replay Value: Just like last year, Inside Drive offers the same gameplay but the new feature of the Dynasty mode helps out in the gameplay area. The no show of Xbox Live compatibility is really an area to lower your head in. Most of us expected us to be playing this game on Xbox Live months ago, looks like we wonâ€™t. This year, the competition is really going to crush NBA Inside Drive 2003. Those coming back to the series looking for something new wonâ€™t find anything new for them. The competition, however, has taken one big step ahead of Inside Drive in terms of gameplay and satisfaction. Itâ€™s something Inside Drive couldnâ€™t live up to this year. Overall: NBA Inside Drive has nothing going for it this year. It really suffers in the lack of depth, gameplay, and no online capabilities. The fact that it basically is the same game as last year really hurts fans who wanted so much more this year. If this series is to go anywhere, High Voltage needs to sit down with a pen and a pad and think long and hard what they can to make this game rise up to the challenge. This game is going to go into the new season next year suffering and demanding for change. Itâ€™s going to be interesting to see if change comes. There is simply no competition with the other two basketball titles. The other two just provide so much more and with NBA 2K3 offering online play, who can go wrong with that? Iâ€™m sorry Mr. Pierce, you just got packed. --Chris Banovic