NBA 2K15 is an interactive sporting soap opera, and it's quite brilliant in that regard. Visual Concepts have been leading the line in terms of narrative framing for career modes for some time, but last year's next-gen version saw them really ratchet things up in terms of context and plotting for MyCareer, upping the stakes by giving you a nemesis to measure yourself against, a mute team buddy to give you inspiration and a kick up the arse when warranted, and interactions with coaches, GMs and the press.
This year, though, they've really gone the extra mile in cultivating a sporting narrative full of drama and emotion. You kick things off as an undrafted rookie with an obnoxious, Jerry Maguire-esque agent shopping you about low-to-mid-level teams for a trial. The greater the team's standing, the harder you'll have to work to impress them, and so on. Succeed, and you'll earn yourself a ten-day contract; do well in the mattering of games during that short time period, and you might win a spot on the rotation for the rest of the season. It's a true underdog setup that then spins out into regular team meetings, chats with your coach, practice sessions, contract negotiations, team-mates finding out about you entertaining the notion of signing with a another team, squabbles about playing opportunities, clashes with other rookies and players, all in the quest to become the greatest player you can be.
It's rather intoxicating stuff, aided by more fully-featured voice work from the characters you'll meet along the way. It must be said, however, that few NBA players have the acting chops of Shaq, and the monotonous drawl of the likes of Terrence Ross and Andre Drummond, not to mention the interesting timing of some lines that VC clearly didn't have the time to record twice, can make dialogue exchanges inadvertently hilarious.Click here to read more...
NBA 2K15 is finally here, and it's good. I mean really good. Visual Concepts have tweaked a fair few things in this latest instalment of the World's Best Sport Game Series, and one of the nifty new features is the ability to scan in your face for MyPlayer.
Check out my efforts in the quest for facial perfection in the video above.
I won't lie, I didn't hold out much hope that this would be any good. EA Sports' Game Face is utterly dreadful. Aside from it being a slow, clunky, often unworkable piece of crap, when it does have the decency to work, my Game Face creations all came out looking like someone had stuffed several slapped arses into a blender and then given the remains to Picasso.Click here to read more...
NBA 2K14 is a barnstorming game, and Steam currently have a fat price cut offer on for the PC version, but there's a downside. The PC version of the game is,for all intents and purposes, the last-gen edition of NBA 2K14, which is a crying shame. It's still a cracking title, and a must for basketball fans who prefer to play on PC, but it's more like NBA 2K13.5 rather than the fully-fledged upgrade offered by the PS4 and XO versions.
Platforms: PS3 | Xbox 360 (reviewed) - Coming to PS4/Xbox One in November
Developers: Visual Concepts
Publishers: 2K Sports
You have to hand it to Visual Concepts and 2K Sports. No sports series comes close to the consistent quality of the NBA 2K franchise. Last year's effort, though it wasn't exactly a huge step up from its predecessor, led me to fall head over heels in love with a sport and embrace the irresistible personality and depth of NBA 2K with open arms. How could this year's instalment possibly top that?
Well, it starts with the control system. Once again, Visual Concepts have overhauled their input system in the pursuit of intuitive perfection. But for anyone who spent a fair amount of time in NBA 2K13, this new system will prove a source of frustration until you realise that you'd better learn it from scratch. The right stick -- the Pro Stick -- has no need of the left trigger modifier when it comes to shooting this time around. Isomotion and post move trickery-- the crossovers, Dream Shakes, hesitations, spins -- these are conducted via little taps and precise movements, with shooting a matter of pushing and holding the stick towards the direction you desire. Should habit force you to nudge the left trigger and then flick the stick, you'll now perform a range of showy passes. Or, more likely, hurl the ball into Row Z.
It takes some getting used to, but it's customisable so can just use the stick for nifty fakes and dazzling ankle-breakers if you'd prefer to use buttons for shooting and passing. There's some crossover, too, so you'll be able to switch between control inputs on the fly and pull off Steve Nash-esque no-look passes to your heart's content, whilst still having the solidity of shooting via a face button. On top of that, there's streamlining elsewhere: now you just have to nudge the left bumper to call a play, rather than abandoning control for a split-second to fiddle with the D-pad.Click here to read more...
Hip-hop, flashing lights, and absurdly tall men leaping about and smashing their balls through suspended hoops. It's basketball time again, folks, and 2K Sports have just released a new trailer for NBA 2K14.
You can find it after the jump, along with our interview with 2K Sports' Chris Snyder from Gamescom.Click here to read more...
Platforms: PC | PS3 | Xbox 360 (tested) | PS4 | Xbox One
Developers: Visual Concepts
Publishers: 2K Sports
When you have a sports game franchise so comprehensive in its quality that it beats the competition into hiatus for several consecutive years, how do you go about avoiding complacency? It's a question that NBA 2K13, as good as it was (and it was very good), slightly sidestepped. After all, if it ain't broke...
But NBA 2K14 is looking to deal precisely with that question. At first glance, it's clear that certain things have changed. The production team made a very big deal out of touting their new compression systems, systems that have allowed the developers to add an extra 3,000 animations onto the existing framework in the game. The results are instantly recognisable. There's a smooth fluidity to the on court action that makes player movements seem more natural and versatile than ever before. Those in-between animations mean that the player has more direct control -- instead of having to wait half a second for an animation to finish, intervention to react to the opposition is a very real prospect. Games can be won and lost in single moments, heightening the dramatic ebb and flow of a match, and making every single player decision a vital consideration.
The full mapping of all ball controls to the right stick takes advantage of the extra animations, making it easier to move from one action to the next, triggering fakes, dummies, and skill moves more naturally. The balletic build up to a shot or layup by someone like Wade, Parker, Kobe, or Wall, for example, can be more readily manipulated. The right stick feels like an extension of their hands, the controls intuitive, with spins and crossovers simple to pull off. But there's a need for precision too; wild use of the stick will surely lead to fumbles and turnovers when facing a defence of any real skill. The right stick makes sense when playing big too, making dummy movements and eventual fadeaways and hook shots easy to perform.Click here to read more...
If it's been a while since you played a basketball game, this is a great time to come back as 2K's series has been going from strength to strength over recent years. So much so that EA keep cancelling their own NBA titles. The Wii U version is selling for a fiver cheaper than the other consoles and Zavvi are selling it for more than half as much as their competitors. Now that's a steal.
Thanks to urbansaint1609 at HotUkDeals.
While not a huge departure from the previous game, NBA 2K13 is an excellent place to start for anyone looking for a change from footy games. A decent career mode is well matched with the fantastic on-court gameplay and even the commentary does a great job. Zavvi are beating the competition by about £5 at the moment, making this particularly tempting. You won't find a better basketball game out there, mainly because EA keep cancelling theirs at the last minute.
Thanks to Gregsizzle at HotUkDeals.
Developers: Visual Concepts
Publishers: 2K Sports
The NBA 2K series has been so good over the last few years, that they've actually managed to dismantle their opposition. 2K Sports' franchise has been so utterly capable that EA Sports have refused to muster the anything more than the faintest of whiffs of competition. NBA Elite disappeared into the ether, presumably because it would have cost too much, the risk would have been too great, to even consider taking on possibly the most comprehensive sports series in gaming. NBA Live '13's return was pulled due to "disappointing" development.
But a lack of competition can breed a bit of complacency, and while this might well be the best basketball game around - possibly even the best sports game, full stop - it rests heavily on the laurels earned with past glories.
There are some changes, though. Basketball is a deceptively technical game, particularly if you want to provide a true simulation of the game. 2K Sports' efforts in the past have usually come with a PES-like bible of button combinations to etch into your memory. This time around, however, Visual Concepts have taken a leaf out of EA's book and mapped a host of dribbling and playmaking functions to the right stick. Deft sweeps and nudges of the right stick, particularly when used in conjunction with motion instructions of the left stick will paint a tapestry of spins, fakes, crossovers, and fadeaways.Click here to read more...
When you make a sports game as brilliant as NBA 2K11, how can you convince less diehard fans to shell out for the latest version? By culling the multiplayer support, that's how. 2K Sports has announced that they're switching off the servers in mid-November, which is only 13 months since the game first released - and we'd forgive you for feeling a bit miffed. Especially considering that NBA 2K12's launch has been dogged by some serious multiplayer issues.
On the other hand, NBA 2K12 surpasses its predecessor and is probably the best sports game of the year. Dave gave it 10/10 in our review, so it's not all bad news.
Another year, another basketball season, another NBA 2K game. And yes, another success. Except for ‘another basketball season’ bit, as it looks (at the time of writing) like the lockout will scupper it and you’ll have to resort to watching Deron Williams and Luol Deng strutting their stuff in Turkey or Spain.
But as for the game itself, it’s like there was never a pay dispute related to the odd million dollars here and there. Oh, except for the fact none of this season’s rookies are in the game, which is a bit rubbish, but not 2K’s fault. One would imagine that they would be patched in if the lock out is avoided.
All the current stars are present and correct though, including a load of classic players like Dr J, Karl Malone and some guy called Jordan. They take pride of place on the redesigned front end in the NBA’s Greatest Mode, although there’s no room for Yinka Dare, perplexingly (sarcasm).
It’s a nice distraction, and will eat up a good deal of playing time, but obviously the meat of the game is in the regular team modes and, of course, the My Player mode, which is still the best example of its kind in all of sports entertainment.Click here to read more...
Thought EA Sports' were done with basketball? Think again. Label boss Peter Moore revealed to IndustryGamers that EA Tiburon already have an early build of next year's title 'up and running' and that they will be returning to challenge 2K.
Last year saw EA Sports rebrand their NBA Live franchise as NBA Elite only for them to take one look at NBA 2K11 and cancel the release, a course of action that Moore says was done for quality purposes.Click here to read more...
This year's ball-'em-up is all about Michael Jordan, which is annoying because, as a Utah Jazz fan, the last thing I really want to do is relive the times MJ helped the Chicago Bulls beat the Jazz in the NBA Finals. He's everywhere this year, from the Jordan challenges, where you're given the opportunity to relive classic matches from his career, to the equipping of various Jordan Brand trainers (or sneakers, whatever) that increase player attributes. You can give these to real players or equip them on your My Player career mode character.
The whole Jordan thing is the major addition this year, with everything else being basically tweaked or updated. It's also a sign of how good the overall package is that its main rival, EA's NBA Elite, has been canned for at least the foreseeable future. Quite simply, this is the best basketball game ever made.
Last year's version was great, but had a few minor issues. In contrast to so many other developers, 2K Sports seem to have addressed nearly all of them, from the way your rating increases or decreases in My Player to making it harder to get the ball into the paint. Assists are now harder to come by, as the AI will tip passes away and generally force more turnovers off sloppy passes than before. Pleasingly, it's just not just happening to you, as the computer will throw its fair share of bad shots and passes to keep things realistic.
It's still very hard to win if you don't play proper basketball. If you want constant dunking and the ability to hit shots from your own half, go play NBA Jam or just adjust the sliders to make you invincible. Otherwise, you'll have to play proper, considered ball to achieve consistent victory. Just as it should be in a simulation, really.