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MyCareer in NBA 2K16 is a serious time sink

Another year, another entry in what may be the most consistent series in sports video games. NBA 2K16 follows a critically-beloved predecessor that we described as "gorgeous," before adding that "the on-court action is every bit as engaging and hospitable as it's always been, and the visuals are more impressive than ever." NBA 2K16 does not seem to have such lofty goals as being the culmination of a lifetime’s worth of work. It’s a more humble game, looking to please at every chance instead of being restrictive and closed off. But, does that humility come with actual improvement? There’s a lot of ground to cover, so grab a cup of coffee, get comfortable, and let’s dig in to NBA 2K16 and find out. But in the end menus are only menus, and you don't buy sports games for menus. You buy them for fun modes and compelling gameplay.
 
And NBA 2K16 has you covered. The basic gameplay concepts you've grown to love are still there, but 2K has added over 6,000 new animations, 100+ unique "size-up" dribble moves, and several big innovations to increase realism and keep players from driving to the hoop every play with LeBron or draining every three with Kyle Korver. The biggest of these gameplay innovations can be seen on defense. Not only is it harder to "stick" to an offensive player by simply holding down the "Intense Defense" button, but gamers now have the ability to read players' footwork and tendencies to better stop drives, closeout on jumpers, and play passing lanes. This also opens up a lot of options and increases court spacing for the talented defensive-minded gamer, although it does make playing quality D right off the bat a bit harder (I found myself defensive-sliding about 10 feet out of position more than a few times). 

 
Quite surprisingly, NBA 2K16’s official PC requirements are spot on. According to 2K Games, players will need at least a Core2Duo processor and 2GB of RAM. And to its credit, NBA 2K16 is quite playable on such an old system (provided of course you are not GPU limited). As we can see, NBA 2K16 scales well on hexacore CPUs. The game appears to be mainly single-threaded, which means that those with older CPUs may encounter minor performance issues. While simulating a dual-core processor, we managed to run the game with all its bells and whistles enabled. NBA 2K16 ran mostly with 50-60fps (even though there were some drops to 30fps, especially during the in-game cut-scenes). As per the game’s requirements, an Intel i5 is recommended and thanks to its Hyper-Threading capabilities, this dual-core CPU is able to push constant 60fps (excluding in-game cut-scenes) with all graphical settings enabled.
 
If you prefer to run a team rather than control an individual player, MyGM is your best bet. This mode puts you in the shoes of a new executive responsible for overseeing everything from finance plans and scouting to training regiments and coaching strategy. Correcting one of the main complaints from last year, you have control over every aspect of the team from the get-go, and you receive experience for every action you take (including winning a simmed game). Gaining experience allows you to upgrade various skills that improve your scouting, player morale, training facilities, or ability to manipulate rival GMs. Unlike many franchise modes, you can’t just sim full seasons at a time and expect good results; MyGM demands constant involvement from the user. You must manage personalities, tweak training regiments, keep promises you make to staff members and players, and try to avoid angering the press to the point where they start asking loaded questions.
 
Thankfully, the pros do outweigh the cons this year, and just like last year, 2K is going to be a tough package to beat. Defensive quirks and a few underdeveloped modes aside, MyCareer in NBA 2K16 is a serious time sink that will net your hours of enjoyment, while the changes made to offensive play (and the resulting silky-smooth authenticity) are on the bleeding edge of where basketball video games ought to be going. If you’re a yearly NBA 2K player, then you’re probably already buying this. If not, 2K16 is as good an entry as any to take for a spin.