NBA2K16 was first released by 2K back in September 2015 for PC, PS 3 and 4 and Xbox One and 360 and remains one of the best sports simulations to date. The game introduced a number of gameplay mechanics changes that made it a real game changer in the sports simulations arena, along with staggeringly detailed graphics, great audio track and plenty of gameplay modes to choose between.
The game’s greatest improvement was certainly in the AI, which became immeasurably more intelligent than it was in previous NBA2K games. The game forces players to make complex plays instead of exploiting the AI mistakes in a cheap and silly way.
NBA2K16 features a number of gameplay modes, not the least of which is the MyCareer mode, which is the storyline mode of NBA2K16, which we will address a bit more later in the text. The MyLeague and MyGM modes are also back in this version of the game, both significantly improving on earlier editions.
Let’s dig a bit deeper into the various concepts of the game and find out how it measures up.
2K did a fantastic job with the AI in NBA2K16, especially improving on the defensive segment of the game. Long gone are the days when you could simply run around waiting for the AI defense to make a silly mistake to take advantage off. Such attempts will now result in lost balls and blocked shots, while you will have to make actual basketball plays, run pick n’ rolls and use your knowledge of the game to win games, giving true NBA fans a distinct advantage.
Not only does the AI play better defensively, but it also adapts better to your plays. After just a short time playing, you will see the AI start to defend better against your attacks. The more pattern you use to attack, the better computer will defend, which means you will need to continually adapt your play and change the plays you make in order to avoid the AI exploiting you.
These are great additions to the game, which make NBA2K16 a lot more like the real life NBA and force you to think like an NBA manager instead of just running up the pitch trying to get an easy dunk. True basketball fans will have a huge advantage playing the game right off the bat as the game is based around real basketball concepts which you will be forced to understand in full before you can actually start winning at the game.
NBA2K16 Graphics, Audio and Animation
NBA2K16 was the best looking basketball game when it was released and remains likely in second place only behind the new NBA2K17. The game features fantastic graphics, with detailed facial expressions, hair styles and every single detail being true to life. The players, the crowd and the overall gameplay will all seem extremely realistic due to the very detailed textures used and the entire graphical engine being absolutely superb.
The game also features lots of animations and cut scenes, all of which are done with uncanny amount of realism. The pre-match sequences such as the playing of the national anthem, the in-game celebration sequences and the post-match scenes are all done to perfection, with tons of detail used for every single move a character makes during the scenes.
As far as the audio goes, the background music is mostly rap and hip hop, with the likes of Jay Z and Wiz Khalifa appearing as artists and the entire soundtrack being compiled by DJ Premier, DJ Khaled and DJ Mustard. The soundtrack is varied enough and lets you select one of five playlists to listen to, which makes the music less mundane as you can switch it up from time to time.
As far as the commentary goes, the game are narrated by Kenny Smith, Ernie Johnson and Shaqiulle O’Neal who produce some great banter during the play and have been extremely well tuned this time around, meaning they will not make unrelated comments as often in the past. The commentary is followed up with post-game interviews with the players, some of which have been taken from earlier NBA2K games, while a number of new ones make for a great addition to the game.
Overall, the audiovisual identity of NBA2K16 is absolutely astounding. The game features high end graphics and audio which will help you dive deep into the game and see hours flying by like minutes as you play.
NBA2K16 Gameplay Modes
NBA2K16 offers a high number of gameplay modes, just as the previous versions of the game. The popular MyLeague and MyGM modes are back along with MyTeam and MyCareer modes. The MyLeague and MyGM modes allow for a huge amount of customization, allowing you to rebrand your team as you wish, making it the exact team you always dreamed of coaching. From there, you get to manage your team all the way to the glory, being responsible for every little change to the team’s roster, tactics and gameplay.
The MyTeam features a classic card collecting game to compete with your friends, while the MyCareer mode is something altogether different. The MyCareer put you in the shoes of a young high school prodigy from Harlem, as he embarks on his journey to live his NBA dream. The story is followed by a ton of movie sequences written by Spike Lee, but the entire thing is full of inconsistency and lacks flow.
While we would certainly like to see a more immersive and realistic story, where your performance on the pitch would affect how the story develops, 2K have done an ok job with the MyCarrer mode as it is, and most basketball fans will still appreciate it to a degree.
Finally, the Play Now Online mode allows you to find opponents to play against almost instantly and the promotion/relegation system of the mode means every match you play online will matter a bit more than it used to.
The Final Verdict
NBA2K16 is a very immersive game which every true basketball fan will love. While the story mode could be a bit more realistic and flow better and there are still a few gameplay glitches, for the most part NBA2K16 is as realistic as it currently gets with sports simulations.
The game was already awarded multiple awards for its performance during the first year out and its only real problem is the fact NBA2K17 will likely take over as the game of choice for most sports fans out there. Still, NBA2K16 is certainly a title worth giving a shot and as it is always the case, many players will surely remain loyal to this version of the game despite the new one coming out.
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