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Career Mode is another strong feature in NBA 2K16

I still haven’t gotten used to selecting plays from the D-pad. It feels awkward to use both hands in this way, and now that plays are grouped by play type, it takes extra time sometimes to navigate to the one I want. Similarly, it’s hard to walk the ball up the court with your point guard thanks to a weird bit of control responsiveness, though Gameplay Director Mike Wang promised to try to get a fix into the first patch. Stilted as they are, though, the player voice-overs are also oddly thrilling. If sports games are about fulfilling the fantasy of being a pro athlete or having direct control of your favorite team, then being mentored by a virtual version of a familiar athlete is an extension of that sort of wish fulfillment. Much as I chuckled at Drummond's delivery, I still felt guilty about picking up stakes and moving to the New York Knicks after the Detroit Pistons had given me my shot. I had let Andre down.
 
The NBA 2K series seems to be the one annualized console franchise that avoids all of the negative criticism that comes with releasing a game every year. Whereas Madden, EA’s NHL franchise, Call of Duty, and Assassin’s Creed often find themselves at the wrong end of staleness jokes, NBA 2K finds a way to make subtle, smart tweaks to its already rock-solid formula. While the newest iteration of Take Two’s outstanding basketball simulation series, NBA 2K16, doesn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel, it finds a way to make an already stellar product even more immersive. This NBA off-season has been one of the busiest ever. There have been big money moves and vast team restructurings. A lot has changed. But NBA 2K16 hasn’t seen quite as dramatic a change, as this year’s entry feels very much like NBA 2K16 rather than an entirely new entity, though that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

 
The AI seems slightly smarter, too, making more realistic movements and trying to make an impact on the offensive side of the court. Defensively, no AI controlled team-mate is going to steal the ball away from an opponent, or pull out a great block, but good players will be quick enough to switch in a do this themselves. Speaking of defensive play, it can get incredibly annoying when defending against the better players such as LeBron James or Kevin Durant (especially in MyCareer), as they just seem overpowered, which isn’t much fun, despite being rather realistic. Career Mode is also another strong feature in 2K16. Similar to what’s been seen on previous year titles, Career Mode lets you make an NBA player, customize nearly every detail of their physical appearance and stats, and put them in the NBA Rookie Showcase.
 
From there, your player gets drafted, signs a contract and plays their role on the team that signs them. Unless you played awesomely in the showcase, you typically start out as a bench warmer and work your way up to within the rotation, to sixth man and finally to starter and superstar. Playtime becomes important becomes it gives you more of an opportunity to do well in-game which earns you skill points to improve your player. Visually NBA2K16 ups the ante on last year’s effort with the most accurate and realistic looking basketball game, and possibly even sports game, these eyes have ever seen. From the incredible detail of scanned player faces that not only accurately portray their real life counterparts, to sweat and expressive emotions that range from excitement, bewilderment, and even pain.
 
The animations are tremendous, not only for on court moves like cross over’s, fades, and dunks, but players will dive and even fight for the ball to gain possession. You will see just how spot on the collision detection is for these movements during the outstanding replays shown throughout the game. The details don’t end at the players either as the arenas feel alive with atmosphere and crowds who react to big plays and bad calls. This even spills over onto the sidelines as not only is your coach animated, but the bench players put in their 2 cents as well. All this is rounded out nicely with opening ceremonies, in between quarter routines by cheerleaders, the Jordan Player of the game that shows a wonderful highlight reel of the that game’s best player, and even a half time interview done with real voices from participating superstars in the game.