Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 04/16/02 | Genre: Sports
One of my favorite TV channels to watch is ESPN. Here I can get updated on sports information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is only fitting that someone is utilizing the ESPN brand name for console sports games. While Konami has steadily been improving their line of ESPN sports titles, each year they seem to fall short of what the competition offers. Unfortunately for NBA 2 Night 2002, this tradition remains true.
At first, everything seems to be great. The menus in NBA 2 Night 2002 are setup just like the classic screens when watching ESPN. When in the game, you will even see the ESPN logo with the score and time remaining in the corner of the screen.
The game really shines when it comes to the audio department. Specifically, the commentary is second to none. If you ever watch ESPN, then you will be familiar with Stuart Scott, the Chris Berman of the NBA. Scott tag teams with another great ESPN personality, Brent Musberger, to create one of the best commentating systems in any NBA game that I have ever played. In all of the ESPN games, Konami has done an excellent job with this. However, the gameplay just isn't quite up to par...
Frustrating and confusing are two words I would use to describe the gameplay in NBA 2 Night 2002. Players miss wide open shots under the basket constantly, playing defense is a game of luck, and trying to drive the lane on offense is more difficult than it should be. The controls have a variety of buttons to use--including speed bursts and fakes. But no matter how well you master the controls, the gameplay is just not fluid enough to make the game seem consistent. Both offense and defense becomes a game of luck rather than skill. Unfortunately, this is basketball--not horseshoes or hand grenades--so luck does no good.
Another problem I had with NBA 2 Night 2002 were the graphics. Graphically, the game is not very good looking. While the close-ups can sometimes resemble the players, the normal aerial camera makes the players look like pudgy, over-weight men half-heartedly running down the floor trying to look like NBA stars. While it is true that graphics do not make a great game--when the graphics look this bad--it is a very big distraction to the rest of the game.
While the ESPN lineup of sports titles have seen their fair share of problems through the years, I have a feeling that Konami will eventually get the formula right. They already have a great commentary system in NBA 2 Night and all of the other titles. Now they need to concentrate on the gameplay and the graphics for this title in next year's version and we will be looking at the best basketball game out there. Lets keep our fingers crossed and hope that Konami is up to the challenge.