NCAA Basketball 2K3

Review

posted 3/22/2003 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: PS2
The game doesn’t feature enough fouls though and you’ll end up with a lot of your starters staying in the game. Unlike the NBA, the bench plays an important role in college basketball but with the lack of fouls the bench does almost become a non-factor.

The transition game does need a little work as fast breaks seem to always get broken up with the defense getting back to the basket way too fast. During periods when I knew I should have a good 3 on 2 or 3 on 1 fast break I would find the CPU getting back into position too easily. As it is now, you probably won’t get to execute many fast break opportunities successfully.

Along those lines, driving to the basket is rather tough. Any little bump will usually stop the player dead in his tracks. In a way this is a positive as it prevents the arcade-ish like scoring of dunks and lay-ups that plagues EA’s games. This alone keeps the scoring to a respectable level.

The defense in NCAA 2K3 is one of the more challenging and realistic defense in a college basketball game. You’ll see players switching to cover the weak side or an unguarded player. The CPU will switch up defenses and fighting past the full court press takes some patience and skill, as you won’t be able to use the turbo and cross over button to drive past the defenders. Also passes will be batted down or stolen if you’re not careful and carelessly pass the rock around.

Speaking of passes, NCAA 2K3 lacks icon passing, which I really used a lot in other basketball games. Using the right analog stick to pass just doesn’t really cut it as you don’t have that specific control of which player you want the ball to try to go to. As it is, the passing is adequate but the game really should’ve included icon passing in the package.(EDIT) A reader was kind enough to point out that there is icon passing by switching the control scheme. This made it a lot easier for me to pass the ball around giving me greater control. Thanks to zrrgin for pointing that fact out to me.

Graphically, the game is a mixed bag. While it’s not the most detailed basketball game out there, NCAA 2K3’s graphics are above average. The player models are ok and do offer a nice contrast with different heights and weights of different players.

The arenas are where this game really shines as Visual Concepts has gone to great lengths to mimic the actual look of the floor. You’ll recognize a lot of the more televised arenas but some do have some minor errors. Nevertheless the court reproduction is top notch.
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