DAR Reviews: NBA 2K16

By @Peagle05 

2K Sports is back with another installment in their excellent NBA series and this one, from gameplay to graphics to feature set is the best to date. This review is coming a bit late due to the amount of time it actually took me to complete a certain part of the game...but more on that later.

This game looks amazing. Given the face scanning technology that 2K employs, this is no surprise. What is amazing is the amount of detail in the minor animations, including Steph Curry's love of chewing his mouthguard. Outside of player specific animations, the movements that come natural to the game look and feel much better. 2K did a great job of keeping the fluidity of the game intact. You still get a few of the classic 2K issues, some sliding on the court playing defense, couple of warped arms, but these issues are few and far in between.

That attention to detail in the animations pushes the gameplay to a completely different level as everything feels more realistic. In games of the past, you could just flick the right stick a couple times and bully your way to the bucket for a fairly easy 2. Not anymore. Defense has been revamped to the point where ball movement and spacing are vital, but it never feels cheap. Moving the ball around like the Spurs or Hawks and getting an easy bucket feels like an accomplishment and not a chore. Shooting is no longer as automatic if you nail the perfect release. You'll still make far more than you'll miss, but a perfect release with a man in your face isn't nearly as certain as it used to be. 2K's servers are less of a bag of garbage than they've been in years past, but they still leave a lot to be desired. That said, when you can get a game going be it in the Pro-Am mode, or just standard online play, 2K doesn't disappoint. The MyGM mode is your standard Franchise mode, fully featured and a blast to play. EA could really take a page out of 2K's playbook for Madden's Franchise mode. As the GM in 2K, I feel like my decisions mean something and there are meaningful rewards and consequences depending on how the team does and how i do running it.

Now here we are...the reason it took me so long to finish this review, and it DOES need its own section. I'm gonna have to ask Speed to forgive me for gimmick infringement because this is gonna turn into a mini WIRTB segment. 2K over the last few years has given us an excellent single-player career mode and this year felt the need to tap Spike Lee for this year's iteration. Now Spike has given us great material over the years: Malcolm X, that scene in She Hate Me with Kerry Washington and Dania Ramirez... okay I'm getting off the point, but there was NO reason for him to get involved in this mode. The story follows your MyPlayer who has been inexplicably given the nickname Frequency Vibrations, because this is the 70s and things like that are cool. Thankfully, the name is shortened to Freq but still, didn't need to happen. Especially given the ridiculous explanation for it in the story. You start the story playing through 4 high school games, something that would be a great touch WITHOUT Spike Lee's involvement. Anyway, the games are a bit boring with their lack of commentary and overall presentaion. These games lead to pitches from multiple college coaches from real colleges. 2K licensed 10 NCAA teams for this mode and being able to play through 4 games with an actual college is awesome given the issues between the NCAA and its players. Throughout these proceedings, unnecessarily long cutscenes play out highlighting the drama between your MyPlayer (I'm not calling him Freq) and his family and friends. I'm not going over the story in full, if you've seen a Spike Lee movie, you know how this works. So you eventually get drafted and here's where the issue and disconnect comes into play, as you're constantly touted as the greatest talent the game has seen in years but this is still MyCareer mode, so you're hovering in the mid-50's/low 60's as far as your overall rating is concerned. You're supposed to be this basketball God, meanwhile, in game, you're clanking shots off the side of the backboard and throwing passes to the wrong people. The story takes away from what is supposed to feel like a mode where you progress over time, because you aren't making much progress. The worst part is, once you finish, you can watch the entire story mode as a movie. I feel like if this was gonna be done, that should have been the way to go in the first place. It just makes the entire first year of the mode a chore to sit through and I would honestly much rather watch a Big Show match in 2015 than have to sit through anything else video game related coming from Spike Lee. Never again 2K and Spike. NEVER. AGAIN. All of this being said, once you get past that horrendous shit-show of a first year, MyCareer is the mode we've all grown to know and love.

Announcers will still make reference to one of the events of the story mode, but I've found that it's not overbearing and you can switch your nickname in the options menu and that makes it a bit more tolerable. 2K has re-done endorsements and given your player the chance to do things outside of the court. This allows you to build relationships throughout the leageu and unlock some pretty cool gear. So if you can sit through Spike Lee Presents: He Got Trash, then there are some great things from 2K as usual.

As I said in my Batman review, I don't do scores. Just know that this game is worth the purchase and there's plenty of gameplay to keep Basketball heads busy until next year. The gameplay is fast and fluid and despite the large misstep with the first year of MyCareer, this is the best version of 2K we've seen.



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