Rating: 2.5 Pulses
Released April 21, 2008
Players: 1 – 4
ESRB Rating: E
Being a big fan of the NBA Street series and growing up playing NBA Jam, I looked forward to playing NBA Ballers: Chosen One. That was until I actually played it. Midway’s third installment in it’s Ballers series and its first on the PS3, Chosen One honestly looks and feels like a PS2 game. The game doesn’t even get close to using the PS3’s power to its full force and it doesn’t look like the developers even tried. As disappointing as that sounds, the game’s still relatively fun, at times, and has a few nice additions to offer like its Story Mode, Ballers Shootout Challenge and Shut ’Em Down trick moves.
The story of Ballers: Chosen One goes something like this; every year after the NBA Finals have finished, the NBA’s top ballers get together for a televised tournament that takes place in some of the most exotic basketball courts in the world. Hosted by Public Enemy rap artist Chuck. D, the tournament will crown the No. 1 rated baller as the “Chosen One.”
To start up the Story Mode, you’ll first have to create a baller from scratch and then your player will be given the role as the “wild card” player in the tournament. Throughout the Story Mode you’ll go through chapters that contain different match-ups with other ballers and different sets of rules. For example, some chapters will contain challenges that match you up against two opponents and others will contain “no-ball checks,” which is by far the worst way to play because of how easy it is to rebound, dunk, rebound, dunk and so-on. Although the Story Mode doesn’t go into too much depth, some of the chapters are pretty challenging and unlocking more outfits and super moves for your created baller is cool.
However, to progress through the Story Mode players must rely heavily on Shut ’Em Down moves. Similar to NBA Street’s Gamebreaker super move, Shut ’Em Down moves come in the form of jukes, steals, shots, blocks and dunks and are the key to being successful in Chosen One. To obtain a Shut ’Em Down move, you’ll have to increase your Super Meter by playing well and performing successful trick moves. However, when you do get a Shut ’Em Down move, be ready to pull out the instruction manual because the game doesn’t give any tutorial on how to execute them. Each time a Shut ’Em Down move is performed a 12-second, non-interactive clip will come on showing off the move. The thing that absolutely sucks about the clips are that you have to watch them every single time, and trust me, it gets old really quick.
Besides the Story Mode, Chosen One offers a Ballers Shootout Challenge, a 3-Point Challenge and an Online Mode. The Ballers Shootout Challenge is simply a jump shot challenge against another baller. There are hot spots on the court, each worth a different amount of points, and ballers will alternate turns to see who can score the most points in a certain amount of time. The 3-Point Challenge is, obviously, a 3-Point shootout to see who can make the most 3-Pointers. And if you’re looking for someone else to play with other than the A.I., just hop right online and show off your baller skills.
The only real graphical enhancements I noticed in Chosen One were the fantastic player faces, but other than that not much else. The controls aren’t very fluid at all and at times it’s hard to control you’re player when using turbo. And I don’t even want to mention how horrid the rebounding and passing systems are. It’s just plain ridiculous! The music, however, is a totally different story. Probably one of the best things about the game is the soundtrack produced by hip-hop producer Just Blaze, well known for his East Coast rap productions.
Overall, NBA Ballers: Chosen One really falls short of being a good game and is just mediocre at best. Much of the gameplay is redundant and the whack player controls don’t help at all. Other than the somewhat entertaining Story Mode and playing with a friend, most of the other modes are pretty lame. With NBA Street: Homecourt available to play, I don’t see why anyone would pick up this game over that. Hopefully, Midway can learn a few things from EA’s real “Chosen One.”