NBA 2K16 – Preview Night

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NBA 2K16 is not in the list of games I play. No sports games are on that list actually. Not unexpected considering the complete lack of knowledge I have regarding sports in general. So when the good people of 2K Games invited Console Domination to night of pizza, booze, music, and NBA 2K16, I was feeling rather baffled by the idea. Particularly as my usual compatriot to CD’s events; Elliot “The Southern Dandy” MC, was busy training for the big game. And to forestall all your questions, yes the Southern Dandy is his nickname, no I did not make it up just to irritate him, and yes if he were ever to make the leap, or flounce, into the NFL, that’s the name all the sports fans, commentators, and analysts should use. Luckily though, I knew a guy who not only knew NBA 2K like the back of his hand, but also had a good camera and knew how to work it. He would share his hard earned wisdom regarding the game, which was incredibly helpful given that I haven’t sat down and played through an entire game of basketball in an actual basketball game since NBA Jam back on Playstation 1. He also happens to be my younger brother. So top tip readers, if you ever want to work for CD, connections help. Cough nepotism, cough.

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So onto the game. Considering that I have literally never sat down and played through an entire match of Basketball in any of the 2K games, I’d like to say I did pretty well. Which is to say I got massacred at it, but not as bad as it could have been. It was better than you’d expect, but worse than you’d hope. It was also my brother’s revenge for years and years of lopsided matches in fighting games apparently. Still, aside from him taking it easy on me, he was thrown off by the new control scheme. Yes, apparently for the third or fourth time in as many years, the controls schemes have been changed. Honestly, I’m confused by the idea that a sports game would continually change controls each and every year, but I was assured that the new style, while it would take some getting used to, also allowed greater and easier control over passes.

After some quick games where I was soundly beaten by ever increasing amounts, at one point having half the points my brother had before barely escaping that shame, we went over the cliff notes. From the brief and truncated amount we could experience during quick games, the controls were different, with some improvements made to the passing. The graphics were slightly improved, with better modelling for faces, and new animations. For me, NBA 2K16 is at a point where incredibly detailed meets the slightly unsettling. That’s how realistic it is at this stage.

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It was one of 2K Games reps who sold the fantastic new features that 2K16 would have though. A new MyCareer story mode, more cinematic and involved than ever. Players start off as High Schooler, before making their way into the College leagues, and then into the big time. Best of all it’s directed and written by Spike Lee, the famous and occasionally controversial film director. I’m hoping for exciting and gritty portrayals of urban life, racism, poverty, and the plight of the marginalised black man in modern America. Although I’m rather doubtful that will occur in a G rated sports game. But then again, Spike Lee doesn’t pull any punches.

Still for the serious fans of basketball who watch and know everything about the game, several major College teams are officially licensed for 2K16, allowing you to play as the potential stars of tomorrow. Pro-Am was another major mode that was talked about. If you’ve done your research, you’ll know that it’s a new online mode which allows you to create your own 5 man custom team, customise those teams with personalised names, logos, jerseys, and arenas, and challenge others online.

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Of course, aside from all these are the incremental improvements that you know and hope to see with each new yearly instalment of a sports game. Improvements to the create a character mode was featured heavily in the trailers that played. More style, smoother gameplay, deeper features. We only scratched the surface of NBA 2K16 in our brief time with it and we didn’t get to witness the real meat of the game, but that’s fine, considering it’s out in just a few short days and you can see it for yourselves. For fans of NBA, I think we can safely say you’re in good hands.

Photos by Leon Huynh.

NBA 2K16 is available on September the 29th, with early access for pre-orders on September the 25th.  Special thanks to 2K Games for allowing us to attend

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