NBA 2K16 Review

If you like basketball and the NBA, you’ll love NBA 2K16.

By RON, Posted 06 Aug 2016

For all basketball fans out there, the newest title in the NBA series is a welcomed addition, not only because of the expected graphic improvements and refined gameplay, but because the people behind the game managed to create a deeper game overall and a far better experience for all players, despite their involvement in previous iterations of the franchise. This is the best an NBA title has ever looked, felt, and played,   and we couldn’t be more excited about it.

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The most notorious addition to this new entry is the presence of legendary director, Spike Lee. Fan-favourite game mode, MyCareer, had Spike Lee directing and writing its first part, simply called “Livin’ Da Dream”. In this game mode, you’ll take on the role of Frequency Vibrations, aka Freq, a new, promising basketball star. You’ll follow a documentary-style family drama in which Freq’s future is outlined. Everything, from High School and College years, a ubiquitous close friend, a twin sister and a sassy manager can be found in this story-driven portion of the single-player campaign. However interesting this may sound, the final result falls short from what it could’ve been. Dialogue feels ill written and corny at times; the illusion of decision and freedom is there, but, in the end, the game is designed to be pretty straight forward, so you’ll feel your decisions don’t really matter; and, even if the voice acting is superb, the single player campaign falls flat at the end . This could be a big let-down for many, but let’s take into consideration that this is, in fact, a great improvement over the classic MyCareer. After finishing the narrative delivered by Spike Lee, the game rises once again and MyCareer plays beautifully. Whereas only seven or so games are played during the rookie years, once you are drafted in an NBA team, you’ll get to manage and play an entire year with the team, alternating regular games with off-days, in which you can improve your public image, sign deals with sponsors and train with your team.

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Perhaps the one missing thing from MyCareer is an actual introduction to the game’s mechanics. The lack of an actual tutorial can represent an entry barrier for those unfamiliar with the series. The video tutorials, presented by the cover athletes, show some of these characteristics, but don’t fully help with grasping the complexity of the game and the way it’s played. Despite all that, this is, without a doubt, the best this game mode has ever been, all things considered.

Next comes MyTeam, the card-collecting game mode in which you’ll crate your own team by means of boost packs and challenges. It is in this game mode where microtransactions are strongly present. The game makes it very tempting for you to spend some real money on VC, virtual currency, so you can get the best team for your time. However, if you manage to resist the temptation, the game is very rewarding by itself. Actually, the way your character in MyCarreer is paid is with VC. The other way to get better additions to your deck is by the means of challenges, which, after completion, will award you some goodies. Then again, you can always cut some corners by investing hard earned dollars in the game’s virtual store, in which you’ll also be able to purchase some vanity items for your character’s customization.

Speaking of customization, My League and MyGM are back, for all management fans. This full-on management sim is actually pretty good by itself. You can create your own franchise and customize it in almost every way possible, including a complete rebranding with an unparalleled set of options. You can either attend to the day-to-day activities of the team and the league while steering the wheel of the franchise or, if you want to, you can create your own league by inviting other 28 real players into it and playing a full season. This is pretty incredible if you consider the level of depth reached by making players turn fantasy basketball into something far more tangible.

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Now, for the online part of the game, Play Now and MyPark are there for everyone willing to face other real players on the court. The amount of possibilities here seems almost limitless, as you can pit an entire team of real players against each other or even a full team of created characters. It is up to you what options you choose in this basketball extravaganza, whether you prefer to manage and watch from afar or to actually be involved in the game and sweat the shirt. There are, however, connectivity issues so severe at times that deems almost unnecessary all the effort made to perfect a character and its stats. Connectivity issues can strike huge damage to things like fps, lag and even glitching shots and plays. This can be a major issue, not only because of how annoying it can be, but because it overshadows the improvements made gameplay-wise.

Gameplay-wise, NBA 2K16 plays like a dream. The game system has been fully tweaked so players can actually feel a natural movement and ball handling every step of the way. You can rely on things like how the ball bounces off of the floor, the way characters pass a ball and how efficiently they can do it. Actually, there are more and better pass options, like the back pass, which will make you feel as if technique matters. Mannerisms particular to every player are also present, as well as a far better body-scan copy of themselves in the game. This amounts to more realism and can, at times, be confused with actual footage of a game on TV.

However, even the most skilled players can face a challenge, because of the improvements made to the game’s AI. Not only will the AI respond to the player’s actions with excelling proficiency, but it will learn and effectively create countermeasures to face every single strategy and game style outlined by the player. This feels like a real challenge and something hard core gamers will feel gratitude for; however, this AI knowledge also reaches out to MyCareer mode, so it can be a bit too challenging for new comers and can create an adverse experience for some in this game mode.

 Actually, there may be another flaw to MyCareer. The game feels a bit unrealistic story-wise contrasted with the way you are playing, improving and scoring. Even when you are not at your best and have a poor scoring average, you’ll still be signing deals and facing life-changing decisions as a basketball prodigy. In a few words, the way you behave in the court is not reflected on the way your life appears. You can perform poorly as a player and still be in the same spot in your story as you were actually good. Not to mention the fact that your family will be black by default –and will remain so- even when your character isn’t.

Another great addition to the game, which also amounts to its overall depth is the inclusion of pre, post and mid-game shows, interviews with the players and the colour commentary of the people behind the microphones. With all of this, you can actually feel as if you were living a live NBA game and that is something to be taken into serious consideration. In an era where realism is praised, especially in sports games, which can, and should, be now regarded as sports simulators, realism is of the essence and, in that sense, NBA 2K16 reaches for a new level and sets the bar high for future comers and other sports titles.

The game looks incredible, plays incredible and has something for anyone. Long-time fans of the series will be pleased with the amount of details poured into this new title and the way game designers actually heard them, making a game with the needs and exigencies of the players in mind. There is a lot more to work to be done. For example, online and connectivity issues, a better written narrative and a way to actually make us feel as if it were our story the one we are living and not a prefabricated template on which we only fit., All these things apart, NBA 2K16 is still the best of its category, a must play for any NBA fan, sports game fan and gamers in general.

Perhaps the only thing that could be removed without affecting the game at all would be the microtransactions system. We understand the game studio wants to make a buck out of this, but it feels poor and misplaced. If the game is allowing you to get everything for free, there is no need to pay a premium so you can get these things faster. Microtransactions may be necessary for some type of games or even are there just to grab some nickels and dimes out of mundane stuff like a weapon skin, but if the game is giving you a plethora of customization options and has its own virtual currency, micrtostransactions actually feel like they were only there just in case anyone wants to buy for fun.

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So, there you have it, if you like basketball and the NBA, you’ll love NBA 2K16, available for PS4, Xbox One and PC. This is, truly, a memorable experience for sports games and a welcomed step forward towards the realm of realistic gameplay, realistic graphics and game depth. The game is good, really good, and is something other games could aim to become, at least, in order to be considered as a serious option.

Sarwar Ron, NoobFeed
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General Information

NBA 2K16

95/100

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Mobile
Publisher(s): 2K Sports
Developer(s): Visual Concepts
Genres: Sports
Themes: Competition
Release Date: 2015-09-29

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