Surprisingly, after one year, the PS2 still hasnít gotten a good basketball simulation. Sure there was NBA Live 2002, which was somewhat an improvement over Live 2001. But when it came down to it, itís just Live 2001 with a little gravy on top. Then there was NBA Street which is one of the best arcade sports games of all time, but as much fun as it was, itís time for a good basketball sim! Thankfully, Sega Sports is now a proud publisher for the PS2 and they have already put out the awesome NFL 2K2. Next in line is NBA 2K2 and itís shaping up to be, just maybe, the best basketball game ever.
One of the biggest additions, and also a huge improvement, is the isometric camera which follows the action from a TV type view, only closer in. I always felt the 'North and South' camera view to be the easiest to play with, but it never really made it look like an actual basketball game. Another fine addition is all the sweet animations. Suprisingly, you will NEVER see the same two animations back to back. Ever! The players will also react accordingly to the defensive moves. For instance, if you are driving to the hoop for a dunk and someone comes up to block it, your animation might then change to a fingerole, or somehow change so that it doesnít get blocked.
The graphics arenít a huge leap from DCís, but it is definitely a noticeable step up. I still canít get over the court reflections. Not only are they really shiny, but you can actually see reflections and shadows of the players on-court. The player models also look very sharp. The faces are all recognizable while the bodies all sport intricate detail such as tattoos and accessories. Furthermore, the players will show emotions complementing the on-court happenings. Emotions such as: smiling, frowning, as well as other will all be shown during the drama of the game. Overall, the graphics look nothing short of amazing and Iím sure it will improve as the release date nears.
The zone defenses have also been implemented into NBA 2K2. This new rule will affect different teams according to their actual performance in the NBA. Maybe taking a play out of NBA Streetís book, NBA 2K2 finally allows you to pass or to shoot in the middle of a cross-over animation. This may not seem like too big of a deal, but it is. This new feature opens up a lot of doors in terms of gameplay.
The audio is sure to be perfected with Jermain Dupri dishing out most of the tracks included in the game. The announcing is also being improved from the DC version. Commentators will be able to talk about stats and other progressions that arenít usually found in video game commentary. The other areas of audio will also be pumped up a notch from the DC version.
Since the DC and PS2 controller arenít too different from each other on a layout standpoint, DC fans will easily adapt to the PS2 controller. The only major change is in the free-throw system. Instead of using the shoulder buttons to aim, it will now be pulled off by the PS2ís analogs.
A big problem found in NBA 2K1 was the stupidity of the AI. If they were down by three with two seconds left, theyíd probably lay it up, or just run the clock down. The AI has been substantially improved to Ďthinkí almost like real people. If thereís only a few seconds left on the clock and theyíre loosing, the coach will probably call a time-out and your competition will play more strategically.
After all the new additions and improvements being added, NBA 2K2 should be a great port of an already great game. Look for NBA 2K2 as it releases on January 8th.
12/19/2001 Joseph Comunale