NBA Courtside 2002 is the third instalment in the courtside franchise and was the first to venture over to the Gamecube. For developers Left Field Productions this was a big move as it was the first game of its type to move from the N64 to the Gamecube. The game supports up to 4 players through Split screen or Single player.
The game included numerous different games to play ranging from typical season gameplay (where the player can take on the role of a certain team or created player and go through the season) to a more relaxed 3 on 3 which takes place in an outdoor court. NBA Courtside has every player playing in the NBA during 2001-2002, all with their own unique statistics. Each player also had their own season and arcade modes, all of which adding to the games play time. The game was applauded for its statistical authenticity and its’ (at the time) unmatched gameplay and breathtaking simulation. Courtside ran on a unique awards system, giving the game edge and playability. Those who are big NBA fans can relate to the game for its accurate stats and character looks on the other hand, those who are just looking to play a smooth basketball simulator can pick the game up and have the same amount of understanding and fun.
Create a Player Mode -
Players are able to build their own team from scratch, going as far as to editing the looks of the player, the kit, their play style, name then and change their attributes and stats. If wanted they could enter their created player into the same team as the pro’s or create their own entire team of NBA superstars and try and beat their favourite teams. The game could be played on numerous difficulties, each one making the AI more aggressive and challenging. This also affects how they act towards created superstars; making winning with your own created team a greater challenge. Those who are looking for a less realistic but fun gameplay can turn off fouls and game rules so that they can have a more relaxed play through.
Gamestyle and Looks -
The game was applauded for its amazing looks, which were achieved during a 2 day motion capture session with Kobe Bryant so that the game was smooth and realistic looking. The game was graphically impressive compared to other sports simulators at the release time. However lack of off court animation caused frustration amongst players. Crowd animations were at times found to be distracting but also applauded as the crowd seemed to react to the game and at times even ate snacks while watching the game. The ball animations and physics were a great selling point of the game, the ball reacted to the players every movement and reacted realistically when passed from player to player and thrown across the court or into the basket. To give players the best views possible, six camera angles are available to the player, allowing those of different play styles to have a perfect view and level of control. Instant replays are also available to the player, so that special shots can be relived.
The controls of the game were complex to first time players and were tricky for people to understand at first. However after a few play styles or tweaks to the use of certain buttons, players would be able to pick the game up after months and still know exactly what to do. The C stick is incorporated into the game allowing the player to feign shots, dunk and pass in numerous different ways, helping each player form their own unique play style.
A Button – Jumpshot (with ball) or block (defence).
B Button – Pass (with ball) or steal (defence).
X and Y Buttons – Tricks and Dribbles (with ball only)
L, R and Z Buttons – Crouch, Back into defender, Call for set plays.
C Stick – Play ball between players.
The game was given generally good ratings from all who played it. Eurogamer gave the game 8/10 and the game received 4/5 stars from Nintendo Power.