Print Edition: October 29, 2014
Sports games are more or less looked down upon in the industry, and for good reason. Every year, the annual releases are almost the same game from the year before, yet somehow fans are suckered into paying 80 bucks for something they already have. I confess that I am one of those suckers. I overpaid for NBA 2K15 to be, once again, underwhelmed.
The annual release of 2K Sports’ NBA 2K15 was enhanced by the incredible social media coverage focused on the face-scanning technology. The system was highly touted upon its release, with fans hoping for the chance to finally put themselves among players like Lebron James and last year’s NBA MVP Kevin Durant. It was quickly realized, however, that the technology was actually two or three years away from gaining any realism whatsoever. My personal experience with the face scan technology not only took me four attempts and at least half an hour, but also made me wildly self-conscious about my face.
Not only was the face scan a flop, but the “My Player” customization addition — giving players the ability to increase their wingspan with the hope of making the game more realistic — was also a flop. I, along with I believe every other player in the game, increased my wingspan to the max, making my arms extend past my knees.
The actual game however, was a nice step up from the previous year. NBA 2K14 was troubled due to the company trying to match the release date of the next-gen consoles with a game that received a graphic overhaul from their Xbox 360 and PS3 versions. NBA 2K15 for Xbox One and PS4 remedies a lot of the smaller problems, and is absolutely the best basketball simulation ever made. However, there are a number of smaller things that, if patched-up, would make this game a must-buy.
The customization is fantastically deep, but does blur the lines between fact and fiction, and would need to be scaled back a bit before it is considered some of the best player customization in a video game and not just a sports game. They will also have to, in congruence with the customization, improve the accuracy of the face-scan technology.
There are minor gameplay details that are important. The inability for some players to finish in traffic is something that has plagued me when playing the game with guys like Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker, and the ineffectiveness of some dribble moves, such as the spin move and the crossover, was frustrating.
Overall, the game is one of the best examples of where the Xbox One and PS4 are headed in terms of their graphics. The gameplay needs minor improvements but caters to the basketball fan in a way that no game ever has. Although the upgrade will be released in about 345 days and counting, people are still stupid enough to spend the money on it … including me.