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NBA 2K16 is more cinematic than ever before

2K has been experimenting with sports games on the iOS for a while, with NBA 2K16 [$7.99] being its latest attempt to bring its 2K Sports brand to the platform. In some regards, 2K16 does a great job of bringing that experience to iOS, with a full featured Career Mode, great graphics, and a look and feel that excels beyond most of the iOS competition. Unfortunately, some significant technical issues remove a good deal of the enjoyment that should be had with the game. Lastly, the game has a memorable soundtrack mixed by Pharrell that includes a wonderful and eclectic variety of songs that range from rock, hip hop, old, and new to appease all musical tastes.
 
The presentation in NBA2K 16 doesn’t end with the game’s graphical prowess either as the game is remarkable to the ears as well. The commentary, as typical for this franchise, not only raises the bar, but is the bar when it comes to measuring where other sports games need to be when calling a virtual game. Not only is the play calling seamless and on point, but there are updates which correspond to what is going on during the season, whether it’s comparing this year’s stats to last, injury updates, etc. It is this real time commentary that makes each game feel like a unique experience. To enhance the experience your ears will be happy with the remarkable and reactionary crowd that will ooh, ahh, cheer, and jeer along with the in game action.

 
The grading system is on an A to F scale and you’ll start out as a C level player. For each positive thing you do on the court (points made, rebounds, blocks, steals, etc.) your grade will get a bump up the level. On the flip side, for every bad thing you do (allowing your man to score, making bad shots, three-second violations, turnovers, etc.) you’ll get bumped down the scale. The game feels like it wants you to fail early on in order to hash out a storyline that feels forced at times, but can be entertaining at others. There is an actual  Trophy for being dropped by a team after a ten day contract expires so, again, it feels like the game wants you to fail early on, possibly to better appreciate success later in your career or possibly just as a reality check for your player.
 
In 2K16, you're still getting a story but it's been changed significantly with a lot more options added this time around. You don't get drafted and the mode starts off with you furiously chasing your agent (not a childhood friend) around the living room of your apartment. He tells you you're going to have to earn a 10-day contract at some point and prove you belong. Nothing is guaranteed for you. If NBA 2K16 were firing on all cylinders, it would push FIFA as the best sports game on the market thanks to its best-in-class presentation, forward-looking franchise experience, and innovative MyCareer mode. But the decision to tie several game modes - some of which are experienced entirely offline, like MyCareer - to unstable servers that continue to have intermittent outages overshadows the great strides the game makes in other areas. 
 
This means that it’s more cinematic than ever before, and includes much more dialogue where you can make choices on what to say. Everyone is also voiced - excellently, for that matter - so you’ll no longer be subject to creepy text-based encounters. When you aren’t off trying to make something out of yourself on the hardwood, you can take it to the black court in ‘My Park’, which allows you to enjoy three-on-three pick-up games with people online. Another popular mode, ‘My GM’, lets you take over a franchise and either select a fantasy draft or use the current roster as you attempt to win championships. There are no major overhauls present here, apart from the addition of what practices your players are involved in. You can also make a season with ‘My League’ or create teams with collectible digital cards in ‘My Team’.
 
NBA 2K16's most-significant faults are with the online experience. Online gameplay performance varies almost from game to game. Some games experience no lag time and others experience such heavy lag time that the game itself looks like a slideshow and is completely unplayable. 2K is more than aware of the problem and claims to be working diligently to fix it.