|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: SCEA San Diego||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SONY||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 6, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The Block Party menu entry gives players access to Pinball, Quests, Team Games, Solo Games, and Carnival games. As you might expect, everything is basketball-themed. If you picked up this title last year, you know what to expect, as only two new mini-game offerings - Open Lanes and Cherry Pickin' - have been added this year. For everyone else, know that you'll be able to play traditional and non-traditional mini-games.
While the traditional basketball minis (HORSE, Elimination, Give&Go) suffer due to the poor controls, games such as Pinball, Open Lanes, Hot Shot, and Cherry Pickin' are decent fun. Pinball is self-explanatory, Open Lanes is classic, ten-pin bowling, Hot Shot is Skee-Ball, and Cherry Pickin' is a Puzzle Bubble clone - these are the cream of the crop and should provide you with a couple hours of fun. In fact, it is likely that the mini-games offered through Block Party will get more playtime than the basketball portions of the title, as they are mostly well-implemented and are a natural fit for the handheld. However, that's not to say that they save the game from itself.
Graphically, the game is competent at best. Though it runs at 60 fps and the floors look shiny and accurate, the players' likenesses are quite poor, the animations are stiff and slow, and camera angles shift wildly. Aurally, the announcing duo of Kenny Smith and Ian Eagle doesn't fair much better (suffering from serious repetition), and the ambient on-court sounds and stadium effects are sorely lacking. Perception of the quality of the music during menus is purely subjective, but it certainly failed to impress me.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out that I didn't enjoy my time with this game at all. In the end, the game of basketball on offer in NBA 10: The Inside for the PSP simply isn't the complex, free-flowing sport it should be. Still, I am quite sure the game would be very good if brought to the PS3 and PS2, because it wouldn't be bastardized by system limitations and punishingly wonky controls. Alas, NBA 10: The Inside is strictly a PSP release. If you're a basketball fanatic that simply must have hoops on the go, this may in fact be the best title you're going to get considering the SCEA San Diego pedigree; however, don't expect to play it outside of short stints in the subway or while stuck in a public bathroom stall with no sports section.
CCC Editor / News Director