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If you’re looking for a game to purely play basketball, then look elsewhere. NBA 06 just doesn’t thrill like NBA Live 06 or NBA 2K6. But, if you have a love for mini-games and small challenges, then jumping into The Life of NBA 06 may be right up your alley.
Game Informer Magazine
As much as The Life keeps things rolling, this game would score much higher if the gameplay were better. Action in the low post can be a mess, the AI is off (my opponent once had a backcourt violation on a fast break), and I was surprised that there weren't more fouls. It sounds like a big deal to say that gameplay is the only thing holding this title back - and it is - but regardless, you don't know what you're missing unless you walk a mile in these shoes.
NBA 06 is a very enjoyable basketball simulation. The Life shows potential and there is definitely room for improvement. It shows that sports games can have decent story modes. The actual gameplay in the game pales in comparison to other, more refined PS2 basketball games. If you’re interested in the story mode, give the game a try.
Game Over Online
In the year that it was away, NBA 06 included a new story mode that’s rather engaging, but hampered by the mini-game presentation that advances the plot of the game. Along with odd gameplay glitches and a less than effective shooting mechanic, NBA 06 is a good starting place for the franchise to expand from, but this year’s title is best for hardcore basketball fans only.
Although NBA 06 is enjoyable and has replay value, I would rather spend my time checking out NBA2K6 before I spend any more time playing in season mode and Life feature. Although this game has many positives (good graphics, the Life feature, updated rosters, NBA development League teams, and shot meter), the negatives (no announcers during the game - e.g. Bill Walton, free throws are difficult to shoot, players faces are hard to see and seem blurred, pace of game doesn’t change throughout the game, playing defense can be frustrating at times, etc.) outweigh the positive aspects of this game.
While this release may not be at the top of it’s game, it certainly isn’t struggling either. Though NBA 06 has many things going for it, it also have many things going against it, including “The Life” mode, like many things that look good on paper, but in practice it doesn’t flow so well. Drill’s done. Hit the showers.
Sadly, nothing ever really mixes well because of the game's problematic mechanical issues. Whether it's the obvious collision problems (the ball seems to obey it’s own law of physics) or the fact that the rock can get thrown past a player and somehow end up back in his hands after bouncing off of thin air, the examples are many (at one point, the ball bounced off the goal and went flying upwards as if thrown by an invisible player). Add in the fact that the controls lack the necessary response time needed to compete effectively, and it’s easy to see why the game can't meet the promise of an innovative story feature, an excellent shooting interface, and a robust online option.
Sony took a year off from the NBA scene. Unfortunately, it seems like they could have used another year with NBA 06. It shows a lot of promise, but the game really needs to be fleshed out before being considered a contender against NBA Live and NBA 2K6. Hopefully Sony can work through these issues and bring a product next year that can compliment the modes found in NBA 06.
Although not a bad game, NBA 06 still has some ways to go in order to compete with the other basketball games out there. Although the shot method utilized in this game is great, average graphics and other control issues, combined with some questionable A.I, bring down the overall score of this title.
Overall, NBA 06 has a few nice ideas, but like the last NBA game Sony released, it still needs a lot of work. The Life gameplay mode is a very good idea that could use some more polish, as could in-game play. It's come a long way from its previous installment, but it's still not breathtaking, nor is it breaking new ground. This installment does not even pick away at the NBA Live or ESPN Basketball throne, but if Sony polishes the game enough for their next release, the PlayStation may finally get a good first-party sports game.
NBA 06 is a lot like a journeyman player who's looking to redefine himself. The Life mode is definitely pretty interesting. And with a little more flexibility and refinement, it could have been a really nice complementary gameplay mode, as well as an alternative to standard franchise modes. Even in its flawed state, it just might be worth checking out in the form of a rental--especially if you liked the 24/7 mode of the NBA 2K series, because The Life is similar, only it's more scripted and story-driven. Unfortunately, when it comes to the nuts and bolts of hoops, NBA 06 still lags behind other basketball games on the market, making it very difficult to recommend.
You have to give Sony credit for attempting to go in a new direction with “the life vol. 1” , as it’s a nice story-driven mode for an NBA game. The problem is that the minigames in it are frustrating beyond belief. The problems go well beyond this mode, however, as there are too many glitches, the graphics are poor and the game just isn’t fun to play. The only thing that saves NBA 06 is its decent controls, online and season modes. NBA 06 and its career mode deserve at least another year on the bench as gamers would be better served to pick up either NBA Live or NBA 2K this year.
But at the end of the day, the problems that this game has outweigh the pluses and innovation. The Life is unbalanced in many regards, but a fine idea. The shot meter takes getting used to but once you find that rhythm, it can be fun – you know, just like in a real game when you get hot and can’t miss. Minigames within the NBA structure provide diversion and entertainment but sluggish-feeling controls can hamper the enjoyment factor.
NBA 06 is a tale of features over gameplay – and that's kinda sad seeing how skimpy the feature set is. The Life is a cool, innovative new movement for basketball games, but it's ruined by a boring beginning and downright terrible professional basketball. It's just not a good game, especially with NBA Live and NBA 2Kx out there doing its thing far better than this game. There's a whole lot of potential here, but it's a matter of Sony getting their butts out there and doing something to make people switch from its superior 3rd party compeititon. The PlayStation 3 is near, so I really, truly hope that SCEA can bring NBA 07 to that console that really capitalizes on that potential and delivers something special. Once upon a time Sony's sports division was giving EA all it could handle...hopefully history can eventually repeat itself. It just won't repeat with games like this.
Competition generally breeds innovation. While NBA '06 featuring “The Life, Volume 1” is not revolutionary at the core, I personally believe more immersive experiences like this are the way sports gaming is headed. I’m very excited for it. But, with that innovation, developers can’t lose sight of the people who also want a good game a basketball first and foremost. The game is worth a look for most sports gamers. It’s another glimpse at the likely future of sports titles.
The saddest thing about this game is it doesn't have much of a soul. It plays a decent game of basketball and there's nothing particularly wrong with the gameplay (we can all live with the shooting meter), but the competition does everything better, and while The Life is certainly fun to explore, it's not enough to convince me to actually purchase NBA 06. As for you, rent it just to see what Sony's been up to, then go back to playing either Live or NBA 2K6.
SCEA tries, they really do. Not even the almost requisite Eye-Toy support (put your face in the game) is all that compelling. The online is decent if you can stomach the gameplay enough to get into it; and the mini-games do offer some fun diversions. But "The Life" is undercut by poor fundamentals and the restrictive nature of the animations and controls. You'll just end up frustrated as there are undoubtedly better ways to spend your money as a sports gamer. If for some reason, though, you feel compelled to play NBA 06, go for the PSP version. It is a passable game, though you'll miss out on "The Life." Otherwise, don't bother.
All in all, the idea of "The Life" mode is more interesting on paper than it is in actual execution. For the next installment, I'd like to see something along the lines of a penalty based system for missing your goals that doesn't involve you playing thru them again and again, maybe something more stat based. Improved character models are a must, as is a decrease in load times between cut scenes (they're atrocious). There are other improvements to be made, so hopefully Sony will take the time to work things out with what could be an otherwise unique and entertaining mode of play for a very tired genre.
The title is decent in terms of music, season mode features, online play, and other aspects. But when Life is such a downer, and the gameplay is this inconsistent, they really aren't worth mentioning. Bottom line: this is a bad basketball game. The last Sony-published hoops title, NBA ShootOut 2004, was extremely solid, so these massive leaps backwards befuddle me to no end. This isn't an annual title, so it's not like the developers were in a serious time crunch to make something happen. It's got all the bells, whistles, and modes of every other basketball game out there, but it also has a lot more: more aggravation, bugs, and imbalance that defies explanation. I liked the PSP version quite a bit; maybe that's where this series should forever roost: small-ball.
Clearly, there are better basketball titles out there. This one tries too hard to be different and fails to capture that quasi-RPG feel it was going for -- because we really needed a game that tugged at your heartstrings, to put you in the shoes of an NBA player and allow you to live out their pains and heartaches, such as being forced to dress business casual on gameday (actual NBA requirement) or figuring out how to splurge the equivalent of an average American's annual salary on bling and frivolous luxuries. Ultimately, you'll be much more satisfied playing 2K6 instead or even EA's NCAA March Madness 2006 for basketball purism.