Aisledash: Everything you need to know about the best day of your life | Add to My AOL, MyYahoo, Google, Bloglines

PS3 Fanboy review: NBA 2K8

It may be hard to believe, but in our long tenure PS3 Fanboy has never reviewed a sports game (and no Go! Sports Ski doesn't count -- we're trying to forget that game even exists). It's not that we dislike sports games per se, we more just tend to be fans of RPGs, FPSes, and action titles in general. Well all that is changing as we boldly explore the depths of sports gaming with our review of NBA 2K8.

NBA 2K8 is the latest iteration in 2K's basketball series and comes out to a crowded market on the PlayStation 3. Unlike EA's monopoly on NFL branded football games, there are three different NBA series and they all hit the PS3 at the same time. Historically speaking, the 2K series has been the best of the bunch -- beating out Sony's NBA series and EA's NBA Live series, so it seemed like a good game for a player who's been out of the basketball loop for as long as I have (we're talking years here).

Featuring six different gameplay modes, there is definitely no lack of content in NBA 2K8. You have a ridiculously deep franchise mode called the Association, you can play full seasons with your favorite team, do a quick game of street ball (called NBA Blacktop), practice your moves on an empty court, or even setup special scenarios (like being down 8 points with 20 second on the clock) to show off your skills. There's a ton of stuff here, and hardcore NBA fans will have enough to keep them busy for months.

In fact, you're going to have to be a hardcore NBA fan to really enjoy NBA 2K8. In one of the most frustrating aspects of the whole game, there is an almost complete and utter lack of documentation or tutorials. The manual is almost criminally barebones, with only a basic breakdown of the different gameplay modes and a listing of the offensive/defensive commands. And the in-game help isn't any better because, well... there isn't any. This making learning the intricacies of the gameplay a massive chore unless you're already well-versed in the subtle skill of 'b-ball' (as the kids call it).

If you're a newbie, you're definitely going to want to spend some time online reading up on explanations for the different aspects of the game. So much of NBA 2K8 isn't explained that just jumping straight in is more frustrating than it's worth. Once you've put in your time learning how to play though, you'll find some pretty satisfying gameplay with a ton of flexibility and options.

In particular, I liked the ability to run two-man plays on the fly and the hot-spot indicators below each player which allowed me to easily and quickly mix up the strategies and maximize the effectiveness of my players. I wasn't as a huge of a fan of the new foot-planting mechanic though. In an effort to make the gameplay more realistic, players need to get planted before launching off a shot -- fair enough, but it makes firing off a quick shot on the run extremely difficult at times. There's nothing more frustrating than stopping dead in the middle of a break away while the defensive swarms over you. Overall though, the game did a great job at mixing realism and playability -- I just hope they tone down the foot planting for next year's offering.

Where NBA 2K8 really shines though is its fantastic graphics and animation. Supporting up to 1080p resolution, great textures, minimal jaggies and a solid framerate -- NBA 2K8 is a pleasure to watch, let alone play. Character models look quite good and it's easy to identify the players on the court with a quick glance, though some faces still look a little odd (like Steve Nash). Of course, Steve Nash is kind of odd looking in real life too -- so it's not a huge deal.

The best aspect of the graphics in NBA 2K8 is the absolutely amazing animations that drip from every aspect of the game. Even simple things like the fabric physics of the clothes are awe inspiring and startlingly realistic, but they are nothing compared to the animations of the players themselves. The way they move around the court and interact with each other gives the characters a great sense of physicality and realism. Major players also have unique sets of animations that make them really stand out when they go in for a dunk or a lay-up. It really looks so good that a brief glance at the screen and you'll think you're watching an actual NBA game. There are the occasional weird animation transition, but I've honestly never seen this quality of animation in any sports game before (though NBA Jam on the Genesis came close).

Overall, I felt that NBA 2K8 was an enjoyable and frustrating experience at the same time. While the graphics and animations are fantastic, and the core gameplay is good -- the need to have a PhD in both basketball and the 2K series was a serious detriment. Hardcore players probably won't have the issues I had, but casual basketball fans should definitely approach the title with caution. The almost complete lack of documentation and in-game help is inexcusable and annoying. It's a shame, but hopefully next year 2K will put a little more time into making the game more accessible to beginners.

PS3 Fanboy score: 7.5

Related Headlines

Reader Comments

(Page 1)

1. 7.5?!!!! As hoops games go, this is the best I've ever played. The only problem I have is that in 2 player mode when I commit an intentional foul the ref never calls it, resulting in the ball just falling out of the player's hands and giving the defense a free shot at taking it. I adjusted all of the sliders and can't find one to make the ref call th foul. It makes the call online, but in my home settings (rather against another guy or the CPU) no dice. Thoughts?

Other than that, this is CLEARLY the best hoops game going, and I've always HATED the 2K series for lack of crossover controls like Live or NBA 08. If you're looking for a hopps game, this is it. Easily an 8, maybe an 8.5.

Posted at 3:18PM on Oct 22nd 2007 by Titty Pink

2. I miss NBA Jam :(

Posted at 3:25PM on Oct 22nd 2007 by HAAS599

3. I played the demo. I wanted to like it since, graphically, it looked good, but I just wasn't impressed with the gameplay. I agree with Colin in that it didn't seem very "welcoming" for people who aren't big sports / 2K gamers. I preferred the more "arcade-ish" style of NBA 08 to 2K8.

Posted at 3:27PM on Oct 22nd 2007 by Solace

4. Yes the game is more sim than the Live or NBA series, but thats what makes it great. I think its a shame that you would rate a 9+ game so low, simply because you sucked at it and couldnt figure it out.

Posted at 3:46PM on Oct 22nd 2007 by Easo

5. Easo:
Actually I did figure it out and got pretty decent at it (still got my butt handed to me online though, haha). The problem is that the learning curve is just too steep for the mainstream audience to really enjoy it.

For hardcore fans, the game is probably more like an 8.5. But for the general audience, there are some serious barriers to entry that were too big to ignore when finalizing the score.


Posted at 3:53PM on Oct 22nd 2007 by Colin.Torretta

6. It's more arcade than previous games. The fact that you get Cleveland and San Antonio, two of the LAMEST teams you could possibly play with in the demo does it no justice. They should've had all-star teams so you could really get the feel for what the game is all about. The manual DOES suck though. I mean it really is limited to "this button passes, this button shoots, etc. They don't even tell you how to toss up an alley oop. I basically had to learn by getting my ass kicked online. The game itself is REALLY tight though. The level of detail is sick. If you aren't paying attention and run out of bounds on the far side of the court, they actually animated your player stumbling over the bench players and coaches. Still can't beleive the low score. And I'm not one to expect ALL games to be scored high, I just know THIS game is better than a 7.5.

Posted at 3:57PM on Oct 22nd 2007 by Titty Pink

7. Accessibility counts guys. Most reviews say the same thing: the manual and in-game help is worthless. Even if you know the ins and outs of B-Ball (if that IS what the kids call it), learning how to do them in this game is a real pain. NBA 2k is a very solid game with great gameplay, but much of that gameplay goes to waste since learning how to do much of it involves online reasearch!

There is a great game here, but you really have to dig to get to it (though having played previous 2k basketball games would help). All that digging SHOULD cost the score. This review is about right.

Posted at 3:58PM on Oct 22nd 2007 by Severe_Gamer

8. I had similar problems with NHL 08 on the 360. I hadn't played a hockey video game since NHL 94 on the Genesis and there's no in-game help and almost no manual to speak of. Learning how to do anything game is a 'bang-you-head-into-the-wall-over-and-over-again' proposition. It doesn't matter that it's a really good hockey game if you have to already know how to play it from years on previous incarnations to ever figure out what you're doing.

In defense of NBA 2k8 though, I played 2k7 without any previous experience and I thought it wasn't [i]too[/i] terrible learning to play with no tutorials or manual. This is still something that EA and 2K Games [i]really[/i] need to fix though.

Posted at 4:00PM on Oct 22nd 2007 by Deviation

9. Ouch, that post was a mess. I need to remember where I"m posting.

Posted at 4:02PM on Oct 22nd 2007 by Deviation

10. i guess it goes to show that even "great games" aren't always for everyone. for example, IMO, Burnout > Gran Turismo and HotShotsGolf > Tiger Woods because they're more accessible to me, just like the first 2 hours of every MGS game because you have too many complexities thrown at you at once if you're not familiar with the game(s).

Posted at 4:17PM on Oct 22nd 2007 by Solace

11. @6: San Antonio is a lame team? Last time I checked they won the playoffs on '07, which was what, THIS YEAR.

Maybe the Detroit Pistons or the Chicago Bulls, or hell, even Golden State is lame, but please, give the 07 champs the respect they earned.

Posted at 7:00PM on Oct 22nd 2007 by Popfrogs

12. The game runs 1080p? The demo only runs 720p...

What I didn't like about the demo was you couldn't call plays on the fly, in fact you couldn't call plays period. I hope the real game has the ability to call zones on defense. Anyway I am going to pick up this game this week 4 sure.

To me all the NBA2K games 9+, as far as basketball games are concerned. I don't mean to be a jerk, but you should let a sports gamer review a sports game. 7.5 is way too low. No offense.

Posted at 6:01AM on Oct 23rd 2007 by Joey_Numbers

Add your comments

Please keep your comments relevant to this blog entry. Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments.

When you enter your name and email address, you'll be sent a link to confirm your comment, and a password. To leave another comment, just use that password.

To create a live link, simply type the URL (including http://) or email address and we will make it a live link for you. You can put up to 3 URLs in your comments. Line breaks and paragraphs are automatically converted — no need to use


New Users

Current Users


Win the Ultimate Halo 3 setup from Xbox 360 Fanboy!!!Check out the PlayStation Fancast podcast!PS3 Fanboy interviews Everyday Shooter's Jon Mak


Contests and Giveaways (14)
Community (74)
Galleries (34)
Guides (3)
Hands-on (14)
Interviews (216)
Podcasts (13)
Polls and Surveys (43)
Rants (17)
Reviews (21)
Wallpapers (7)
Blu-ray (182)
Business (40)
Deals and Bargains (39)
Demos (49)
Downloads (80)
e-Distribution Games (79)
Firmware Updates (37)
Game Patches (18)
Hacks and Homebrew (19)
Hardware (27)
Multimedia (30)
New Releases (125)
News (309)
Peripherals (46)
PlayStation Network (166)
PlayStation Store (184)
Previews (490)
Rumors (336)
Videos and Screenshots (409)


Powered by Blogsmith

Sponsored Links

Featured Galleries

Lost Planet
Soulcalibur IV concept art
Wipeout HD
MGS4 TGS swag
LocoRoco: Cocorecho
Ratchet & Clank: Concept Art


Most Commented On (14 days)

Recent Comments

Weblogs, Inc. Network

  • Autos
    • Autoblog
    • AutoblogGreen
    • Autoblog Spanish
    • Autoblog Chinese
    • Autoblog Simplified Chinese
  • Technology
    • Download Squad
    • Engadget
    • Engadget HD
    • Engadget Mobile
    • Engadget Chinese
    • Engadget Simplified Chinese
    • Engadget Japanese
    • Engadget Spanish
    • TUAW (Apple)
  • Lifestyle
    • AisleDash
    • DIY Life
    • Gadling
    • Green Daily
    • Luxist
    • ParentDish
    • Slashfood
    • Styledash
    • That's Fit
  • Gaming
    • Joystiq
    • DS Fanboy
    • Nintendo Wii Fanboy
    • PS3 Fanboy
    • PSP Fanboy
    • Second Life Insider
    • WoW Insider
    • Xbox 360 Fanboy
  • Entertainment
    • Cinematical
    • TV Squad
  • Finance
    • BloggingBuyouts
    • BloggingStocks
  • Retired
    • AdJab
    • BBHub (BlackBerry)
    • Blogging DEMO
    • Blogging E3
    • Blogging ETech
    • Blogging Gnomedex
    • Blogging Milken
    • Blogging Ohio
    • Blogging Web 2.0
    • Future of Music
    • Bluetooth
    • Card Squad
    • CSS Insider
    • Design
    • Digital Music
    • Digital Photography
    • Divester (scuba)
    • Droxy (Digital Radio)
    • DV Guru (Digital Video)
    • Enron Blog
    • Flash Insider
    • Google (Unofficial)
    • JavaScript
    • Live 8 Insider
    • Magazine Design
    • Medical Informatics Insider
    • Microsoft (Unofficial)
    • Mortgages
    • Nanopublishing
    • Office
    • Open Source
    • Peer-to-Peer
    • Photoshop (Unofficial)
    • PVR Wire
    • RFID
    • RSS
    • SAS (Unofficial)
    • SCM Wire (supply chain)
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Social Software
    • Spam
    • Tablet PCs
    • Telemedicine Insider
    • Unofficial Playstation 3
    • Unofficial Xbox2
    • Video Games
    • VoIP
    • WiFi
    • The WiMAX Weblog
    • Wireless Dev
    • The Wireless Report
    • Yahoo (Unofficial)
  • Also on AOL
    • African-American Culture
    • Autos
    • Coaches
    • Diet and Fitness
    • Food
    • Games
    • Health
    • Horoscopes
    • Jobs
    • Maps
    • Mobile
    • Money
    • Movies
    • Music
    • MyAOL
    • News
    • Online Radio
    • Real Estate
    • Shopping
    • Slideshows
    • Sports
    • Storage
    • Switched
    • Television
    • TMZ
    • Travel
    • Truveo
    • Video
    • Weather
    • Winamp

Other Weblogs Inc. Network blogs you might be interested in:

DS Fanboy
  • Shigeru Miyamoto is a man -- and how!
  • Rhythm N' Notes schools you in music
  • Oink oink, mama: Barnyard Blast trailer
  • Gametech card case makes room for reading material
  • New Viva Pinata screens burst out
Subscribe with My AOL, MyYahoo or Bloglines
Second Life Insider
  • Yesterday's Money: 23rd October
  • Today in Second Life - Tuesday 23 October, 2007
  • Short notice voice maintenance early tomorrow morning
  • 5 Companies Who Need Virtual Worlds
  • USC's Virtual Vibe Jazz Fest '07
Subscribe with My AOL, MyYahoo or Bloglines
Nintendo Wii Fanboy
  • Another Tuesday, another Trauma Center update
  • The mystery becomes unraveled in these screens
  • Revolutionary: Answering the Call
  • Saturday: ramen eating contest, Sunday-Tuesday: cleanup
  • Wii Fit boxed, screened, and put in motion
Subscribe with My AOL, MyYahoo or Bloglines
Xbox 360 Fanboy
  • Fanpoll: Rock Band Vs. Guitar Hero III
  • Xbox 360 stencils + pumpkin = great Halloween
  • UK: Watch Jade and her Assassin's demo at HMV
  • Xbox to have 7 million-sellers by end of year
  • New Forza 2 racing turf releasing this Friday [update]
Subscribe with My AOL, MyYahoo or Bloglines
  • Today's most time-traveling video: GTA: Vice City Back to the Future mod
  • Today in Joystiq: October 23, 2007
  • Joystiq interview: Silent Hill: Origin's Akira Yamaoka
  • Ratchet & Clank Future glitch may halt play
  • Joystiq interview: Castlevania's Koji Igarashi
Subscribe with My AOL, MyYahoo or Bloglines
  • Tarina Tarantino Hardcore Minibox Clutch, Handbag of the Day
  • Yin-Yang Soaking Tubs
  • A Wedding Dress with 4 Pounds of Jewels
  • Dream Light Chromatherapy
  • Boldwater, Estate of the Day
Subscribe with My AOL, MyYahoo or Bloglines
  • adNav Boomerang, the ad-based GPS "conceirge"
  • Runco sets up camp with outdoor LCD
  • Toyota's i-Real: wrap yourself in a killer whale
  • FPD International: yeah, we're there with Samsung's 1-cm thin 40-inch LCD
  • Palm Treo 800w revealed?
Subscribe with My AOL, MyYahoo or Bloglines
Engadget Mobile
  • Palm Treo 800w revealed?
  • Gmail goes IMAP: finally your mobile email client & Gmail fall in love
  • Hands-on with Sprint's BlackBerry Pearl 8130
  • Talkster brings free ad-funded worldwide calling
  • Sharp develops "world's thinnest" 2.2-inch QVGA mobile LCD
Subscribe with My AOL, MyYahoo or Bloglines
Download Squad
  • Gmail gets IMAP
  • Will Hulu launch next week?
  • Google to let you tweak AdSense layout without tweaking HTML code
  • MapQuest Mobile gets overhaul
  • coming soon to an iPhone near you
Subscribe with My AOL, MyYahoo or Bloglines
  • Tokyo Motor Show: Subaru WRX STI debut
  • Tokyo Motor Show: Live shots of the Nissan GT-R!
  • Tokyo Motor Show: Touch me, I'm PUYO!
  • AutoblogGreen for 10.24.07
  • Tokyo Motor Show: Honda CR-X CR-Z Concept
Subscribe with My AOL, MyYahoo or Bloglines
The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW)
  • Gmail flips the switch on IMAP support
  • Leopard/Parallels/Windows bundle on Mac Warehouse
  • Send files directly from iPhone to another
  • European Online Stores Down
  • Apple adjusts side-positioned Dock in Leopard
Subscribe with My AOL, MyYahoo or Bloglines