- Buy the Game
Reviewed by Jason Zingale
t’s been a long time since I’ve dabbled in video basketball, but can you really blame me? Out of all the sports games on the market, basketball tends to be the most frustrating and wildly inconsistent. Part of that has to do with the fluidity of the game itself, and while that was once a major issue, 2K Sports has all but abolished it with the release of “NBA 2K10.” Most critics agree that the game offers the most solid basketball experience yet, but what many have failed to document are the numerous bugs and annoyances that prevent “NBA 2K10” from truly being the best of the best.
The biggest addition to this year’s installment is My Player Mode, which is essentially 2K Sports’ version of EA’s Be a Pro Mode, albeit with a little more depth. Unfortunately, creating a player and taking him through summer camp, the NBA Development League, and eventually into the NBA requires the patience of a saint. For starters, your player earns skill points at an alarmingly slow rate, so even if you’ve completed countless drills and games, he’s still not going to be as good as the average NBA benchwarmer. Moreover, the way in which you’re graded for your performance is ridiculous. Everything you do on the court is judged, expect for scoring. It’s the only thing you’re not rewarded for, so while you won’t earn any points for draining a three-pointer to win the game, you will lose points for missing the exact same shot. It’s completely insane, especially when you’re blamed for things that can’t be prevented, like teammates dropping passes or the man you're guarding scoring on a fast break.
Online play has also received a slight upgrade with the ability to round up friends and build the ultimate Crew using created players or an actual NBA team. You can then face off against other Crews online and battle your way to the top of the leaderboard. Though it’s great in theory, multiplayer is severely dampened by a series of framerate and connectivity issues. It took me two days before a game would even successfully load, and when it finally did, everyone had to suffer through a mild case of lag. Additionally, only the captain of each team can substitute players, so if he isn’t paying attention or just doesn’t care, you’ll be stuck with the same guy the entire game – often with no energy due to the fact that the newly implemented turbo depletes quickly and refills slowly. If you like the idea of playing five-on-five with nine other human-controlled players, it might be worth all the trouble, but most people probably won't even bother.
It doesn’t help that there are lots of other little bugs too. Foul shots are sometimes impossible to take because the camera zooms in on your player’s face; on-screen graphics occasionally remain on the screen when play resumes; and referees will repeatedly check inbound balls to the point where it seems like they’d much rather play catch than watch the game. Obviously, this doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does, it’s hard to believe that anyone could give “NBA 2K10” a glowing review. And yet many critics have, despite the fact that the computer can hit a three-pointer whenever it damn pleases, but you’ll miss simple layups consistently. Granted, the things it does do right (fluid offensive controls, realistic player animations, and up-to-date NBA Today commentary) are executed to a tee, but while “NBA 2K10” is a great showing for basketball fans, it’s still a ways off from matching the quality of every other sports game.