NBA 09: The Inside - PSP - Preview
The PSP needs a little hoops loving and SCEA’s San Diego Studio is ramping up to provide just that with NBA 09 The Inside, which is a pared down version of the PS3 release, but the game does bring on some nice arcade elements and decent hoops action.
GameZone received an early build of the game and while there are certainly areas that need to be addressed, for the most part the way the game blends elements of game-driven simulation and arcade games is a nice touch.
Those looking for the role-playing elements of the console version need not pick up this game. The Life segment, that plays a prominent role in the PS3 release, is not here. But the game does bring in some new elements that are sure to pick up the pacing and involvement.
The game modes include Quick Play, the ability to take the game online and download rosters, NBA mode (which includes Exhibition, Franchise, Playoffs, Practice and the All-star Weekend – all-star game, skills challenge and three-point contest), and Block Party (quests such as conquest and elimiquest – five Team Games, three Solo Games, five Carnival Games, and Pinball).
Clearly, there is enough here to tantalize gamers. Franchise mode allows you to work out all the parameters of the game conditions and then take on the NBA campaign. Then you get into the heart of the action.
A couple of new game ideas made their way into this edition of the franchise with Elimiquest and Conquest mini-games. Conquest is a playground style game that will have you challenging other cities to … well … conquer them. Strategy is involved and you can only take on connecting cities so charting the course through the map is important. In Elimiquest is another conquest style game of taking over the map but in this one (there are no fouls) you have to score six points with a player to eliminate him from the game (and give your team a power-up). Eliminate all four players to win.
The pinball games are what one would expect and provide a decent break from the action, with the boards sporting their own nuances.
The mechanics of the simulation part of the game have a little work at this stage (the game is slated for release at the start of October; the build GameZone received was released in August so many changes may already have taken place). There are, for example, far too many blocked shots. Sure the defenders are that good, but the shooters are very good as well and in real life often find creative ways to avoid that big swiping hand.
The presentation is basically from the baseline camera perspective with a Turner Broadcasting play-by-play. The PSP’s small screen seems to do well with the framerate regardless of the jam-packed bodies occupying the screen.
The musical score is sedate; nothing driving the action here, but it is a nice backdrop leading into the game.
NBA 09 The Inside may lack some of the deep role-playing modes of the home console version, but this title has enough different game modes to keep hoops fans intrigued while on the road.