STAFF REVIEW of NBA Inside Drive 2003 (Xbox)

Tuesday, December 3, 2002.

NBA Inside Drive 2003 Box art Well this game has stepped up a bit from last year?s version. Went from boring too a bit more enjoyable from the likes of great cut scene animations too the good commentary. The game will give you the whole NBA feel like you get when you?re at a game or watching it on TV. They have beefed up the A.I. defense a bit too helps things out. It delivers smooth game play and gorgeous graphics, but falls a bit short in the options department. The player has the ability to change rosters, trade players, sign/release free agents and so on. Athlete statistics change from year to year depending on how well they performed on the court. Had a bad season? It shows! Cold and hot streaks, injuries, news as well as transactions between computer-controlled teams award even more realism to the basketball title. The Dynamic Player Performance also makes an appearance through the Dynasty Mode. But where is the online capability? While not as complete a game as either NBA 2K3 or NBA Live 2003, NBA Inside Drive 2003 shows all the potential of a first round draft pick.

The game play is great. You encounter real life game play situations. You can choose a ?run and gun? style or slow down the pace by walking the ball up the court. The computer opponent tends to get a high number of blocks, steals and rebounds, but you will learn to counteract this by making good passing and shooting decisions. Although the game isn't packed with features, those present are fully customizable. Everything from Free throw shooting to defense can be customized to your liking. Tips, dunks, lay-ups, and rebounding are much better. An impressive game play feature is the reaction of players on offense based on defensive position. I mean you can do things just like you would in your local gym. Like fake passing and jukeing. The camera angles are good and aid in all of your strategies. Practice mode is good and includes 5 players. Practice mode is a must if you want too get this game down. If you want too win you will definitely need a strategies and practice mode is the best way too do this.

Graphics are Very smooth. Player animations are very life like. When committing to a hard foul you can see the reactions of the players and the players give you a reaction if they are left in the dust. Ai animations are great I mean it?s like watching it on TV or a commercial about shoes. Cut scenes such as slam dunks and the reactions that the other players get are nice. The fatigue animation is also well done. All of the Vince Carter and Kobe Bryant dunks are great. The power of these dunks is truly noticed but the players can?t grab or hold the rim. Passes can't be caught while players are in motion. They must stand still facing the ball until it reaches them. Finally, the arc of all the shots is rather flat. Although these minor gripes don?t affect game play, they detract from the overall smooth flowing and fast game play. The camera angles are great and aid in good fast game play. As a down size too the graphics I would have too say that the crowd looks terrible. Every fan will stand up at the same time, clap their hands at the same time, and sit down at the same time. Other than that it?s pretty darn impressive.

The announcing is good with the addition of Kenny Smith. The 3 man team of Kevin Colabro, Marques Johnson, and Kenny Smith handles the play by play. Despite the possibility of the 3 talking over each other and sounding really crappy, they pick their spots and talk at the right times ? and if not, Colabro will cut the other guys off when a big play happens ? then apologize for it. You even hear the players on the court talking, and yelling. You can hear great sneaker squeaks, rim rattles, player, coach and ref chatter. The problem is, being able to hear this so well means the crowd noise is dead. And it is. While the game is being played, the crowd sits on their hands and only cheers when a basket is scored. The sound effects do their job as well. Overall, High Voltage's audio team did a good job at representing the sport of basketball through audio. The music tracks before game play are great especially if you are a Master P fan. The crowd however doesn?t get into the game much at all. But overall this game won?t bore you to death with the same sound schemes over and over again like most sports games do.

Needs online capability, a good franchise mode, and make the crowd get into the game more.

Overall: 9.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 8.0 / 10


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