Summary: Sony has kept their portable NBA title very "casual" over the past few years, engulfing the core gameplay with a variety of mini-games. This year looks to be no different. NBA 09: The Inside continues to expand on its growing library of mini-games, while finally delivering on a Franchise mode for the PSP.
Excerpt: Once a dominant sports game publisher on the original PlayStation, Sony ran into some foul trouble while making the leap to next-gen systems. Foul, in this case, means "smelly." While Sony's NBA series on PlayStation 3 has failed to light up the scoreboard in terms of critical success, the prolific publisher hopes to win some points by introducing several distinctive features.
Excerpt: NBA 09: The Inside is a bit of an anomaly when it comes to sports games. Although the game features a clear-cut basketball experience, most of the focus has been placed on the things you can do besides play basketball. It may not please hardcore fans, but it makes for a good portable experience. Players move a little smoothly and some smaller areas have been tweaked, but overall NBA 09 looks identical to last year's game.
Excerpt: NBA 09 is a full-featured loosely-based basketball simulation. I say loosely-based because NBA 09 rewards you for playing a herky-jerky, frenetic style that would make most "sim ballers" squirm. This arcade-like approach isn’t a new development when it comes to Sony’s PSP title, but it’s still a bit strange to go that route in a simulation game. Regardless, it’s the actual game mechanics of the game that are the issue, not the style of basketball.
Pros: Graphical delight., Hands down, best handheld presentation., Modes and mini-games galore.
Cons: Rebounding is a mess., In general, gameplay needs to be overhauled., New franchise mode is light on depth.
Conclusion: NBA 09: The Inside on PSP is indeed the best of the series on the PSP, but that shouldn't be surprising. The addition of a Franchise Mode helps complete the package and the mini-game package has never been better. If you bought last year's version, you'll have to weigh this decision more carefully than those who might have been waiting to try the series; for those people, now is an ideal time.
Summary: NBA 09: The Inside brings fans a basketball game full of deep customization, and true-to-life gameplay delivering smooth, ultra-realistic hoops action, including a number of new features along with enhanced gameplay functionality.