NBA 2K10 is a great progression from the previous iterations of the series. From the outset, it is apparent that 2K Sports have set out to make the most accurate simulation of the sport of basketball.
The graphics of the 2K series have been one of the high points of basketball video games for the last 5 years, and this year is no exception. Player models are the closest to their true NBA counterparts as I have seen in all my gaming years. Are they perfect? No...But they are damn close. Take a look at Luke Walton (Lakers) or Mike Miller (Wizards) and it is easy to see that 2K spent effort in creating their character models to best reflect the entire of NBA family of players. Also, they have finally addressed one of the legacy issues that have been around for several years. That is spacing. In pervious games, it felt as though the players just took up too much space on the court. This year, 2K Sports has made the players more accurately scaled on the court...so that space is readily avaliable for some of the best on-court action.
I'll start from the beginning: the game introductions. The high level idea behind the intros was to catch the conclusion or real life player introductions and to show some of the final preparations the players go through before the game starts. The first thing you'll notice after the game loads is that most of the time you will arrive in darkened arena. Each team has its own lighting effects package, from the purple and gold roving spotlights in Staples Center (Lakers) to the greened out hardwood in Boston.
Pre Game Rituals:
I knew going in that I couldn't just do LeBron's powder ritual and call it a day. While it's no doubt the most recognizable signature introduction out there, it's definitly not the only one you'd see when going to an NBA game. I was able to see a couple dozen rituals that were added to the game. D-Wade will do his pull up on the rim. Garnett will hit his head on the basket support. There are many others, adding up to 24 in total. One thing to note, these rituals do not happen every game. If is doing a pre-game ritual we must point the camera at that player 100% of the time. What's even more interesting is seeing LeBron in the background doing his chalk toss even though he's not the focus. No cut scenes in NBA 2K10. The living world is always doing its thing even if we're not throwing a camera at it. The addition of these rituals brings more life to NBA 2K10 and provides yet another signature facet to the game.
Bench Animations And Behaviors:
A couple of days ago I saw players from the opposing bench attempt to distract me as I was trying to shoot a corner 3 in a close game. I completely forgot that this behavior was in there because it's not something you see often. The game has to be at a certain intensity level and you have to have a player who's actually an outside shooting threat in order to proveke the bench into reaching in that manner. Next time you make an on fly substitution, you might notice the coach pull the substituting player to the side to give him a message before he checks in, or notice how your bench guys stand up and look nervous in a close game or how they react to a big dunk.
Speaking of on-court, this is where NBA 2K10 really shines. For those who love the sport of basketball, we all know that there are two types of games...the run and gun and high speed transition, and the half-court and play focused styles. The great thing about this game is its inherent ability to provide BOTH styles. However, you have got to pick the right team. Players and teams really play like the teams that they represent in reality. Also, player statistics are kept realistic by the NBA Today, which tracks games from day to day and keeps players in tune with their real world performance. Plus, it gives the days matchup's right at the load up screen. This brings me to my next point.
This years game menus have been tweaked. If you played the NBA Combine DLC or demo, then you know what to expect. It is a much more intuitive system then what was sone in the past and it makes it easier to navigate the munu options. Speaking of options, there are tons. You can have the NBA Today games, each already preselected and playable alone or with the find a friend online option. You can go to the practice arena for a scrimmage game, to practice plays, go it alone with Freestyle, or practice Free Throws. You can go to the playground and do the 3 point competition. Slam Dunk competition, or have a pick up game with the current NBA players or the Greats from all ages. (which includes 1-5 player matchups and 21) The final option is My Player mode.
My Player mode:
This mode casts you as an NBA upstart. You create a player, go to the NBA Combine and hone your skills, and take a run at the NBA. This mode is fun, but frustrating. It is fun because you are playing the essence of basketball. Because your player is NOT a superstar, you will not start out as a high flying, 3 point dropping juggernaut of a player. In fact, you will probably more accurately represent the Average Joe that you truly are. However, with some work on your skills and a few matches under your belt you will start to take form as a true NBA player. The frustration comes with the fact that you will be nit picked to death for mistakes. One bad pass, one bad call for the ball or one bad shot could cost you in the grading system that determines those upgrade points that will make you the NBA player that you are striving to be.
Okay...so by now you can tell that NBA 2K10 is a great game from a great franchise right? So, is it perfect? NOPE!!! The problems with 2K10 are mostly legacy issues. The out of bounds dive is still almost useless. The alley-oops are too easy to do. There are still problems with players shooting from the baseline and near the basket or even going behind the basket for no reason. Refs can glitch and keep passing the ball back and forth to inbounding players *FIXED IN PATCH 1.0*. Dumb computer AI sometimes take the ball back court or out of bounds for no reason. It doesn't really affects YOU, but it DOES affect the overall realism.
IN SUMMATION: NBA 2K10 is NBA basketball...it is beautiful. fluid, constitently great, but it DOES have its flaws.
You can find cheats & achievements for NBA 2K10 here.