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The Park in NBA 2K16 includes three different affiliations

Last year when NBA 2K15 was released for Sony PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the visuals were so good, it blew away fans of the series and anyone who caught a glimpse of the masterfully rendered players and environments on the new hardware. This year, the task in front of the developers of the game was a little more challenging. Upon starting the game you will see two familiar faces, Ernie Johnsons and Shaquille O'Neal, the stars of the new Pre-Game Show. In the show, they often talk about the game's key match-ups as well as give advice as in how one team should go about dominating the other. It's a rather cool addition and helps distract from 2K15's atrocious loading times.
 
Another big difference in MyCareer is in the development of your character and how and where you can spend all your VC. You can still blow your VC on pointless crap like t-shirts and sneakers but more importantly there are now Attribute upgrade categories that will increase a group of stats that coincide with that group. So now you can choose from increasing either Jump Shooter, Inside Scorer, Athlete, Playmaker, Rebounder or Defender categories. Another difference in this year’s career mode is that Badges can be earned and then upgraded with VC. In the game, you try to play flawlessly while improving your teammate grade by making good passes, playing transition defense and demonstrating other skills that lead to victory. Meeting these goals help increase your skill point totals, which translate into improved attributes.

 
The Park includes three different affiliations that vary based on style of play, as well as a new Rep system and the Jordan Rec Center for playing more sim-style basketball. However, server problems prevented me from spending any meaningful time enjoying these features as they’re intended to work. MyTEAM offers a new mode called Challenges, which presents interesting scenarios that push you to try new lineup combinations with your MyTEAM. Domination mode still appeals to me the most, though I find it frustrating that the MyTEAM Points system unfairly penalizes me for favoring a patient offensive style. It commonly leads me to repeat games because though I won convincingly, I didn’t accumulate enough counting stats due to playing a below-average number of possessions.
 
If there's one thing that stands out to me about NBA 2K's gameplay, though, it's the way that it captures the personalities of each of its stars on the floor. As a point guard, I regularly found myself guarding the likes of Stephen Curry, Derrick Rose, and Damian Lillard, all of whom are terrifying in their own way. Lillard is just ridiculously fast, able to blow past you for a layup before you even realize it. Curry is a devastating shooter. Rose will lurk, wait for you to get screened out, then appear seemingly out of nowhere to grab an easy bucket. In some ways, the gameplay feels a little too canned, occasionally relying heavily on what seems like pre-defined animations, especially when guarding an opponent. Like every other sports sim, it could learn a good deal from the dynamic physical interactions found in FIFA.
 
But very few sports games capture the raw fear and adrenaline that comes with trying to keep the likes of Stephen Curry at bay as time ticks away. The subtle changes make the gameplay a joy and incredibly similar to the way the pros play. If there were ever a year where you could legitimately confuse a NBA 2K game with a real televised match, this would be it, not only because of the visuals, but also the players movement. More importantly, playing is great fun. Everything feels smooth on the court, there’s just very little wrong.
 
The presentation of it all really puts a television quality broadcast at your fingertips. Ernie Johnson and Shaquille O'Neal offer up a studio conversation that hasn't gotten stale for me yet. Rachel A. DeMita hosts NBA2K TV with real videos coming to you all the time on the startup menu and the first one with Kevin Durant (the cover athlete) is pretty good. One annoying thing about the presentation is Steve Kerr is a color commentator for games, even though he's also the coach of the Golden State Warriors. But that's probably just bad timing with his hire during production, rather than a design they'd roll with in the future.