NBA Live 07 is upon us with a courtful of superstars from the previous season and then some. But as we all know it is not always about the stars but more about the game. EA brings to us some new features and improved ones from last season, but is it enough to make a slam dunk or will it be a case of being sent off the court?

Looking at the modes, you have a choice of Dynasty, All Star Weekend, Slam Dunk Training, One on One, Season, Quick Play and Free Style Challenge; the same as last season, except EA has expanded on them a little to make it more of a sequel than a new release.

For the diehard NBA gamers who want to take full control, then Dynasty mode will go down a treat. In this mode you are the general manager of the club. You basically build it from scratch, first hiring an assistant coach followed by your trainers, scouts and an assistant. The assistant coach plays an integral part in the team performance, scheduling the team training, press conferences and the general running of the team. The assistant coach also keeps an ear to the ground to get firsthand knowledge of the goings-on in the trading of players, coaches and anyone else that may be of interest. Play your cards right and you can use this to your advantage and pick up some great people on your way to the big time.

Keeping your team chemistry maintained is another factor that will need to be managed. Keeping it at the higher end of the scale may reduce the amount of injuries you get throughout the season and could also play a big part in bouncing back from a defeat. The scale rating is maintained through keeping in touch with players and making sure they have enough court time. It also depends on the amount of time you're on the road playing in opposition arenas. Life on the road is hard and if you’re not careful your guys may drop out to injury along the way.

If you’re not into the whole management side and just want to get out and play, then of all the modes available in NBA Live 07, NBA All-Star Weekend is probably the best of the lot. It offers plenty and canvases across all of the skills you will need during play. You've got three-point shoot-outs, rookie challenges, a slam dunk comp., and an All-Star game. This is far more interesting and can be played in multiplayer mode. Don’t worry about looking after players, recruiting, trying to unravel the hottest rookies in the draft, just get out and test your slam dunking skills against some of the best or even friends. This also doubles as a training ground for you to master your b-ball skills; imagine pulling of a great dunk in a game or even pulling off a three point winner. You will have some great times here so it’s worth hanging around it for a while.

Jumping right into the game, this year NBA Live 07 has further emphasized superstars by throwing them into one or two skill groups. You've got the playmaker, the scorer, shooter, post and high fliers. On top of that you have your X-factor guys who could be described as game breakers. This guy is not a superstar nor an amateur, but a guy waiting for his break into the big time. Once you have your X-factor guy, having him on court will not make a difference unless you have him actively involved. Pass him the ball and try and pull off some big shots, or just wreak havoc through turnovers and getting right in the face of your opponents.

Once he gains the X-factor ability then you can play him off as a freestyle superstar for part of the game. You can switch to X-factor mode through L1 and R3 and for a period of time you might be able to pull away from your opposition or call it in in close games. It’s your choice when you trigger this mode, so use it wisely.

As for your other skill groups, well they are what they say - the key is knowing how to use them and when. You can’t rely solely on one player, the whole team dynamics needs to be considered. High fliers can pull off some pretty impressive dunks, but you can make it look even better by sliding them a pass (using the new touch pass feature) which opens the defence wide open. Some of the moves can be pulled off with relative ease but others can be a bit cumbersome

NBA Live 07 is OK, with some great new features, the touch pass, intensity and X-factor guys to break the game wide open, but it’s a bit sluggish and seems like play is in slow-mo. What saves this game and makes it worthwhile to play is the NBA All Star Weekend. It’s packed with all the features that make basketball entertaining.