What is best part of NBA 2K16 in your mind ?

NBA 2K has been the top dog in basketball video games for over a decade at this point. With NBA Live being more of a court jester than an actual competitor (apologies to Tha Hoop Gawd), there is plenty of reasons why developer Visual Concepts could become complacent. However, that is not the case as NBA 2K16 is the most ambitious title in the series.

 

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But again, not everything is perfect. MyCareer sports a story-driven overhaul this year directed by none other than Spike Lee (the game is even referred to as a “Spike Lee Joint”). Fans of Spike Lee will certainly realize the man is no stranger to basketball, so this would appear to be a pairing that actually makes some sense. That said, while I appreciate the effort, I think the story bits really interfere with the standard career mode in unfortunate ways.

This meant that I had to redo the entire career mode just to see what extra elements were added to the experience, while connected to the server. Do the right thing. Worst of all,the difference between offline and online play is that online play included more instructions and tutorial elements. No, not on gameplay, but at least to explain the various areas and what you could get up to in career mode, etc.

There are other ways to play NBA 2K16 by yourself aside from My Career. There’s a single player ‘Play Now’ mode that allows you to play exhibition matches with any of the teams, including an expanded list of some of the greatest NBA teams of all time, the current NBA teams, as well as international teams. There’s a robust offline franchise mode, as well as ‘My GM’ which tasks you with managing every aspect of a team, from the team finances to personnel. With the gameplay rock-solid this year, any of these modes are a ton of fun to play.

The one major blemish of the NBA 2K series has been its inability to host stable online play. From dropped matches to long connection times to constant framerate drops, playing online in the NBA 2K franchise is basically borderline functional. As every year passes, this becomes more and more disappointing, and the fact that the biggest change to the series fell short this year only serves to highlight NBA 2K16’s online difficulties.

While the new system for matching players of similar experience in Play Now Online is a fantastic change, the fact that latency and framerate drops seem to occur far too frequently outweighs any matchmaking improvements. The franchise mode of NBA 2K16 is as robust as it has ever been, and the theme appears to be connectivity. 2K Sports has been building its MyGM mode for years and adding little touches here and there. Whether you’re checking the wear-and-tear on your players, handling conversations with guys wanting to guarantee they won't be traded or want more playing time, or making sure to build trust with your coaches and staff, 2K is always trying to find ways to build relationships within this mode.

Without a doubt the best part of NBA 2K16 is its on-court gameplay. This has been the case for years, and it continues to be as 2K and Visual Concepts have refined their already wholly enjoyable gameplay by introducing new animations and a new “Living World” engine. This makes the actual movement feel more lifelike as you see taller guys go against smaller ones and react differently than they would if they were taking on a fellow 6-foot-6 player. There are also some new physics associated with the ball that help the overall feel of the game. While some of the surrounding features may not be strong, NBA 2K16 is easily the best playing basketball game in years.

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