NBA 2K2 may have been a long time coming to the GameCube, but as the saying goes, good things come to those who wait.
Now three months into its life span, the GameCube has yet to receive a true simulation-style basketball game. Nintendo's NBA Courtside teetered on the fence between arcade game and simulation, but up until now, the console has yet to receive a rigid b-ball sim. Normally, that wouldn't be cause for alarm, but with both competing consoles already having more than one basketball simulation available, GameCube owners could feel like they've arrived a bit late to the party. But what better way to break the ice than with what many consider the best basketball simulation available? Sega's hoops simulation, NBA 2K2, may have been a long time coming to the GameCube, but as the saying goes, good things come to those who wait.
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 standard 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--it requires almost an entire GameCube memory card just to save it. 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 streetball 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 GameCube version perpetuates this. Zone defenses are new to the NBA this season, and NBA 2K2 lets you call a 3-2 zone on the fly to clog up the lane. Virtually any offensive or defensive play can be called by pushing down on the C stick and then pressing the coinciding button. Calling the right offensive play against the proper defense can immediately open the lane for a wide-open 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 too enthralled with the gameplay to control your team's strategy on the fly, you can simply use 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 several 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 and the ability to square up with an offensive player with the L button, 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 as with 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 seems a bit easier in the GameCube version of the game--especially when the opposition is performing a special dribble or is double-teamed. The largest complaint that can be lodged against the gameplay is that 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. Sometimes it can seem almost impossible to make a jump shot inside the lane with a guard--regardless of how open he is. 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, so 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. In any difficulty setting, the computer's shooting percentage tends to be much higher than it should be.
- Player Reviews: 3
- 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)
- Number of Players: