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The folks at NBA 2K16 added over 5000 new animations

Not being an annual game makes pricing on NBA 2K16 fairly easy to nail down. Brand new copies of games on the Xbox One, PS4, PS3 and Xbox 360 all cost $60. In fact, that $60 version of the game is the only one that’s available for pre-order at video game retailer GameStop. Theoretically, digital bundles that combine a basic version copy of the game and some amount of Virtual Currency to use in MyCareer and MyTeam. This year’s iOS and Android versions of the game cost $7.99. The folks at NBA 2K16 added over 5,000 new animations and even went as far as scanning cheerleaders to ensure a more authentic look and feel. Also adding to the look and feel is the addition of pre-game banter from Shaq and Ernie Johnson. At times, if someone passes by your screen and does not recognize the controller icons on screen, it could easily pass for a real live NBA game.
Of major publishers or developers with any infrastructure ready to go on baseball, only Konami (which will publish Pro Yakyuu Spirits 2015 in Japan) could come close, and even then it would have to render 30 major league stadia and thousands of players from scratch. Artists at MLB The Show told me that a single new stadium, in-game, represents about four months of work. Sterility is simply not something you could accuse NBA 2K16 of in any facet of its game. Unsurprisingly, it looks great, animates brilliantly, and with the broadcast camera turned on, looks as close to a real game of basketball as you could possibly hope for with polygonal players. Even better is the commentary, a feature so often treated as a cheap bullet point by other developers, is given an almost absurd amount of tender loving care here.

The addition of Steve Kerr as a third commentator is a welcome one, as he adds a nice boost to the flow of the dialogue and actually offers up some informative tidbits as games go along. More impressive, however, is just how tight it all feels. When a player throws down a massive dunk, or hits an insane three-pointer, the commentary stops dead in its tracks to react, making a big point to highlight what has just transpired. Then, in most cases, the commentators will actively pick back up where they left off, transitioning naturally to their previous exchange. I don't know how 2K16's editors managed to edit all this together without it sounding like a herky-jerky nightmare, but they did it.
Next we have MyTeam, which is basically 2K's version of FIFA Ultimate Team. If you've played FUT then you will be familiar with the premise. Basically, you earn or buy decks of cards that give perks to both you and your players. You then assign players to your active roster by giving them contracts which allow them to play in a certain number of games. It sounds easy, but putting together a winning roster is hard. And keeping a winning roster is even harder. The usual interviews between games with journalists now give you the option to be a right arsehole, which of course affects the opinion of your teammates, local followers and larger fan base, but you want to experience this because it is so damned funny. The game also delivers a new mode which got a great sigh from my friend as he doesn’t have much love for LeBron James.
There's literally thousands of new animations in the game, and this adds to the realism. In the paint, there's far more contact on drives. The various collisions look realistic, and there's a decreased amount of clipping that occurs with contact. More realistic shooting percentages are just part of the injection of realism. The ball seems to be more live and accessible at all times, with the increased passing control that helps to vary the movement of the ball and the player interaction with the rock.
After walking to the podium and signing your rookie contract, your team's public relations department contacts you and shows you a new billboard touting you as the future of the franchise. Having been selected by the Bobcats, it was pretty cool to see my player on some outdoor advertising in Charlotte. Now it's time to earn that contract.