Yet another great basketball game!
Posted 3 years ago By - Jay Acevedo
The NBA 2K franchise celebrates its tenth anniversary this year and looking back, its the only basketball game franchise who has been able to elevate its game year after year. With the clear emergence of its closest competitor (NBA LIVE 10), I’m glad to see that 2K Sports and Visual Concepts haven’t rest of their laurels after last year’s game. NBA 2K10 does deliver a great depiction of the sport, improving on a few things and adding a good number of new features. However, the road to excellence may not be that easy from now on...
NBA 2K10 sees the addition of two new gameplay modes. One of them is NBA Today. This new real-time service promises to update the game dynamically based on what’s going on in the real league from scores, latest league news and play-by-play commentary. NBA Today will also let you play scheduled games with the most recent roster changes before they are actually played. In other words, a mix of 2K’s Living Rosters, NBA LIVE’s Dynamic DNA system and the NBA Replay feature of the now defunct NBA game from Sony. Sadly, just like Living Rosters last year, we’ll have to wait until the NBA season starts to actually see if this mode works as good as it sounds.
While NBA Today sounds promising, the biggest new feature is the My Player mode, which can be easily described as an expanded version of the previously released Draft Combine downloadable game. My Player allows you to experience the thrill of being an NBA hopeful in search of a long and thriving pro career. Once you complete the process of creating and customizing your player’s look and feel, you must guide your player through the summer league as a non-drafted player, impress the scouts and earn an invitation from an NBA team. If you own Draft Combine, you can load your player into the game. The only difference is that your Draft Combine player will have to go through the Draft Process since you already have trained to get drafted. My Player is really interesting but just like Draft Combine, it suffers a lot from a flawed and inconsistent grading system. You can check out our NBA 2K10: Draft Combine review for more details on player progression. Personally, I was hoping Visual Concepts would take the feedback from Draft Combine and actually make a few changes to the progression system. It’s understandable that its a new feature but trust me when I say that it will need a serious tweak. Not that My Player mode won’t be fun but it could have been certainly more enjoyable. I have high expectations for this mode.
Regardless of these two new additions, all special in their own way, NBA 2K10 is mostly about tuning. Last year’s game already featured a good amount of gameplay fixes that actually made the game, in many ways, better than 2K8. Visual Concepts did managed to change things a little for this year, without scrapping everything.
Among the most important gameplay changes are the player turbo button, on-ball defense and post play. Using the turbo button often will now deplete your sprinting ability and affect your player’s stamina if you keep using it. This will certainly slow down the game and force you to manage your player’s energy through out the game. Gone the days where you will sprint up and down the court with your player. See it as a great way to make less mistakes and focus more on getting the ball around. Defending the ball carrier has also received an interesting tweak and makes it more realistic and fluid. Just like in 2K9, you’re still able to lock on the dribbler with the left trigger but now you can be more precise by actually being able to "crowd" the ball-handler just like cover-boy Kobe does in real life, giving you more control on how youwill direct the dribbler and even find different ways to steal the ball from him. As for post play, special moves can now be pulled by using the left and right triggers. Different from 2K9 and good for newcomers but those who were used to the old mechanics will need to adjust. Nothing dramatic though, you will adjust yourself after a few minutes.
Hardcore basketball gamers will also enjoy to see an expanded play calling system but they will come to realization that perhaps, it needed more thought into it. The problem isn’t the numbers of plays available (triple the plays compared to last year) but the way its been presented. You can’t select the right play for the right person while trying to not commit a turnover or break your game tempo. It feasible but it will require you to be extremely cautious. I’m definitely sold on the fact to have more tactical options but the menu system needs to be fixed. If NBA Live has managed to make it happen...then its definitely not impossible.
Returning gameplay features such as Iso motion, Dual Player Control and Shot Stick remain solid and work better than ever. However, the same can’t be said of some of the different online modes. While the normal matchmaking system works fine, the 5 vs. 5 online play now known as Crews is far from being smooth. Actually, its more smooth than what it was at launch day but it remains difficult. Let’s hope 2K finds a solution for next year. We do not want a flawed online experience for a third consecutive year.
Luckily, The Association delivers the goods once more. Not many changes have been brought, most of them being cosmetic improvements, however it now includes the NBDL farm system which will allow you to call-up players whenever its needed. Aside of this, expect the same solid experience. Hardcore NBA 2K player will burn lots of hours in here.
Graphics & Sounds
Graphically, NBA 2K10 looks fresh and crisp. Once again, Visual Concepts remain true to their reputation as everything from the player models to the arena action looks gorgeous. The amount of detail makes the game stand out and does bring you an incredible level of authenticity. Players show their own distinctive reactions to good plays or referee calls, players’ signature moves and of course a very dynamic crowd that reacts to everything that happens on the floor. NBA 2K10 is a visual feast however, the game does suffer from weird framerate drops during the replays, which is questionable since the game runs very smoothly during gameplay.
As for sounds, its a bit less impressive than the graphics but remains solid. Environmental sounds and crows chants add something to the experience. Play-by-Play commentary is once again handled by Kevin Harlan and Clark Kellogg and they do a good work. Even though it feels repetitive at times, it’s much better than NBA Live’s commentary. Oh...and if you read the Draft Combine review...I must warn you, the annoying NBA Insider that curiously looks and sounds like Stephen A. Smith is back. Thankfully, you can turn that option off. I wish ESPN had that mute option for the real Stephen...no hard feelings!
Finally, I’ve always been a fan of the NBA 2K soundtracks and this year it doesn’t disappoint. The mix of independent groups and well-known artists brings an interesting flavour to the game.
Choosing NBA 2K10 over another NBA game will depend of your style of play. Those who crave for authenticity will definitely find their answer here. If you play the run and gun game tempo, pushing the ball up and down in order to score as much points as possible and not care for the rest, you won’t find any enjoyment here. I mean, you can run like a headless chicken and fool around but it will certainly have a different outcome. NBA 2K games require your total attention and focus to master it. This doesn’t mean that newcomers won’t have a blast but you have to be ready to accept the learning curve that comes with it.
Even though NBA Today and My Player are noteworthy additions to the franchise and the quick changes to the gameplay mechanics bring more authenticity, NBA 2K10 won’t make history or known as the game that re-invented basketball games. It did improved and that’s all we want. It’s pretty obvious that Visual Concepts doesn’t want to piss off their core audience by introducing a whole new way to play the game every year or so and that’s fine with me. If the game needed to change directions because of flawed gameplay, I would understand but its definitely not the case here. NBA 2K10 is a bit more complex than NBA LIVE 10 but if you are looking for the game that is closest to the real sport, you will certainly be pleased by this new version.
In spite of NBA LIVE finally going on the right direction, it looks like the pressure is now on 2K’s camp. We’ll see what happens.
+ Great textures, player models and lighting
+ Crowd and arena ambiance
+ My Player mode is very interesting...
- Expanded play-calling system needs tuning
- Some Online modes, especially 5 vs 5 mode, have issues
- That 2K Insider guy...
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Release Date : 2009/10/06
System : Xbox 360
Publisher : 2K Sports
Developer : Visual Concepts
Category : Sports
ESRB : E
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
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8.7 / 10