The progress we've made as a society is truly remarkable. No, this has nothing to do with a black man being voted into the White House (even though that was pretty cool). No, the topic of discussion is far more important than politics - the evolution of basketball video games. Gamers who grew up playing Intellivision Basketball or Double Dribble for Nintendo can vouch for how far basketball video games have come. And at the head of the cusp of basketball game innovation is 2K Sports and their latest instalment of their NBA franchise - NBA 2K9
2K9 does what all good sports franchise games do - they take the best aspects of previous incarnations of their games and improve on them while also adding innovative new features. Anyone who has played a past version of NBA 2K will have no trouble picking this copy up and figuring out the controls right away. However serious players will enjoy some new features regarding the controls. The Shot Stick Advanced feature allows the user to change his player's shot in mid-air, whether to avoid the defense or just be a hot dog. The vast array of post moves available are stunning, challenging the gamer to let their inner big man out. There is also a plethora of off-the-ball controls and Adaptive AI, where your actions change how your virtual teammates and opponents react and move.
Game modes are pretty much what you would expect, with franchise modes, street ball and dunk contests all in the mix. Robust online play is also available with the top gamer at the end of each week being named to Team 2K and, among other prizes, having themselves digitalized and added to the roster of NBA 2K10. For gamers tired of keeping up on real life NBA trades in order to update their game's roster need to fret no more - Living Rosters offers weekly roster updates online for you.
The graphics are stunning enough that you could easily trick onlookers into thinking that they are watching a real game. The players look and move like their real life counterparts (you half expect to be hit with sweat off of a player's brow). Calling the action is Kevin Harlan and Clark Kellogg with Reggie's sister, Cheryl Miller, providing sideline chatter. And 2K Beats provide a nice soundtrack to the game, including joints by the Beastie Boys, The Pharcyde and Santogold.
NBA 2K's title of "#1 rated NBA simulation" doesn't appear to be in jeopardy anytime soon. Time to take the partridge in the pear tree off of your holiday wish list and add NBA 2K9.
Rating: 5 of 6 Stars
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