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E3 2012: NBA Baller Beats (Hands On)

by: Chuck -
More On: NBA Baller Beats E3 2012
I have to admit that I had a bit of trepidation going in to see NBA Baller Beats.  I'm not sure why but I didn't have high expectations for a game based on a sport that I can barely stand to watch any more.    However after seeing the game and playing it for a bit my mind has changed on the game.
The best way to think of NBA Baller Beats is that you're playing the drum portion of Rock Band with a basketball.  The game has a similar runway that shows you when and where you should bounce the ball as well as well as special moves like crossovers and fake shots.  It's a basic concept that works really well and after playing through one of the songs I came away shocked at how good the execution was.   
It's easy to see where playing the game would help you to develop some decent ball skills as you have to have one eye on the screen while you play.  The downside to this is that there's a chance that during those early learning days of losing control of the basketball and having it fly into your TV or breaking something in your TV room.  The pump fake move seems especially likely to cause some replacement TV's as you have to raise the basketball up towards the TV  and a single slip could send the included ball hurtling through your TV.
Playing the game I didn't notice any significant lag in tracking my movements but then again  I was too busy trying to keep the slick ball in my hands so that it didn't go sailing out of the booth. 
You can mitigate this risk a bit by using another ball that bounces as t he game will support other sized balls as long as they aren't black.  This also has the side benefit of allowing those  with smaller hands (like children) play the game. 
The other concern of course is bouncing a basketball in your living room.  If you've got a hardwood floor then you won't have any problems but if you've got carpeting then it gets complicated.  The team behind NBA Baller has play tested the game with carpeting and you should be OK as long as your carpeting isn't a super thick shag carpet or if you don't have a really soft pad underneath your carpeting.  If you do fit that category then you're probably going to want to pass on the game. 
I didn't see much else of the game as far as other modes but if you like basketball or want to learn how to dribble a basketball then NBA Baller beats is something you should check out.