Before I go into the details of this NBA title I think I should dwell a bit on my personal experience on sport gaming titles. I’m not a FIFA/PES fan, I hate golf and cricket, and I absolutely cannot handle repetitiveness of sport games.
But I have not always hated sport games; there was a time on my PS2 when I played NBA JAM religiously. It was awesome fun, I loved the arcade style of playing and having played Basketball in real life I knew the rules backwards and really enjoyed the 3 pointers and slam dunks.
Now some years have passed and I cannot recall the last time I even considered playing a sports title. When the Big Prawn asked me to review NBA 2K11, I was very eager to see if this game could revive that old fire that burned rather deep. It turns out NBA 2K11 wasn’t exactly the “phoenix down” I was hoping for.
From the get go I was disappointed. Not having any knowledge of previous 2K games, I had no idea how the control system worked and NBA 2K11 threw me straight into the deep end: the 1991 finals, Bulls vs. Lakers. Needless to say I made Michael Jordan look like a paraplegic whose hands had been replaced with spoons. I’m even sure I started singing the hit song from Rick Astley, “Never Gonna Give You Up” while I was sobbing in between time-outs. Sorry MJ, it didn’t end there.
Catch more of His Airness in action after the jump.
NBA 2K11 revolves around the legendary Michael Jordan. Re-enacting some of MJ’s legendary games, the player must perform certain requirements of the challenge to successfully complete it, unlocking some nice Air Jordans.
You are also able to create your own success story for MJ’s fame career. Starting off at the rookie level, you must prove your worth on the NBA scene by performing well in games. You are able to practice drills to increase your stats as well as be a team player in the game to progress your character. The Air Jordans you unlock through this and the challenges add bonus stats to your player. My personal player is currently a joke, he has absolutely no skill and is a ball-hog that cannot even make a basket from the low post.
The game modify sliders are a nice feature for the beginners as you are able to calibrate the game mechanics, allowing you to get those 3 pointers with ease (or make it incredibly difficult).
I must say that I had one really enjoyable moment while button-mashing on the court. While running to the basket I managed to shoot for a basket, but ended up turning it up into a rebound off the backboard followed up with a layup slam dunk. I wasn’t expecting it, because all I really did was just move the analog sticks in random motions. This is when I found out about the IsoMotion.
IsoMotion is a very enthusiastic control system which creates a “real-life” sense of control within the game. A combination of left and right buttons as well as analog stick directions process a unique movement depending on the position of the controlled player as well as if he is holding the ball. Moving the analog to the right then immediately left with the release of the R2 button creates the dummy right with a shot at post.
The visuals of the game are very detailed for a sports title down to the tattoos of a specific player and you will be able to instantly recognise a player right from the whistle. The commentary is on the ball too. It flows well and feels like a seamless narrative as opposed to a pre-recorded scenario. The commentary is also rather deep as it will follow the progress of the individual player and creates a history and mentions key details as you’re playing.
The online gameplay is very similar to that of the game, except game sliders have no effect in the game. You are required to apply some strategic thinking in substituting players at the right time instead of calling time-outs every second by mistake.
From my time with it, I can definitely say NBA 2K11 is not for the casual gamer. It requires patience as well as detail to skill. The trophies/achievements will take you a good few months to complete and may cause severe frustration. In a nutshell, if you don’t like the previous NBA 2K series then stay far away from this. You might say I was biased in this review, or you may agree, at the end of the day the NBA 2K11 is not for the arcade style players and the learning curve is feat to climb.