By Neil McCormick
NBA 2K10 – 2K Games
It had been several years since I played a basketball game on a console – NBA Jam Extreme to be exact. So when the opportunity arose to try NBA 2K10, I jumped at the chance. All I can say is NBA on consoles has moved on quite significantly in the intervening years. You can put away your PES 2010, your Fifa 10, or any other sporting game, as they pale in significance compared to this sporting spectacular. This is the most immersible sporting game I have ever played, and boasts the most impressive commentary I have ever heard in a game.
I must apologise to all my followers on twitter, as I have been almost evangelical, with my tweets of praise about NBA 2K10 since I started playing the game.
NBA must be a thorn in the side of EA. They now dominate in all the other sports franchises, but not NBA – for the accolade of having the top NBA game remains firmly in 2K Game’s court.
Most games do not have a realistic fatigue system, it feels as if the players are Herculean in their ability to stay fresh. You can hold down your sprint button, and just keep going. Thankfully NBA 2K10 has integrated fatigue as part of the game play. You can hold down the run button, but your character will tire very quickly. This will affect the latter parts of the game, when your characters, do not have the speed or stamina. Mistakes will be made that are costly. Thankfully, 2K Games, make it very easy to judge just how fatigued players are. For below each player is a meter indicating from green to red, just how fresh your character actually is. No player is exempt, from your fringe player to your marquee signing such as Kobe Bryant , fatigue will affect their game play before the match has ended.
As well as being able to set the difficulty rating from Rookie – to All Pro, various aspects of the game can be tweaked by using the game sliders. They default to 50% increase the percentage to make the game easier and decrease to make it more difficult. There are a bewildering amount of options to tweak. That means you have no excuse not to have an enjoyable game.
When you master the various control options at your disposal, it is really satisfying, when you pull of your first alley-oop or two handed slam dunk. You just want to get in there again, and pull the moves off again.
This integrates all of the latest real time NBA news, which player has moved where, and updates with actual player statistics from when the real games have been played, and provides you with the concerned teams current rosters. The NBA Today, also looks at the actual game schedules, and gives you the option of playing the pick of these games, in the quick play mode.
It seems that every game today has to have some sort of character development mode. NBA 2K10 is no exception. First you create your player, adjusting the various attributes and select the college the player is from. You then develop the character and improve his basic skills to get him out of college basket ball, via the D League until reaching the top league via the Draft programme. At first it is a horrible affair, getting your character to progress as he has poor skills. During the course of a match you are ranked from A-F depending on how you play. The coach will have set a ranking, for example C, you need to finish at C or above to be able to build your reputation. By the time, you reach the pinnacle, you and your character, will emerge the other side with a strong emotional bond.
As I mentioned at the start, this game can boast that it has by far the greatest in game commentary I have had the pleasure of listening to. Where as other sports titles have had commentary that quickly becomes stale. The commentary in NBA 2K10 always felt fresh. Praise has to be given to the commentary team of Kevin Harlan and Clark Kellogg. Interlacing their game play commentary, with individual player stories. At times they even interrupt their commentary to cheer or groan as a move either succeeds or fails. This is commentary at the peak of its game. Having subsequently played a football game, the failings of its commentary were all the more noticeable. The football game’s commentary team seemed bored and going through the emotions compared to Harlan and Kellogg.
The attention to detail, of how a player looks, to how they play on the court has been lovingly executed. From the Signature moves ,to their facial expressions and celebrations, that your heroes such as Michael Rose, Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant produce on the actual court, can be found in this game. Put the game into demo mode and sit back, I challenge you not to think that you are watching an actual NBA match on TV.
Another excellent feature within the game, is the way 2k Games portray the crowd. It really feels that the crowd are actually watching the match that you are playing in real time. The crowd do not simply sit there, you see characters leaving their seats, going for refreshments. If your team is doing bad, the crowd let you know their displeasure. At the same time if you are playing well, the crowd can be heard chanting, MVP, MVP. This all leaves you feeling immersed in the game.
I could only find one fault, and its not even a real fault, it is my personal view. I really did not like the menu system. It is not your traditional scroll down menu system, It divides the screen into various sections and you use the right thumb-stick to navigate into the necessary section, with its various options within. While they should be commended for trying to be innovative, to me it was very confusing to use in the middle of a game. I struggled to quickly call time-outs and make substitutions.
Quite frankly, this is as close to perfection, that I have ever witnessed in a sports game. The game play is solid, and does not let you down. It is hard to see how EA will be able to wrestle the crown from 2K Games. It is refreshing to see that another company is at the top of the tree. The NBA today feature, really sets the game apart from competitors. I like the fact you can choose to play any of the teams playing that day, using the actual rosters at the real coach’s disposal.
EC – 9.5 out of 10 a better menu system and the game would have hit the illustrious 10 out of 10