NBA 2K9 – Review

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If you are a basketball fan of any kind, you should play 2K9. The developer Visual Concepts has always brought the most excellent b-ball experience to your living room but with 2K9, they have outdone themselves. If you were to walk by someone in the middle of a game of 2K9, you would have to do a double take to make sure you are not watching a real NBA broadcast. Not only are the graphics ratcheted up to 1080p, but Visual Concepts has done a magnificent job with the cloth physics and the presentation. After each quarter of play, the highlights of the quarter are shown using 2K’s excellent VIP recorder giving the user’s authentic highlights of what has happened in the game so far.

While the presentation is nice, the on the court action is the biggest improvement this year as the game’s AI has drastically improved. Without calling plays, players will come of screens, attempt to get open, and set picks all without direction from the player, but the game still gives you the options to call plays and direct players on the fly. 2K9 added new animations to the offensive side of that ball as well which really add to the realism. Players like Dwayne Wade drive to the basket and collide with defenders in mid air then fall to the floor sometimes making that acrobatic, ESPN Top Plays, shot that was absent in games past. On defense, 2K9 has really balanced the game. Players like Shaq can’t guard Chris Paul or other fast guards on the perimeter and Kobe Bryant can’t dunk on 4 players from the free throw line nearly as much as he could in 2K8. Players will step into the lane and take charges and deliver hard fouls to prevent easy baskets.

The online runs well if you have a good connection and, while I’m not personally a big fan, 5 on 5 games add something to an already strong online experience. The Association mode is better than ever with a flashy home screen, a ton of useless stats, and smart computer AI that makes sure you’re not the only one making mid-season moves. NBA 2K9 has surpassed it’s predecessor in pretty much every way but its still not perfect. The game has a steep learning curve even for veterans to the series which is a ray of sunshine for some but makes it harder for novice players to pick up and play. The announce team has change for the worse as Clark Kellog and Cheryl Miller join the team and Kenny Smith moves to a different channel. Kellog fresh off of being laid off of College Basketball 2K (because of the exclusivity deal with EA) repeats 75 percent of Kenny’s lines from 2K8 with only 10 percent of the effectiveness. Sheryl Miller, the sideline reporter, is fine as long as she is not saying the Knicks have started well with a 5 and 13 record. On the gameplay side of things, the complex controls lead to occasional turnovers as player will run backcourt or out of bounds instead of that behind the back crossover you swore you input. 2K9 is the best basketball game on the market and arguably the best sports title. If you like basketball you should buy this game.

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