NBA Shootout 2004

Review

posted 12/11/2003 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: PS2
The NBA season is almost a quarter of the way through and I’ve had to deal with the growing pains of a young Cleveland Cavaliers team. Well, to help me through this painful season, I’ve decided to take part in a few NBA games released for consoles. First up is 989 Sports, NBA Shootout 2004.

989’s basketball offering has some good qualities but still lacks some of the fundamentals that make it a solid basketball game. If you don’t have a solid gameplay model, the other features won’t do the product any good. NBA Shootout 2004 does some things well though and others that just makes you shake your head.

Shooting percentages from around 10 feet and out seem pretty realistic. Contested shots usually clank off the rim unless you have a really good shooter. And even then the shot won’t go down regularly but it’ll go in sometimes. Wide open shots for good outside shooters will tickle the twine most of the time. It teaches you to better put a body on shooters or you’ll be burned many times. The baseline areas are money though for big men. It’s to a point where even a Bruno Sundov can be a monster on the scoreboard because the baseline flip seems to go in an abnormally large amount of time.

Pressing the R1 button in the air will change your shot. So if you’re getting a hand coming in to block your shot, you can press the button to alter it and hopefully throw it up past the incoming player. You can also pass out of the shot like in other basketball games and the one thing I do like about NBA Shootout 2004 is that there seems to be a bigger chance of turning it over on a pass out in traffic. Playing ESPN NBA Basketball, I had little worries passing to a player in the middle of a jumpshot between three players. NBA Shootout 2004 makes it so you don’t rely on the method often and only use it sparingly.

Steals are pretty high in the game though and it’s not uncommon to go on big runs as you rack up steal after steal on consecutive plays. Blocks can also get out of control at times too. Defense does win basketball games but NBA Shootout 2004’s steals and blocks occur too frequently.

You’ll see some moments where the player picks the ball up to survey the defense, ‘glide’ a good four feet, and take a jumper. You’d think traveling would be called on the player but it never happens. There were a number of times I had good positioning on a player at the top of the key after the player picked up his dribble only to see him glide to the left or right really quick, and shoot the ball. I know traveling is rarely called in the NBA these days but this is ridiculous.

Another annoyance that I found in NBA Shootout 2004 is that it’s pretty impossible to throw a quick outlet pass to a player breaking towards the basket after a basket has been made. The reason is that there’s usually a TV style camera angle of the player that made the basket running back up court, thus preventing a quick outlet pass. I’d like the right to burn the other team if they don’t hustle back on defense but NBA Shootout 2004 won’t let you.
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