Tag Archives: Basketball

NBA Live 18 review

NBA Live 18 has made lots of improvements over last year and has become the most accessible title for players of all abilities.

You are quickly thrown into NBA Live 18, where you’ll play a quick match that will show you the ropes. Straight from the off you feel like you aren’t going to be overwhelmed with over complicated controls and within seconds you’ll have pulled off your first slam dunk, which always feels great.

The AI seems to make some odd decisions, I often noticed players losing possession far too easily, or losing control of the ball at the slightest bit of contact from other players. You could also question some of their shooting choices too. There was never anything too game breaking though.

Presentation wise, the game looks great. You’ll quickly pick up on the realism of the NBA’s biggest stars, movement seems fluid and you’ll notice individual playing styles too. Thanks to the excellent lighting, each venue you play in feels like you are watching from courtside. No doubt next year will look even better when the game moves away from the Ignite engine. However, the game is let down by the commentary, more so the lack of variety. It’s not long before you hear the commentators repeating themselves.

There are plenty of game modes for you to take part in, with the return of Dynasty Mode, Rising Star and Franchise, where you can manage your own NBA time, dealing with contracts, training players and leading them to glory. In Ultimate Team, you’ll be building a hand-picked squad of players from past and present.

As you play and complete challenges you’ll earn coins that will give you the chance to purchase more players, coaches, uniforms, and stadiums, adding strength to your roster. It’s a real time sink, but if you really want to build a dream team then this mode will be right up your street.

The pick of the bunch is the career mode titled ‘The One’ – The story sees you create your own player and make your way up to playing in the NBA, all while making choices to help or hinder your career. You’ll split your time between playing in the NBA and in street tournaments, earning skill points to upgrade your player and hopefully become a permanent fixture with the side you get drafted with. At first, as a rookie you won’t get many minutes, but if you do get on, you’ll need to play well to get noticed, as you improve, you’ll get more time to on the court and eventually if things goes well you’ll become a starter. As you play on the streets, you’ll find yourself competing in tournaments, playing first to 21, it’s a nice distraction from playing in the big league and you can earn points towards upgrades.

NBA live 18 features the WNBA, giving you the chance to play as some of the biggest female teams, although it’s disappointing you can create females players, or even play as a female in The One. Hopefully next year we’ll see a bit more integration.

I was quite surprised at how much I like NBA Live 18, being able to use a simplified control scheme makes the game much more accessible for players like me, who don’t spend too much time playing Basketball games. More experienced players may prefer more detailed gameplay like in the NBA 2K titles. There are plenty of things that can be improved but like most EA Sports titles, over time things will definitely come together to make for a great experience.

Thanks to EA and Xbox for supporting TiX

NBA 2K17 review

2K are back with another version of their visually impressive basketball sim, NBA 2K17, and whilst it doesn’t have any huge additions or new features, the few tweaks here and there help to further embed them as the dominant basketball game.

It’s no surprise at all that 2K17 looks and feels terrifically authentic. Much like it’s last few instalments, ball control is tight and intuitive, shooting and lay-ups are about timing and skill – with a little luck thrown in for good measure – and defending feels superbly balanced against attackers. The courts look real, the character animations are equally life-like, and the character models, well they’re mostly excellent but there’s a few odd-balls out there, including your created character if you use the smart phone app to scan your face.

Indeed, the presentation is still highly impressive. Stats appear throughout play but without being intrusive, and the commentators do a splendid job analysing the court and flow of play. Meanwhile, a talk show while your match is loading is a nice distraction, although the host’s facial animation is a bit hit-and-miss and some peculiar pauses in speech can pull you out of the experience a bit.

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The comprehensive tutorial, 2KU, does a great job in teaching you the mechanics and systems at work, and before long you’ll be ready for the flagship mode, MyCareer. Here you create your own character and take him from his high school novice roots to becoming potentially one of the NBA’s best. The new college segment allows for some more personality to be injected into your character, providing a better origin for his career before he’s drafted into the NBA. Meanwhile, shorter load times than in previous titles is a very welcome enhancement, but there’s still a fair bit of waiting around between games.

The storytelling experience of MyCareer is still a bit corny but undeniably clever and immersive. From your house, which acts as a HUD, you have multiple options available, such as playing on your own personal court, deciding your schedule for the day, and conversing with friends, coaches, and your mum. This is of course alongside the mandatory games and training sessions, but you also have the option to attend sponsor events, go out with fellow players, and hit the practice court in order to earn stat boosts. It’s a comprehensive and well-throughout mode that immerses you in your character’s career splendidly.

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Taking your created player online is the same as in previous instalments, with MyPark allowing you to play 3-on-3 games with other players. Meanwhile, 2K’s counterpart to FIFA Ultimate Team, MyTeam, is still an excellent fantasy basketball system, allowing you to build your own dream team of players, complete scenarios in order to earn VC, and challenge other players online. Furthermore, separate challenges within MyTeam, such as a mode in which you can draft a team of legends and try and win as many consecutive games as possible to earn rewards, is an excellent addition.

However, whilst the primary modes have been merely tweaked, MyGM and MyLeague have a couple of important new additions. This year both modes are more customisable and vast thanks to the ability to expand your league to 36 teams. These now include EuroLeague teams, classic teams, and even teams that you’ve made yourself, opening up a terrific options to really customise your season. Furthermore, you can choose to start during the offseason, allowing you to trade players before the season gets underway. You can also choose to only paly the Play-Offs, skipping the grind and enjoying the most exciting period of the season.

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Indeed, NBA 2K17 makes smart, minor adjustments to the winning formula of MyCareer and MyPark, maintaining the former’s immersive story and the latter’s compelling collection mechanics, and it enhances MyGM and MyLeague to breathe new life into the modes. And whilst overall there isn’t much new, the NBA 2K series doesn’t need any big changes yet, as its pretty excellent as it is.

Thanks to Xbox and 2K Games for supporting TiX

NBA 2K16 review

Ever since 2K took over the NBA games a few years ago they have managed to make some great improvements to the series, yet again they have managed to do with NBA2K16, but that’s not to say they could put some work into other areas.

The first things you’ll notice about this years title is the emphasis on MyCareer, which this year has been written by Spike Lee. You’ll play as your created character, starting at school and college before being picked up by an NBA team. As much as I love having a storyline to play along with, I didn’t feel like I was “Livin da dream” and more like I was putting up with Spike Lee’s vanity project. The build up to becoming a star is pretty boring to be honest, I didn’t even like my own player, let alone my annoying ‘friend’, pushy agent and patronising team owner!

It will take a few hours to escape the Story of “Frequency Vibrations” or as he prefers to be known “Freq” before MyCareer becomes the mode we all know and love. At this point you can really start to get on with progressing through your career. You’ll live the basketball players life, in a virtual sense of course, by managing your stats through training as well dealing with sponsorship deals and working on the social side of being in the NBA. It can take a while but it’s great watching your player begin as a rookie and end as a star.

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If playing through a career isn’t for you the. Visual Concepts have you covered with a whole host of content, play through a regular season as your favourite team, or if you prefer you can take the reins as a GM and bring you franchise some glory. A nice new feature is the ability to move your team to a different city, not much more has changed from what was already a solid mode. MyTeam also returns giving fans the chance to create their team of superstars in a similar fashion to FIFA Ultimate Team. It works really well, you can customise your lineups while seeing real-time info that will help you determine how you play each game, for example your team might be strong at scoring three pointers so you’ll know that it’s worth attempting them more often. There 5 game modes to pay through which are all quite good fun, I spend more time creating my own team, customising my kit and court, the TiX Typhoons are the team to play! Just like in previous titles you are able to line up against all-star teams as well as important teams throughout NBA history in the Play Now section, where you can also see the latest scores in the NBA, via NBA Today. You can play some Blacktop or take part in the All-Star team up.

I suffered terribly online last year with 2K15, getting games was difficult and when I did they was too much lag or I completely lost connection which mean losing out on the games Virtual Currency. This year is much better, 2K Pro-am is a blast (even if I’m terrible). You are quickly teamed up to play some 5v5 and for the most part it works really well, you’ll occasionally get paired up against a team of 5 who will have a much better time taking a team of randoms apart.

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For the third year in a row I’m pleased to say that NBA 2K16 is still the best looking sports game around. Starting with the player models and animation, all of your favourite players are instantly recognisable and if for whatever reason you can’t quite work out who they are you’ll notice how well matched they are to their playing style. The actors who play your family, your coach and your agent in MyCareer also look great (it’s quite cool watching the mocap footage if you get a chance).

The different venues all look incredible, from the high school courts you first play on, right up to the huge arenas you’ll play in during in MyCareer from the crowds to the lighting, it’s rare to see such a polished sports title. The audio is superb too, you’ll hear cheerleaders chanting at the lower level games and the roar of the crowd at the bigger venues. All of this is supported by the superb commentary and general presentation of the matches. The conversation between the commentary team flows brilliantly.

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The control scheme has been altered again this year, which if you are a hardcore fan will be frustrating but as someone who doesn’t play as often it feels the most accessible it’s ever been. The main focus has been aimed at the passing game, there are now separate buttons for the bounce and lob passes and it certainly helps you against the vastly improved AI. Practice makes perfect with the game, as does varying your tactics, AI defenders are able to pick up on you using the same play to score and you’ll soon start to notice that you aren’t as successful and mixing things up is key.

NBA2K16 is a superb title, yet again setting the bar in presentation and accessibility, it’s massively let down by the beginning of the MyCareer mode but the improvements to the online elements and control scheme makes this one of the best sports titles around. There is plenty to do, whether you are a part-time fans or hardcore player, you’ll find yourself more than happy with your purchase.

Thanks to Xbox and 2K for their support

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WWE 2K15 and NBA 2K15 Confirmed For Xbox One

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Take Two President, Karl Slatoff has announced that the next in the WWE 2K and NBA 2K series’ will be released on the Xbox One. This is double the excitement for fans of the WWE games as it will enable 2K Sports to get over all the hindrances that were in place on the Xbox 360. For example, having more than six people in the ring was unachievable on the previous generation, and the roster number can certainly rise this time. Leaves more room for undercard greats like Tyson Kidd to make an appearance. It also marks 2K Sports’ first true WWE game. As WWE 2K14 was all but shipped while they were under the THQ mantle.

Speaking during the companies latest earnings call, Slatoff said, “During fiscal 2015, consumers can look forward to exciting next generation releases from our NBA 2K and WWE franchises as well as other unannounced titles that promise to raise the bar for excellence.

“Our WWE franchise has quickly proven to be a successful addition to our portfolio,” added chairman and CEO Strauss Zelnick.

“Sales of WWE 2K14 have exceeded our expectations and the title is being supported with add-on content including a Season Pass featuring many of fan-favorite WWE superstars and legends.

“We believe there is a meaningful opportunity to grow this series by further leveraging 2K’s marketing power and development expertise.”

It was also revealed that Borderlands 2 is officialy 2K Games’ most successful game in their history, outselling the entirety of the Bioshock series.

As for NBA 2K15 and WWE 2K15, assuming that is what they will be called, you can expect NBA 2K15 around September, and WWE 2K15 during the 1st week of November, as is tradition.

 

NBA 2K14 Review

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After having completed a review for an EA Sports game, it’s only right that a 2K Sports game is my next feat of game guru-ism. 2K Sports are a real up and comer in the world of sports. Their realism and the beauty that is engineered in their games is unrivalled. NBA 2K has trumped EA Sports’ NBA Live for years now, and with the acquisition of WWE Games from THQ and WWE 2K14 due out next week, 2K Sports are only going up. Granted WWE 2K14 was basically finished when the assets were acquired, and the finished product is the remnants of a THQ game. Next year we’ll see where WWE will take them on the next generation. Why am I blathering on about wrestling on a review about a basketball game? Because you need to appreciate the quality of this company and where they are going. On with the review!

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Just as I said when I wrote the NHL 14 review, I am not familiar with the NBA. I know a good couple of the big names out there, and I’ve seen Space Jam. But outside of that, my knowledge of the sport and its rules is minimal at best. I’m gonna throw this right out there, the game is brilliant. It is by a the premier basketball simulation experience you will ever find. The majority of everything I say about this game will be positive, so I’m gonna throw my one negative out there. It’s hard to be good at this game, very hard. There is a level of realistic control of each of the player’s arms and their bounce of the ball that takes hours of grinding and hard work to master. After a couple hours of solid practice and tutorials, I finally became moderately competent at the game. But once you’ve done the grinding and got a real feel of the game, man is it good. I found myself becoming so immersed that I attempted several layaway shots with my cans of Pepsi Max while shouting ‘Kobe’.

For the third year in a row, 2K sports have changed their button layout. They have chosen to adopt the old right stick ‘pro stick’ option. Made famous in the EA Sports FIFA series. You can now use the right stick to shoot, as well as do insanely accurate little changes to your dribble. Beware though, a slight accidental knock can send your player into an unwanted alley-oop, NBA Jam style.

The graphics on NBA 2K14 are absolutely beautiful. Each player is handled with the utmost care, and every little imperfection, tattoo, hairstyle, and even character traits are emulated to perfection. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a sports game that looks as impressive as this marvel. I’ve never seen sweat and player animation look so real before, and I’ve played every single sports series that has been available on this generation. Every movement is performed with such grace and elegance, and the realism in everything is truly remarkable. I’d quite like the WWE Games guys to use some of this team on next year’s WWE game.

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There is something of a story/career mode in this game. It’s called path to greatness, and features an actual narrative. Something that has rarely been seen in any sports game to date. The only ones that come to mind are Tony Hawk’s Underground and the Skate series. Path to Greatness takes NBA 2K14 cover star on a journey through his final contracted year with Miami Heat. The goal at the end of the mode is to have won seven NBA championships through a choice of two separate paths. You can choose to resign with Miami Heat, or to move elsewhere in the NBA in the search for glory. However, you cannot choose which team this takes you to. This means you could be stuck with gutter trash like the Clippers, making your search for gold that much harder.

Jumping online and testing your skills against real world people works a treat. Menu navigation and connectivity handles like a dream. Believing you have a handle on how to play the game, then coming up against people that have actually learned how to play the game is a tad disheartening. But that’s all down to my own lack of skill.

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Although what I have to say about this game is mostly positive, this isn’t much of a change from last year’s iteration. 2K Sports have come out and said that NBA 2K14 on the Xbox One will be drastically different and improved from the Xbox 360 version. With that being said, I can’t see any reason to purchase this version at all. Unless of course you don’t plan to invest in an Xbox One of course. But even so, if you plan on staying a 360 gamer, keep NBA 2K13 and I can guarantee that you’ll have an equally great time. Having said that, this being similar to last year’s outing doesn’t detract from the fact that this is a brilliantly made, well executed, beautiful game that does the world of basketball proud. I fully recommend this game, unless you plan on getting an Xbox One where the game runs at a smooth 60fps at 1080p resolution. In which case, I recommend it for that. In a sentence,  NBA 2K14 is a game that makes me wish the rest of the 2K Sports series’ would make a triumphant return. Please download the demo now on the Xbox Live Marketplace, and give this a shot for yourself.

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