It's the start of a new NBA season. This is exciting for two reasons: a) We get to watch another season of bawful teams getting the hell beat out of them by the small handful of quality teams, and b) We get a new edition of the annual NBA games so that we can beat the hell out of bawful teams in a virtual world. Or, if you're like me and aren’t very good at basketball video games, you can at least take solace in the fact that the NBA games are getting more and more realistic every year, which means there's plenty of potential for virtual bawful.
Everybody's got their horse in the 2K vs. Live wars. I personally opted for the 2K series for a couple of very good reasons. First off, the 2K Series is not made by EA Sports, so it’s got that going for it, which is nice. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, there is a PC version, and it only costs $20. Seriously. How can I pass up a game that’s only one-third the cost of its console versions when I have a pretty decent gaming PC that I can hook up to my big screen TV?Gameplay:
Let's get the actual review garbage out of the way. Everybody and their brother have already covered this part on real gaming websites, but I'll throw in my two cents anyway since we're at it.
The general consensus is that the 2K Series has pretty well covered the fundamentals of the sport, aside from the usual assortment of oddities and glitches. Thankfully, the game is very adjustable and customizable, so you can work around some of these things, such as points in the paint being too easy to attain with the default settings.
However, some things can't be fixed. This game is like Mike D'Antoni/Don Nelson wet dream, considering defense is decidedly absent. This isn't to say there isn't any defense (it's still satisfying to occasionally shut down your man), but steals are incredibly rare, fouls don't seem to happen very often even when you try to rough up anybody who dares to penetrate, and shot blocking is nearly non-existent. This doesn't mean, however, that you can pull a Z-Bo and just not bother to play defense. Your teammates are very prone to being out of position when playing normal game modes, leading to lots of open three pointers unless you babysit them and play aggressive defense, and in My Player mode (more on that later), you are solely held responsible for not letting your assigned man score, no matter what the situation.Graphics and Presentation:
Again, this should be fairly well covered in other reviews, but let’s get a little eye candy going here, simply because this game does look phenomenally good.They even nailed Sheed’s bald patch thing
The commentators in NBA 2K10 are Kevin Harlan, Clark Kellogg and Cheryl Miller. They do a surprisingly great job (even managing to surpass the NBA Live crew that includes the legendary Marv "Yes!" Albert). The commentary is relatively dynamic and usually does a good job of representing the current situation in the game. Also, it integrates with the NBA Today function in the game that looks at how the real-life NBA season is playing out, so it should make things feel more like an NBA game and less like an NBA video game. The biggest advantage of this? It's the closest we've come yet to having prattle tales in a video game. It's only a matter of time, people.My Player Mode:
This is the heart of the bawfulness of NBA 2K10. You get to create your own painfully undertalented player, and then take him through the ranks to hopefully make an NBA roster. Along the way, an annoying-as-hell and overly pessimistic Stephen A. Smith doppelganger criticizes every single thing you do. If you let your man score four points on you during a game, he will complain about how you "let your man drop so many points on you, I lost count!" Sadly, I am not exaggerating in the least bit. That actually happened to me in one game. And it is apparently impossible to skip through his constant whining. The only plus is that he loves to quote Larry Bird, so I can deal with him for one year I suppose.
First things first, you get to create your own player.Wait, this isn’t the ABA and it isn't the 70s. Why am I rocking a white boy fro?
You can choose your name, school, and nickname ("Shake and Bake!"), and of course your height and weight. There's a nice range of weights, from stick thin (such as yours truly) to morbidly obese, if for some reason you wish to create the spawn of Oliver Miller and Robert "Tractor" Traylor.Violating the Calorie Cap, 2K style.
After nailing down the basics, you get to work on your facial appearance, which is highly customizable, and your hair. Oh yes, there are plenty of options for your hair style. There's even a "curly" hair option that vaguely resembles a Jheri Curl, for anyone playing whose name is "Debarge."White corn rows? Brad Miller approves.A really freaking weird neck patch? Drew Gooden approves.
Now, the most important consideration when creating a player in an NBA game: are there tattoos? Hell yes, there are tattoos.Nothing says "class" quite like a neck tattoo.
After creating your doppelganger, you are randomly selected by an NBA team to play on their summer league. The first time I created a character, I was picked up by the Nets/Nyets. Does the ruble exchange rate work in my favor right now? I don't know, but just to be safe, I started from scratch. The second time I tried, I was picked up by the Pacers. Well, we all know their propensity for picking random white stiffs, so I felt comfortable that this was a good team for me.
You can try to build some skill by participating in drills, such as shoot, dribbling, post defense, and so forth. Unfortunately, the PC version is extremely broken, and after the first rep of each drill, my controller would stop working, rendering the entire exercise worthless.FAIL.
However, while working for the Nyets, I was blessed with the following moment. I got to do a post defense drill against Yi Jianlian. Yes, I was Chairman Yi’s folding chair. Yes, I nearly cried I was so happy about this amazing coincidence.The Chairman!
After you are done wasting time in broken drills, you can participate in Summer League games. Because of course nothing is quite as exciting as running up and down an empty gym with scrub teammates.The NBA Summer League -- It’s Faaaaaaaaantastic!
During these summer league games, you are given three objectives you are supposed to meet each game. One of these always involves meeting a certain level of approval from your teammates, in an A-to-F grading system. Usually, a C+ is good enough to meet your objective. However, this is easier said than done. Your teammates are unrealistically harsh. They penalize you for turnovers that you do not cause sometimes, they constantly complain about bad shot selection but very, very rarely reward you for good shot selection. You are marked down any time your defensive assignment scores, no matter if it’s because you played matador defense, or if he just got the ball in a nasty turnover caused by your inept teammates. Assists are well-rewarded, as is filling the lane properly on a fast break.
Your teammates obviously like it when you help them score, but not when you score yourself. Understandable, but still frustrating when all of your teammates are throwing up enough bricks to build a house and you are forced to take over the game. It's incredibly easy to lose marks from your teammates, but incredibly difficult to make up that ground. The best approval I have gotten yet from my teammates was a B+, and I had to hit a buzzer-beater three at the end of regulation to force OT in that game. It’s amazing that I even got that rating considering I spent half the game playing shooting guard instead of my usual point guard, and as such was forced to defend a player who was a foot taller and 75 pounds bigger than me.
After playing several games in the Summer League, your performance is evaluated and an NBA team may or may not offer for you to join their NBA D-League team. I haven't gotten to this point yet, so I cannot elaborate much further. However, just the thought of playing in the D-League makes me giddy. Once I have more free time, hopefully I can experience the great joy of playing for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Hopefully, I will not be violated in my sleep by Nightmare Ant
Unlike last year’s PC version, we no longer get the short end of the stick compared to console users when it comes to roster updates. Apparently the roster updates don't work correctly in the preseason when it comes to instituting injuries, however.Shouldn't he be injured right about now? The sun DID rise this morning...
While automatically updated rosters are convenient, there is a nasty downside. Sadly, this means there is a decided lack of Mario West in the game now.Even his former teammates seem saddened that Mario West is gone.Facial expressions:
One of the touted new parts of this year's game is an improved method of animating the player faces to create more realistic facial expressions. This can only be a good thing as far as bawful gaming is concerned! Considering the following evidence:Is that an O-face? I think it is.Visanity. That is all.VIRTUAL DUNCAN FACE!
Beyond just facial expressions, the players are quite animated. They celebrate big dunks, and they also do not appreciate getting three-second calls.Feel shame.Product Placement:
Oh, there is a ton of it. The pregame introductions include the Sprite Keys to the Game… Gatorade is a proponent of helping your players regain lost energy...
And of course, T-Mobile sponsors the hell out of everything. Sadly, Charles Barkley is nowhere to be seen. His presence would make the T-Mobile ads infinitely more interesting and/or turrible.Man Love:
Secondly only to tattoos, man love is a vital part of any NBA simulation. Thankfully, 2K Sports understands and respects this.Oh yes. There is man love in this game.Mascots:
Aside from dancers, cheerleaders, refs, TV camera men, and all the other sideline characters that are crucial to making the game feel like an actual NBA game, you have to have mascots. NBA 2K10 does not disappoint.Coaches:
To truly feel like an NBA game, you can't just have poorly executed basketball by the players. You also have to see the coaches screwing things up.Ron Jeremy’s evil twin at work.Conclusion:
In spite of a few bugs, this game is well worth the money, especially the PC version. Just $20 for the PC version gets you a good basketball game, and some entertaining bawful. I think this picture sums it up:About the Author:
Dan B. is from Kentucky, the self-proclaimed home of college basketball, and currently resides in the greater Louisville area. When not slaving away at an IT-related Clark Kent job or lamenting the lack of professional basketball in the area (no, the Pacers and Grizzlies do not count), Dan bowls in three leagues a week, watches Pittsburgh Penguins hockey games online because the NHL's TV package sucks, spends entirely too much time jobbing around random blogs, and reads 57 Twitter feeds. Dan one day dreams of the return of the Kentucky Colonels, thus providing his city a reason to be on a map that doesn't involve chicken or freaking horses.
Labels: guest author, NBA 2K, video game review