NBA 2K10

November 16, 2009

The NBA 2K series is known for touting new features with each iteration giving players more reason than a roster update to pick up the current year’s title, and NBA 2K10 is no different. This year’s new gameplay features are My Player and NBA Today. Both are great additions for basketball fans, and both make you feel even more like a part of the NBA.

NBA 2K10’s My Player feature allows you to start a new player in the summer league, work on his skills, and eventually rise up through the various amateur and semi-pro leagues until you’ve created an NBA superstar. This is a long game mode, but the reward is great, and you’ll really get attached to your custom player as you hone his skills and advance through the ranks. For those of you who just want to play as the current year’s teams and players the My Player feature is completely optional, and 2K’s Living Roster will keep you constantly up-to-date. This is a wonderful addition to the series, and what’s even better is that 2K is providing this feature for free. Along with constantly updated rosters and stats, 2K is also introducing NBA Today. NBA Today allows you to play and view recent stats for the day’s scheduled NBA games. This is a great interactive way to keep track of the season and potentially alter the outcome of the day’s games in your favor.

NBA 2K10 does take a few missteps though, and none of them seem to make any sense. Dribbling controls have changed again, the timing for perfect shot is much shorter than in years past so you need to release the ball far before the apex of your jump,  and the right stick can’t be used for defense anymore even though it felt like a great extension of the shock stick functionality. On top of that, coaching settings like rotation changes and substitution methods, despite flashing up a save notification, don’t actually save to your profile. It is absolutely maddening to alter these settings every time the game is played, and I can’t believe that nobody caught this in testing.

NBA 2K10 excels where it always has though – in graphics. From across the room NBA 2K10 looks like a live basketball game. Character models are detailed, and player motions are accurate down to Steve Nash licking his fingers. You can really tell that the folks at 2K are writing love letters to basketball and not just slapping a fresh coat of paint on last year’s game to cash another paycheck. Sound is also top-notch with great commentary in the booth by Harlan and Kellogg who sound natural with one another and special event-specific lines (Halloween, in particular, prompted a unique line).

NBA 2K10 should be played online for a good long time as well with support for 10-player multiplayer over Xbox Live. Having five human players working together on the same team against five human players on the other team brings back memories of 2 on 2 games of NBA Jam on my Sega Genesis, and it’s just as much fun now to play with and against real people as it was then. NBA 2K10 isn’t perfect, but it makes great strides, and returning players will get used to the new controls. And when they do, they’re in for a treat when the take the game online.

Plays Like: NBA 2K9
: 5v5 online play, great audio and visual fidelity
Cons: Seemingly random control changes, no right stick for defense
ESRB: E – if they’re allowed to watch NBA on TV then 2K10 is perfectly appropriate

Score: 4/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.