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The NBA 2K franchise continues its pedigree of excellence with 2K16

The NBA 2K series continues to reign supreme in the virtual basketball world, and the lack of stiff competition does little to stop developer Visual Concepts from delivering quality releases on a yearly basis. NBA 2K16 reinforces that dominance with familiarly stellar mechanics and an ambitious career mode, but an uncharacteristic lack of polish creates dissonance. Strange technical issues mar the experience and get in the way of quality video game basketball. As a fan of the genre and sports in general, I appreciate NBA 2K16's attention to detail, but at the end of the day it leaves a bittersweet finish. This is where NBA 2K16 excels; putting you in the shoes (for better or worse) of a player with superstar potential and forcing you to make split-second decisions on the court that mean the difference between winning and losing, rallying your team or driving them apart.
 
Unfortunately, stumbling blocks in the net code and the overall polish of the game makes the experience feel like, well, like the Cav’s without Lebron. Despite the glaring server negligence, NBA 2K16 shows that Visual Concepts is continually hungry to improve the series and display their infectious passion for the NBA. Outstanding gameplay, better-than-ever presentation, and a variety of improved and seriously time-sinking modes make this their best effort yet. However, while the server problems are nowhere near a new issue, it’s gotten to be well past the point of tolerance. If Visual Concepts doesn’t crack down hard on their server mishaps next year, it’s going to be tough to be on their side. That said, in every other aspect, NBA 2K15 is the silkiest jump shot thus far.

 
Over 30 NBA stars lend their voices to MyCareer, and it's something of a mixed bag. We played for the Phoenix Suns with Markieff Morris, whose voice performance is one of the most phoned-in and monotone deliveries we've ever heard in a video game. Others offer better, more natural voice overs, but most are pretty dreary. Dodgy voice work aside, MyCareer is genuinely superb and a deeply involving game in and of itself. Only MyTeam comes close to providing the same kind of moreish entertainment, with its FIFA Ultimate Team-style card collecting, player management and what not.
 
This mode is a firm favourite and I really enjoyed simming the season and just playing the occasional game. As you progress, trade offers will come through, reporters will ask hard-hitting questions that may dent the morale of the team and you’ll have to deal with troublesome players who aren’t happy spending so much time on the bench. You can be as involved as you like regarding training schedules and tactics or assign those duties to your coaches if you prefer. The XP earned lets you choose from a selection of special badges that provide boosts and bonuses that can help the team and the finances. In addition to the usual online league options, the pick of the bunch is MyPARK, which lets you make use of you customised character to take on all comers in street style games.
 
The card collecting MyTEAM mode is included too – 2K’s answer to EA’s Ultimate Team in FIFA – which lets you build the best possible team and auction off unused cards, and will no doubt eat up the hours. There are plenty of ways to play NBA 2K16, and every one of them has its merits from the run-of-the-mill MyTeam to the bonanza of creativity that is MyLeague. More importantly, however, the core on-the-court action controls incredibly well, feeling more realistic than every before. The NBA 2K franchise continues its pedigree of excellence with 2K16, as basketball buffs and video game aficionados alike will have plenty to sink their teeth into.
 
Overall 2K have done it once again, I really wish other sports games were even close to being this great, and I am sure even non fans of the sport with a little patience would get an awful lot of enjoyment, and would soon lose whole weekends, just like I often have, playing a video game that is not only realistic but full of long term depth and quite frankly is a joy to play.