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One biggest improvement in NBA 2K16 is the realistic crowd and atmosphere

This year's version, "NBA 2K16," will let you end the debate about what historical team is the greatest by offering 15 classic teams and players to battle on the court. The enhancements to the My Player mode, which allows you to create your own player and guide his career through the NBA draft, his rookie season and beyond, are what really make this an engaging game. It's not enough that players look nearly identical to their real-world counterpart. They're expressive. Kings star DeMarcus Cousins grimaces and thrusts his hands up in exasperation after a foul call, while Thunder guard Russell Westbrook roars emphatically after a monster dunk. Graphically speaking, the differences between next-generation and current-gen versions of the game are night and day.
 
Passing, defense, and rebounding feel more refined, though the latter may be a little too heavily weighted toward offensive rebounding out of the box. The controls feel responsive to me, especially passing. In years past, I commonly committed turnovers by accidentally passing to the wrong player, which almost never happens to me in NBA 2K16, an improvement I haven’t seen discussed often enough. This improvement, coupled with the revised pick-and-roll controls, make the pick-and-roll a deadly part of your offensive arsenal, as it should be. Playing defense has become more fun than ever due to improved responsiveness with the controls and animations.
 
It's moments like that, ultimately, that set NBA 2K16 apart from other sports sims. Sure, Madden NFL has a Twitter feed, but only NBA 2K lets me troll virtual Derrick Rose with a tweet after a big game . As a basketball sim, NBA 2K16 fundamentally understands that the NBA is driven by superstars and outsized personalities, and cheesy voice-acting aside, does an amazing job of conveying that through its gameplay. This mechanic will be easier or harder based upon the spot a player shoots from, his individual tendencies, his balance, and the defense in front of him. It’s a welcome addition to the franchise, as learning player release points is more intuitive than ever before.

 
While NBA 2K16’s core gameplay is essentially the same as NBA 2K15’s, a few important tweaks have been made to add to the experience. Most notably, a shot meter now appears around half of the circle surrounding a given player’s feet, making it easier to accurately time shots. Previously, users essentially had to learn the specific release point of every NBA player’s shot if they had any hope of attaining high shooting percentages. This often lead to incredibly frustrating moments, as certain players (cough cough Shawn Marion cough cough) had bizarre shot techniques that were all but impossible to predict. Upon beginning a jump-shot in NBA 2K16, a small semi-circle fills up based upon the time the square button or right stick is held. The goal is to end the shot command as close to the notch in the center of the meter as possible.
 
One of the biggest improvements in NBA 2K16 is just how realistic the crowd and atmosphere feel. They still use the trick of only showing small portions of the arena, but that means repetition of crowd members or animations are very uncommon. The atmosphere is just as impressive, and scoring a game winning three-pointer at the buzzer in front of a home crowd results in the loudest eruption I have ever seen in a sports game. On the other end of the spectrum, if you are dominating the home team the arena will be deadly silent and may start to empty as the game draws to a close.
 
I could overlook the lackluster audio commentary and even the current absence of a few game modes, but the framerate really kills it for me. It’s truly a shame as well, because 2K16’s Career Mode is the real deal and is all I’m really looking for in a mobile version of the game. Unfortunately, no amount of presentation and content can make up for significant technical issues. While I have high hopes that the developers can eventually optimize and patch in improvements to make it truly playable, at this point it’s really hard to recommend NBA 2K16 in its current form.
 
All of this is also possible due to the game’s uncanny ability to control so well, where timing is everything, reading defenses is essential, and knowing when to drive the lane and draw the foul or shoot one at the top of the key all depend on accurate game flow to work to your advantage. To say you have complete control over your player on the court is an understatement as all your button layouts are perfectly represented so whether you are trying to pull off a fade away jumper, break the ankles of your defender, or simply pop that 12 footer to send the game into overtime, the game controls are a breeze so there is no one to blame but yourself for any lackadaisical performances.