Thursday / October 15 / 2015
Being the Story: An NBA 2k16 review
Dr. Tedi Villasor

If there is one moment that I look forward to whenever a new NBA 2K installment hits the shelves, it is that split second when the game’s introduction flickers onto the screen for the first time. The anticipation, build-up, and excitement culminate at that very instant and then it hits me: What will this version have in store for me — and by extension — all of us this coming season?

In NBA 2K16, the game has taken a more interactive approach than in years past by making us — the gamer — the centerpiece of the proverbial basketball world. We are that up-and-coming talent; that boy who runs rings around NBA 2K16 game endorsers Stephen Curry, James “The Beard” Harden, and Anthony Davis in the introduction; we become “The Man”…who was deemed worthy enough to stand up to [NBA 2K’s legendary endorser] Michael Jordan in a boss fight.

NBA 2K16 allows us to become the story and our very own basketball journey begins with NBA 2K16’s MyCareer Mode.

Enlisting the help of longtime New York Knickerbocker fan and movie director Spike Lee, NBA 2K16’s MyCareer allows gamers to star in "Livin’ Da Dream," a feature film involving you [insert your name here] a.k.a. Frequency Vibrations. As “Freq,” gamers have a front row seat on the possible trials and tribulations that every NBA prospect faces on their rise to NBA stardom. But with you behind the controls, it will be your decisions and style of play that will dictate as to how high Freq could go.

With the MyGM and MyLeague modes, NBA 2K16 moves you from the player’s perspective to that of management. In the MyGM mode, the user will be entrusted with the keys to build a franchise to a level of prominence where you’ll be able to talk to players and coaches in your employ and (maybe) listen to their suggestions,sign new players or trade the assets you already have, and even make changes in arena promotions to improve your team’s attendance. While for the MyLeague mode, it an amalgamation of both the current MyGM and (the previous NBA 2K) Association modes wherein the user has the option to play their team’s games along with the ability to make front office decisions.

Now onto the Play Now mode, this is the screen that you'll need to visit for that quick game with your visiting friend or that friendly matchup with your cousin online. You can choose from a number of teams,  including all of the current NBA franchises as well as a number of Classic (e.g., 1995’-96’ Chicago Bulls, 1999’-00’ Toronto Raptors, 2002’-03’ Dallas Mavericks, and the 2007’-08’ Boston Celtics), Collegiate, and Euroleague teams.

I’ve been playing the NBA 2K16 since the pre-orders were released in late September,  and the biggest adjustment that I’ve found is on the defensive side of the virtual floor. Unlike in NBA 2K15 wherein you could bully yourself into scoring position and make mincemeat of opposing defenses, NBA 2K16 offers no such luxury, as you will need to work for every shot you take. For instance, lazy passes are easily intercepted, holding the ball too long in the perimeter or paint could result in a jump ball, and forcing a dribble penetration would most likely result in a steal and a fast break opportunity at the other end of the court. My suggestion: Learn to play team ball (if you haven’t already) and swing it from the strong side to the weak side from an open shot. Become knowledgeable with some of your preferred team’s basic plays as well as your favorite player’shot spots. Hey, it’s almost like real life basketball!

As for the teams to use this season, well, you could always go for the heavy hitters like the Los Angeles Clippers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets — but I invite you to try out the new look Sacramento Kings. Try moving swingman Marco Belinelli from shooting guard to small forward then start Stephen Curry’s younger brother Seth at SG. You can thank me later.

A number of NBA 2K16’s advance controls have also changed and you may want to orient yourselves with some of the in-game tutorials (e.g., double-tap triangle to execute and alley-opp). NBA 2K16 also brought back the facial scanning feature — so if you have a PlayStation 4 camera — you can scan your very own face into the game.

NBA 2K16 is available in three variant covers: Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, the Houston Rockets’ James Harden and Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans.

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