NBA 2K10 Review

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NBA 2K10 is the latest installment in what some people consider to be the best basketball franchise out there. This year the guys at Visual Concepts tried a lot of different things and to be honest some of them worked and some of them didn’t. On the other hand though they must be commended on trying to bring real innovation and change to a formula that they probably could have just renamed and resold all over again.

zkgnba2k10coverCrews

This year in NBA 2K10 all the rage is probably going to be about Crews and who has the best one. This feature similar to clans in shooters is a great one, where it pits you and your crew against other crews from all over to prove who is actually the best. In theory, the concept was great but there have been a few issues with the implementation. First, it was supposed to match you up according to how many user controlled players the other people had so that you would never play more human players than you had but it doesn’t do that. At this point I am not sure if it does that and can’t find an exact match, it just matches you against the next reasonable candidate. While I may have no problem playing with only 2 guys versus a team with all 5 players I would like to have some notification that this is about to happen vice seeing it and then having to back out.

My next issue with Crews is that once you go to join your crew you are prompted as to whether you would like to load your “My Player”. The roster for crews are determined by what NBA team’s roster you base your Crew on, so for instance I have the Lakers. So you set up a game and there is no way to know before you start the game that the other team is using some of their created players. Again, I have no problem with this if you give the player proper notification so they can decide whether they want to play the other team or not. People work hard on their players, but if I have to cover a created Center who is 7’2 and has 80 speed with just about any center on the game other than Dwight Howard you are going to be in trouble.

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This happens a lot, when you just get out matched by a created player at a position like C or SF and they basically abuse you the whole game. I don’t mind getting beat by a team that’s better than me, but at least let me know what I am up against before I start the game. You should be able to filter out certain things before you play, so let’s say I don’t want to play teams with created players or teams that don’t have the same amount of human players as I do and if there are no matching results so be it, but let me decide. The bigger issue here is that it draws the whole ranking system into question, how can one team say they are better than another if one uses created “My Players” and the other one doesn’t, it’s not fair. Either you have two separate rankings or you don’t allow teams that have “My Players” on them to be ranked.

Those criticisms are in relation to how the feature is configured not with the feature itself. Crews are awesome, you get  the same adrenaline rush in a close game that you would get in any Call of Duty match. We had a double OT victory over a team that had me about to throw my controller. The feature itself is very promising and hopefully they will continue to refine it next year or maybe even this year with patches.

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My Player

Since I have already spoken about this, let me go into a bit more detail about it. My Player as a concept is nothing new, its similar to Superstar mode in Madden where you take your character and you build him into a NBA Superstar. A lot of gamers got an early start on this with NBA 2K10 Draft Combine, which allowed gamers to start working on their player early. If you read this site often, you will know that I really liked Draft Combine, I thought it was a very new way of making gamers look at how they play a game of basketball from a team concept. So when you start a career, you can either start from scratch or if you already had a “My Player” created using Draft Combine you can simply load him up and get started. Once you get started, you get to watch the draft and see if you get drafted or not. I managed to get drafted in the second round by Blazers but have no fear if you don’t get drafted it’s not the end of the road for you. You will get on somewhere and hit the summer circuit to try and show teams that you are good enough to be invited to their Training Camp. Once I got through the Summer Circuit after leading my team in scoring, having very low turnovers and having a teammate grade of A- I was sent down to the D-League. Didn’t understand that at all, but ok. My Player mode works well though, the biggest downside being the actual amount of time it takes to get through games. Until you don’t control every player on the floor all the time, you never really understand how slow a game can be and in “My Player” mode you will. The bottom line here is that some people will love it and how it forces you to play within the offense and others will be bored to death with it.

The Association

This is the part that you have all been waiting for, Association is by far the most popular gameplay mode in NBA 2K. Association is back and better than ever this year and this year the D-League is included, so you can send your rookies who aren’t quite ready to play down to develop. That is actually a great concept, it allows you to leverage a farm team like in baseball. The drawback here is that you can only send players down with less than 3 years of pro experience unlike in baseball when I can send anybody down either to clear roster space or give a young guy a try.

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The thing that I really liked though this year was the frequency at which you were offered trades proposals, it made it seem like teams were trying to make moves to get better, though some of the trades that were being made just didn’t make any sense unless a team was trying to cut cap space which they may very well have been. Teams usually proposed trades for role players who had been overachieving and never really asked for superstars that you wouldn’t ever trade anyway.

The thing that brings Association to life though is the new and improved TV style presentation and commentary. Whether its showing a player’s pregame warmup routine or showing a teammates face after a nasty dunk it’s all there. They also have a lot of relevant commentary about players such as how many points they are averaging, how many points they scored last game and so on but it all works in the context of the game. That combination to me is what brought it home and made it feel more realistic than anything else out there.

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Online

This perhaps is the worst part about NBA 2K10 and it comes down to the stability of the platform. To play a game like this online and experience on level of performance and then to play something like Uncharted 2 online, you wonder are you actually playing on the same console. I don’t know what it is, but I haven’t seen a sports game yet that performs really up to par. Just the fact that game’s like Call of Duty and Uncharted 2 and others do such a great job of it let’s me know that it can be done on PS3, but calculating the right specs for backend servers and proper capacity is not something a developer would necessarily know how to do but they gotta have someone who does.

When you can get a game that doesn’t disconnect it’s actually pretty fun. The overall online gameplay is good but the reliability of it is what is frustrating. It always seems to lag behind and when you put in a great feature like Crews, if they could have had a robust backend server infrastructure it would have been an even bigger hit.

NBA 2K10 comes back this year and with what seems like just more innovation manages to hold on to its throne but NBA Live is closing the gap every year. If you are a basketball fan and you want the most realistic basketball experience out there then I would have to recommend NBA 2K10. Next year I want to see them pushing themselves even harder at refining what’s already there and making sure that all the game’s components and navigation flow together.  With that said this is still the best basketball game around and for that we give NBA 2K10 by 2K Sports 9 out of 10.

Lorenzo Winfrey

Lorenzo Winfrey

Editor-In-Chief at ZoKnowsGaming
I am the Co-Ceo of DLT Digital Media. We are a company that is focused on developing new and innovative web properties in addition to developing WordPress based web sites for others. But before I was all that, I was a gamer.
Lorenzo Winfrey