What happens when a seasoned pro and a plucky young rookie combine to take on one of the biggest sport franchises on the planet? Well we wondered the same thing so we handed Matt, a Veteran of over 5 NBA2k games, and Jenn, a new starter to the franchise, a copy of NBA 2K16 and said have at it! Below is the result of this mad science experiment.
PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360
Matt: So another year and another NBA title. Boy do I love this franchise. For me it has been the premier sports series for quite sometime (sorry FIFA fans) and it gives the perfect recreation of a sport that I love. Needless to say I was very excited to find out about what this year’s entry brought to the table. What about you Jenn?
Jenn: As someone whose entire history of sports games starts and ends with Fifa ‘98, I was interested to see how industry had changed in eight years… and oh man has it changed! There are players that actually look like the people they are meant to- and did you know the game can scan your face now to put you in the game? Wow!
Matt: Well sort of put your face in the game, the results are always closer to some sort of Frankensteinesque monster than real life. Speaking of playing as yourself the highlight for me every year is the story mode. This year 2k have gone out and hired Spike Lee to write and direct the story mode. Sadly the story is quite schlocky with some hamfisted moments that fail to bring out any emotion. I actually found it to be getting in the way of actually having fun playing basketball. Luckily the story ends after about 12 games and from there it is the tradition superstar mode where I had to manage sponsorships, game time, contracts and all the other stuff that comes with be a pro baller. It is where I spent 90% of my time with the game and will keep coming back to it until next year’s release.
Jenn: Wading through schlocky story mode jokes and plot points was actually pretty entertaining to me- I found it took me back to my days of WWE story mode, which I played to death as a kid. The only difference being that now I am old enough to understand just how average the writing really is. The character I made to experience story mode was Billy McBasketball, a young hot shot who wanted nothing more than to rise to basketball stardom… sadly, this will never happen for Billy, because the controls are so freaking hard to understand. The tutorial was narrated by basketballers- which is a ncie touch if you have any idea who these people are, but to me it was just a bunch of men mumbling controls to me that I didn’t understand. Hence, the dreams of Billy McBasketball were dashed to shit.
Matt: Well to be fair you can hardly blame the game for you not knowing anything about basketball. But in all seriousness there is a steep learning curve to this game that may be a brick wall for some. I think it is worth it to stick it out though because once the basics are grasped a whole world of fun opens up. This year I noticed a big improvement in the AI as well, especially in defence. No more easy lay ups for me, I had to work for every point. I can see why this would also be frustrating to a newcomer, perhaps an easier difficulty level would assist. What do you think Jenn?
Jenn: I definitely think this is a game for the fans, and not for someone who is hoping to break into the title for the first time. Granted, I’m not exactly the target audience, but I believe any game should be able to be picked up by a rookie and learned easily- after all, games are for everyone. I did not find that with NBA 2K16 at all; the whole time I couldn’t shake the feeling that noobs and newcomers were not being catered for. However I appreciate that the mechanics that make this game difficult for me probably serve to increase the authenticity for people who actually know what is going on.
Matt: I can certainly attest to that. I think this is going to be a problem for any sport “simulation”. There are titles such as NBA Jam which offer basketball for everyone but if a game is going to be trying to replicate real life it is inherently going to be complicated, especially in a team sport such as this. However as a lover of basketball and sport games in general I certainly appreciate the depth and attempt at realism. It adds to the longevity of the game as well as giving a true experience for the fan. So I guess it comes down your stance on Basketball as a sport. But regardless of your love for the bouncing ball it is hard to deny how well put together this game is with an enormous amount of high quality content. So I guess we should wrap things up. Final thoughts?
Jenn: NBA 2K16 is a very pretty game that I will never be able to master. Put a basketball in my hand in real life and I can dribble it around for about two seconds, but sit me down in front of this game and I am useless from the get go. For fans of the sport however, I see this as the wet dream of basketball games. It’s narrated by some big name stars, the story mode is written by Spike Lee, and the meticulously thought out AI and control scheme make it as close to playing the sport as sitting on the couch with a controller could possibly be. However, for an uncoordinated sports noob like me it’s minutes upon minutes of “WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING”.
Matt: I can see that but at the same time this is the sort of game that rewards effort put in. Kind of like Dark Souls in that you find yourself getting smashed repeatedly until all of a sudden it just clicks. The NBA 2k games are always high quality packages though and 2K16 is no different. If sports games are your thing then as far as I am concerned this is the premier sports simulation available.