NBA 2K9 in test - who still needs NBA Live now?

Author: Benedikt Plass-Fleßenkämper
Date: 2008-10-21 12:46:00
Who needs NBA Live now? 2K Sports uses the time-out from EA Sports and shows what modern basketball should look like.

Where in the football genre Pro Evolution Soccer and Fifa have been fighting a tough duel for the crown for years, EA Sports has so far remained without serious competition in the basketball camp. This is over now, however, because 2K Sports is releasing the high-class console hunt NBA 2K9 for the first time on the PC.

You can enjoy all the advantages of the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions - with one important exception. The developers have incomprehensibly deleted the online mode on the PC. Multiplayer matches for up to four players are therefore only possible on one computer. A patch is urgently needed here!

Attention: Internet activation

NBA 2K9 has to be activated once via Valve's online platform Steam. An internet connection is therefore mandatory. Cheeky: 2K Sports hides the relevant notice in the small print on the back of the pack.

NBA feeling

The feature of all 2K sports games: the incredible closeness to reality. NBA 2K9 is no exception. Each game comes very close to being broadcast on television. This is due on the one hand to the wonderful player animations and the fantastic graphics, which score points with elaborate arenas, reflective hall floors, lively audience and many small details such as excited coaches or cheerleaders on the side, and on the other hand to the brilliant playability. You have full control over the actions of the NBA players at all times and you can tailor your moves. The basic controls - passing, throwing, blocking, steal and rebound - are easy and straightforward.

For trickier maneuvers, such as deception tricks, alley oops or tip-ins, several hours of training are inevitable. Beginners should therefore complete the pleasantly extensive tutorial. The training period pays off, because NBA 2K9 rewards learners with undreamt-of possibilities. You let your opponents run into space with elegant fints, play surprising ground passes or circle the ball behind your back - everything is possible.

In particular, the throw control with the right analog stick works wonderfully, provided you have a good gamepad. You can carry out practically any basket throw without clicking a button and intuitively sink worth seeing dunks or climb precisely to the layup. NBA 2K9 is best played with the Xbox 360 controller for Windows or a comparable dual analog pad. However, the game has problems with older brands; Microsoft's Sidewinder gamepad, for example, is not even recognized.

NBA live

In terms of game modes, NBA 2K9 offers the all-round happy package - but only for fans of the American professional basketball league NBA. You look in vain for national teams or even German teams. You can complete a full season with an NBA team of your choice, go straight to the playoffs or let off steam in the extensive association mode.

In this you take control of an NBA club and try to build the most successful dynasty possible over several years. The composition of the coaching staff, new signings and swaps with opposing teams, but also the creation of training plans, tactics and line-up are your responsibility.

But only if that's what you want, because if you wish, you can activate assistants to whom you assign individual areas. Great! If the 80 matches per season are too long for you, you can have individual games simulated at any time or have fun with the entertaining »NBA Blacktop« mini-games.

NBA intelligent

Regardless of whether you are a teammate or an opponent: the basket hunters always behave in a comprehensible and credible manner. Your teammates always choose the optimal routes, offer themselves and clear the space for you. The lightning-fast switch from the defensive to the offensive, inevitable in basketball, goes smoothly and allows brisk counterattacks and surprise attacks.

Even the adaptive intelligence of the opponent is a real challenge even at the middle of the five levels of difficulty. Capable of learning? Exactly: If you make a move too often, the AI actually adapts to it. We therefore find the “Lock on” function very practical, with which you can determine the distance to your opponent (indicated by small yellow lines) yourself. The assignment of individual defense strategies and in-game coaching options will completely satisfy even Pro Evolution Soccer- tempered sports tacticians.