Published on October 7th, 2010 | by Kyle Spencer, Editor
NBA 2K11 Review
Release Date: Oct. 5, 2010
Publisher: 2K Sports
Developer: Visual Concepts / Kush Games
Platforms: Xbox 360 [Reviewed], PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP, PC
The king of the hardwood is back, in more ways than one. Michael Jordan is back for the first time in over a decade, gracing the cover and shows us an insight to some of Jordan’s classic games against the likes of the Boston Celtics, LA Lakers, and New York Knicks, back in the 90’s when basketball was “good”. This release is not your ordinary, released every year to minimal changes, kind of sports game. This game had a lot of thought and creativity pulled for this one. I’ve played a lot of basketball games in the past and this year I feel I got the most featured, and fully packaged NBA licensed game than I have in years.
From the very beginning, you hear your heart beat going, the lights are low. Flashing photography, and the infamous Chicago Bulls theme music begins to rattle the stadium. The classic announcement of “YOUR CHICAGO BULLS!!!!” rips from wall to wall. Jordan looks back into the camera, simply asks “Are You Ready”? The stadium announcer introduces Jordan who comes running out of the tunnel for Game 1 of the 1991 NBA Finals against the L.A. Lakers. This is where NBA 2K11 begins to flourish by letting you take control of the 91′ Bulls, and battle Magic Johnson and the L.A. Lakers.
This is a NBA game like no other. The Jordan challenges are what seperate this game from many other releases (calling out Elite 11, which is now delayed). Play as Michael Jordan and the Bulls through some of Michael’s favorite games, that he himself was involved in choosing. You can play as the high point dropper on the Knicks, or you can play with the flu and watch your team mate Scottie Pippen carry you off the court, after dropping 40 + Points. This isn’t just another basketball game anymore. This is an opening of the history books, and shows you how it was to play with the greats of the game. Play against Magic, Wilkins, Drexler, Starks, and “The Mailman”. Find out what it was like to play in a league, where there were not one, but a league full of playoff contenders. Not only are the challenges created really close to actual footage, but the commentary from that era, are also spot on. Listen to announcers calling the 10 classic games, such as “A SPECTACULAR MOVE . . . BY MICHAEL JORDAN”, or “It’s The Arrival” from the classic game in Madison Square Garden.
If you want Jordan to play in today’s league, you must complete all 10 challenges to unlock a rookie Michael, who you can then build up and place on any NBA team in the league to play against today’s greats. Square Jordan off against Kobe in the finals if you want, it could make for a great game (In mine Jordan owned!). All of the games animations are unique and capture everybody’s unique shooting style or dribbling. Yes, that means Shaq still can not hit Free throws, no matter how accurate you try to be. Though the game plays great, animation look fluid, and it feels like your actually playing an NBA game you’d typically watch on Television, the player profiles do look a little off. I don;t know how they modeled Phil Jackson but he looks like a HOBO they picked off the streets in L.A., and Rondo looks like Diddy Kong from Donkey Kong Country.
Aside from some minor mishaps, the game controls beautifully. Passing could take some getting used to, but aside from that the game plays great. The AI has been revamped this year so if your thinking you can launch passes to a team mate at the half court line, your going to be in for a rude awakening. It seems that passing lanes, dribbling lanes, and even pick and roles have tightened up, no matter what difficulty you are playing on. To pass the ball, you have to aim at a target and press your “A” button. Although sometimes it ends up going to the wrong person, it is workable. Practice with the passing will make your time on the court that much better. Along with the AI getting better they one uped the AI of the GM’s in franchise mode. No longer will you feel cheated by missing out on good trade opportunities, and no longer will you see an obscure trade around. They re-worked the system to where the GM’s will act on behalf of what coach they have coaching their team at the time. Win the championship and meet President Obama at the very end, as the team presents him with his own Jersey.
NBA this year is packed with a lot to keep you coming back to the hardwood. Online is still as fun as it has been in past years. I haven’t experienced any lag in the games I’ve played (winning them I must add), and the competition is heavy. Your favorite game modes are all here, including the “My Player” mode where you create a player and take him through the ranks of the NBA to becoming a superstar. There should be no reason, if your a sports fan, that this should not be in your library. It more than a game, but more of an experience. History, showcased in the form of you picking up a controller and playing side by side of the greats who are now in the NBA Hall of Fame. The Jordan Challenges will keep you coming back time and time again, to relive some of the greatest games played in the 90’s. This isn’t your pick up and play, dunk on the opponents kind of game. This is a strict, patients with the ball kind of game. 2K showed that you can make huge upgrades to a franchise that is released on a yearly basis. Keeping it fresh and new is what it’s all about with sports games, not just an updated roster. 2K proved that, and with Jordan in their corner, it’s no wonder why 2K is still the greatest basketball game to date.
+ Jordan Challenges are AWESOME!
+ Realistic game play
+ Great Commentary
+ Fluid Controls
+ Awesome Animations
+ Strong AI
– Players do not quite look right
– Passing can be problematic