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NBA 2K16 Preview (PS4)

Wow.

That three-letter word sums up my quick trip to the 2K Hangar to get my hands on NBA 2K16.

Before I get into the nitty-gritty, this article will strictly be about on-court gameplay. MyCAREER information will be coming out on Monday, and you’ll find it here on Operation Sports. Also on Monday you will see some gameplay footage (at last!) from some of your favorite NBA teams.

Okay with that information out of the way, let's play basketball.

NBA 2K is in its third year of a new physics engine that debuted with the new generation of consoles. During this time, the graphics have improved drastically, but the gameplay has not necessarily always kept up. However, this year the team has potentially made a game that plays as pretty as it looks.

I was able to play three games, and came away with different impressions from each. Depending on the team you play as, you’re going to be in a completely separate basketball world. You won’t be able to use the Bucks the same way you use the Cavaliers. This should help keep the game fresh, and give you a true home-court advantage when playing with your go-to squad.

If you have any specific questions, follow and ask me on Twitter at @Dustin_Toms. If I have an answer, you’ll get one. (The same rules apply for the comments section of this article.)


Game 1: Atlanta Hawks (CPU) at Milwaukee Bucks (me)

I chose these two teams for two reasons. First, Scott O’Gallagher was hyping up his new defensive mechanics with the Bucks. Second, NEW UNIFORMS! (They both look fresh, by the way).

NBA 2K16 is the only sports game with authentic wingspans. Milwaukee is a long, lengthy team that stands at minimum 6-foot-6 in the starting lineup. Using the new defensive mechanics, which are listed in detail here in OG’s blog, the Bucks can use their team strengths to hang with any team in the NBA.

Just as you would imagine, they aren’t much of an offensive machine, but using the Greek Freak to handle Korver is a real thing. MCW’s size was a challenge for Teague. Jabari was matched up against Millsap, and Millsap won that battle nine times out of 10. Monroe, the Bucks’ newest addition, was rolling off a pick-and-pop for a mid-range game that Splitter couldn’t keep up with.

However, let’s look at the flip side.

Korver was a dream running off screens. He was still getting open once in a while to get a shot off. Teague’s speed was a challenge for MCW, something that really showed when Atlanta started running their sets. Millsap punished Jabari on the offensive side, but he had to try harder when Jabari had the ball in his hands. And Splitter was definitely winning the rebound battle against Monroe.

NBA 2K16 is a chess game. You need to use true basketball strategy to gain any advantage on your opponent before they do.

I ended up winning by seven with the Bucks. I controlled the game on the defensive end, which always gave me the cushion I needed. I was never too concerned about losing the game despite how close Atlanta was getting. I was in control.

Game 2: Cleveland Cavaliers (me) at Sacramento Kings (CPU)

I had to try out the King.

First of all, LeBron was hands down the best player on the court. His size, speed and athleticism truly show in the game. All credit goes to Mike Stauffer’s new Hall-of-Fame ratings scale (I don’t know if that’s the actual name, but I’m rolling with it). A quick example of the scale you ask? Dennis Rodman is the best offensive rebounder of all-time, so he is rated 99 in that category. Now you rate everyone compared to how well they stack up to Rodman. So yeah, the ratings will reflect a player’s true strengths and weaknesses on the court during the game.

Unlike the Bucks/Hawks game, this one was an offensive grinder. I was never able to pull away from Sacramento as Rudy Gay was catching fire, matching most of my successful possessions. But Gay’s ball dominance was showing, as Boogie wasn’t getting the touches he needed to make a huge impact. Boogie would score when he had the ball, but there were times he didn’t even get to touch the rock.

On defense, Sacramento was great in the paint with Boogie and Cauley-Stein doing what they’re expected to do: protect the rim. I was able to cancel out their strategy by keeping Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson in the game for a boost in offensive boards, but was losing out on the defensive end with Love’s deficiencies.

Kyrie’s shot looked good, and he was the most explosive guard on the court. Rondo did a good job containing him though, holding him to just a few points.

I was underwhelmed with the rebounding battle in this one, as I easily doubled up the Kings despite facing Boogie. With Love, Thompson and Mozgov constantly in the game, all of the boards were mine. This was the only reason I was able to squeak out the two-point win. But that road atmosphere was tough.



 

Game 3: Memphis Grizzlies (CPU) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (me)

Time for my obligatory you-heard-it-here-first comment. The Memphis Grizzlies are going to be one of the top teams used online this year.

With all of the focus that has been put into defense, of course the Grizzlies are going to see some love. They completely blanketed KD all night, holding him to six points. I just could not get open. Even KD’s quick/high release (which does look much better) was not doing me any good with all the hands in my face. When KD was able to get past Barnes and the double teams, Z-Bo was there to size him up and shut down his driving lane. The strength and body size alone was too much to handle. I forced a few shots to try and draw the foul, but nothing was working. I was forced to try a different strategy.

I had to switch my focus on offense to Westbrook. It felt like KD was hurt all over again. Westbrook was running in circles, using his signature size-ups to wreak havoc. His explosiveness was showing through as well. But with KD out of the picture, someone needed to step up…Kyle Singler! Singler was knocking down open shots when he was rolling off screens. It was nice to see what the blogs were talking about (role players stepping up on any given night).

But despite my best efforts, Memphis had a hold on me the entire game. OKC’s lack of wings coupled with Memphis’ ball movement kept me off my game. Z-Bo (his body scan is massive, just like it should be) bullied his way through the defense all night. Gasol held it down against Kanter, Ibaka, Adams. Conley was Maestro of the Year. True team basketball was OKC’s doom.

Bullet Points

There are always fun nuggets that are put into the game that just don’t have a great way to be included in the preview itself. Some of these I’m sure are mentioned in the dev blogs, but there’s just so much to keep track of at this point that I accept I'll be overlapping here and there. Here are some bullet points on NBA 2K16:

• Starting lineups are announced for both teams
Greg Anthony is the third commentator, replacing Steve Kerr
• All 12 historic teams have been announced
Kenny "The Jet" Smith is joining Shaq and Ernie
• TONS of updated player hairstyles
• New quick-substitution controls using just the right stick
• Improved NBA dancer routines
• Between-quarter player/coach interviews (what you see on TV broadcasts)
• Halftime show is better, but nothing that will make you watch each time
• Freelance motion offense is a thing of beauty
• Hedge defending is improved
• Each defender has his own mindset based on player tendencies/attributes
• Improved on-ball behavior
• Foot planting was completely redone
• Added anticipation to hesitations
• Full body scan, including legs, for players
• Zig-zag/base-line cheese looks like it’s gone
Read through my Twitter timeline for more quick-hitters


 

I’ll leave you with a quote from Mike Wang (@Beluba) that shows just how much these guys care about this game.

“Everything feels like it's right there, and it's working on your fingertips. Offense and defense -- it's a song, a relationship. That's what we’re most proud of. Two people who know the sticks can have an epic battle without being forced into a canned animation.”


NBA 2K16 Videos
Member Comments
# 81 DatGD12guage @ 09/11/15 03:51 PM
Nothing exciting about this write up bc other ppl will play the game and have a totally different experience. Everybody does not have the same play style so another persons hands-on really does not excite me. I may be hating a little bit..............anyway write up is still appreciated and bullet points were good.
 
# 82 YungGun @ 09/11/15 03:51 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by 23
Im sure networking is VERY basic

Even though I don't bother with online it def. should be working even if they have to get kinks out first at some point

but then again it aint always as bad as SOME claim either
Right. Majority of the people who complain about lag in 2K have terrible internet service anyways imo. Mbps isn't everything people...
 
# 83 Taer @ 09/11/15 03:56 PM
Thank you for the preview, a lot to consider here.
 
# 84 ForeverVersatile @ 09/11/15 04:01 PM
I'm guessing the CPU Kings chose to play from the outside in using Rudy more than Cousins. They did say the Ai would change it's strategy depending on the defensive I think.
 
# 85 LO6IX @ 09/11/15 04:06 PM
I'll believe it when I see it.
 
# 86 23 @ 09/11/15 04:08 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by YungGun
Right. Majority of the people who complain about lag in 2K have terrible internet service anyways imo. Mbps isn't everything people...
There is a huge upper case word SOME in my sentence, but you come in talking about most?

You're already off track
 
# 87 JohnnyCash2015 @ 09/11/15 04:11 PM
Nice to see that the cpu still doesn't bother running plays for bigs like Cousins


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
# 88 JohnnyCash2015 @ 09/11/15 04:18 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ForeverVersatile
I'm guessing the CPU Kings chose to play from the outside in using Rudy more than Cousins. They did say the Ai would change it's strategy depending on the defensive I think.

I'm guessing that, as usual, the cpu doesn't dump the ball inside or pass on the pick and roll as much irregardless of the touch tendency of the big, which is how the cpu has been historically.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
# 89 LorenzoDC @ 09/11/15 04:26 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyCash2015
I'm guessing that, as usual, the cpu doesn't dump the ball inside or pass on the pick and roll as much irregardless of the touch tendency of the big, which is how the cpu has been historically.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Then you're guessing that Da Czar is lying.

The AI makes offensive distribution and play calling decisions based on or at least highly influenced by the player's assigned touch tendency. It also takes into account who is hot and the composition of the lineup on the floor, as well as coach (really, established team based) preferences.

That at least is what the 2k claims are, Sue (may I call you Sue)?

Please don't shoot me just to watch me die!
 
# 90 mlb08 @ 09/11/15 04:28 PM
No improved crowds? No real life like substitution?
 
# 91 HowDareI @ 09/11/15 04:28 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by YungGun
Right. Majority of the people who complain about lag in 2K have terrible internet service anyways imo. Mbps isn't everything people...
Well I for one know it wasn't my internet, considering I never experience lag in any online game and that's mostly what I play.

I can download gb's worth of files on my laptop, stream music on youtube, and play Battlefield or CoD and be fine...go on 2K with nothing on and lag lol

The delay in the responsiveness, the laggy servers, and the frame drops are all on 2K's end..
 
# 92 Mauer4MVP @ 09/11/15 04:31 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by HowDareI
Well I for one know it wasn't my internet, considering I never experience lag in any online game and that's mostly what I play.

I can download gb's worth of files on my laptop, stream music on youtube, and play Battlefield or CoD and be fine...go on 2K with nothing on and lag lol

The delay in the responsiveness, the laggy servers, and the frame drops are all on 2K's end..
To be fair, he is partly right. We all have terrible internet considering the price we pay. At least in the US. We overpay so much for the quality.
 
# 93 snocone @ 09/11/15 04:32 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlb08
No improved crowds? No real life like substitution?
The people who played yesterday have mentioned that the crowd is improved
 
# 94 RoyalBoyle14 @ 09/11/15 04:45 PM
WOW is right!!!! I just pre-ordered!!! I'm all digital so I will download when I get off work and get home. BEST part is I didn't know when you pre-order digital you get in the 25th 😁😁 can't wait
 
# 95 scottyp180 @ 09/11/15 04:54 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by The 24th Letter
I thought Czar & Scott's blogs talked heavily about tendencies and how players behave.....did I misunderstand?

Rudy has had games with more attempts than Boogie....can't freak out too much about a sentence yet...

Maybe Dustin can elaborate...


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I think this is a great point. Can't expect every game to play out 100% accurately and as expected especially in 5 minute quarter settings. One thing with sports videogames, similar to real life, is that each game can and will play out different.

In his OKC he talks about how KD struggled. That doesn't mean there won't be times where he is on fire and his hitting contested jumpers consistently.

I'd like to hear that Cousins was given the ball a bit more but I'm not going to base judgement solely on 1 game. Plus we don't know the settings either. CPU might play differently on Allstar Sim compared to Pro Normal setting.
 
# 96 Goffs @ 09/11/15 05:21 PM
Great read but did ZBo work you in the post? Did he pull off any of his post moves?
 
# 97 Skeptikz @ 09/11/15 05:24 PM
Write-up just wetting my appetite fro 2K basketball that bit more...There's not all that much great info but it's good to read Dustin confirming everything that we have heard so far (particularly from Scott OG & Da Czar). 2 weeks cant come quickly enough!

Re the servers debate, I wouldn't say anything If I was 2K & here's why - They already have a terrible rep for servers at launch (given their 1st 2 Next/Current Gen games); They made a pretty big hoopla about how the servers are better last year and they didn't deliver. I couldn't go into the technical reasons why but it was a major issue - I for 1 lost all of my pre-order VC with my Myplayer, which left a sore taste.

At this point a whole load of people are just waiting for 2K to MENTION online so they can let them know how crappy the servers are. 2K coming out and saying "We have worked super hard and now our servers are awesome" is only going to invite a whole load of people to say BS and throw out a whole load of insults at them for how crappy it was last year. That does nothing because, even if it turns that the servers actually are awesome, there is a whole load of negative social media/press out there on the internet in the lead up to release, which is obviously not what they want.

They wont say anything because that way they can't lose. If the servers are crap, they get the same abuse that they would have gotten on release either way. If the servers are good, it will continue this positive marketing train BEYOND release.

So as I said 2K gains nothing from talking about online at this point. Unfortunately it's a case of wait and see.
 
# 98 Guard-ian @ 09/11/15 05:39 PM
About not being able to test the online servers workload, I remember in 2k11 they provided a demo with online matchups capability, they did it on purpose, to be able to track the online before the game drop, and (not coincidentally) 2k11 was the best and more stable 2k online since I can remember...

Cheers! ;-)
 
# 99 Scofield @ 09/11/15 05:48 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guard-ian
About not being able to test the online servers workload, I remember in 2k11 they provided a demo with online matchups capability, they did it on purpose, to be able to track the online before the game drop, and (not coincidentally) 2k11 was the best and more stable 2k online since I can remember...

Cheers! ;-)
I thought something like this was done but couldn't remember. Tough enough man.
 
# 100 L_Diddy @ 09/11/15 06:37 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mauer4MVP
To be fair, he is partly right. We all have terrible internet considering the price we pay. At least in the US. We overpay so much for the quality.
You wanna come to Australia and try our internet connections out. Straight up garbage, we're so far behind other countries it isn't funny. And they have the nerve to charge us through the roof as well. This game is next to unplayable online here, good thing im a 99 percent offline player.
 


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