NBA 2K15 – Swish three pointer

From the 2K series it was NBA 2K14 that was the first in the series made for next generation consoles. Awesome visuals were presented to us, with lots of modes and functions were added by the developers. It looked better than any other sport games at the time, but we knew they can provides us with more lately down the line with the series shifting to next gen. We can safely say that in NBA 2K15 the graphics fidelity has reached its absolute maximum, furthermore this is the most feature heavy game of the series. There is a mode for everyone, so maybe the most difficult part will be to decide which to pick.

The biggest change is the throw meter, which means that we can try throwing in the basketball from any distance. A small icon highlights the ideal moment to throw the ball to score. If we let the stick go early or too late the icon will turn red and the shot will surely miss. However if we let it go at the right moment then a green icon will show that shot will go in

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This will definitely score!

The specialty of 2K games is learning all of the player’s throw style. In other games learning the throwing is not easy. Luckily the throw meter can be really useful to keep track of each individual player’s style. One of the great examples for this is Shawn Marion, whose play style is really bizarre and thus would be difficult to even memorize when to throw the ball correctly.

This doesn’t mean however that all we have to do is memorize, wait for the icon to go green, and “boom” score. It’s not a generic timeframe, the moment to let go is entirely different for every player. In 2K14 most of the times the camera angle and other player’s blocking attempt caused a lot of trouble.   Since the other players would block the view, and this did not allow us to calculate a shot precisely.

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 Defense, defense

Regardless of the above veterans of the 2K series will feel right at home with this entry. The visuals and animations are richer than ever, and every match will be a challenge to win. The movement of the players in 2K15 feel a lot weightier, and will run realistically on the playfield with less gliding.  One of my favorite new changes is stealing the ball. The game rewards us if we pull off all the right moves, at the right time. This is a friendlier and better solution instead of pressing the controller’s buttons wildly to hoping to win a turnover.

If however we’re playing this series for the first time we need to be prepared for a tiring pre-game session. This is a basketball simulator game of course so we have to treat it as such. If we don’t give it the time and effort we will lose some of the essence of gameplay. The tutorials are also fun as they are narrated by famous NBA players. Kevin Duran explains to us the inner workings of the shot meter, Stephen Curry delves into the new dogging moves, while Anthony Davis presents us with some defense techniques.

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The first steps are difficult

The presentation of the career mode has been changed drastically and boldly since the previous iterations. It’s a “story” based, player managing game. Where are own created character can rise from the little league to the pros. Of course only if we’re good enough to be in the pros. This seemed like a good idea, as it worked in their other spin-off series. Here however some of the cutscenes are awkward and I was a bit bored when the team changed jerseys in dead silence. It shows that unfortunately the developers were not able to look after everything, but this is a minuscule issue.

In this mode we can scan in our face with the PS4’s camera, and after that the game will try to replicate the result ingame for our created character. This feature is not too precise as sometimes that program will create a face for us that reminds us of a UFO than a human. There’s room for improvement but if we don’t have a camera we can still use the random face generator in the game. It’s easier to use and at least we won’t run out of the room screaming if the final creation via scanning ends up horrific.

The pre-selection part was removed so we don’t have to go and sit out the entire draft, to wait and get picked by a team. We start our career and in a few months with an agent we can try out for one of the big teams in the league. This is a nice change for me as we are able to start with a team that we wish to choose.

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Which to choose?

In 2K14 points were given to us for our performance based on the pre-selection period which determined the outcome of the Draft. We got a score and off we went to our team. In 2K15 we get to pick our own team and prove that we’re good enough to join them. We can join our favorite team, or join a team that needs certain roles. I choose a defensive role and wanted to join the Minnesota Timberwolves, because here I had to win against Kevin Martin to be in the team.

In 2K14 I might have been at Lakers and I would be competing against Kobe Bryant until I would be able to leave for another team. There are leaps of difference between the career modes between the two games, and 2K15 is more enjoyable especially at the beginning. It doesn’t matter which team we play in, the team members’ voice are dubbed by their real life personas. If we play as Thunders then Kevin Durant will criticize our weak play, or will try to cheer us up after a defeat.

The braver who like to play online can go toe to toe against the world with the MyPark option with their pro skills. Unfortunately I did not have the chance to try this out, as many people seem to be mainly playing offline. Still playing offline is just as enjoyable.

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Can I have my own team?

My Team function returns with several new additions. This leads us to the player market, where we can follow the more important transfers. We can buy the players in auctions, so that we can assemble our own team easier. Those who know the history of Basketball will feel right at home. We will be able to choose from the last fifty years of players, and we can also pick the latest starts of the sport. So we can see who the best for our team is. Really the only limitation to our dream team is our own creativity, and the in-game cash. However this at least gives us the incentive to collect as much money as we can.

If you would like to control the NBA franchise, from the payments until the hotdogs you can get at the stands, MyGM is recommended. In this mode we manage everything, from the actual upkeep of players, and profit management. If we further select micromanagement then we can truly get lost in the myriad of tiny settings the game offers. Beware as this option is only for seasoned players as it can take hours to manage a team. This took the toll for me and I did not delve too much into this option.

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Extra good commenters

The menu system and commenting was pretty simplistic in NBA 2K14, but in this entry the developers learned from their mistakes. They hired a really good trio for the commenting, Kevin Harlan, Clark Kellogg and Steve Kerr, who can create a good atmosphere with their comments ingame.    Although Kerr in this season is a coach at Golden State Warriors so we’ll hear him less, but due to time constraints there was no one else to take his place. Another new addition is pre-game analysis with the help of two world stars, Ernie Johnston and Shaquille O’Neal. The camera movement is great, and the crowd is really detailed, combining these two creates an even more enjoyable simulation of NBA. In the beginning we really should listen to the whistle and remember that we’re not watching an NBA live match.   The music was handled by Pharrell Williams, so there will be more electronic mix, instead of the usual hip-hop songs, and personally this was a good idea.

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A few old moves

When playing I did notice a few glitches which I hope in the next few patches it will get fixed. An interview given by Doris Burke after a match a few strange things occurred. Like other players leaving the match walked through him, or Burke was not there yet the audio of the interviewer asking questions was still going. In MyCareer mode the camera got stuck in “my head” and I couldn’t get out of that view no matter how I tried. It was really scary seeing the back of my eyes and my teeth while the animation was still going. These camera issues usually occurred during breaks or at the end of the game, so it didn’t cause too much of an issue.

The “Achilles heel” of 2K games is the unstable online architecture, and unfortunately even in this series it did not turn out for the better. There can be huge lags, and in certain situations (throwing, defensive play) it can ruin the gameplay. It does not make the game unplayable, but the online play does not go near the level of fun as offline play.

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Summa NBArum

The sport genre has been receiving a lot of flak recently for their price tag (sixty dollars is a lot), but NBA 2K15 was actually able to make huge leaps towards something new and innovative. If we enjoy basketball even a little bit, and we have a next gen console then this game is a must for our collection.

-Malachit-


Pro:

+ Larger playfield, and the animations can now be seen more clearly
+ “Shot meter” now rewards players for smart throws
+ MyCareer revamped, and works better
+ More animations that give the game a realistic feel

Kontra:

– Playing against Elite players is hell in terms of defense
– The camera can get stuck


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Editor: 2K Sports

Developer: 2K Sports

Genres: sport, basketball,

Publication: 2014 October


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Jay’P.Sonix
Jay P. Sonix comes from the world ('word') of lyrics and media infrastructure. He worked for a premium media company and produced 200 radio jingles. Cinemas are like his 2nd home. His motto is: ’Watch the movie, catch the moral’. Besides articles he produces hiphop music - can be found on SoundCloud. His mission is to make life happier.

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