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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published by: Midway games
Developed by: Midway Amusement Games- Chicago
Genre: Sports
Players: 2
ESRB: Rating Pending
Release Date: March 27, 2006
Written by: Tyler Norton

Basketball has always been a favorite in the eyes of most gamers. Whether it's the fast pace of the game, the legendary players, or the all-star teams, basketball is always finding new ways to entertain people all over the world. One of the most popular ways is found in videogames. Over the years, the NBA has licensed some of the greatest games out there. These games include the ESPN series, the 2k series, and one of their most popular: NBA Ballers. Developed by Midway Games, Ballers found its way into the homes of thousands of gamers. Now Midway Games is going to test their luck again with the new sequel, NBA Ballers: Phenom.

Just like the original Ballers, first hitting stores in April of 2004, you play as your own character who is trying to make their way into the NBA. The story follows your character with their numerous struggles. First off, you're homeless. On top of all that your best friend, and one time partner Hot Sauce, has ditched you to play in the big time. He took all of your creditŠand your girl as well. Even though all of this has happened, there's still a spark of light left. The NBA is hosting a street ball tournament and to the winner goes a fresh million and a chance to be drafted into the big time.

Ballers doesn't only have such an intense story, it also has an innovative gameplay that puts many other basketball games in the dust. First you'll be able to create your character from kicks to hair, a feature that wasn't made available in the first game. Once you gain control of your character, the world is yours. You can basically go out and do whatever as you wish and take on some of the biggest names in basketball along the way.

Another cool feature about Ballers is that the game is free-roam. This means you can wander around LA without needing to do one specific thing. This is quite similar to the styles of Grand Theft Auto and GUN. This feature lets you do some various side missions like freestyle rap battles, a DDR like feature at the local carwash, and even helping out on the local street team run by famous rapper Ludacris. Plus with the free-roam feature, you'll soon find yourself balling out from LA to Hollywood to Beverly Hills. You may even catch yourself dribbling outside the famous Chinese Theater. Plus you can even throw your ball at random objects to find cash and other hidden valuables scattered around California. Pretty cool for being homeless, even if you need to sleep in your car.

Besides the mission mode, you can also play some 2 on 2 matches. This is a change from the original 1 on 1 games in the original Ballers. In this mode, you can also play as the pros and even unlock some other characters that aren't exactly basketball players like Ludacris. This should be great when you're playing with a friend in the two player mode.

There isn't much new in the 1 on 1 style of the game, although there is one new move. The move is called the Act A Fool, in this you will dribble, then slam the ball off your opponents head (off the hizzle/diddy bop) then shoot the ball into the basket all in one sequence. Seems pretty cool if you ask me.

Visually the game looks pretty cool. The styles the characters are given are pretty sweet. Everything looks up-to-date and nothing seems out of place. The details are amazing. You can see nearly every expression on the players, especially Allen Iverson. You can see everything on him from his beard to his eye color. It's pretty accurate as well dress code wise. You wont be seeing Iverson in chains and bandannas in this game.

The areas are also very well mapped out. You can see nearly everything in the background from trees to houses. You can even see all the markings on the court as clear as can be. A big improvement from the last Ballers if you ask me. I mean don't get me wrong, the graphics were good, but not as good as Phenom. Overall for the graphics, the game doesn't look too bad. We'll just have to find out.

The music in this game sounds pretty good. A soundtrack done by some of the most famous rappers in the business like Ludacris. Hopefully the sound will be a lot better than the first one, one of the few flaws the game suffered from. Not much else can be said about the sound since not much else is known. Lets just hope that the music and the sound will hold out for this game.

Overall, NBA Ballers: Phenom, looks like one of the greatest basketball games to ever hit stores. The one on one gameplay, cool fresh story, amazing graphics, and a sweet sound system to hold it all together. Phenom is set to hit stores March 27th so be sure to look and get your copies because this game looks like a keeper.

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