Another Year, Another Title for 2K

NBA 2K16


Jonathan Jimenez, Cactus Writer

If you’re like me, then you’ve probably wanted the opportunity to play in the NBA, but have never possessed either the size or skill to do so. For those individuals, and all basketball enthusiasts alike, there is now NBA 2K16. 2K sports has produced its annual rendition of their hit basketball video game, adding numerous improvements, while working towards creating the most realistic basketball simulation possible. This year’s edition features many improvements to both the gameplay and to the aesthetics and functionality of the menus and gameplay modes.

Starting off with the most noticeable improvement, 2K has always been revered for its presentation, and this year is no different. For the first time in the franchise’s history, 2K has taken body scans of their athletes. This ensures that not only do the players’ face scans look great, but also that every player’s body is true to life. NBA 2K14 and 2K15 had some issues with accurately detailing certain players’ bodies. On’14, some players seemed a little too stocky (skinny players like Steph Curry were exaggeratedly muscular), and on’15, the issue was that many players were much slimmer than their real-life counter parts (muscular players like LeBron looked too skinny). Body scans appear to have eliminated these issues entirely. This means that Steph Curry is just as skinny, Anthony Davis is just as long, and LeBron James is every bit the gargantuan muscular mass that he is in real life.

2K has always taken pride in putting forth a true to life basketball presentation. In last season’s version, they introduced Shaquille O’Neal and Ernie Johnson from Inside the NBA as pre-game and post-game commentators. This year they took it one step further, adding Kenny “The Jet” Smith and nearly completing the TNT panel of analysts, Charles Barkley isn’t yet onboard with the idea of being on a video game. This addition makes each game feel like you’re watching a game on TNT on a Thursday night. Providing solid analysis as well as witty humor, the chemistry between these three is palpable. For the in-game audio broadcast, retired NBA player Greg Anthony has joined the duo of Kevin Harlan and Clark Kellogg, while Steve Kerr is no longer a part of the crew. The commentary during games is just as detailed and entertaining as ever. All three commentators sound natural, and deliver what feels like a live presentation, and also provide a few moments of laughter to go along with their analysis. There are the occasional moments where a commentator either praises a guy for something that they do not do well, or criticizes a player for something that they do well; however, these moments are few and far between.

Many game modes that were unfortunately missing on NBA 2K15 have returned this year. Amongst these game modes is MyCareer which, with the help of film director Spike Lee, has been reinvented, and now features a storyline that begins in the High School stages of your playing career. The story suffers from corny dialogue and a sense of confinement, as your first season in the league is filled with decisions that are made for you. Despite its missteps and missed opportunities, the story provides just enough drama and entertainment value to earn its keep. Once you get past this very short first season however, all of the decision making is back in your hands. Decisions such as which endorsements to take on, as well as other day-off activities, land squarely on your shoulders. A slow and long climb to the rank of elite status, as well as no opportunity for customization of your player, leaves a bit to be desired, but this is far from a deal breaker.

Other game modes such as MyPark, MyGM, MyTeam and MyLeague are also back and more polished than ever. 2K Pro-Am is a new mode that allows you to build a franchise from the ground up. This includes creating your home floor, your jerseys, and your team, of course. With seemingly boundless customization options, this feature is bound to eat into your hours.

With so many game modes making a return, and the usual attention to detail that 2K provides, the game feels more complete than ever. With even more accurate visuals than ever, someone is bound to ask if you’re watching a real game. For these reasons, this year’s copy is definitely one worth grabbing. With this game, NBA 2K16 cements itself as the undisputed king of basketball simulation.}