• Publisher: Midway
  • Release Date: Apr 5, 2004

Generally favorable reviews - based on 44 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 44
  2. Negative: 0 out of 44
Buy On
  1. Computer Games Magazine
    A truly unique experience. [Aug 2004, p.6]
  2. The over-the-top style and theme of the game along with some of the ridiculous moves you can pull on an opponent give the game a tremendous amount of appeal to the gamers tired of the "ultra simulators" that we've seen for years on end.
  3. 92
    While the story is small and does follow a pretty straight path, it adds a lot to the game. You will find yourself playing just to see the next storyboard and actually getting into the idea of becoming rich and famous.
  4. Play Magazine
    Phatty houses, cars, jewelry...women - if you've seen it on MTV Cribs, you're going to see it here. [May 2004, p.68]
  5. NBA Ballers is beautiful, glamorous, and brings a whole new style of hoops action to the field.
  6. This is about as good as most fighters, but it's basketball and it's online too!
  7. A great title that will suit fans of both the sport, and those of us who just like a little arcade-style action in our diet. The controls are fluid, the graphics are terrific, and sounds, well it all depends on your tastes.
  8. Cheat Code Central
    For a one-on-one basketball game featuring licensed NBA players, I can't recommend a better game.
  9. Minor gripes aside, welcome to basketball in the new millennium. Ballers is the title for basketball fanatics and sports fiends alike.
  10. With great game play, and a awesome soundtrack Ballers is sure to keep you occupied for a long while.
  11. 90
    The player renderings are nothing short of unbelievable. We don’t know how many polygons they used to make every sneering taunt and celebration come to life, but we can assure you, it’s somewhere between a lot and a shitload.
  12. 90
    A game that anyone can pickup and play and have fun with instantly. But the more you learn about how to execute certain moves, the timing involved, the hot spots on the court, the secret shots, the more you realize how incredibly deep Midway's baller really is.
  13. 90
    The gameplay is solid and fun for any skill level, but what's really amazing is just how good this game looks. The faces are scarily accurate.
  14. It’s fun, fast and furious. Play single, against your friend or online, it’s all good.
  15. 90
    The most enjoyable aspect of this game is actually playing basketball. As such, the in-game animations are jaw-droppingly entertaining!
  16. While the game is heavy on urban hip-hop culture, the over the top gameplay also makes it fun for those out in the countryside or who aren’t sure whether having bling-bling is a good thing or not.
  17. The faces are absolutely amazing. Quite simply, there isn’t another game to even compare in terms of likeness and quality.
  18. Ballers will still play second fiddle to the "NBA Street" series.
  19. The game will reward you the more you play, and the more you play, the more you'll learn how to humiliate your hapless opponent.
  20. The brief but constant loading times tend to slow things down a bit and a lot of the unlockables are pretty worthless, but its solid gameplay, spot-on character models, and bumpin’ soundtrack make NBA Ballers one of the best games of its kind to be released in recent memory.
  21. Offers a unique gameplay experience, with a high quality presentation overlaid on a solid game design.
  22. The questionable control scheme, coupled with some cheap AI catch-up, doesn’t hamper the play experience enough to bring it down.
  23. Our longest wait was just over 60 seconds (longer than our quickest match-up) while an announcer blathers on about the next match and we sit confused, assuming that the game has crashed.
  24. Good, old-skool, over-the-top sporting fun. Get a few mates round, teach them how to play in five minutes and have a blast. A fair few hours will be wasted in singleplayer mode too. NBA Ballers is probably the best arcade basketball title since the original NBA Jam, and one that is just as much fun.
  25. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    The player models - especially the detailed faces - look amazing, right down to Allen Iverson's tats and Larry Bird's disturbingly tight shorts. [June 2004, p.92]
  26. A fresh spin on the NBA that brings great depth, dynamic gameplay, and fevered multiplayer to the video game court. [May 2004, p.92]
  27. PSM Magazine
    It's not quite up to the standards set by "NBA Street Vol. 2," but it's definitely in the same league. [June 2004, p.28]
  28. GMR Magazine
    It's not always realistic, but the proven mechanics ensure that it's fun...even when bling is no longer in. [June 2004, p.90]
  29. Like the sport itself, you can easily start a pickup game, or put all your time—and high hopes—into it. Playing D, of course, isn’t nearly as fun.
  30. 80
    Ballers’ best perks are its astonishingly hi-res textures (almost too hi-res—seeing the pores in the faces of player models isn’t exactly a pleasant thing), its depth of customization, the wide variety of smoothly animated street moves, and the intriguing 1 vs. 1 vs. 1 mode.
  31. Official U.S. Playstation Magazine
    It's really good. Midway conjured up some surprisingly deep gameplay mechanics that take the idea of 1-on-1 basketball to another level. [May 2004, p.101]
  32. If you take the time to unlock everyone, and you have the time and ability to go online, then you’ll have a great time. However, if you are just interested in playing some quick games with good players, you can’t, because they’re all locked.
  33. Does a great job of bringing street flavor to the videogame world, presenting an engaging – and fun – experience. There is no question – the game is sequel-worthy.
  34. Eighty-four hyper-detailed players are represented, or you can create your own baller and go rags-to-riches, racking up pimp-wear and "Scarface"-worthy real estate.
  35. AceGamez
    Lush environments, fluid player animations and smooth frame rates combine to make one of the prettiest titles of recent years.
  36. One on one basketball can be fun but can also become monotonous so its really a case of needing to like the sport because the storyline and other modes really aren't going to keep you playing the game for a great deal of time.
  37. 75
    Original concepts don't happen often in video games -- especially sports titles, and Ballers delivers. The more hardcore a basketball gamer you are, however, the more you may be brought down by the gameplay snafus. This is style over substance personified, baby.
  38. Playboy
    Victory is accompanied by flashy jewelry, fancy cars, and the truest measure of a champ, a larger posse. [Mar 2004, p.39]
  39. Now all that Midway needs to do is to improve the AI and to focus more on the unique nature of 1 on 1 basketball. If they can do that, then they’ll have no problem rising to the level of "NBA Street" and maybe even beyond.
  40. netjak
    Definitely the lesser of the two major street basketball titles. A little more polish, a lot less loading, and we might have a showdown next year.
  41. games(TM)
    Each confrontation is generally exactly the same and victory is sometimes dependent on whether the irritating catch-up AI decides to beat you or not. [Oct 2004, p.120]
  42. Without the option of full scrimmages, I wonder how long the game will stay fresh in the minds of gamers after about 30 games or so.
  43. Maybe Midway will release a follow up with the same graphic engine, but with cleaned up gameplay and some two-on-two action. If that happens, I could definitely see my friends and I spending hours upon hours reliving all our old NBA Jam memories.

Awards & Rankings

#73 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2004
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 21 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 21
  2. Negative: 1 out of 21
  1. JacobB.L.
    Feb 7, 2005
    Wow! This game is a little overhelming in the beginning with all the options and game modes and moves. Sound is really outstanding and fits Wow! This game is a little overhelming in the beginning with all the options and game modes and moves. Sound is really outstanding and fits the game 100% Graphics are good, but not the best I've seen on the PS2. Gameplay is fun! Only really bad thing I can say about this game is the loading times can be a bit long, but only a bit! Full Review »
  2. Bob
    Jul 25, 2004
    The first game I played crashed when I tried to steal the ball from the CPU. I never played this game again. Booo-urns.
  3. Jayb.
    May 11, 2004
    This game is awesome. the best basketball game ever. get your ball your close and your crew and oh ya dunk, slam 3 pointers at the busser. iThis game is awesome. the best basketball game ever. get your ball your close and your crew and oh ya dunk, slam 3 pointers at the busser. i give it a big fat and juicy 10!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Full Review »