NBA 2K9 - Game Review
NBA Live 08 from EA Sports was a game so lame, so secondary and so ugly that the studio this year - rightly so - completely skipped the PC version. However, fans of the virtual recycle bin are lucky, because the authors of the series - NBA 2K , which is successful on consoles, decided to present it for the first time on personal computers. The effect is that their debut turned out to be a revelation in the world of not only basketball, but also computer sports. NBA 2K9 is the best sports game I've ever played on my PC.
It has been accepted to write about the graphic design at the end of the review, but today I will resist this rule, but I have a really good reason. I am convinced that every, absolutely every player after starting the first match in NBA 2K9 will immediately call the name of his god and all possible saints. Next-genes made their way to PCs. The setting is amazing, it knocks you to the ground, preventing you from getting up for long minutes. The virtual dance floor is no different from what we can see on TV or at a real basketball game. The players perfectly resemble their real counterparts, and their bodies are visible with tattoos, stubble, and even ... drops of sweat.
The quintessence of fantastic visuals is a fully three-dimensional, live audience that reacts to the events on the dance floor adequately to the situation. When we make a spectacular dunk - full of enthusiasm leaps up from the chairs, when it is extremely calm - someone picks his nose and someone else is looking at his watch. It's just a miracle. In addition, it is worth mentioning that despite the fully next-gen graphic design, NBA 2K9 does not have high hardware requirements and a computer from even two years ago should be able to easily handle this application (in a word, EA has been lying to us for years, claiming that its games look so tragic because otherwise they would kill our PCs). Basketball 2K Sports is in my opinion the best presenting sports game in the history of computerization.
Not counting the menus, of course. These, for a work with a typical console origin, are quite unattractive visually, but quite transparent and practical. It is best to use the keyboard to move around them, and after a dozen or so minutes it will turn out that in fact they are really well designed, allowing you to quickly get to any location that interests you. The first thing that should catch our attention are the control settings. PC players have it that they often consistently stick to the keyboard, and although the game offers the possibility of using this solution, as an unrepentant supporter of WASD, I still suggest getting a pad. It gives you a lot more, and at the same time much more convenient way to control the team.
In the main menu, however, we find mainly game modes. The first of them approaches the subject of basketball quite freely, because it is associated mostly with its street variants. So it allows you to play a competition of dunks, throws for three or play "21", controlling the actions of the greatest NBA stars in slightly less obliging climates. It is pleasant and relaxing fun, but real basketball at its best is offered by the managerial mode, season or play-offs, when we lead a professional team - selected from the best 30 in the world. All teams are fully licensed, we can admire the original jerseys, halls, logos and names. Virtual parameters - both of players and teams - quite faithfully reflect their real skills.
In the managerial mode, we can go crazy not only with the settings of the starting line-up, elements of tactics, selecting the staff, but also try to, for example, make some exceptionally valuable transfer, look for talents or hire a player currently deprived of an employer. The managerial possibilities are really wide for a basketball simulator, but the most important thing is what is happening on the court. And although you can skip and ignore all matches in a row, and during a boring match, even ask to "simulate" the rest - believe me, it's not worth it.
This is because the events in the hall itself are the absolute essence of this game. The next-gen graphic design has been enriched with an equally modern gameplay. So we have a huge impact on the lively, dynamic spectacle straight from the broadcast of the most interesting NBA matches. Each player has a huge range of available moves and skills - there are many spectacular dunks, throws, feints, blocks and a whole lot of this type of play, which are the essence of basketball. The creators coped very well with what I value so much in sports games - each of the players they create has a soul, is an individual character. The great Shaqua O'Neil is driven completely differently than the slightly smaller, but also more agile Iverson. Interestingly - it seems that in this game the greatest role is not played by speed, not effective feints (although these are also extremely important), but above all high height and large weight. With these two advantages, the basketball player becomes an almost unstoppable tank. In any case, the aforementioned individualism opens up numerous possibilities in the tactical field, because choosing the right team - according to your own discretion and preferences, you can create something incredibly effective. Quite unlike in the (in) famous NBA Live 08, where the players only seemed to differ from each other by their names on their shirts.
The dynamic gameplay is full of fast-paced action, there is no point in looking for boredom or downtime in this game when we hit the virtual dance floor. The huge scale of movements is impressive, players can "charm" long after we first think "well, now I have probably seen everything!". Especially since our experience is constantly growing, and without it, we cannot move on, because NBA 2K9 is not one of the simplest games. Adjustable difficulty levels await us, and while the first two are fairly tolerable, then the stairs begin. Especially since it's very hard to play in defense. One would like to look for a hole in the whole, but in my opinion such a solution is quite realistic. Pickups or blocks are extremely difficult, and at the highest level, the computer overcomes itself, so a lot of sweat will fall to the floor before players learn to defeat their opponents cleverly. But that doesn't really cut gameplay points in any way. It is also unaffected by minor gameplay errors, such as imperfect (but still good) collaboration with team members.
An interesting fact is that the game is accompanied by a very large number of animations generated on the game engine and some of them can be interrupted very quickly, while some ... clearly do not want to. It is a bit irritating when you have to wait a few seconds for the referee to drag the ball from the opponent's half. On the other hand - I had a whole list of wishes and complaints prepared in this place about some inconveniences in the gameplay, but fortunately I had a nice surprise on time. Almost every element of the virtual match can be changed, turned off, and adjusted. The game configuration options are really amazing, if someone put some effort into it, he could even create a new sport based on basketball!
The issue of sound is a bit worse than the visual layer. The sounds from the hall or the commentary are doing very well, but I miss a bit more spectacular setting (as is the case in NHL 09, for example) full of melodies or fan chants. What's more - the music on the menu is not completely for me, reminding me of some cosmic charts. But, as I mentioned, it can all be adjusted.
The biggest disadvantage of this production is the lack of a multiplayer mode. After all, we all know how online play can extend the life of any game. Nevertheless, for the amazing graphics, great gameplay, a lot of various cool basketball options and showing us - PC players - what real new generation sportsmen look like - a great, really huge plus for 2K Sports. It created something amazing, the best basketball I have ever played on my computer. There is a tear in the eye that even Konami has not made such a beautiful and playable football for PCs. But who would have thought of football when basketball was waiting for us in the drive? Such a basketball!
. Jakub "Kuba" Kralka