NBA 2K16 is out and already making waves. Visual Concepts and 2K Sports have made some great changes while some of the more needed changes didn’t always make the cut. This time around, gameplay and MyCareer are the focus. Those familiar with the series will recognize the setup of MyCareer, in which you create a player any way you want – from name to stats, animations, height, weight and position. Regardless of the name you give your player, he’ll be called by his nickname “Freq” which is short for “Frequency Vibrations.”  After creation, things take a more dramatic turn than prior games in the series, as Spike Lee has partnered with Visual Concepts to create one of the more involved and emotional stories for the game mode.

In the past I’ve enjoyed MyCareer mode as a type of fantasy, where my fictional NBA players make a name for themselves. Spike Lee has taken most of the control out of your hands in favor of a more film-like story. This is great up until you find that during the whole first part of your career, you have little choice beyond creation and where you go to high school and college in your actual story. Once your first season is complete, the directed story ends and the more familiar mode returns. With the baby steps out of the way, and a wide open career in front of you, you’ll get to choose how you spend your off-days, whether it’s training drills, spending time with the team, or even signing lucrative deals and marketing events. Setting up a careful balance between your teammates and your partnerships is just as key to your success as a player as your performance on the court.


Presentation in this brand new season’s release is pretty phenomenal. Pre-game and Post-game shows, interviews with the media, selection of your theme music and sound effects for actions played on your home court, and the entertaining if a bit cheesy commentators – all make the game feel more alive than ever.

The controls of 2K16 have also undergone a revamp, allowing you to have a more individual playstyle while giving you even more control over your moves. Passing is now done through three different buttons, granting the ability to choose what kind of pass you make with ease. Driving to the hoop for a sick dunk only to utterly confuse the defense by lobbing it to the outside corner for a teammate’s easy three, or sending in a swift bounce pass to your power forward inside the key, can all be done by the press of a single button.

Pro Stick controls make a return, but also feature a new way of doing things. You now have access to signature size-ups that give you a feel for how your opponent will react, making for an easy way of setting up plays. Calling screens with more precise control has the effect of making your offense even more effective. The only problem is that the game doesn’t offer much in the form of tutorials or demonstrations of what you can do with these new moves, outside of a few videos and the implication that the options are limitless. This is totally true, but it can be challenging to figure out which moves string together well in different situations, even for an experienced NBA 2K player like myself. It was quite frustrating, but certainly rewarding once I had it down.


MyGM, MyLeague, and MyTeam make up a solid chunk of your other game modes. Want to manage everything with a team including key franchise decisions? MyGM is perfect for this. Want a similar experience with more focus on the games themselves with an online twist? Hit up that MyLeague. Last but not least, if you like a combination of multiplayer, team management, and card collection, MyTeam is right up your alley.

After spending time with the multiplayer, I can say with absolute certainty that this is the least improved and touched upon feature in the game. Connection issues, network interrupts, and similar if barely improved netcode from previous games make NBA 2K16 a very difficult to play online. When it was smooth though, the MyPark options were pretty damn fun.

All in all, NBA 2K16 is as close to the real thing as you’re going to get. Presentation, gameplay, and a new refreshing story make a fantastic impact. Beware of some of the online features though, as of the time of this review they’re pretty shoddy. If you like basketball and want the closest to a real game you’ll get off the comfort of your couch, this title is a must-have.

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