In case you've been living under a rock the past few weeks, the NBA games are in stores and ready for pick-up. I've been playing NBA 2K10
for the past few weeks again (the Sports Gamer gets to play games early; yes, it's good to be the Sports Gamer), and I have to say, now that it's on the street, I'm seriously impressed.
The graphics are incredible, with player animations that are so life-like, you can practically smell the used towels the players toss under the bench. Seriously, sports videogames have come a long way in the last few years, and this is easily one of the best-looking sports games of the year. You'll also like the seamless, incredibly polished transitions into and out of games. I'm telling you, the line between NBA 2K10 and an actual NBA broadcast is wafer thin.
The first thing you'll notice is the newly revamped sprint mechanic. In previous versions, you could make your players motor up and down the court with no penalty whatsoever. Not so anymore. You'll need to keep an eye on fatigue, represented here by a two-tiered bar. Go ahead and sprint if you like, but once that first bar is depleted, you're digging into the player's second bar, a.k.a. his stamina. Do that, and you may find yourself having to sit him down in the fourth quarter when you need him the most.
It sounds annoying, especially for gamers who are used to the old sprint mechanic, but it's implemented so well, it'll become second nature in no time.
My other new favorite feature is called NBA Today. Here's how it works: the game is constantly drawing real-world NBA data from the 2K Sports servers--trades, statistics, the latest news, etc.--and weaves it into the game. In other words, if a big trade happened this week, you can count on Kevin Harlan, Clark Kellogg and Cheryl Miller discussing that trade during your games. Tying your virtual NBA to the real NBA is a brilliant concept, and really brings the game to life in a way never seen before.
As usual, all the other great features and modes--The Association, create-a-player, Franchise mode, etc.--are back and better than ever. My only complaints: that my players sometimes miss easy layups for no reason whatsoever, and that there's a dip in the overall framerate once in awhile, which can take you out of the flow of the game from time to time. Otherwise, this is basketball perfection. Recommended.