The NBA 2K series is back and bigger and slightly better than ever, but don’t expect a massive overhaul in terms of gameplay.
The old credo, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” has never been truer when it comes to the “NBA 2K” series. Although the visuals are improved, with thousands of new noticeable animations and smoother-looking character models, awesome hair and cloth textures, as well as more individual tattoos and the addition of mouth guards, the core gameplay in “NBA 2K16” is still relatively the same. Luckily for 2K Sports, even in its semi-improved state, “NBA 2K16” still a fantastic game and one that is better than any of its competitors.
However, it takes a little bit more time to grow on you than its predecessors for the simple fact that it feels like a game you’ve played before, because well, you kind of have. The core gameplay hasn’t changed much at all and it’s both a positive and a detriment. On one hand, it would have been nice to see new gameplay elements added, but truth be told, “NBA 2K15” was one of the best games of 2014, so why change much? Because of this, those who haven’t played the game on a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One won’t mind and will quickly jump all into the series, while series aficionados will feel a bit jipped, at first.
Luckily, the new MyCareer mode makes up for the lack of gameplay innovation. While the mode is labeled completely wrong, it’s a great way to kill hours of time. Immersive and fun, even in spite of Spike Lee’s often cliche story, the production values and polish is there. Simply put, you’ve never experienced a story mode in a sports video game quite like this. While we’d love to have a conversation with Lee and 2K about certain elements and creative choices, as well as your inability to control certain elements of your character, it does a majority of things right. At the same time, while there’s more to do and experience than last year’s MyCareer, but it won’t feel like “your” career.
In terms of other gameplay modes, although the 2K online servers were not available yet for us to experience how the game plays online, “NBA 2K16” is still the type of title with the amount of content that can make any gamer feel like they’ve got a bargain. Add in a rich soundtrack from DJ Premier, DJ Mustard, and DJ Khaled and at times you can get lost in the game’s environment. It’s that rich.
In the end, although not much has changed in terms of core gameplay, the added depth of the new MYCareer, as well as the deep MyTeam and MyGM modes, as well as the additional online modes create a dynamic basketball experience not available anywhere else. Simply put, if you loved “NBA 2K15,” “NBA 2K16” is a better game with tons of small touches that will make you happy, but not overjoyed. If you’ve never experience a 2K basketball game on a PlayStation 4or Xbox One however, you’ll about to fall in love.
Easier Navigation Menus: It was too hard to get to where you needed last year and everything is streamlined and easy to find.
Improved Visuals: The hair and cloth textures look fantastic and there’s plenty of new animations to feast your eyes on.
A Ton of Modes: As always, there’s plenty to experience. So much that most gamers will find it impossible to experience it all.
Deeper MyCareer: Frequency Vibrations’ story is immersive and full of intrigue. With more to do and better production values, it’s a welcomed addition to the series, even if it’s a huge change in the creative direction of the mode.
Doesn’t “Feel” Too Different From Last Year: While the visuals and several small things like the Real Voice have been polished, the game engine hasn’t been changed enough for you to feel it’s improved. Although it’s always been the series’ strength, there are far few “new” updates.
MyCareer It Is Not: It’s one of deepest and immersive stories in a basketball game wet and absolutely grows on you the more you play. But it is not your career. You’re just along for the ride.
Clunky A.I.: There were far too many occasions where the NPCs stepped out of bounds or committed backcourt violations when they shouldn’t have.
“NBA 2K16” is still the sexiest basketball series in gaming, but it hasn’t made the jump in progress that the Live series has this year. It’s never easy to be the king, but away from new modes, the core gameplay feels extremely similar. Hardcore fans will love all the new content, but with a host of small bugs, the game needs a quick and dirty patch before it’s as polished as it should be.