Published on February 9th, 2013 | by Shawn Long, Features Editor
TRUTHrant: NBA 2K has 99 Problems–and Realism is One
Since its debut on the Sega Dreamcast, I have been playing the NBA 2K series. Back when there was a huge choice of NBA games, the 2K series stuck out with its superior graphics and gameplay.
Over the years, many other basketball franchises have died off, even the monster known as NBA Live, to the point of where now NBA 2K is the only game available for hoop fans to play. With that, the series has appeared to be the premier NBA simulator on the surface, but I have so many problems with the game I don’t even know where to start.
Scratch that, I do know where to start:
[Smells like Foul Play to Me]
One of my biggest complaints is the fact that fouling has never improved. “But, Shawn, who cares about fouls, it’s basketball!!!” I care, because I don’t know if you have watched an NBA game before, but fouls can make or break a team trying to win. The main problem is that there are no technical or flagrant fouls. It’s such an easy thing to implement and would make the game so much more realistic, yet the game has never included it.
Technical fouls can be based on the player’s emotional level, which is already a stat in the game. If a player, such as Demarcus Cousins (Center on the Sacramento Kings), picks up two quick fouls in the paint, he should show emotion towards the refs to either intimidate or piss them off. Either way, it will change the way the game is carried out from then on, adding another layer of realism. Take it a step further and add an role playing elements, and after a foul call, allow the gamer to press a button to show the emotion level they want.The game stops when the ball is dead anyways, so why not include this vital part of a NBA game?
Flagrant fouls are called all the time now in the current “soft” version of the NBA, and most of the time it’s during a fast break. Why make this a physics-based element, and if you are sprinting down to chase a fast break and you try to block something you have no chance at? Instead you are left jumping in the midair like a moron, just make it a body to body foul and move on. I’m not asking for Mortal Kombat stuff, I’m asking for what is a real part of the NBA.
[NBA 2K: The Identity Crysis] What does the game want to be?
I attribute this to the default difficulty setting. The issue is the way the game programs you to play by having such a lax difficulty. You can pretty much pick a player or team, such a the Golden State Warriors, and shoot 3’s the entire game to suffice. Not even necessarily open shots or well done plays. Numerous times I’ve walked around the perimeter with the ball, in a semi-circle and lost the defender for a second. Then, hit a three-pointer. That doesn’t happen in real life, so why does it happen so often in the game?
Simply put, it’s due to the difficulty setting. If it’s changed, you get a more balanced experience, but when you play a match online it’s the default setting. So, all the idiots online who play as the top teams can just use bull-crap plays, or drive to the lane solely because your AI defenders are too stupid to slide over and protect the paint. Why are there not lobbies for varying difficulty? Better yet, why is fatigue not scaled to the shorter game times so that you can’t just call two time outs in a row to rest all your players instead of actually having to use reserves? It’s stupid.
[NBA 2K Doesn’t like Roster-Kids]
Speaking of online, why are the roster updates so half-assed and biased towards big named players only? Let’s take my local team, the Charlotte Bobcats. Jeff Adrien has started the past five games, while Hakim Warrick hasn’t even played. Yet, Jeff Adrian is on reserves and Hakim Warrick is still the starting lineup. However, Rudy Gay was traded last week, and of course gets on the Raptors in a quick roster update. How hard is it to update the roster daily?
Even NBA Live had this with “Made Fresh Daily”, but I guess when there is no competition, there’s no reason to push yourself.
More issues? Sure, I got more issues. The physics still suck, the ball still morphs through players, animations can over-power any defensive presence you have and you are left to realize that NBA 2K13 isn’t that good.
How about this? How about we drop the Jay-Z crap (yeah, he did TONS for this new game), drop the Bieber-Fever, and focus on a basketball simulator that rewards you for knowing the game, instead of rewarding you for playing it like it’s NBA Jam.
NBA 2k is all that you can currently play. So you chew, swallow and accept it. This stuff was tolerable on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox versions. Even the first few years of Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 were bearable–but enough is enough. Make a proper basketball simulator, and allow the player to scale it back if they want to, not be scaled by its default settings.