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Posts Tagged ‘NBA’

Video Game Review: NBA 2k17

October 25, 2016 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
NBA 2k17If you can’t beat ‘em…

After years of annually reviewing the NBA 2k series, we actually haven’t had the chance to take it for a spin since it made the jump to next-gen consoles. Until now, that is, as we’ve been putting NBA 2k17, which launched last month, through its paces for weeks in anticipation of the start of another NBA season. With the league tipping off tonight it’s time to find out how NBA 2k17 fared.

CONTROLS (4.5/5)

While many things have changed since we last covered NBA 2k, the controls were instantly familiar, retaining the same complexities of many previous entries. Relative to pretty much any other sports game — with the possible exception of EA’s UFC series — NBA 2k17 is incredibly difficult to master because it strives to put so many options in your hands.

In that way, NBA 2k17 is not unlike a fighting game because there are so many combinations of the analog sticks to pull off different moves off the dribble. Then you add in modifiers via the triggers, different functions for tapping a button versus holding it, elaborate on-the-fly play-calling and it’s easy to lose track of all the moves at your disposal.

For long-time fans that have mastered this setup, it’s undoubtedly liberating to be able to break down an opponent off the dribble, draw two defenders into the air and slip a pass to a cutting teammate for a two-hand jam. For beginners, however, it can be overwhelming, leading to a more simplistic version where they try to get by on basics. It’d be nice if 2k found a happy medium for those that don’t fit neatly into either camp.

Mechanical issues aside, watching the game of basketball be simulated is a delight. The A.I. reacts in proper ways most of the time (minus those choreographed double teams), and the amount of idly dribbling the ball has decreased markedly since last we played. Non-icon passing seems to go to the proper man more often, and allowing you to decide between chest and bounce passes is nice.

Shooting, the lifeblood of any NBA game, feels tight whether you’re using the right analog stick, which allows for more types of shots (fade away, bank, etc.), or the face buttons. The timing meter below your players is unobtrusive but still valuable, and you know when it turns green there’s a swish incoming. All in all, NBA 2k17 plays a damn fine game of hoops.

GRAPHICS/SOUND (4.5/5)

In terms of presentation, NBA 2k17 takes a backseat to no one. There’s the studio show with Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal, courtside updates with David Aldridge, in-game interviews with players, “listen ins” on coaches in the huddle, pertinent overlays and just about anything else one can think of that appears in an NBA broadcast. The attention to detail is superb.

Perhaps nowhere does that shine more brightly than on commentary where the game actually uses more than one set of voices behind the announce table. Yes, Kevin Harlan always does play-by-play and Greg Anthony is the lead analyst, but they’ll rotate in the likes of Chris Webber, Doris Burke and more to keep things from getting stale. It’s the gold standard for video game announcing.

Animations are typically smooth, though they can’t seem to completely stamp out some occasional wonkiness — e.g. elongated moves that send a player dribbling directly out of bounds or a defender losing track of the person he’s covering because a steal animation queued up too late. Still, from a distance it’s lifelike enough to make you think you might be watching the real thing.

GAMEPLAY (4.5/5)

As with most sports games, NBA 2k17 contains an individual-based mode (MyCareer) and a team management sim (MyGM) as its two primary options. Starting with the former, it continues with the series’ unique approach by creating a narrative aspect and pairing it with the sports. Unfortunately, it works better in concept than execution.

Your story begins as a top high-school recruit, follows your brief “one-and-done” college career and propels you into the NBA where you’ll continue a relationship with scripted teammates, one of which is played by Michael B. Jordan. It’s fine to have some context, but the story sequences often meander and cannot be skipped, which can be annoying when you just want to play some basketball.

There’s a lot of grind to MyCareer — team practices, open gym, promotional appearances, texting with your agent, mom, teammates and so on — and the pay out in tokens is modest compared to how much it costs to develop your player. Clearly upgrades need to be metered out, though the dangle of huge chunks of tokens for real money feels like it played a factor in the pacing as well.

MyGM, however, is the best franchise management mode we’ve seen on consoles, making us hearken back to PC-based simulators. It’s not just assembling a roster, doling out minutes and swapping players, you’re also dealing with the owner, and the press, and keeping players happy in their roles. There’s a ton of customization available as well. MyGM is an unqualified success.

In addition to the main two modes you can also dive into MyTeam, the digital trading card game where you assemble a squad to challenge for virtual supremacy. It’s a deep mode with some new tweaks, most notably Dynamic Duos, which applies a boost to certain player combinations. Online has never been 2k’s strongest aspect, but it’s generally solid and has stabilized the further out we get from launch.

OVERALL (4.5/5)

NBA 2k17 is yet another excellent installment of what is arguably already the standard bearer for sports gaming franchises. Granted, MyCareer stumbles here and there with its cinematic approach, but the ascension of MyGM more than makes up for it.

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2016-17 Fantasy Basketball Sleepers and Busts

October 20, 2016 | by Adrian Wallace | Comments Comments Off
Despite Rose being at the top of the depth chart, Jennings — who looks healthy this preseason — is still projected to have an increase in overall production compared to his last two seasons, although it would be nice to see some consistency (he was 0-for-6 on Wednesday after a solid effort on the weekend).
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The Wire Troll: Amar’e Stoudemire Fills Big Shoes in Miami

February 6, 2016 | by Adrian Wallace | Comments Comments Off
He’s addressed that issue in recent weeks and is really starting to fill it up lately with four efforts of 20 or more points over this last five games. Crawford’s play off the Clipper bench has been stellar lately and the fact that he’s canned 52.1 per cent of his attempts from the field over this stretch is all the more reason for you to grab this instant offensive contributor while you can.
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The Wire Troll: O.J. Mayo Gets His Groove Back in Milwaukee

December 12, 2015 | by Adrian Wallace | Comments Comments Off
Zeller has been mostly stellar (yes, we’re poets at heart) over the four games (okay, maybe not so much over the last two). Regardless, his season-high of 20 points with six boards and two blocks on Monday did raise some eyebrows. With Jefferson (calf/suspension) out, Zeller will try to take advantage and gain more minutes and confidence in the low post. Playing pivot is giving Zeller a chance to shine in areas we don’t normally expect from him; he’ll contribute with boards, points and occasional blocks.
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The Wire Troll: Matt Barnes Bashes His Way Back to Revelance

December 5, 2015 | by Adrian Wallace | Comments Comments Off
Montiejunas has yet to play this season because of his back, but he’s very close to returning. He’s been practicing this week and his status for Saturday has been upgraded to questionable. The Young Lithuanian enjoyed a breakout last season, upping his game offensively while doing a better job on the defensive glass and pitching in with more blocks. In a deep league, stash this dude now.
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