5 out of 5
Top notch basketball sim
This fourth instalment in the long running basketball sim from EA maintains the series' reputation for providing fast and furious on-court action, and adds in some neat innovations that keep the formula from getting too stale, making this a premier sporting sim. As you would expect, the game features the real-world lineups from the 1997-98 season, with all the associated stats to keep the realism level nice and high, but it is the new features that are the real draw here and make this a worthy investment and notable improvement over the previous version. For customisation fans, there is now the option to create an entire team of personalised players to suit your own preferences. This is the entry in the series that introduced the now standard single-button press which allows you to pass to any team mate, while an expanded playbook of offensive and defensive plays really opens up the tactical options but is done so in an accessible manner that keeps the game flowing. New game modes are also introduced, including the 3-point shootout and a GM mode where players can choose franchises, draft players and customise seasons to their heart's content. Graphics too are notably improved, with better character models that are now more realistic (although not quite up to the standards of the recent PS4 and Xbox One versions!). It's not all perfect though, and the actual gameplay is still rather slippery, with players moving a little too smoothly across the court, but too be honest, apart from this there isn't much to complain about. The game is certainly better than NBA Live 97
so if you're after an exciting basketball sim, this is a great choice.