NBA 2K15 Review

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Posted October 14, 2014 by Bryan Boshart in Video Games

NBA 2k15

Developed By: Visual Concepts

Published By: 2K Sports

Available For: PC, PS3, PS4 (reviewed for), Xbox 360, Xbox One

Release Date: October 7th 2014

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Another basketball season is right around the corner, and with that comes another 2K basketball game. This years version, NBA 2k15, is king on the court, but it comes with a few off court issues that hold it back from greatness.

On the court, NBA 2K15 is a nearly exact representation of its sport. Dribbling animations are lifelike and smooth, and crossovers both look and feel natural. Player A.I reacts properly to screens and isn’t easy to abuse. For example, defenders don’t always bite on an immediate pump fake after an offensive rebound, nor do they allow much separation when you move without the ball. The incredible A.I. makes it all the more rewarding when you do manage to streak toward the rim and throw down an earth-shattering dunk.

The biggest addition on the gameplay front is the inclusion of a shot meter. No longer will you have to guess on whether you missed because you released too early or late. This handy meter will quickly help players become much better offensively. Playing defense feels appropriately difficult, and staying in front of an explosive player is just as hard as it should be. Much like the real sport, a good defender has to have quick reactions and timely help from his teammates. Tight controls, fantastic A.I., and the new shot meter are just a taste of what makes the gameplay nearly perfect.

2k15 dunk

The presentation in NBA 2k15 meets the high standard set by the gameplay. Player models are spot on and are nearly indistinguishable from their real-life counterparts, as are the animations which mimic your favorite players down to their pre-game rituals. NBA 2k15 handles all of these graphical pressures exceptionally well and, with a minor exception in MyCareer mode, ran smoothly at sixty frames per second.

The commentary in game is great for the most part, and it’s accurate to the play on the court; however, I found it a bit odd that the commentators were still mentioning my teams’ performance in the previous game near the end of the fourth quarter. It’s also strange that Steve Kerr is still featured in the commentary despite being the Golden State Warriors current coach. In lieu of commentary, NBA 2K15 gives you the option to listen to Pharrell’s soundtrack, which is a good idea in theory, but the limited number of tracks cycle through rather quickly, and the option grows stale. To mitigate the load times, you’re even treated to a fairly accurate pre-game show with Shaq and Ernie.

One of the big features in NBA 2K15 is the revamped MyCareer mode where you’re now given the option to either scan your face in the game or to create it from scratch. It’s usually better to create your face yourself, as the photo versions look awkward. Instead of taking your player in through the draft, you’ll now play as an undrafted rookie who has to work his way onto a team. In MyCareer, you’re given the option to try out for any team, though some teams are harder to make than others. The early games will prove to be some of your most important, and if your performance isn’t up to snuff, you’ll quickly be on the street looking for a job. Leveling up your stats is a little simpler now: Instead of individual stats, you put your experience into categories like “shooting” and “rebounding.” While these take a bit longer to unlock, the stat increases you get are much more noticeable.

NBA 2K15 wants to help your created player succeed. One player on each team is fully voiced and will take your player under his wing. While none of these players should be confused for voice actors, they still help immerse you in the NBA universe. Multiple dialog options between games will help foster (or destroy) the chemistry between you and your teammates. During halftime, you’re coach will break down the first half and lay an accurate gameplan for the second, and paying attention vital as your player will get minutes more quickly if Coach sees you following the plan. Sadly, in this mode there is nothing to distract you from the abhorrent load times that frequently go upwards of thirty seconds. I can’t help but think the game would’ve been better off just letting me stay in shootaround mode while waiting.

Kevin-Durant-NBA-2K15-700x357

Franchise mode is another series staple that’s undergone a few changes, and the offline franchise mode is now better than ever. You’re given multiple options with dialog, and you can even gain experience while you simulate games. My manager was quickly able to secure a playoff spot and skip a few games without having to worry about not advancing my skills. This makes it all the more disappointing that the online franchise nixes not only these improvements, but free agency as well.

If you want to play online, then franchise mode isn’t your only problem. Online servers are basically non-functional. It’s a shame too, because NBA 2K15 has some cool ideas, like the ability to wager virtual currency in a normally friendly match. If you are lucky enough to connect to a match (I was only able to play four at the time of this review), you won’t be able to react to the opposition’s movements thanks to the massive lag.

NBA 2K15 is all but perfect on the court. It has fantastic gameplay with unrivaled realism. MyCareer and Franchise mode are sure to suck up a ton of time from any NBA fan. This game really should be a Hall of Famer, but it’s unplayable servers hold it from greatness. Hopefully in the future 2K sports can turn NBA 2K15 into the game it truly deserves to be.


About the Author

Bryan Boshart

Hey, I'm Bryan. I write video game reviews here at We The Nerdy. In my spare time I mostly play fighting games, but play almost anything.

 
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