08:54 PM - September 6, 2011 by aholbert32
I got the opportunity to spend 2 ½ hrs with NBA 2k in downtown DC today and here are a few quick impressions:
First things first…the game reminds me a lot of NBA 2k11. I’m not saying that there are no significant differences between the two games but if anyone has any expectations that the game will be completely different than last years game, this isn’t the game for you. The good thing for me is I loved NBA 2k11 so I was very happy with the game I saw. FYI, the version of the game that I played is the retail version so what I saw is what will be released Oct. 4.
I watched two quick exhibition games before getting the chance to play (Miami/Dallas and Washington/Lakers). The first thing I noticed was the improved presentation. The stat overlays are improved (showing stats like the number of points Dirk had compared to the rest of his team) and multiple starting lineup screens (Some games show each team’s lineup individually and some show them on the same screen). I wasn’t able to get much of a feel for the game from watching the two games because one of the players was a newcomer when it came to 2k and struggled with the controls. Some small things I noticed was the new Washington Wizards court, redone faces for every player and head coach and that you can interact with the first row of the crowd (I noticed Lebron leap over the scoring table when going for a loose ball).
I finally got a chance to play the game and chose Oklahoma City v. Boston. First, the pregame presentation looks incredible. Highlights of each team and its stars to music from Bad v. Evil (Eminem and Royce da 5’9) and its very similar to what you see before a game on TNT or ESPN. Regarding the actual gameplan, the best way to describe it is player movement feels heavier and there is a CLEAR difference between point guards and big men when it comes to speed. Using Westbrook I was able to push the tempo off of Boston misses and create fast break opportunities. Rondo was doing the same thing to me. There is a realistic downside to that as if you attempt to push the pace and the defender is able to get back, you will find yourself turning the ball over. In a weird way while momentum is definitely more of a factor this yr, this is perhaps the fastest (and most fast break heavy) basketball game I’ve played. Now before you freak out, this isn’t a bad thing. The fast breaks were realistic (plenty of 2 on 1 or 3 on 1 breaks) and were a result of turnovers or a team failing to get back
Simply put the AI is much smarter and more realistic. I’ll give you two examples: One, I started the game killing Boston by running pick and rolls with Westbrook and Isos with Durant. By the middle of the first, Boston’s D started adjusting doubling Westbrook on pick and rolls and cheating with a second defender against KD. The defense against KD was great as you could see defenders like Allen sag off Sefolosha and help against KD but not fully commit to doubling KD.
The second example comes in the second quarter. I wanted to test the AI by running the same play a few times and seeing if it adjusted. I ran a pick and pop with Maynor and Cook. The first time I ran the play, Cook set the pick and popped to the 3 point line. Both defenders stayed with Maynor and he hit Cook for a wide open 3. Next offensive possession, I ran the same play and Cook’s defender stayed with him. I ran it one more time and this time both defenders stayed with Maynor but a third defender rotated to Cook. That’s the kind of AI I love….same play three times and three different results. I also love the new playcalling. 2k explained how it word on the last Insight but it adds a ton to the game.
Next I spent bout an hour playing My Player. I’ll be honest My Player isn’t my favorite mode and I rarely spend much time playing it but there are a good amount of improvements in this year’s version. The mode begins with you playing in a college all star game at Madison Square Garden. My biggest frustration with this mode in the past was I felt it sometimes penalized you for playing realistic basketball. For example, there were times when I would be penalized for taking a good shot just because I missed it. This year is different though. I probably shot 35% from the field but I rarely forced shots and was rewarded for playing good fundamental basketball.
The biggest change I saw was the addition of franchise interviews before the draft. Three GMs will meet with you and ask you a series of questions. The questions are team specific (Phoenix asked me how I felt about learning from Steve Nash and the Bucks asked me if I was OK with playing with Brandon Jennings) and depending on how you answer them determines your draft status (I told Phoenix that I would love playing with Nash and told the Bucks they should trade Jennings and draft me.). Next comes the draft and there is a little bit of drama to it. You have to watch the entire draft until your name is called (no skipping) and listen to David Stern (Stern’s real voice) call each name. Other additions include contract negotiations, players get paid a check each month and can use the money to purchase attributes or do activities to make them more popular (like pay for team activities).
The final mode I saw was the NBA’s greatest mode. I played the Bill Russell and Patrick Ewing games and they couldn’t be more different. The Russell game was slower paced and felt like a game from the 50’s. Plenty of set shots and animations similar to how players played during that time. Many of you have seen the presentation for this game (Black and white, grainy footage and 50’s style audio) and its very authentic. As much as I liked the Russell game, the Ewing game is what made me fall in love with the game. One, the presentation looks just like TNT’s presentation from the 90’s and the Garden is spot on with the correct court, constant organ sounds and even the chime after every Knicks basket.
A couple of takeaways from the Knicks game:
- Penny Hardaway is every bit of the unstoppable athlete that he was before injured.
- The Ewing/Starks combo is fun. Starks is a very streaky shooter though.
- Only AI mistake I saw was the Magic ran was it ran 3 plays for Dennis Scott in the post. I don’t remember Scott being a post threat.
At the end of the day, I was very excited about this year’s game. It’s a continuation of last years game but it has enough of improvements and additions to make it worth $60.
Here are some random thoughts:
- No rookies will be in the retail version but will be added by a roster update after the lockout is over. According to 2k, the transition will be seamless and the rookies’ names and references are already in the game.
- The announcing is once again incredible and Steve Kerr is a great addition. After listening to Madden’s horrible commentary, the commentary in 2k is a revelation.
- New replay angles to the Sprite Slam Cam
- The tipoff music starts much earlier this year so that bug is fixed (only people who used custom music care about this)
So I'll answer a few questions about the game in this thread. Here are the rules:
- No Association or Online questions because I didn't play either mode.
- If I don't respond to a question its because I don't have an answer, DO NOT REPOST OR BUMP YOUR QUESTION.