NBA 2K6 E3 2005 Preshow Report

2K Sports reveals a brief glimpse of its upcoming NBA-licensed basketball game.

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As part of the Xbox 360 unveiling on MTV, 14 different games were shown, including 2K Sports' upcoming basketball game, NBA 2K6. While not much footage was shown, the 15-second clip was clearly designed to show off some of the advanced player animation that's going into the game.

The clip merely shows one player, dribbling around a street court, executing a few fakes, and taking a few shots. While that alone might not sound so impressive, the extremely fluid player animation definitely looks cool. Additionally, it's easy to see things like some very nice-looking facial animations and the realistic movement of the players' uniforms. Will this level of graphical quality hold up in a full-on five-on-five game, complete with an animated crowd? We'll have to wait and see. But so far, it looks pretty nice.

No release date information for NBA 2K6 is currently available, but it's expected that the game will have some sort of presence at E3. We'll have more info as it becomes available.

[UPDATE] Though this year's game won't feature the ESPN license for this go-around--the sports broadcasting network hooked up with 2K Sports' archrival EA Sports--it does have one big thing going for it: a debut on Microsoft's great white hope, the Xbox 360.

One thing that will be familiar to fans of the NBA 2K series will be the feature list found in the game, which includes several returning modes that made last year's game such a success. The first, 24/7 mode, allows you to create your player from scratch, enter him in a variety of competitions to improve his abilities, and basically live the life of an NBA star on the rise. A new facet of this mode will have you attempting to best your competition in the hopes of landing valuable endorsement deals. After all, you're no one in the NBA without a shoe contract, right?

2K6's franchise mode, once again dubbed "the association," returns and will allow you to take total control of your favorite franchise, from draft picks to the entire coaching staff. While that part isn't new to the association mode, the ability to track draft picks with year-round scouting is. The game also promises some new communication controls between you and your players, and an upgraded feedback system where you can expect to receive reactions not only from players and coaches, but also from the press and the fans themselves.

If you've had it with the "feedback," however, and need to get away from it all in NBA 2K6, there's no better place than at your crib. As in previous versions of the game, the crib is your home away from home in 2K6. As you earn credits in the game for accomplishments, you'll be able to cash them in to purchase new items for your pad, buy music, or play minigames. Here's hoping the air hockey table returns once again!

Two other fun features from previous titles make their way to 2K6: the VIP system, which lets you download and save profiles of your online opponents, or even the top players in the nation, in order to play against them later; and an online experience that will include stat tracking and league play. Just as in another upcoming 2K Sports title, NHL 2K6, it's unclear whether or not these online features will make their way to a Web presence, such as the old ESPN Videogames site. We remain hopeful that something like that will be in place. Will other game features, such as last year's full-authority mode, also make their way into the game? Be sure and stay tuned to our coverage of this game, as we hope to bring you more information soon.

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