NBA Inside Drive 2003 - Xbox

As the name would suggest, this is the latest basketball title for the Xbox from Microsoft and offers a host of options for diehard fans of the game that also happen to have a Xbox. Of course to us Brits, Basketball isn't as popular unless you count the more recent McDonald's ad campaign. With that the titles, with or without a licence, have the same niche as baseball. Gameplay has to be good, rather than worrying about in depth stats to the same degree as say Champ Manager.

What this game does though is provide a good gaming platform for either those wanting some hoop action or those simply coming back from the pub looking for a good four player game to shout and argue about.

The game puts forward a number of options; Practice, Single Player, Season, Playoffs and General Manager.

Practice offers just that and gives you a chance to hone your lay-up skills or penalty shots. Single player mode throws you straight into the action and you can chose any team to play against or be. The season option is the main crux of the game and here you have the option to take a team through the league and on to the playoffs. For the big fans of the sport out there you can play up to 25 seasons of the game. For those not content with being able to choose any team from the NBA league you can select the General Manager mode and create individual players and teams to command through the season or playoffs. Playoffs are of course normally at the end of the season, but for the impatient among us the game allows you to jump straight into them as well.

Graphics are good with individual players looking like their real-life counterparts if you are familiar with them. Shaquille O'Neal looks big and scary in the game just as in real life.

To keep you on your toes there are different controls for whether you are on the offensive or defensive and this will take some time to learn before you can really call yourself a master of the court. That said there is a useful feature that allows you to show the possibilities open to you and the consequences of your actions (button presses) this is great for beginners new to both the video game and the sport.

Furthermore the developers have obviously realized that it is not something that you are going to grasp overnight and on the majority of loading screens there are extra tips and clues as to what on earth is going on.

Verdict

While this game will appeal mostly to those who know and love Basketball, anyone else coming into the fold merely wanting a fun sports game to play that isn't football is still sure to enjoy. This game is challenging on its own, but even more fun with friends. If you have a spare 30 quid and some time then shooting hoops is definitely one way to do it.


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