This was a remake no one was expecting.
Though there has been nothing official from Tecmo, NBA Unrivaled is obviously a remake of the company’s vintage basketball title. Tecmo NBA Basketball was once a genre leader, but I mean once literally, and it was in 1991. Since then it’s been outclassed by the Jam, Live and 2K series, among others.
Regardless, the NES title’s gameplay is what you’re getting here. Simple movement and shots are combined with short cutscenes for flashy shots and fouls. Everything else has been updated, including rosters and graphics. Unfortunately, everything else has been updated. The nostalgia factor is gone, and seeing really repetitive cheerleader animations and really glitchy movement in HD is just painful. What’s left is the gameplay, and it doesn’t hold up: shooting doesn’t correlate with skills, backcourt violations and undetected 3-pointers are all too common and even small guys can trigger super dunks. The original used cutscenes to show dunks in detail, and it was an interesting way around a hardware limitations. Unrivaled certainly doesn’t push the PS3.
Of course, this isn’t to say the game’s horrible. Playing with a friend is somewhat entertaining, but the single player mode, in which you play every team with every team, is just not worth the time commitment.
A.C.R.O.N.Y.M. Games (you have to give them credit for the name) made a fun game to try out. There’s just not enough replay value to justify investing in the full version. (Especially while it’s still $15.)
Pros: Faithful gameplay recreation
Cons: No nostalgia factor, gameplay doesn’t hold up