NBA Unrivaled Impressions

Posted November 11th, 2009 at 10:44 am


It would be one thing if NBA Unrivaled was 400 MS points/$5 but it isn’t. The downloadable only game for XBLA and PSN is asking for 1200 MS points/$15. It appears that the sole reason for the is the use of the NBA license because there is nothing else about the game that could justify such a price. Luckily as with every downloadable game a free trial is offered. The trial includes the Lakers vs Magic with two minute quarters.

Yes, NBA Unrivaled does include the NBA license meaning it includes the real teams and players. That is of very little consequence though because it is quite possibly the worst game I’ve played this generation. Tecmo was going for a retro arcade feel which is fine and for people who grew up on games like Tecmo NBA Basketball and NBA Jam there is still some appeal to that. Unfortunately while those games were fun this one is not at all.

The NBA license really doesn’t mean much. The players have real names but they are hardly distinguishable due to the graphics and play on the court. The jerseys are recognizable due to the colors and the court has the team logo. Outside of those things the license doesn’t make the game any better than it would have been otherwise. It may have actually been better without it and would have certainly been cheaper.

Player movement does use the left analog but is basically comparable to using the D-Pad. There is no momentum at all so passing means stopping and jumping means going straight up. The animations (if they can even be called that) for aspects of the game such as the shots or rebounds are ridiculously bad.

On offense the best strategy seemed to be to run around until the player being controlled has the X button icon pop up over their head. When that happens hitting X takes the player into an unstoppable special dunk. On defense it is basically about running around wildly and swiping for the ball, though there is a risk of committing fouls. The game uses a momentum system which provides boosts to the team that is on a roll. I never really saw this take place.

Since it is difficult to actually see what player has the ball or proximity to an opposing player there are a lot of steals made. There is really no sense that a steal has actually taken place outside of a sound effect that indicates so.

After firing up the trial to give the game a chance it was one game and done. NBA Unrivaled has no redeeming value and it is unlikely that anyone will actually find it enjoyable to play. There is one accomplishment that NBA Unrivaled could lay claim to…it is so terrible that it can unite fans of NBA 2K10 and NBA Live 10 in criticism of it.