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PSP Review: NBA Live 07

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As EA Sports continues to destroy the legacy of their NBA Live series on home consoles, they're slowly building a small portable edition that's not far off from where it should be on next-gen consoles.

While there are still sloppy mistakes to be had, the depth of this PSP edition is a blueprint for future Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 updates. As it stands, the lesser hardware provides a better basketball game than the version on the Xbox 360.

Another atrocious default camera greets users when they load up their first game. Better cameras are easily accessible from the menu system, and once settled in, the finer points begin to show through.

Defense is the glaring change, and on everything aside from the lower two difficulties, this handheld effort can put up a fight against a human opponent.

Slight glitches like the point guard standing still for the entire shot clock are a distracting issues on occasion, though slightly forgivable given the overall quality elsewhere.

NBA Live carries its slightly inconsistent, loose feel to the PSP. However, a change up in the animation prevents the player from simply pushing their way through a defense. Double teams now have a point, stopping a player immediately if the situation calls for it. The additional animation routine leads a frantic spurt as the offensive player struggles to find a way out.

Driving to the inside is also met with resistance. A defender will now stick to the offensive player in a natural defensive push. Depending on a number of factors, one side will win out and either score or stop the play completely. Finding an open man takes on a new level of importance.

A carry over from the current consoles, the X-Factor is an addition that picks a bench player who through solid play on the floor, can have access to Superstar moves.

Depending on the player and their roles, these moves can be offensive or defensive. They're generally automatic, leading to turnovers, flashy passes, or brutal dunks. While helpful, playing through an entire season and not using either the Superstar moves or X-Factor is entirely possible.

The season routine is spectacular on the PSP. The franchise mode showcases incredible depth, easily the best of all EA Sports products on the console. Player morale, team chemistry, scouts, coaches, and more need to carefully managed to ensure your team is prepared for the next game.

Keeping an entire roster happy can be difficult, as NBA Live 07 hits one inexcusable oversight. There is no fatigue programmed in. Substitutions are meaningless aside from keeping high rated players on the floor. When bench players become unhappy with their floor time, the entire team can suffer a morale dip.

Aside from that baffling omission, this is a complete package. All-Star Weekend mini-games are present and accounted for. Online play runs flawlessly and commentary from Marv Albert and Steve Kerr only runs dry through extended sessions.

A basketball fans is left with two options this year for their NBA fix. Any port of 2K Sports NBA franchise is the first, and the second ends up at this under valued PSP effort from EA Sports.

This is a fun, well designed, only slightly flawed rendition of the sport, and comes highly recommended if you're looking for a break from the general awfulness of other NBA Live products.

NBA Live 07 is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB. This game can also be found on: PC, PS2, Xbox, Xbox 360 and Mobile Phone.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.
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