NBA 2K15

NBA 2K15

The NBA 2K basketball simulation series has won accolades every year for a long time.

NBA 2K14 was named Editor's Choice for Best Sports/Racing Game in this year's Digital Life Awards.

Will NBA 2K15 retain the crown?

When you start this game, it feels familiar and new at the same time. You can play any NBA team through a season in MyLeague mode.

If you want more control, you can take over your favourite NBA team as the general manager in MyGM mode. Just think of it as Football Manager but in an NBA setting.

As general manager, you will request trades, deal with players and fend off the media.

There is also the MyTeam mode, which is like Fifa's Ultimate Team.

You start with a group of players from a pack of cards. But instead of buying new packs, you can now buy and sell players through auctions. The fun part of MyTeam mode is that you can have Michael Jordan and LeBron James on the same team.

But the best mode to play in an NBA 2K game, in my opinion, is MyCareer mode, where you play as only one player in a team.

Unlike in previous games where you start out as a rookie drafted into an NBA team, here you are an undrafted player looking for teams willing to give you a shot. So, you could go from working on a 10-day contract to becoming the NBA's latest superstar.

This mode plays like a movie about your agent trying to get you a team. I managed to get a stint with the Phoenix Suns and started playing regularly. A senior player - Markieff Morris, in my case - will mentor you along the way.

To start off, you must first create your in-game avatar. If you play the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One versions, you can use the PlayStation Camera or Kinect camera to scan your face for the in-game avatar.

Unfortunately for me, no matter how many times I had my face scanned, I looked like a Roswell alien with an enormous head and a tiny face. I gave up and chose a customised preset face for my avatar.

The graphics - never mind my Roswell alien - are realistic and absolutely gorgeous. From the players' tattoos to their jerseys flapping in motion, everything is beautifully and authentically reproduced. You can even see the spectators waving face placards of their players.

The game is presented like a TV broadcast and the commentary is top-notch.

One of the commentators is Steve Kerr, who became head coach of the Golden State Warriors in May. So it feels a bit weird to see him sitting courtside while, at the same time, listening to his voice in the game commentary.

On the upside, NBA 2K15 is said to have more than 6,000 new on-court animations with new defensive artificial intelligence (AI) and shooting systems.

If you played earlier NBA 2K games, the shooting mechanics remain the same. You still use the right stick of the console controller to control the shot meter; and the left, for movement directions.

Players' twists and turns to the basket look more natural and fluid than before. You have more ways to fake and fire your jumper.

On the flip side, better computer AI means that your opponents have a higher chance of stealing your passes or blocking your shots.

The major downer of this game is the server connection. It has a knack of shutting down in mid-game when you are in MyCareer mode.

The worst connection is in MyPark mode, where you play your avatar against other real-life avatars (instead of computer AI) in three-on-three or five-on-five format.

The lag is so bad that by the time you attempt a block, your opponent has already made a slam dunk.

Other than server issues, the NBA 2K15 remains the ultimate basketball simulation game in the market.

trevtan@sph.com.sg

Rating: 9/10

$59.90 (PC), $75.90 (PS3), $79.90 (PS4), $75.90 (Xbox 360), $79.90 (Xbox One, version tested)

Sports


This article was first published on Nov 12, 2014.
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