Sunday, October 18, 2009

K-B's Call Review: NBA 2K10

Some video games are meant to blur the line between fantasy and reality, and NBA 2K10 is one such game. With double-take worthy graphics and NBA authentic presentation, the appearance of the game is certainly on point, but can the anniversary edition match up to its predecessor?

The bar was set extremely high for the 2K team in an attempt to follow up one of the most realistic and successful basketball simulations of all time in NBA 2K9, not to mention the fact that NBA 2K10 represents the ten year anniversary of the game. So, with that being said, the pressure was clearly on the development team to produce an outstanding product. With the scenario being set the next question to be asked should be if they were successful in their mission. My answer: Mostly yes.

While NBA 2K10 doesn’t venture too far from the winning formula that produced last year’s game, it certainly incorporates enough new features to keep players busy. As most have undoubtly noticed, player rankings have dropped significantly this year, along with the addition of a stamina meter, and an increased rate of fatigue. These changes successfully aim to make the game more realistic, and prevent one from dominating too heavily with one player. Where in past years when you could have relied on Kobe for seven straight possessions, utilizing a player to that extent will certainly result in a necessary trip to the bench to fight off fatigue. The gameplay, although tightened up, remains largely unchanged, as the team used the “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mantra in this regard. There are less missed lay-ups and gimme’s, but three’s are more difficult to convert, along with baseball passes. Aside from a few minor glitches (slight sliding, along with the late-game fouling issue) the gameplay remains as real as it can get.

With such a beautiful presentation, complete with life-like fans, mascots, astonishing player and coach models, and precise player animations, it is easy to forget that you are actually playing a game. Details were paid to every aspect of the players, from their tattoos to the way they dribble; NBA 2K10 is one of the most shockingly realistic games I have ever seen. Players move, play, and react like their real-life counterparts, providing you with a one-of-a-kind playing experience. Garnett’s scowl is captured perfectly, along with Kobe’s fist pump and Yao’s baby-hook. It’s all there. The ease of the alley-oop, and the cartoonish appearance of the Gatorade “G” Moments throughout the game are necessary to serve as a reminder that it is truly a video game that is being viewed. Highlights are presented cleanly and serve as an example of how clear high-definition can truly look, as they are scattered throughout the game and halftime show.

Although there is enough to occupy even an avid gamer with regular exhibition games, this year’s edition is once again rich with game modes, including a new mode entitled, “My Player,” where you develop a player and lead him through the summer circuit and D-League ranks to NBA stardom. This new mode along with the franchise, situation, and black top modes provide plenty of options, keeping the games replay value at high. Despite the lack of changes to the NBA Black Top mode it is still an extremely addicting area of play, as the dunk contest remains one of the video game world’s best kept secrets.

With out-of-this world presentation and unparalleled game play, the 2K franchise delivers a gem in their newest installment, NBA 2K10. Aside from a few minor glitches, NBA 2K10 is a slam dunk.


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