For all those ballers out there Sega Sports has
released yet another basketball title. But does this latest entry live
up to the series' excellent past?
Nothing beats playing a little round ball with the boys.
Whether it's shooting hoops in the backyard or slamming against sweaty
bodies, fighting for a much-needed rebound, basketball is one hell of
a good time. Ever since the conception of sports based video games, the
basketball sub-category has been one of the most difficult game to master.
If there's one series that has continuously come through in the past
few years your mind should immediately jump to Sega's NBA 2K series.
But will the series be able to make the transition from the beleaguered
Dreamcast to the monstrous Xbox? What do you think?
The game plays out exactly like a real NBA game would.
Players react accordingly to specific situations and coaches call appropriate
plays and well timed timeouts. The gameplay of the game is by far the
greatest ever conceived. Offensive and defensive plays can both be called
on the fly by using the right analog stick and Sega has even put in the
necessary time to add zone defense into the fray. Now you'll be able
to combat the ferocious offense of your opponents with a 2-3, 1-3-1,
or a 3-2 zone, or you can just go with the standard man-to-man.
Team specific offensive plays are also available for
you to call on your way down the court. The Lakers run their standard
triangle offense and the Jazz perform the classic pick-and-roll combination
perfectly. The option to apply different types of pressure to specific
players (either tight, loose, or normal) is also available, as is the
option to double-team a major scoring threat. You have the ability to
call for a pick to get open from a suffocating defender and to commit
an intentional foul to stop the clock in a close game. If you could envision
a game with all the imaginable options within the actual game, then you
can imagine what NBA 2K2 is.
The controls of NBA 2K2 serve their purpose quite well
and offer for an extremely high level of playability. The standard formula
of pass, juke, icon passing, and shooting is allotted to the A, B, Y,
and X buttons respectively on the offensive side of the ball. For defense
the same buttons are used to switch players, steal the ball, switch the
closest man to the basket (which can be used to block a man driving to
the hoop), and jump for a rebound or to block a shot. The black and white
buttons are used to pass to the closest man to the basket and to call
for a screen on offense, and on defense are used to cause an intentional
foul to stop the clock in clutch situations and to call for a double
team on a scoring threat. The L and R triggers are used to face up and
sprint on defense, and to back down and spring on offense (more on posting
The game modes in 2K2 are fairly standard to the rest
of basketball crowd on the Xbox featuring Season, Practice, Tourney,
Exhibition, and Fantasy. However, thanks to two notable additions NBA
2K2 soars high above its competition. What might these additions be you
ask? Why, Franchise and Street of course.
We'll begin with the Franchise Mode, which allows for
the same level of depth and enjoyment of any of today's football games.
You'll get to play through multiple seasons with your favorite squad
of ballers and then draft a new set of rooks to take their place as they
The second worthy addition to an already stellar package
is the Street Mode which allows you to choose 2-on-2, 3-on-3, 4-on-4,
or the tradition method of 5-on-5. You then have the option of choosing
a venue of play, which range from a standard park to a practice center.
Basically the mode provides a fun environment for you to talk some major
smack, away from the eyes of forty thousand screaming fans and allows
you to get down to the heart of basketball, handing out a good ole fashioned
The artificial intelligence featured in Sega's newest
basketball title is quite possibly the greatest ever seen in a basketball
game. A new addition to this year's entry comes in the form of shot disruption.
Let's say that a player is driving to the hoop and jumps in an effort
to make a right-handed lay-up when suddenly out nowhere a hulking center
comes to block the shot. In NBA 2K2 the player will try to switch to
the left hand or do some acrobatic aerial move to dodge the block which
turns out to be visually pleasing and quite unpredictable. Other nice
additions appear in defensive rotations, something that has been absent
from every basketball game that I've ever played. Centers will rotate
over to stop players driving to the basket after your point guard has
been schooled. The pick and roll also works to a lesser degree of success
thanks to the defensive switching that now occurs.
Graphically NBA 2K2 is slightly over shadowed by the
categories of the game. The visuals are somewhat blocky when compared
to the smooth textures and player models featured in Inside Drive. The
stadiums are nicely detailed with flashy lights and solid court graphics.
My only complaint with regard to stadium details lies in the reflections?
Since when can you see a player's reflection on the court? Are they that
shiny? I don't think so.
The crowd in the game hurts the graphics spectacle a
bit. The members of the crowd appear very blocky and apparently all have
the exact same wardrobe as every third person or so is wearing the same
outfit. The motions of the crowd are also fairly uniform, every so often
arms will fly into the air but they are all a bit too uniform to be considered
The audio portion of the game is another stifling aspect
of the overall performance. The announcers of NBA 2K2 stray away from
the excellence of NFL 2K2 (they stray very far away). For some reason
the announcers don't recognize free throws as points. After the opposition
makes two free throws the announcers will still blurt out something to
the effect of, "They're on a 8-0 run here" (in reference to the team
who now has the ball). The crowd and sound effects perform adequately
but the repetitiveness and inaccurateness of the announcers is unacceptable
for such an excellent game.
Multiplayer in NBA 2K2 centers on you kicking the snot
out of your buddies in any of the game's many modes. You and three of
your buddies can play against or with each other on any team in the league,
or you can take part in (my personal favorite) the Street Mode, which
is always good for a laugh.
Customization in the game is definitely a strong point
of the title. You can create your own team along with your own players.
Depth of the player customization goes as deep as any other title, it
features the standard options of player attributes along with the added
visual touched such as knee braces and facial hair. The only shortcoming
that I was able to find in this portion of the game is the inability
to import your created team into a franchise; instead you are limited
to only one season.
Overall NBA 2K2 is by far the best basketball game available
on the Xbox. If you already have the first two Xbox b-ball games, this
title is still worth picking up just so you know what you wasted your
money on. Sure, the game stumbles a bit in the audio and visual department
but that isn't what gaming is all about. What really matters is the fun
factor of the game and that is where NBA 2K2 delivers above any other.
Tried rebounding in baseball and was thrown out of the game.
Sega delivers in a huge way with NBA 2K2. If there are
any ballers out there who have played the first two basketball
titles out for the Xbox, it's definitely worth 50 bucks
to run out and pick up this exquisite title.