NBA Playgrounds takes the game back to its roots in the streets, away from the controlled environment of professional NBA and instead you get crazy dunks and elbowing player’s to defend. Does NBA Playgrounds take make the sport more fun to play? Or will the hard core find it nothing more than a childish rendition.
NBA playgrounds allows you to play in a team of two with street basketball rules. Each team is comprised of NBA players from a multitude of teams, but the way you get these players is the interesting part as they are earned through packs.
Once you’ve picked the right team for yourself, it’s time to hit the court and show the opposition what you can do. Gameplay is pretty easy to get you head around, luckily you are required to go through a practice match to see how the controls work and get a real good feel for the game. There are slightly more advanced options for the pros such as perfect shooting and managing your stamina effectively, so at the very least there is something for everyone here.
As soon as you start up the game, it will present you with packs to open which gift you with a variety of players to start with. Each card will also have a rating depending on the player’s skills. E.g. Wilt Chamberlain has a legendary rating while David Robinson has an epic rating. Packs are also split into two colours; Gold and Silver, with the former giving you a better chance of getting a higher rated card.
There is a progression system in place as the more you play with a certain players, the more they can level up after each game. Every time a new user level is reached you earn more player packs to open, therefore more opportunities to not only fill out the roster, but collect all the cards which you can then view from the menu.
All your standard sort of mechanics such as passing and being able to perform crossovers is present, however where the game really comes into its own is through the insane and quite frankly, ridiculous dunks, but also the Lottery Pick bar which gives you even more options going forward.
Filling up the bar just simply requires you to play well, execute passes, perform dunks and get points on the board for your team. When the bar is full, lottery pick activates in which you are randomly given an extra bonus such as double the points for the shot you just made or being able to sprint without getting tired.
Other than playing standard games, you can also compete in Tournament Mode which takes you to street courts all around the world. Tournaments take place in areas such as Tokyo and (other place) and require you to beat 4 teams in order to become kings of the court.
Currently there is no option for online play which is a shame, however there apparently will be a patch for this sometime after launch, but no news as of yet.
I was never a big fan of the more recent NBA games where the controls became so confusing that learning how to play was just as difficult as landing a simple shot, luckily with NBA Playgrounds here I can just have fun and see these players perform the craziest manoeuvres.
That’s not to say that it’s so simple there isn’t much to it, as those who want to really get stuck in (especially once online comes around) have the more advanced tactics and options to play around with.
*A copy of NBA Playgrounds was provided by Saber Interactive for review purposes*
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