NBA Playgrounds Review

What makes a good licensed NBA street court basketball game? A wide selection of players, courts,or modes? Or maybe we judge the quality based on smooth controls or realism. For me, NBA Playgrounds manages to hit the sweet spot, fun factor.

The player availability is equivalent to many fantasy or ultimate team modes in sports games. You begin the game by opening three card packs that unlock players, pick a pair and hit the court in Exhibition Mode. The more you play the more you level up your profile and the players on the court. Each new profile level unlocks new card packs to open. As you play tournaments you earn gold packs and unlock Legend players like Shaq, Allen Iverson and others. As NBA players level up they unlock new moves and become more effective on the court.

NBA_Playgrounds_Screenshot_1

Here I am talking about player performance like it’s 2K18, when in reality it’s more NBA Jam button slamming. Your dunks and shots are the same as most basketball games, but mix in the alley-oop and throwing elbows, this game feels like NBA Jam meets NFL Blitz and I like it. You can be a total jerk to to the AI (or your friends) and nobody will be the wiser. The only penalty is that it depletes your Lottery Picks bar.  Which is essentially your special bar. As you make plays and score, the blue bar fills up at the top, dubbed the ‘Lottery Pick Bar’. Exhibition allows you access to all Lottery Picks (specials) and once it fills it does a random roll, which varies such as a blue power ball which virtually always makes it in the net, double score in a select regions of the court and more.

Everything takes time to unlock, even the modes. You start with Exhibition, and after you play a game you unlock Tournament mode which acts as the games campaign putting you through various courts around the globe and NBA duos as you progress each of the tournaments brackets. You unlock new card packs and new courts by doing this to use in exhibition and online mode. Players can also unlock more lottery picks to use online as well.

NBA_Playgrounds_Screenshot_4

There are over 150 base players to unlock and several courts. The game is structured to keep the player busy for quite some time. Then there is the online, which is a lot more fun if you know the person on the other side, or save it for offline mode against friends for some good old fashioned couch-co-op. Online Tournaments are set to be added in a later update on consoles and fans can likely expect more players to be added as well. This is a game with potential to continue to grow as the fan base allows it.

While it may not have the finesse of other NBA licensed games, it manages to be a structurally solid pick-up and play street basketball game with a lot of licensed players to choose from. NBA Playgrounds is a great alternative in a market that has no real competition right now for the genre.


Verdict
It may not be NBA Jam, but the balls sure to catch fire in NBA Playgrounds. They managed to bring just enough NBA stars and All-Stars into the mix to make a great alternative to titles of the same nature. If you want a fun pick up and play street court game online, or offline against friends, look no further. Hopefully this will be the first entry in a great franchise.

8 Slam Dunks, Out Of 10

Release Date: May 9th, 2017 (US)
Available Platforms: PlayStation 4 (Review), Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Publisher: Mad Dog Games
Developer: Saber Interactive

Disclosure: NBA Playgrounds was provided By Saber Interactive for coverage purposes.

Destiny 2 On PC Will Snub Steam In Favor Of Blizzard App, Release Date Uncertain

Anyone who games on PC is no doubt familiar with Steam and its wildly popular digital distribution platform that towers over the competition. When Bungie took to the stage today to spill details on Destiny 2, it seemed like a no-brainer to expect the PC version to land on Valve’s virtual store. That was not the case.

During the Destiny 2 event, we were informed that the upcoming FPS would be available exclusively through the Blizzard App (previously known as Battle.net) on PC, making it the first non-Blizzard title to utilize the service. This definitely left some of us scratching our heads, seeing as several other triple-A games from Activision can be found on Steam.

While it wasn’t obvious at first, it started to make sense why Destiny 2 would be joining the likes of Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm through the recently renamed launcher. Mike Morhaime of Blizzard stated that going this route will “allow Destiny 2 to plug in to our existing global network, freeing up the developers at Bungie” to allocate themselves to other critical areas to ensure we receive the “best and most fun” experience possible.

Integration with the application also provides access to a suite of features, such as voice chat and friends lists. You will even be able to stream your gameplay to Facebook, if that’s your thing. None of this will have anyone jumping for joy though, as it falls into the standard expectations for any game launcher.

At least this is the only surprise that PC players might find less-than-ideal, right? Right? Wrong. In addition to the delivery platform falling into an unexpected camp, the release date for the PC version is not set. It was assumed that the September 8th release date applied to all platforms, but that was shot down today.

The “coming weeks” will provide us a set date for Destiny 2’s launch on the Blizzard App. Let’s hope that the rest of us Guardians don’t have to wait terribly long to join the fight with our console-bound brethren.

Destiny 2 Receives New Cinematic and Gameplay Trailers During Live Event

Today was a huge day for Activision since they opened up a fair bit more on the highly-anticipated sequel, Destiny 2. Their special event included a handful of videos detailing the enhanced narrative and beefed up gameplay, which has garnered praise from the majority.

We have collected the three videos, two trailers and one gameplay livestream, for your viewing pleasure with the added convenience of it being all in one place. Take a look and see what all the hype is about for yourself.

Cinematic Trailer #2:

Official Gameplay Reveal Trailer:

“Homecoming” Mission Livestream:

That’s a lot of footage to digest. Bungie revealed bits regarding the three new sub-classes, added weapon types, and a whole lot more. It’s enough to make your head spin, but it is still very exciting. Destiny 2 could very well make up for the first installment’s glaring shortcomings if these videos are any indication of the developer’s renewed direction and commitment to the community.

Then again, Bungie made extremely bold statements in their initial developer diaries before the first game’s release, several of which were never fully realized when it reached players worldwide. Only time will tell if the team has truly learned from their missteps.

That time will ultimately come this September, but we should see part of the bigger picture come E3 next month. Let us know what your favorite part was from today’s reveal.

First Trailer From Burnout Creators Upcoming Danger Zone Released

Lana….Lana….LANA!!!!!! Danger Zone. The newest vehicular destruction game from the original creators of Burnout and Criteron Games co-founders, Fiona Sperry and Alex Ward. It’s a genre that makes you wonder, why haven’t more people made these types of games?

The Danger Zone, has players take the role of a crash test dummy able to utilize over twenty (20) different scenarios and crash all over them while trying to collect points and bonuses. The announcement was made earlier today that the game will release later this month. Check out the trailer for the upcoming crash-fest below.

Danger Zone is set to release for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on May 30th and will feature single player and leaderboards for fans to compete with their friends. It will carry an MSRP of $12.99. Not bad at all for crashing a ton of cars into each other.

Sea of Thieves Technical Alpha Sets Sail For PC This Weekend

Rare’s pirate-oriented, action-adventure title Sea of Thieves has been in alpha for a good while now, but entry has thus far been restricted to Xbox One players. That limitation is finally about to be lifted, as Rare has announced a Windows 10 technical alpha set for this weekend.

The alpha test will run from 7PM to 10PM BST this Saturday, May 20th. Previously being involved in any of the Xbox One tests does not guarantee access to the PC counterpart. This brief opening is limited to 1,000 participants and that crowd will be sourced from those already subscribed to the Sea of Thieves Insider Program. Invites are said to have been sent out today, so make sure you check your inbox thoroughly if you are subscribed to their newsletter.

PC players can expect the same range of features found in the latest iteration of the game on Xbox One, including “limited resources, cursed chests and . . . sword combat.” In addition, platform-specific features will be included. Mouse and keyboard compatibility join 4K/60FPS support for an experience that is sure to provide the most breathtaking visual display we’ve seen yet.

We’ll be keeping an eye out for any new information we can plunder from this technical test as it heads underway.