ESPN NBA 2Night 2002 really has nothing that would make it worth recommending over a number of other basketball games for the PlayStation 2.
When it comes to sports games, companies are always looking for something that will help their games stand out from the others available on the market. Since its brand of basketball games aren't nearly as recognized as those of Sega or Electronic Arts, Konami wisely chose to go with the well-known ESPN license to build a new foundation for its basketball games and attract fans of the ESPN broadcast style. But ultimately, even that license isn't enough to hide the fact that ESPN NBA 2Night 2002 suffers from a series of problems ranging from stilted animation that adversely affects its gameplay to downright poor AI. With so many better basketball alternatives available on the PlayStation 2, it's hard to see the appeal of NBA 2Night 2002.
For all its problems, NBA 2Night 2002 does have one thing going for it. The game offers a number of modes of play, including exhibition and quick start modes for those who want to jump right into a game. There is also a single season mode where you can take a team through a 14-, 28-, 56-, or 82-game season, over the course of which players can be injured or traded to other teams. If you don't want to play through a full season, NBA 2Night 2002 also offers a playoff mode that lets you enter a team directly in the playoffs for the NBA championship. But the one feature you'll be getting the most mileage out of is the franchise mode.
At its core, the franchise mode basically functions like the season mode, as you'll have to take your team through a season and hopefully into the playoffs. However, in the franchise mode, you'll notice that there are a few differences in the sorts of managerial duties you'll be responsible for. For instance, when you attempt to trade a player, you'll notice that each one has a point value to indicate his skill level. When you make a trade, you'll have to take that point value into account, as other teams will almost never accept trades in which one player has a significantly lower point value than the other. In addition, you also have a point cap--which is like the actual NBA's salary cap--so there's a limit on the amount of high-point players you can have on your team. The same point system comes into effect at the end of the season, when you'll have the opportunity to re-sign players, sign free agents, and draft rookies. One aspect of the franchise mode that's somewhat annoying is that the computer rarely, if ever, initiates trades, so as you play through the season, you won't get trade offers from other teams. This isn't a huge problem, but it detracts from the idea that you're acting as the general manager of an NBA team, as such a person should be entertaining offers from other teams quite often.
A franchise mode such as this would typically be a tremendous bonus to any basketball game, but since the actual gameplay isn't all that fun in NBA 2Night, it doesn't really aid the game's cause that much. You have access to the basic assortment of moves for your players, including a post-up move, a fake dribble move, and a quick shake move--though the last two moves are almost completely worthless. The fake dribble move tries to fool the opponent into thinking you're about to drive, and while it occasionally works in a two-player game, it almost never works while playing against a computer opponent. The quick shake move, which basically forces your player to dribble the ball in a random direction, works a little better, but the computer still has the tendency to stick to your players like glue, making it difficult to free up players for open shots without calling for a pick.
NBA 2Night 2002 also lacks moves that are commonplace in other basketball games, such as the fadeaway jumper, but your players still have the ability to dunk the ball and execute layups, though you probably wouldn't know that on first impression. For some inexplicable reason, when your players--especially the centers and forwards--are close to the basket , they'll often shoot jump shots instead of just dunking it, and since the problem occurs so frequently, it becomes incredibly frustrating. Along similar lines, it's really difficult to drive the ball through the lane and to the basket, as your player will execute a jump shot instead of finishing the drive with a layup.