Saturday, November 06, 2004

Review: ESPN NBA 2k5 (PS2/XBox/GameCube)
Posted by Shocker :: 3:05 PM

Special Guest Reviewer, Omar.

Over the last few years the 2K5 series has been more simulation centered than EA’s Live series, with this year being no exception, but this year the team at Visual Concepts has taken an extreme leap. Everything in this game is true to NBA basketball, and it would take an experienced fan to truly grasp many of the things that are going on in each and every game. Every player performs exactly to their true life counterpart, even Vince Carter going down with an ankle injury in the middle of the game, only to not return :).

While on offense, you have 4 set plays to pick from, (which can be changed in the coaching menu) or you can go for some Kobe-like freelancing. Since everyone performs like it’s a real game, you have to play like it too. As an example, if you took the Raptors against the Pacers, chances are Carter would have to go off in the 30-40 point range for Toronto to even have a chance, which plays out wonderfully in the game. Handling the ball is an extreme priority this year also, bring up the rock lazily and the defender will poke it away and take it to the hoop for a dunk. Running plays is a thing of beauty, like a perfect pick and roll with Parker and Duncan, or if you’re skilled enough Kenny Anderson and Toine.

The defense has been improved this year also, with a slightly reconfigured button scheme. You have to watch what angle you’re swiping at the ball since and bad angle will result in a foul, yet swiping when the ball handler has the rock in front of you usually will result in a steal. Rebounding is a little difficult since the AI seems to have a jump on boxing you out.

24/7 Mode is back, which is probably the closest thing we’re going to get to a basketball RPG. You create a character and compete in different challenges to build up the stats of our character. Only thing is, if you don’t play for a few days your guys stats go down. Also, different challenges are available at different times of the day.

My only gripes with the game are the horrible menu style for Franchise mode (I haven’t even bothered to start a franchise up yet once I toyed around with the menu), and some rare clipping issues which result in a playing going right through his defender, yet the defender gets called for a foul.

Final Score:

- Dan, for Omar.

Omar adds "At $20, I'd say buy."


Great review. I've never been a big fan of basketball games, but I may give this one a try, the Sega Sports one from a few years back was pretty good.
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