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Evaluating NBA 2K16 as a whole is actually an interesting challenge

You win some, you lose some. Not just an adage about taking the good with the bad, it seems to be the only way to describe the ups and downs of NBA 2K16. Much like last year’s installment in the sports series, there are some excellent moments, but it’s just not a clean sweep to the top of the review score championships. Before we look at anything else, it has to be said that NBA 2K16 is the most aesthetically  stunning and accurate sports game I’ve ever seen. The visuals are so realistic that it can actually be quite jarring as the camera modes and broadcasting look and sound like the real TV experience.
 
While the game made great strides a couple of entries ago, I can’t think of a time where this series has looked better. Year after year more animations come into play, the ways that players interact look more natural, and ultimately, deliver a presentation that is almost true to life. NBA 2K16 is one of, if not the, very best looking sports game(s) on the market today. Visual Concepts has been ahead of the curve on this for quite some time though. Those who buy the game every year know that already. It’s not a shocker, the NBA 2K series has looked great for years, and this year is no different. And while plenty of criticism was levied at the presentation for NBA 2K16 and the ever-popular track list that accompanies the game, this year’s eclectic mix of tunes is also a return to form for the series.

 
The second method to farm VC in NBA 2K16 involves the My Park online mode. However, this glitch will ruin your online record and reputation. It also kind of ruins the game for others as it requires that you quit out of the game almost as soon as it starts. Basically, to do this glitch you just need to go to the My Park mode. Head to a 3-man Got Next Spot and then start the game. All you need to do earn VC from here is just quit out of the game as soon as it starts. This does hurt your rep, so it might be wise to make a second character to do this glitch with. Head back to your home court and you’ll see that you’ve earned VC for basically doing nothing. Again this nets you a nice chunk of VC and can be done in just a couple of minutes time. Doing this with friends can speed up the waiting process in the park.
 
Evaluating NBA 2K16 as a whole is actually an interesting challenge. On one hand, this is arguably the most mechanically sound sports game on the market and the gameplay improvements that Visual Concepts made are downright superb. The issue here lies with the decision to make Livin ‘Da Dream the focus and backbone of MyCareer falling flat. I'd argue the MyCareer portion of the game is not the primary focus. It's part of the tagline, but the game has so many parts to it, it seems unfair to dog the overall accomplishment based on one mode. But the big name — Lee — winds up being the weakest link. NBA 2K16 succeeds in spite of its new and glaring flaw, a MyCareer mode that takes massive steps backwards, no longer complementing the taut on-court action and the plethora of actually enjoyable modes.
 
There are so many modes to love, too. MyGM is back and largely unchanged from last year’s game, with a few slight tweaks to trade negotiations. And even better are the additional dynasty-style modes. One of the most anticipated features of NBA 2K16 is the Spike Lee-directed My Career mode. It’s an ambitious effort, and smartly split into two sections; the first is heavily story-driven, following your rise from high school through college and your first years in the NBA. There is some basketball to be played - a handful of short games at each level - but much of your time is spent watching the often-intense scenes play out between your player, his family, and others who are clamoring for his time and money.
 
NBA 2K16‘s soundtrack is arguably the best it has ever been, and offers plenty of variety. DJ Mustard, DJ Khaled and DJ Premier each have featured playlists you can stick to (featuring the likes of Drake, Nas, Jay-Z and The Ramones), but there’s also a good amount of pop, rock and even international music. Unfortunately for new players, 2K16 isn’t the most welcoming game. There are a series of short tutorial videos narrated by Stephen Curry, James Harden and Anthony Davis hidden away in the menu system, but the instruction is incredibly basic and leaves the player to see how complex systems like the pro stick and post play work through trial and error. If this is your entry point to the 2K series, be prepared for a rather steep learning curve.