NBA Courtside 2002
The keys to a successful basketball video game are its controls artificial intelligence and pacing. NBA Courtside 2002 excels in all three areas with only a few problems. One is the defensive AI which often leaves itself open to dunks and fast breaks and is generally a slouch when it comes to rebounds. This can be remedied with the higher difficulty levels but that makes the computer a flawless shooter even from behind the line.
The controls are good but take some getting used to if you’ve spent a lot of time with other basketball simulations. Players use the C stick on the controller to pass the ball. No button pressing is necessary; just point the stick at the desired player and the ball is away. Unfortunately this same system is used to select defensive players and that can be difficult especially if the action is moving fast and furious. The game does feature quite a few game modes: practice exhibition season and even an interesting mode that takes place on top of the roof.
As you might expect the player models are smooth crisp and photorealistic. The animations are detailed with nary a slowdown or glitch. Even the crowd looks good and benched players are likewise in full 3-D. The audio isn’t so impressive however. Never have I heard such uninspired and slow commentary–it often seems to be describing plays from another game or worse talks about plays that happened 30 seconds prior to the current action. Not a game breaker but definitely not as good as the competition.
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