NBA 2K2 Review
No matter how you like your hoops games, NBA 2K2 is the best basketball game available for the Xbox.
For a console that's just getting its feet wet in the world of video games, the Xbox already has an impressive list of basketball games to choose from. EA Sports' Live franchise was released for the Xbox back in November, but the series has been in the doldrums for years now, with no end in sight. Microsoft's Inside Drive franchise had an admiral first showing, but it falls short on many counts. Enter NBA 2K2, Sega's next entry into its NBA 2K franchise. It has been long heralded as the most realistic basketball simulation on the planet, and now Xbox owners have their chance to play it and see what all the fuss is about. And they won't be disappointed, because NBA 2K2 for the Xbox is the complete package.
Like any good sports simulation, NBA 2K2 has plenty of gameplay modes to keep players happy, whether they're squaring off against the computer or against friends. In addition to a rudimentary multiplayer mode for up to four players, NBA 2K2 includes a franchise mode that carries statistics and rosters over from one year to the next. There's also a single season option for those who like to build a dynasty from scratch each year, a playoffs mode for the impatient, and a fantasy option for those who enjoy redrafting teams for each season. Trades, free-agent signings, and the ability to scout college players are all at your disposal and are simplified just enough to make such transactions appeal to the average player. However, those who like every last statistic to be tracked will find some faults with the franchise mode. As in past installments of the NBA 2K series, there's a street mode that lets you play on nine of the most popular playgrounds in America and show off your street-ball skills. This mode is so fleshed out that it can almost stand on its own as a separate game. Practice and tournament modes round out the package--leaving virtually no stone unturned.
NBA 2K2 has earned a reputation for being the most in-depth basketball simulation on the market, and the Xbox version perpetuates this. Zone defenses are new to the NBA this season, and NBA 2K2 will let you call a 3-2 zone on the fly to clog up the lane. Virtually any offensive or defensive play can be called with a flick of the right analog stick, and calling the right offensive set can immediately open the lane for a drive. Each team has its own specific playbook, so it's entirely possible to run the triangle offense with the Lakers or run isolation plays to get the ball to Allen Iverson while playing as the 76ers. If you're unhappy with controlling your team's strategy on the fly, you can simply adjust the game's menu-driven coaching strategies. The inside postgame is excellent--you can back a defender down into the paint, only to spin off and perform one of the many dynamic post moves included in the game. The computer chooses which move is performed based upon your location relative to the basket and defenders, and hopefully this ability will be placed in the hands of the player in future installments. Defending against post moves is also possible thanks to a plethora of countermoves, but the advantage still seems to be with the offensive player most of the time, as it's fairly easy to roll off a defender and go for the dunk.
Special dribbles are included in the game, but like the post moves, the computer chooses which move is performed depending on the location and speed of your player. It works well the majority of the time, but other times, special dribbles will cause your player to run out of bounds or directly into the chest of a defender. Stealing the ball is almost impossible unless the opposition is performing a special dribble, and making or missing shots is often arbitrary. It can be frustrating to watch a forward or center make a three-point shot with two players in his face while your shooting guard misses a wide-open jump shot the next time down the court. The computer AI has undergone some adjustments that keep players from being fooled by pump fakes as easily as they were in last year's game, and the fast break has been fixed--players no longer stop, as they did in the Dreamcast version, when receiving the ball on the run. The computer can be difficult to beat on anything but the rookie setting, and a more gradual increase in difficulty would have been nice. In the early going, you'll either kick the computer's butt on the rookie setting or get yours handed to you in the pro and all-star difficulties.
- Player Reviews: 2
- Game Universe:
- NBA 2K2 (DC, PS2, GC, XBOX),
- NBA 2K3 (XBOX, PS2, GC),
- ESPN NBA Basketball (PS2, XBOX),
- ESPN NBA 2K5 (PS2, XBOX),
- NBA 2K6 (PS2, X360, XBOX),
- NBA 2K7 (PS3, PS2, XBOX, X360),
- NBA 2K8 (X360, PS2, PS3),
- NBA 2K9 (X360, PS3, PS2, PC),
- NBA 2K10 (X360, WII, PC, PS3, PS2, PSP),
- NBA 2K10: Draft Combine (X360, PS3)
- Offline Modes:
Competitive, Cooperative, Team Oriented
- Number of Players: