• Publisher: Midway
  • Release Date: Apr 5, 2006

Mixed or average reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 19
  2. Negative: 1 out of 19
  1. Phenom has also added a two-on-two mode and a free-roaming story mode to its repertoire, but underneath those additions is a game design that hasn't changed much and a graphics engine that is beginning to show its age.
  2. NBA Ballers: Phenom might mark a change from its predecessor with a new story mode and faux third-person exploration, but it ultimately tries too much and does too little. Compared to EA’s more complex series, this is one street baller you’ll want to leave on the curb.
  3. Two-on-two mode is hampered by poor AI, but it's good for a quick pickup game if you can get a couple simians with opposable thumbs to join in.
  4. The game has attitude to it that other games don't. And it looks good too.
  5. 79
    Phenom does a couple of minor additions to its formula, like the story mode and the bolstering of the roster, but the control, graphical and gameplay issues from the original title haven't been addressed at all, leaving a title that doesn't feel like an improvement.
  6. Midway has taken the story mode to the next level, now we need to see the gameplay step it up a notch to match the flash. [Apr 2006, p.117]
  7. The story mode and frantic action make for an enjoyable b-ball experience. [Aug 2006, p.73]
  8. For the die-hard hoops fans this is of interest, mostly for the story aspect. The gameplay can be a bit… awkward at times, but veteran players of basketball games shouldn’t have much of a problem.
  9. For my money I want a completely overhauled game and not something that feels nuked. Don't give me some cheesy unlockables and a few new modes and call it a new game. This isn't a new game. It's like an expansion pack for a PC game.
  10. 70
    If you like a little more meat to your basketball games, this is surely a great game with plenty to keep you occupied both online and off, but when pit head-to-head against a full field of competitors, what Phenom offers is different, but not quite in a league of its own.
  11. 70
    Whether you are looking for the story driven single-player or simply want to fool around with the multi-player this game will satisfy your hunger for over-the-top style street ball.
  12. Even the online mode feels lacking, supporting only one-on-one matches using either your custom character or an unlocked NBA star, rather than the two-on-two match ups available offline.
  13. Too bad it doesn't quite execute in the clutch though. [May 2006, p.98]
  14. At the end of the day, Phenom is essentially a beefed-up NBA Jam: the one-on-one gameplay isn't significantly deeper than that of the original Ballers, and the "extras"--the open world and custimizable lifestyle--aren't really anything we haven't seen before, even in other genres. [May 2006, p.80]
  15. Phenom plays like a refined version of its predecessor, but this time there's a far cooler, more engrossing story line to follow. [May 2006, p.82]
  16. Don't buy it expecting a complete remodel -- it's just a fresh coat of paint on an old frame.
  17. 60
    But with so many better looking and better playing b-ball games available, it's tough to recommend NBA Ballers: Phenom for anything beyond a kitschy weekend rental or a late night study break.
  18. 60
    If you liked the original, or are intrigued at the notion of dominating the one-on-one world, there's ample reason to pick this one up.
  19. I just hope both companies come up with something big when making the transition to next-gen, as this genre needs a shot in the arm…but please no performance enhancing substances.

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