The tag line for NBA 2K10 is: “This season you won’t just play the NBA, you’ll take over.” The front of the package states that it’s the number one rated and number one selling NBA video game. This year’s entry marks the tenth anniversary of the franchise. 2K Sports has put a lot into this disk but is it fun?
At first start up, 2K10 automatically loads into a quick game setup. However, it is not a good idea to jump in and learn as you go. There are too many nuances to the default control scheme that make it difficult to pick up and play. Do yourself a favor and read through the practice. Wait, what? 2K10 decides to tell you, via on-screen text, instead of show you how the controls work. They could have just printed that in the manual. While hard to pick up and play, it does adds depth to the game. Every move that a pro would make on the court can be done in game.
Not only is there a control for every move but there is also an animation. This gives the appearance of smooth game play but makes it hard to determine when to press the appropriate buttons. Your selected character might be stuck finishing a move even though you need to him to move. It can be frustrating as it makes the game feel unresponsive or like there is movement lag.
One feature that you‘ll quickly notice as different from many other games is the menu. It allows you to get to just about any screen, game mode, option, or feature from any where in the game. The menu works well for the most part and is nicely executed and organized. Most menu screens will also allow you to see who’s online. NBA 2K10 wants you to play with friends and this year it’s easier than ever. Put together your five man dream team and play together with very little issue. At the press of a button you can grab some friends and shoot some hoops.
Some of the best and worst parts of the game become evident while playing My Player Mode. Choose your play style, appearance, and attributes and work your way through the ranks to an NBA All-Star. Character creation was a game in itself as you’ll be hard pressed to create a character that doesn’t look like a cave man. The player models in the game look pretty solid but for some reason it didn’t translate well into this tool.
As you start out, your stats are astonishingly low. Don’t be surprised when your character has an overall rating of 39 or 40 on a 100 point scale. This makes it difficult to perform at a level necessary to progress. Performing well in practice and in game will net you points that are used to upgrade your player’s abilities. You are told to spend your skill points on the core attributes for your play style and position, but it doesn’t highlight or give any indication what those attributes are.
The NBA 2K Insider is a helpful NPC that gives you guidance and walks you through the process. The amount of help he actually provides becomes redundant and is sometimes just plain incorrect. You’ll earn a performance grade for each game but you’ll find it penalizes you for things you can’t control and rewards you inconsistently. Still, this mode is a must have and is one that you’ll find yourself coming back to again and again.
The Association is another mode offered in NBA 2K10. This is a typical season simulation that gives you control of the coaching and management choices. The options to set up a season are numerous and varied enough to provide an experience tailored to the player. Within this mode, you can select a specific player and try to upgrade their individual stats through drills. The drills are similar to those found in the My Player Mode only much more difficult. The payoff can be big, though, as it could take a mediocre player and transform him into one that gets put on the starting lineup. Sim or play every game; micro manage or let the AI handle strategy and lineups; The Association is executed very well.
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