NBA Ballers: Phenom Xbox


Mixed or average reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 23
  2. Negative: 1 out of 23
Buy On
  1. The game has attitude to it that other games don't. And it looks good too.
  2. From a gamer perspective, this game is a blast covering numerous genres like basketball, adventure, educational, and even rhythm games. There is so much to see and do and you'll have a great time doing it all.
  3. The controls couldn't be any easier to learn, making this one of the few pick-up-and-instantly-enjoy basketball games available.
  4. Official Xbox Magazine
    The nitty-gritty of Phenom is the on-court action, which also sees a significant improvement this time around. [May 2006, p.79]
  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. Game Informer
    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. 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.
  8. The two-on-two gameplay and the drama-rich Story Mode are the aspects of NBA Ballers: Phenom that separate it from its predecessor. There's not a huge overall jump in this series, which is a bit of a letdown.
  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.
  10. 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.
  11. The two-year development cycle between the original and this release passed by with no significant improvements to add to the total experience. That can't happen again for this franchise to survive.
  12. 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.
  13. 70
    The bottom line is that fans of the series and arcade b-ball will find plenty to love with Phenom. 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.
  14. 70
    Don't buy it expecting a complete remodel -- it's just a fresh coat of paint on an old frame.
  15. The gameplay itself hasn't really evolved that much, and those who didn't feel the vibe from the first game will certainly not feel it here either.
  16. 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.
  17. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    Too bad it doesn't quite execute in the clutch though. [May 2006, p.98]
  18. NBA Ballers: Phenom is built around a solid core but has gone beyond its limits, like when Michael Jordan quit the NBA to play minor-league baseball.
  19. This successor to Blitz: The League starts off strong with an open mode, but let down by simplistic and shallow gameplay. Fun, but only for a while.
  20. 60
    It is a little disheartening to think that adding two-on-two matches and throwing in a few rhythm games can be considered by the publisher to be innovative, but Phenom's free-roaming aspect has potential if it is fleshed out even further in future installments.
  21. 60
    There are definitely enough elements to have some fun with it, and it breaks up the monotony of the usual "win tournament to gain points" model.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.

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