Winter!: Prepare for holiday gaming!
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The NBA ShootOut series returns to PlayStation 2 with an emphasis on online competition and voice communication using a supported USB headset. Modem owners will be able to interact with other PS2 fans using the 989 Sports Online portal service, where they can create buddy lists, chat online, and set up head-to-head games or custom leagues at no additional cost outside of the game itself. Rosters can also be updated weekly, with the latest injuries, trades, and individual performance ratings from around the league so the in-game action closely reflects the real-life activity during the 2003-2004 NBA season. Up to 64 players can participate in single-elimination tournaments, either custom or officially sanctioned, with leaderboards that save each player's total number of tournament wins and more.
Message boards now support multi-game compatibility with the rest of the 989 Sports lineup in an attempt to foster a community, and tracked online statistics include such categories as number of disconnects, points per game, rebounds per game, home and away winning percentage, and 20 other areas. Each user is also assigned one of four skill rankings based on the number of points earned during competition, which applies to all other 989 Sports titles from Sony's 2004 lineup. To keep matchups balanced, players assigned a Pro rating will earn more points for defeating a player rated as Veteran or Legend than those in the lesser Rookie bracket. Players owning an optional headset will also be able to use voice commands to help control their teams or to navigate menus. Furthermore, the game's 3D graphic engine has been redesigned from the ground up in an attempt to deliver more accurate player models and courts. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide