NBA 2K6 - 360 - Review
The jump to the next generation has definitely been an interesting one, especially for sports titles. We’ve already witnessed some fierce competition between basketball games on the Xbox and PS2, so it should be no secret that the battle continues with the Xbox 360.
The decision this time around may be a little easier when it comes to choosing your favorite hoopster on the 360, because as long as you know what kind of experience you’re looking for, the choice should be an easy one. Instead of overhauling the entire package, as its competitor did with NBA Live, Visual Concepts and 2K Sports opted to leave the core gameplay intact, and add a few levels of polish to the presentation.
So if you have played the previous version of NBA 2K6 on either of the consoles you will know exactly what to expect this time around. The only question is are a few layers of visual polish enough to warrant a $59.99 price tag or repurchase of a game you may already own? The answer for me was yes, and as long as you don’t expect huge improvements, I think you’ll be happy as well.
Like I stated before, the core gameplay still exists, and plays just as beautifully as before. NBA 2K6 is still the most realistic basketball experience on the market, and not even a mediocre upgrade can keep this from being true. I will admit, though, that I would have liked to have seen a few more animations or features implemented into the action, but even without these, 2K6’s gameplay is still acceptable on the next-generation console.
The incredibly intuitive shot stick plays a major role in this, and for some reason seems to work even better in this version. Although it still functions the same as before, the fluidity of the shot tends to flow more nicely due to the increase in system power, and the action never stutters because of this. The Association mode is back as well, and playing out the life of a GM is just as addicting as ever. Once again, though, you will not find any upgrades in this department either, but at least this feature wasn’t dropped in the transition to next-gen.
For those of you who prefer street ball to the real thing, the 24/7 mode allows you to create your own baller in hopes of taking him all the way to the EBC. The only problem with this is that the visuals seem to have been neglected in 24/7 mode, and don’t really show off the new level of eye candy that other parts of the game provide.
The rest of the visuals on the other hand are absolutely breathtaking. It’s quite clear how most of the development time was spent, but the player models are so good looking that you can almost forgive the lack of attention towards the rest of the game. Each individual player in the NBA now looks astonishingly like its real-life counterpart, but there are a few drawbacks to this. Probably due to a time shortage, the rest of the visuals seem to have been neglected a bit, and still look pretty much like they did on the Xbox or PS2 version. Therefore, we end up with these awesome looking players running around last- generation environments, which look kind of out of place to say the least. It’s not that the environments and crowd look that bad per say, they just can’t live up to the standard set by the athletes. Seeing sweat build up over the course of a game, and seeing jerseys move and sway in utmost realistic fashion is stunning to say the least, which will make you wonder just how good this game can look in the next couple of years.
Xbox Live’s streamlined interface is obviously a big selling point for Microsoft, and never has it been more easy to use than with the 360. NBA 2K6 sports all the features and modes you have come to expect like tournaments, leagues, and leader boards, but for some reason the action on court just failed to keep up most of the time. Constant lag and slowdown all but ruined the experience for me, but to be fair it seemed like it became better off as more time passed. Eventually I did have a few matches that ran very smooth and ended up running as it should, though this may be somewhat of a concern for those who like to live online.
If you go into this game with the mindset that it should completely scream next- generation, then you might be a little disappointed. However, if you think of NBA 2K6 as more of an upgrade rather than an evolution, you’ll probably be very happy. It may not be the best-looking Xbox 360 basketball title, but it’s definitely the most realistic, and the most rewarding in the end.
|NBA 2K6 Review Scoring Details|
The gameplay for the 360 version has gone almost completely untouched. It’s hard to fault this area when the original game was nearly flawless. I still would have liked to see some improvements and new player animations though, which could have definitely helped out the $59.99 price tag.
The player models are unbelievably life-like, and the use of sweat and jersey physics really get you excited about what is possible with the 360. It’s a shame that the rest of the game doesn’t take advantage of the hardware or else this section would have scored higher.
Kevin Harlan and Kenny Smith handle the play by play to perfection, and Craig Sager does a decent job from the sideline. The audio for the most part sounds a lot better thanks to the systems powerful hardware, but nothing new has been implemented to help distinguish this version from the previous ones.
More than enough gameplay sliders can provide everyone with the appropriate level of difficulty.
The idea of a next-generation basketball game is a noble one indeed, but with the visuals being the only real improvement, it’s hard to get excited about a game we’ve already been playing for a while now.
A decent multiplayer system exists with various modes like leagues and tournaments, but most of the matches I played had constant lag and slowdown. Once this ironed itself out, though, matches became fun and enjoyable again.
In my opinion NBA 2K6 is the best basketball game available on the 360, but whether it’s worth the $59.99 price tag is going to be up to you. The decision is a no-brainer for people who don’t already own it on the Xbox or PS2, but for those who have played it before, the slick presentation just might not be enough to warrant an upgrade.