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NBA 2K16 is by far the most ambitious

NBA 2K16 plays a sublime game of basketball. It delivers on the promise of last year’s entrance to this new console generation with a wonderful brand of basketball on the hardwood. The new shot meter makes a much bigger difference than I expected. Rather than turning jump shots into a game of pure timing skill, it places a premium on shot selection and balanced footwork. Even good timing won’t save you if you have a penchant for jacking up contested fade away jumpers. The variety in form and release between different players’ shots means it will take you practice and experience to reach something resembling mastery. You will probably want to stick with a couple of teams at first and learn their players’ shots.
 
Of course, this is nothing new for NBA 2K, which has long been lauded for its ambitious superstar mode, high-quality presentation, and realistic graphics. Ever since taking control of the market in 2010, NBA 2K has built on those strengths year-by-year, putting it just a hair as the best sports sim around. Of all the sports sims to make the transition to current-generation consoles, NBA 2K16 MT Coins was by far the most ambitious, introducing a movie-like storyline to its historically popular MyPlayer mode and dramatically overhauling its GM Mode. But surprisingly, it actually stumbled a bit due to to the questionable decision to tie many key abilities to Virtual Currency, making it difficult to make meaningful advances without spending money. Happily, NBA 2K16 fixes many of those issues while taking a step forward in other respects.
 
Two of the most infuriating gameplay issues of NBA 2Ks past appear to have been remedied. Gone are the days where NBA players will inadvertently dribble the ball off of their feet, leading to awkward turnovers at inopportune times. While steals and misplaced dribbles are still possible, after all this is a basketball simulator, unrealistic turnovers are all but eliminated. In previous iterations, the popular 2K camera angle caused fast-breaks to end due to jarring camera switches. Because this angle places the camera behind the player, a 180-degree turn takes place during every possession-change. This would be especially troublesome when one was trying to run in the open floor, as the camera turn would cause ball-handlers to run backwards for a split second (due to the user not switching left stick directions fast enough). After spending hours running fast breaks in NBA 2K16, it’s a joy to report that this bizarre issue has never arisen.
 
As I’ll always point out: the most important thing in any sports game is the action on the court. And here, NBA 2K16 doesn’t falter. Upon first inspection not much has changed from 2K14, but dig a little deeper and the subtle changes start to appear. Perhaps the most significant change revolves around space, both on offence and defence. Space is vital when attacking, and working a defender to get that yard of separation for the jumper is more important than ever, because poorly selected shots are punished like never before. On defence, managing the distance between you and your target is the key to any great play. Stay too tight to them and chances are they will breeze past and score a uncontested lay up; but give them too much space and that mid range jumper will be all to easy.
 
Yes, if you haven’t played NBA 2K’s career mode before, it’s basically a Basketball RPG. When you’re in the game, you get graded for everything well that you do. Make a good pass, play good defense, set a screen leading to a score - these all lead to skill points being awarded depending on how well you’re graded. Of course, scoring and recording definable stats also award SP as well. Signing big contracts and advancing in your career, as well as participating in practice minigames all add SP as well. SP allows you to upgrade individual stats as well as purchase signature moves, which can dramatically increase stats in certain situations.
 
If the single player experience is your bag, you will also find no shortage of modes to enjoy here, including a whole new single player My Career mode that is centered on you being an underappreciated prospect and it is up to you to swallow your pride and earn your stripes on the court. This was a nice change of the past couple years of being an already made man proving your worth, as your player is now more humble and must take his lumps if he is to grow into a mature and successful player. Used in this mode as well is a new face scanning technology that uses either the Xbox Kinect or PS4 camera, but both end results will be dependent on how well lit your photographing area is.