NBA 2K11 (360)

By Chip Tamplin

Published on Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Graphics: 9.00
Sound: 10.00
Gameplay: 8.00
Replays: 8.00
Gamelength: 10.00

As the game loads, you’re automatically placed into a game for the ages, the 2010 world champion LA Lakers vs. the all-star Chicago Bulls line up led by Michael Jordan. You can choose to play this game, or just exit to the menu and check out the other new features added to the game.

NBA 2K11 features many of the old features that have been staples in the 2k sports series, while adding in some fresh ones, most notably the new mode featuring Michael Jordan. In this new feature you’re put into Jordan’s shoes and asked to relive some of his greatest NBA moments including his 63 point performance against the Celtics in ’86, and “the flu game” where Jordan managed to score 38 points and hit the game winning shot despite being sick. They made sure everything had the authentic Jordan feel including his facial expressions during shots, his dribbling and shooting styles and just how he carries himself while playing. They did Jordan justice.

Some of the other fun features include “My Player” where you create your own player and work your way up to being drafted and making the starting line up for your team. The amount of customization is quite immersive and you can customize everything about your character including how you execute a shot.

While this single player mode isn’t new to sports games, it’s not very crisp in NBA 2K11. You’re given uncharacteristically bad talent points no matter what position you choose and it’s very hard to level up, especially with how stupid your AI team can be. You’re penalized points for calling for the ball if the AI doesn’t pass it to you, even if you’re wide open. If you’re playing man-to-man defense and your player cuts across the court, you run sideways and 9/10 by the time your man gets over to him he gets the shot off and you lose more points. It’s a fun mode in theory, but nowhere near as polished as it should be.

The online is what you’d expect in a sports game. You’re able to play “quick games” against anyone on Xbox Live but you’re also able to team up with one of your friends to compete against someone and their friend. Matchmaking works flawlessly and you’re able to hop into matches very quickly.

One of the highlights of NBA 2K11 (aside from the game itself) is the soundtrack. Featuring music from some of today’s biggest hip-hop artists, including Snoop Dogg (who does the NBA 2K11 theme), Big Boi and Drake, NBA 2K11’s soundtrack keeps the game fresh.

Overall, NBA 2K11 is a vast improvement over the basketball games of late and a much higher quality of sports game than I’ve felt 2K has put out in quite awhile. The addition of the Michael Jordan mode is one of the biggest reasons for this and their attention to detail in reference to “His Airness” is apparent and nice to see. There are still some improvements that the game needs to take it to the next level, especially in the “My Player” mode, but in time I feel this game will evolve into what it set out to be.

Full Disclosure: Review copy provided by 2K Sports

Overall Rating: 8.50

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