Despite weathering a storm from the return of the NBA Live series last year, the NBA 2K games persevered and showed again why they’re the king of the court. Now, back for another spin this year, NBA 2K15 promises to be the most realistic basketball experience yet.
Release Date: Oct 7, 2014
Rating: E for Everyone
As a 20+ year sports gamer, the NBA 2K series excites me like none other, and this is coming from a jaded basketball fan who told the NBA to buzz off when the Grizzlies left Vancouver (and again when the Supersonics left Seattle.) The reason why is because the game has a unique way of captivating and capturing the true essence and presentation of the sport as though you were watching it on TV. Few sports games out there make you feel like you’re part of an overall experience rather than just playing a video game based on the sport. Some of the last gen’s football games (both Madden and NCAA) were getting there near the end. The NHL series is starting to get there, and perhaps only the WWE games come as close right now. For years now, the NBA 2K games have been a phenomenal showcase of basketball presentation as well as being great games to play.
This year’s games pushes the experience more than ever, playing in a very fluid, very realistic looking 60fps. While the past games have really tried to capture the players, this one pushes it a bit further. The player builds look phenomenal in this game. You can pretty well see the lights shining off Manu Ginobli’s perfectly captured bald spot as he drives the hoop. Gameplay is never an issue with the NBA 2K games. The overall game is well crafted, and at worst, you might be hampered by the fact that there are so many controls. These, if you are coming off the street WILL honestly take a few games and a couple hours to pick up, but if you’re already into this series for the long haul, you can simply pick up 2K15 and take it from where you left off. The games always have a pretty steep learning curve for novice gamers, but what sports game nowadays doesn’t have that? The soundtrack this year is powered by Pharrell Williams and is full of one of the strangest, most eclectic offerings in series history. Video game mainstays like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Santigold are joined by the likes of No Doubt (Tragic Kingdom-era) and Depeche Mode. You wouldn’t think Personal Jesus works in a basketball game, but it somehow does.
One of the things that has always made the game that much more fun is its attention to detail. It’s the little things like Lebron James throwing powder in the air during the pre-game festivities, or notorious whiners whining when fouled that add that much more to the game, and it’s all in NBA 2K15. The first time I fouled Kobe Bryant and he made a big stink, I had to pause the game because I was both laughing and amazed. The game has previously captured such things as player stances and dribbles, and things like post-foul dramatics make it that much neater.
This year’s Be a Pro brings you into the game almost literally. Using your console’s camera device, you can capture your face to almost accurate precision (as long as you stay still of course.) These were features that, to be fair, EA was trying to implement into their games with Kinect last gen, but it wasn’t a system that used enough reference points. As a result, it had trouble looking past things like facial hair, and your characters would sooner end up with no chin because it couldn’t capture around goatees and beards. NBA 2K15’s system uses a ridiculous number of reference capturing points to (hopefully) bring you within the game without much hassle.
As expected, previous gameplay modes make a return, with one great new feature exclusively for the Next Gen consoles – MyLeague. This is like the fixture “The Association” mode but it takes things a step further. You can play up to EIGHTY franchise seasons in this mode, ranging from 14 to 82 game seasons. It’s fully customizable, and you can control the fate of one, or all 30 teams in your league, which you can set up as you see fit. If you’re still gaming on an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, don’t feel too left out – You exclusively get Crew Mode back after a 4 year hiatus (shown below,) so get your created player up to speed and head online to create a team with your buddies!
Right now, it appears that next gen online gamers may have troubles again with the game, as there have been reports of broken servers and trouble loading online games. However, offline players will have no problem easing into the game and jumping into what could be the better basketball game again this year. However, with NBA Live 15 due out by the end of the month, we’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, the NBA 2K series always brings it, and this year is no exception.
Bonus Article: My day with NBA 2K15 and the Toronto Raptors
NBA 2K15 is now available for the following consoles