NBA 2K10 Review
1999 was the year that 2K Sports decided it was time to stir up the American sports game market and compete against the sports game monopoly that is EA Sports. 10 years later and they’re still, like almost every sports game available, releasing yearly updated versions of the previous year’s game. Have 2K Sports thrown enough 3 pointers in NBA 2K10 to make you part with your money? Let’s find out.
Having not had much experience with previous 2K NBA titles I jumped straight into a quick game to see what all the action was about. The first thing you’ll notice is the unique menu system, which moves away from the original vertical menu. There is also a bunch of options to choose from and if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, it’s very easy to get lost. Yes, you heard me correct. It is possible to get lost in the menu. Something about that good old saying “why change something that isn’t broken” springs to mind. Anyway after ploughing my way through the menu I thought I’d jump straight into a quick match to check out all the action.
One thing that put a smile to my face straightaway was how realistic the atmosphere is, and how much it related to a real life basketball match. Unlike the static and almost zombie crowd found in many sports games *cough* FIFA *cough*, here the crowd are all up on their feet showing different animations. Benny the Bull (the Chicago Bulls mascot) parades up and down the side line throwing in the occasional moon walk to the pleasure of its fans. It only adds to the excitement that is usually created from the on-court action, which I’m not very good at.
The defence side of play is my main problem here. Whether it’s playing against a friend or the AI, I just can’t ever seem to get the ball back. And when I do manage to steal the ball, I’ll try and counter on the break by throwing the ball up court where an opposing team member will pop up and steal the ball. At times it can be frustrating but that’s probably more to do with my lack of basketball skills than the game itself. Offence is great fun though, even though I’m no LeBron James or Kobe Bryant.
The thing I find with basketball is that as the game is really fast flowing, a ping pong like you could say, so it’s worth trying your luck from a distance. That was until I played NBA 2K10. Many times I have found myself throwing 3 pointers and many times I have been disappointed, but when that 3 pointer does swoosh through the net there is no better feeling in the game and you’ll find yourself grinning from ear to ear. Aside from shooting at distance, the close range shooting, i.e. the dunks, look fantastic. So overall gameplay wise the game is end to end and feels how basketball should feel.
NBA 2K10 has more game modes than the iPhone has applications. The standout modes include: NBA Today, which gives you real world matchups, Crews, where you can create the ultimate basketball team with your friends online and the premier game mode – My Player. In My Player mode you have to create your own player and take him from the dregs of lower league basketball to the glamorous NBA stage. This mode is focussed on the basketball die hard rather than the casual gamer as you have to be patient with your progression. Obviously your player doesn’t start with great stats, and with the progression of those stats being slow it takes a lot of patience and determination to keep playing, as your player constantly keeps missing simple lay-ups and even passes. You also get rated for almost everything you do, so if you’re standing in the wrong position or request the ball too much, your stats will take a hammering, further making it harder to get better. You get the picture.
Once you have finished or fancy a change from playing the My Player mode you can choose a number of other game types including my personal favourite section, the NBA Blacktop. Returning from last years edition of the game, the Blacktop section features fun game modes including my personal favourite, the Sprite Slam Dunk contest. I seriously suggest you YouTube ‘slam dunk contest’ because that’s the only way to see how much fun it is. Basically each player gets 30 seconds to try and score the most points by being the most creative, intuitive and definitely the most outrageous dunks. You can use props like cars and barrels to make the dunk more outrageous and score more points than your opponents.
You can play the majority of game modes via Xbox LIVE where you can show the world what you’ve got. It may have been my connection, but unfortunately I found the LIVE side of things a disaster. Trying to connect with any gamers failed miserably, and when I did get a game it often lagged like crazy or forced the game to disconnect. It does have promise but for me it didn’t cut it.
The presentation of NBA 2K10 is of a high standard. Forgetting the dreadful menu, which is like a maze, the player detail is good with the main players in NBA like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant looking like their real-life counterparts. The glossy court and screeching of the trainers all sound realistic and only add to the authenticity of the title. There are a few minor graphical issues with the players having smooth shoulders but a jagged t-shirt on. This is only noticeable on a few minor occasions and doesn’t reflect too much on the game’s overall presentation. The soundtrack for the game is fantastic and really suits the style of the game. Artists like Kanye West, MGMT, The Game and Flo Rida all adding their input.
Overall NBA 2K10 gives fans of the sport what they want, basketball. There are a zillion game modes to keep both hardcore and casual fans happy, and minus my troubles with Xbox LIVE I’ve enjoyed my 2K experience. I’m off to have a dunk contest with Kobe Bryant.