NBA 2K11 is the deepest sports game I have ever played. There is so much on the table, I could probably go the rest of my life without another yearly iteration of NBA 2K11, and that would not bother me a bit. Michael Jordon graces the cover, the UI, and several game modes, serving as the central theme for NBA 2K11. The game opens with a bombastic tribute to MJ, and instead of initially being presented with a menu to select the desired game mode, NBA 2K11 immediately throws players into one of Michael’s signature games.
This will be players’ first taste of the Michael Jordan challenge mode available NBA 2K11. This mode puts the player in Michael’s shoes, with various objectives to complete for each game. Objectives include scoring a certain number of points before the half, completing a designated number of assists, and a multitude of other objectives. Completing all of the Michael Jordan challenges allows the player access to the ‘MJ: Creating a Legend’ game mode. This puts a rookie level Michael directly into the players hands, allowing them to develop his career as they see fit.
Beyond the Jordan challenges, the game offers various other quick play modes encompassing both current and classic teams. There is an NBA blacktop mode with various mini-challenges such as three point shootouts and dunk contests. Snoop Dogg, Drake, and other celebrities are available for play beyond the normal NBA roster. Players have the option of taking their own custom character through a ‘My Player’ mode, which has them managing the player’s entry into the NBA. This mode is more about the journey than the player’s actual NBA career, and its a long road before reaching the NBA itself. This mode is pretty cool and has the player reacting to game decisions at press conferences, signing sponsors, etc. This is another long term game mode that will have players continuously coming back to NBA 2K11. nba stream links
NBA 2K11’s actual gameplay is infinitely deep, being not only difficult to master, but pretty difficult to learn as well. This can prove troublesome for players new to the NBA 2K series, as there are virtually no tutorials or in-game help provided within the UI. This leaves one to consult the physical game manual instead, which is simply blasphemous. Simple actions such as shooting or passing have a multitude of variations depending on what other buttons are pressed in conjunction. More advanced players will want to get the analog sticks involved for on the fly play changes, such as dribbling behind the back to get around a defender, or making a last minute hand change on a layup. After taking the time to learn the system players can make some truly flashy plays, pushing the momentum of each game off the charts.
NBA 2K11 is truly a joy to watch. Onlookers will believe they are watching an actual live game if not told otherwise. Player animations are the most believable I’ve ever seen in any game, let alone a sports game, with court textures, crowd behavior, and amazing commentators all chiming in on the level of immersion. The biggest folly graphically is in player models themselves. While the animations are a sight to behold when looking down on the court, player faces are just plain goofy, and in many occasions look nothing like their real life counterparts. Low textures and sub-par facial capture are most likely to blame, but this probably factors into the games unbelievably smooth frame rate as well.
There are a few issues I’ve encountered in my short time with NBA 2K11. Passing can be a chore, and one that should be handled carefully. The computer will constantly be intercepting passes with a ferocious tenacity. Every pass made needs to be deliberate and calculated to avoid a turnover. To make matters works, quick passing with the left analog stick is not as accurate as one would assume, demanding further attention that could have been devoted to play tactics. The commentators can be off at times as well. When playing as the Miami Heat, my team was referred to as the L.A. Lakers more than once. Beyond those items, I haven’t run into any other major hiccups with NBA 2K11.
Online play is fairly stable, though when the game demands precision, a small amount of lag can alter the effectiveness of shots, passes, and especially free throws. I’ve occasionally been disconnected during online games. I’m not sure if the other player simply lost connection or quit the game, as rather than providing a brief explanation of the issue, the player is presented with a simple network error message. Players have the option to join crews, similar to clans or groups in other games, and is a nice feature to include this time around. The game does support Move on the PS3, but I have not had an opportunity to try this out.