The main theme for this years installment (I’m assuming last year’s was different) is Michael Jordan. In fact, the game kicks off without the benefit of a menu screen so you can choose what to do, rather it starts out like you’re watching one of those over hyped American televised sports – which I guess is apt, because with is the NBA!
Next you’re transported to the players tunnel where to see the man himself getting ready to walk out, but before he does, he turns to you and asks (or is that challenges?) you “Are you ready?” Then you’re thrown into game 1 of the 1991 NBA Championship.
I would imagine this is a pretty epic experience if you’re a basketball fan. For me however, with no time to familiarise myself with the game or controls, I was like a fish out of water, and not even the presence of Michael Jordan could help my assigned team to victory. In fact if it had been real life, I think I would have just killed Michael Jordan’s career.
Fortunately the game finished and you’re presented with a menu screen that took me a little while to figure out, and control layouts that make sense, if you’ve taken the time to practice. I was soon playing a couple of friendly games and actually winning. At least to start with. It seems like I’m not patience enough for this game, as I kept making fouls whilst trying to stop the attacking team. I guess the NBA is a non-contact sport right?
The graphics, character animation and gameplay are all pretty solid. The game feels like it’s one for the hardcore fans – as I said before, I’m able to start a game in the lead, but my impatience gets to me and I end up loosing. This is because NBA 2K11 feels more like a simulation than a fast playing arcade game. You have to be able to master every aspect of the game if you’re going to start winning. This includes defense as well as attack. Then there’s team management.
Your opposition isn’t just going to let you waltz in and take points.
There are a couple of different modes, and like with most recent sporting titles, NBA 2K11 lets you go as deep as you like, with a solid transfer market and even a mode that lets you follow the career of a player than you’ve created My Player). This mode of course will eat up your gaming time like nothing, as you try and get your boy a slot in the NBA.
Then of course there’s the Michael Jordan mode where you get to play ten classic Jordan games, and if you manage to match (or beat) his stats, you get to unlock a special version of My Player mode where you bring a rookie Michael Jordan into the current league and develop his talent. Even as a non-fan, I can see just how cool that would be.