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NBA 2K16 features to build your own MyTeam

Right at the main menu for NBA 2K16 is the brand new NBA 2KTV, hosted by Rachel Demita. The show will update players on game features and tutorials, exclusive interviews with NBA players and coaches, and community inspired content. I don’t see myself watching every episode, but it’ll be a nice little distraction from time to time. This year, though, they've really gone the extra mile in cultivating a sporting narrative full of drama and emotion. You kick things off as an undrafted rookie with an obnoxious, Jerry Maguire-esque agent shopping you about low-to-mid-level teams for a trial. The greater the team's standing, the harder you'll have to work to impress them, and so on. Succeed, and you'll earn yourself a ten-day contract; do well in the mattering of games during that short time period, and you might win a spot on the rotation for the rest of the season.
It's a true underdog setup that then spins out into regular team meetings, chats with your coach, practice sessions, contract negotiations, team-mates finding out about you entertaining the notion of signing with a another team, squabbles about playing opportunities, clashes with other rookies and players, all in the quest to become the greatest player you can be. Off the court, NBA 2K16 is as slick and content rich as you might expect. It’s not hugely removed from 2014, but MyLeague, which is similar to the old Association Mode offers something new by giving you the opportunity to craft your own unique experience by crafting every aspect of the game from the minutes and seasons played to the specific roster and salary caps etc. It’s nothing you haven’t seen before, but the level of choice in this mode is beyond anything else you’ll find in a sports game this year.

Where I really felt the pitch defensively was in MyCareer, where controlling an initially lowly-ranked player on defense can be a major liability for your team. It’s still a very good mode in its own right, however. What I love is how they’ve changed up the storyline so that instead of automatically being drafted, you have to work your way up through 10-day contracts. You can choose from a number of different teams, ranked accordingly based on their interest in your player. There’s also a minimum ranking expectation during the tryouts, so choosing a team with 5% interest and an A+ minimum rating is going to be a very, very tough ask. I went with the Atlanta Hawks, who had 97% interest and a D- minimum. I blitzed the tryouts with an A rating on my way to two ten-day contracts and, eventually, a full contract and starting position.
MyCareer also fields its fair share of the game's hiccups, with cutscenes triggered by a teammate being traded featuring players who were already on your team as new teammates. I've lost count of how many times Paul Millsap has been traded to the Hawks. And for some reason when the playoffs roll around you can't look at the full bracket, instead having to keep track of other teams through social media. That is a particularly weird rub. Aside from MyCareer, MyGM mode returns and a more familiar fashion, but for good reason: it's a very neat spin on the franchise mode that has been a staple of American sports games for a long time, with its Football Manager-type mechanics. It didn't need a revamp, and it didn't get one.
Like many sports games these days, NBA 2K16 features a build-your-team mode called MyTeam. You pick a pack of cards to start out with and play a number of different game modes to earn more cards. There’s not much to discuss in MyTeam. Shaquille O'Neal does a nice voice-over introduction, but it’s the meat-and-potatoes card collecting game you can find in many sports titles these days. If you’re ready to sink dozens of hours into it and really build your team up from scratch, you can participate in auctions to purchase cards, earn cards through challenges, and build your dream roster. But it does nothing to set itself apart from modes exactly like this in other sports franchises.
There's plenty to like, though. MyCareer mode and its balanced upgrade system are a blast, even if I found my character whiny and hard to root for in the beginning -- not much choice, there. The on-court experience remains the greatest asset of the "2K" series. Nothing cheap happens, and games have a realistic flow to them like very few sports sims have duplicated. The new shot meter is a boon for those who have trouble knowing when to release the shoot button.