Review: NBA Playgrounds

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Score: 7 out of 10

We all have pleasant memories of playing NBA Jam back in the day. We have all wanted more of that and we have had some in the form of remakes. In a time where the NBA seems to be slanted towards just one team, we fans are looking for anything to make things a little easier and more fun. NBA Playgrounds seems to be inspired from NBA Jam and has a mix of Current and Classic Players in the roster. I did receive the game free for review but as always I try not to let that influence my opinion in the slightest. I will be breaking this review into 3 parts. The first will be graphics. The seconds will be gameplay. And finally the third will be performance.

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The graphics are pretty solid. They are not realistic like NBA2K but most of the players look like they should and are easily identifiable. It has the typical sports arcade look to it and it works just fine. There are most of today’s biggest players from each team as well as a good amount of classic or Hall of Famer caliber players. The backgrounds are mostly colorful and very interesting to look at while your waiting to inbound the ball.

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The gameplay is easy to understand and difficult to master. There are a few mechanics of the game that can be a bit frustrating to deal with while playing. There are power ups that are available after you fill up your Lottery Pick Bar. You can fill the Lottery bar buy completing dunks, steals, alley-oops and blocking shots. Some are worth more then others.The power ups include 2X in the paint, 2X 3-Pointers, Speed Boost, 12″ Timer, Star Shot and Electric Ball. Some of these are simple like 2X means those shots are worth twice as much and Speed Boost means you are able to move faster around the court. The 12″ Timer makes your Opponent’s shot clock shorter. The electric ball makes half court or closer shots always go in the hoop. The Star Shot is interesting. There will be a star on the court and when you shoot it points will be double followed by another star location with a triple multiplier followed by a third star location with a 4 times point multiplier. Some moves are not too easy to perform. Being able to steal the ball tends to be very difficult, especially when challenges require multiple steals per game. Steals seem to be a very specific timing situation because if you miss then you most likely will lose your opportunity because the game has a fast pace to it. It also should be noted that you can push, and pushing will drain your stamina.

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The performance seems to be average. There doesn’t seem to be anything close to game breaking issues. It is a fast pace type of game and makes it a bit challenging to do the challenges because of the fast pace. The timing for alley-oops seem to be a little inconsistent as well as the time frame for steals. The dunking seems to be easy to figure out and master. The same can be said for shots in the paint. There isn’t much  more to say performance wise besides it runs smoothly and unless you focus on all the challenges, you won’t notice some of the issues of the game.

Overall: NBA Playgrounds is pretty good. I have sunk about 15 hours into the game so far and have about half the achievements already. An interesting note to mention, you are able to pick 2 of the same player for a team. This makes it a little easier to complete certain challenges since some players are better at certain skills then others. This is a good game to pick up and play in short gaming sessions if you don’t have long periods of time to sink into a game. It will also be something to help get you through the NBA off-season that is vastly approaching.