While no sports game will ever properly recreate what it’s like to participate in the activity, they can at least make it look like you’re watching the sport on the TV. NBA 2K10 does this almost perfectly, with superb commentary and broadcast presentation making every game a big occasion.
This release isn’t wildly different from last year’s iteration, but then again, that one was so good there’s really no need for wild changes. So just like last year, this is a basketball simulator rather than an NBA Jam-style flashy dunk-’em-up arcade game. You’ll lose if you don’t respect the fundamentals, creating space with movement, finding an open man and choosing the right shot to take at the right moment. Fail to do this and variables hidden away behind the scenes will reduce your player’s chance of nailing a shot.
Likewise, defend foolishly and the AI (and any competent human player – incidentally, playing online isn’t the easiest thing to do) will rip you to shreds. Before you know it you’ll be 20 points behind and the commentators will be lamenting your terrible play.
You really do need to use a pad, though. Last year’s version was more accepting of keyboard input, but this year’s is clearly geared towards those with Xbox 360 controllers. The main reason for this is the use of the right stick for shot control, giving you much more flexibility in and around the basket. For example, pull away from the basket to throw up a fadeaway jumper, and you give yourself a more difficult shot but increase your chance of avoiding the block attempt of a taller defender. Trial, error and patience will be required, but it’s worth it when you feel the satisfaction of playing smooth basketball, opening up the opposition defence and nailing that three.
Defending is still very hard, and you have to be patient and play the percentages, especially in the excellent-though-tough My Player mode, where you take a self-created rookie from the the D-League through to the NBA finals. It’s very difficult, but it provides a great alternative to the main five-a-side game modes. The addition of this tips NBA 2K10 into classic territory, even if the menu system is fiddly and a bit rubbish. This is the best of the best. And not in an 80s karate film kind of way.
Nov 12, 2009