Monday, February 05, 2007

College Hoops 2K7 Review

What do you think of when you hear the words “college basketball”? Drunken frat boys in blue face paint coming up with creative chants to insult the opponents best player? Mascots throwing haymakers at each other? A bald former coach yelling at the top of his lungs for no apparent reason? Ah yes, the pomp and pageantry of college hoops.
But what’s a college basketball season without a video game to go with it? Fear not, the gaming industry has come to the rescue with “College Hoops 2K7”. Now if your wildest dream was to have the Cameron Crazies cheer you on (which means you need some serious counseling), it can finally come true in this great college hoops sim.
The game presentation in “College Hoops” is fantastic. The home crowds are a loud, raucous bunch chanting “Defense!” or “Get that ball!” They’ll even yell “Three!” when you take a three point shot and “Moron!” when you turn the ball over (okay, I made that last one up).
The announcing team of Verne Lundquist, Bill Raftery and Bonnie Bernstein do an excellent job and there’s a pre-season, Selection Sunday and College Hoops Tonight show if you are in desperate need of some television in your video game. Hundreds of real coaches are in the game and cheerleaders come out doing flips during time outs as a guy with a mop dries up wet spots on the floor. Sweet!
A deep create-a-player feature and tons of game options, from practices to tournaments, (in practice mode you can play knockout and monkey in the middle just like in elementary school, yeah!) show this games attention to detail.
Of course none of these bells and whistles mean a thing if the game ain’t got swing, but game play is where “College Hoops” really shines.
Just like real basketball, the best chance you have of scoring is to swing the ball until you have an open shot. Crosscourt passes, a risky move in hoops, are frequently picked off. The AI defense will adjust to your style of play so if you score with one player all the time (like a high rated created player) you can expect to get double and even triple teamed. Throw in realistic player animations and you have an almost perfect basketball sim, almost.
Maneuvering around the main menu is a pain as the button functions are different then in standard games. The right stick, used as an alternate shot stick, doesn’t feel natural. The text is in the game is way too small and the graphics are hit and miss. From a distance the courts, crowd and players look good but up close they look like sunburned zombies.
While “College Hoops 2K7” has a few small flaws, its solid game play and its authentic college feel make it a championship contender.
College Hoops 2K7
Cost: $19.99 - $59.99
Players: 1-4 (8 online)
Formats: PS2, PS3, Xbox, Xbox 360
Category: Basketball Sim
Rating: E (Everyone)
Grade: A-
Terry’s Top 5 Basketball Quotes
1. Patrick Ewing: "We might make a lot of money but, we also spend a lot of money."
2. Larry Bird: commenting at the ceremony when his Indiana State No. 33 jersey was retired: "We had a special team. We played together, played to win, and everyone knew their roles. ...Everyone knew I was going to take all the shots."
3. Charles Shackleford: "Left hand, right hand, it doesn't matter. I'm amphibious."
4. Magic Johnson: on how well he and James Worthy work together: "It's almost like we have ESPN."
5. Charles Barkley: commercial for basketball shoes, 1993: "These are my new shoes. They're good shoes. They won't make you rich like me, they won't make you rebound like me, they definitely won't make you handsome like me. They'll only make you have shoes like me. That's it."

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