2K Sports bounces back with their NBA series with NBA 2K15, which competes annually against other sporting heavyweights like FIFA and NHL in the video game market. Like those games, NBA increases its popularity by making subtle and key changes to graphics and game-play which has continued to evolve the series for years now. NBA has come far throughout the years and 2K15 shows it with its premium rate presentation and silky smooth game-play and its next gen graphics, but can it stand proud against the mighty FIFA or even knock it off the top spot as the best sports game in existence today? Or does it bounce off the rim?
The MyGM and MyCareer modes are NBA’s story and campaign modes. MyGM mode is similar to FIFA’s Manager mode and sticks the player in charge of a team of their choice as you manage player line-ups, coaching, strategies and court plays. Its all very intricate and detailed as you can even instruct individual players to play a certain way such as marking or going for the lay-up, luckily though, its all easily navigated through the pause menu during a match. You also have to handle sponsorships and pleasing fans and board members by being optimistic or you can choose to just keep them at bay by being slightly skeptical of your success. MyCareer is the opposite of MyGM mode. Instead of being the manager looking after and maintaining a team, you become a user created player who longs to be the greatest b-ball player however first he needs to be recognized. Now, MyCareer has cutscenes throughout which are a bit lacking,cheesey and overacted but tells the story very well and carries it along at a nice pace. It even had my name in it and hearing the commentators calling my name whenever i scored a basket or even gained possession on the court was very cool.
On the court is the meat and potatoes of NBA 2K15 though and the first thing you will notice is the fantastic graphic quality. Players look photorealistic and move exactly as they do in real life. The transitions between animations are smooth and each match has a great flow even if your on the back burner. The courts are also superbly detailed with managers, cheerleaders and the spectators each seen rooting for their team but the best feature in NBA 2K15 is its excellent, first rate presentation. Player or manager interviews inbetween quarters and half time reports, cheerleader dance routines during breaks and time-outs and even 2KTV broadcasts with Shaquille O’Neil and Ernie Johnson provide a great distraction for the long and frequent loading times. The entire game is gorgeous. Watching each and every pre-match introduction and basket celebration and interview feels as if you are watching the whole thing on TV, it is that good.
Controlling players is nice and responsive. The control sticks of the controller pretty much dominates the overall controls of each player. Using the left stick to move and the right stick to use certain guarding techniques depending on which direction you hold it down whilst defending and different shooting techniques when your attacking. Fouling is common though if you choose to try to steal the ball and jump up to deflect an imminent jump shot which incurs free shots. Free shots require expert timing to sink it in the net. The game doesn’t tell you how well your doing, you just have to guess and the game tells you how good the shot was when the ball has left your hands. Each player has a shot bar underneath them which fills and empties depending on their position on the court. this bar indicates the sweet spot of your shot so it may increase in size if you stick a player who is a 3 pointer specialist just outside the 3 point boundary which raises your chance of sinking a sweet 3 point shot. The AI is relentlessly tricky especially on harder difficulties. They will feel like they know every move your going to make and they seem to all gather under the basket as you try out for the triangle offense and ridding of your marker is a challenging task before you can go for a lay-up. The whole on-court experience is fantastic. I couldnt wait for the next match once one had ended and NBA 2K15 is one of the best sports games Ive ever played. MyTeam is NBA 2K15’s answer to FIFA’s Ultimate Team but not as well implemented as the UI is unbalanced guess work as there was no overall scores to show which player is better than which although its easy to earn virtual currency to buy new players.
Online is lag free and as smooth as single player games. Playing real players across the globe is fantastic and knowing there is a human on the receiving end of your 20 basket lead in the fourth quarter feels satisfying although its tough to play on if the role is reversed.
NBA 2K15 has its ups and downs but its essentially one of the best sports games ive ever played. Its easy to get to know the rules of the game and sinking a 3 pointer never gets old. 2K15’s second to none presentation is by far the star of the show with its silky smooth, challenging but satisfying game-play taking the runner up. Whether your a basketball fan or not, i urge you to give this game a try.
Story - 4/5
graphics - 5/5
Gameplay - 5/5
Overall - 5/5
Version reviewed - PS4