The NBA 2K games became the top basketball simulation franchise a few years back and with good reason. The level of detail and realism in the series’ visuals and gameplay is unparalleled by other franchises and with each iteration of NBA 2K the game’s developers seem to improve upon the games while still offering the same level of quality.
‘NBA 2K15‘ is finally upon us and while it has a few hiccups, the game is still an outstanding sports sim. Smooth and gorgeous, NBA 2K15 will fast become the new must-have basketball video game. Just don’t expect to be able to jump online to face off against other ballers just yet.
When you first start NBA 2K15, you’re tasked with logging into your 2K account and creating your character. There are two different ways to create a character: one is by scanning your face with your Kinect sensor (or PlayStation 4 camera) and the other is through manual face sculpting. It took me an almost intolerable time to get a satisfactory result from my Kinect sensor and even then I’m unrecognisable. I suspect the PlayStation camera would yield superior results, due to it being a higher resolution and having two lenses (the Xbox One Kinect is basically the 360’s Kinect, after all). After giving myself a chin and eye lift, I then began my NBA career. ** Hint ** if you are having issues scanning your face, make sure you have good lighting and stick a pice of white paper under you chin to bounce light back on to your face!
NBA 2K15 sees players take charge of their own career by a series of dialogue choices, though you are also graded heavily on how you play actual games. If I’m going to be honest I didn’t really feel any gravity with my decisions, I merely felt like I was watching cut scenes of various characters talking to each other. My character was rude and arrogant and rubbed me the wrong way immediately. This is a basketball game though, and not Mass Effect. I shouldn’t have expected something with depth, I guess.
Now onto the gameplay, which is where NBA 2K15 really shines. 2K has overhauled a great deal of game mechanics with 2K15, making for a much better game and not just a lazy sequel. The movement and ball handling systems are completely new, with players feeling a little weightier and the ball needing just that little bit more precision to pull off a successful shot. If you’re hoping to sprint towards the hoop for an easy dunk, be warned: this new movement system will test you. You will have to read your opponent’s defense and react accordingly if you wish to succeed.
I found it quite challenging but I’m certain that die-hard NBA 2K fans will get used to the new systems in no time.
Visually, NBA 2K15 isn’t a major leap forward like NBA 2K14 (though that was the first NBA2K game on current-gen consoles) but it still looks great. The players move and look almost as they do in real life, the only real slip ups being the cartoon-like behaviour during the game’s career mode cut scenes and close up camera shots. What is very cool about some of these close ups though is that they mirror individual player’s real-life idiosyncrasies, such as Tim Duncan hugging the ball at the start of a game.
I suppose at this point I should mention the game’s soundtrack, which has been curated by Pharrell Williams. The soundtrack is a major improvement over last year’s game, which was put together by LeBron James and executive producer Jay-Z. Pharrell asked a variety of female staff members what songs they would like included in the game in an effort to put together the most eclectic NBA2K soundtrack yet. With tracks like ‘Personal Jesus’ from Depeche Mode and ‘River Styx‘ from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, I think he’s succeeded – and that’s great.
Now despite NBA 2K15 being a very addicting and entertaining single player experience, NBA 2K15 does have a myriad of problems with its online modes, so much so that many people are calling the game “broken”. I know a patch is most likely on the way, but at this point online multiplayer and MyPark are unfortunately unplayable due to a horrid amount of lag. You’re better off playing single player until a patch remedies this.
- Buttery smooth at 60FPS
- New revamped animations and game mechanics are great
- Improved soundtrack
- Lots of lag
- Annoying story mode characters (including your created player)
NBA 2K15 is the finest entry in the series, even with the odd progress-forgetting bug and mutated face scans. Overlook the little annoyances and focus on the gameplay itself and you won’t look back.