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NBA Ballers: Chosen One

Ballin' outta control.

Score quickly following the QTE and you'll bag an extra two points too. Pulling off the combos leaves your opponent standing around fiddling with his hampton, while you bag a super-move, and if you rack up three of these in a row you can hit a Shut 'Em Down move, which ends the game no matter what the score. With these in mind, you're likely to blaze through the Story mode with very little skill or contest.

The second of the jarring game-breakers is the cut-scenes that accompany the super-moves. When you're doing your best to stop a juggernaut of a player - really concentrating on the fudgy controls - the last thing you need is for all the action to stop for a five-second cut-scene as your opponent skips around the court flinging his stiff limbs in all directions. It just makes you want to punch the screen.

What else is wrong with Chosen One? Well, the game automatically assigns points to upgrade your skills after winning a game - speed, stamina, rebounding, dunks etc - with the intention that it rewards the way you play. But it seems random more than anything and feels like the game is trying to keep you in check if you favour one style over another. There's an argument for auto-assigning, especially for players that don't want to get lost in stats, but it doesn't work in Chosen One.

There are a bunch of smaller issues too, that don't help the overall package. From ropey animation, a couple of glitches that will have you wondering "did that ball go through the rim or in the basket?" just long enough for your rival to get the jump on you, to AI that barely adapts to repetitive moves, and some plain odd rule-changes.

Ol' dead eyes is back.

All of which doesn't bode well for online play. When the virtual tumble weed isn't blowing across your screen as you wait for a match by staring at your own chubby reflection, games are limited to one-on-one play, even though there are two-on-two matches in the Story mode. Obviously you get a better game as you're dealing with real live humans somewhere in Germany rather than the unchallenging AI, but when the mechanics of the game are this stiff to begin with, you can only expect minimal fun.

There's even a disappointing note about the soundtrack, because music is important for the overall atmosphere of a b-ball game. 2K Sports skillfully ropes in beat-makers like Dan the Automator or Stone's Throw label boss Madlib for musical credibility, while Electronic Arts has pretty much single-handedly pioneered the use of licensed music in videogames. Chosen One's soundtrack is all instrumental joints from Just Blaze, and while they ain't bad, it's reflective of the overall attention to detail in the game - you've got to come with everything to match the competition, you can't do this half-heartedly.

It's not NBA Live, it's not NBA Street and it's not NBA 2K. And playing Chosen One you'll be reminded of this every couple of minutes. If you need a fourth basketball title then NBA Ballers will pass a couple of hours, but you'll be constantly thinking of the elements that are better in the other b-ball games you've got on your shelf.

5 / 10

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About the Author

Matt Martin avatar

Matt Martin

Contributor

Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.

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