Xbox 360 Review: NBA 2K9

The NBA 2K9 vs. NBA 09 battle commences, which B-ball game will come out on top?

Made for gamers and basketball fans everywhere who want to play the most fun, stylistic, and feature-rich NBA simulation to date. With massive improvements across the board including the all-new 2K-HD Texturing engine, Ankle Breaker dribble system, enhanced Shot Stick Extreme, and groundbreaking new online features, NBA 2K9 is the complete package and will be putting the “fun” back into basketball videogaming.

Improved Gameplay: New IsoMotion Pro dribbling system, mid-air shot alterations with Shot Stick Advanced and all-new Adaptive Al to read, react and adjust in real time to your strategies.

The Association 2.0: All-new interface replicating the NBA experience, plus new features like Player Ambitions, a Player Scouting system, new minigame Development Drills and more customisation options for the casual player.

All-New Presentation: 2K-HD brings drastically improved visuals, and NBA 2K9 features even more Signature Style – watch as Shaq smirks after plays, and KG bangs his chest running down court.

New Online Features: 5-on-5, 10-console Multiplayer Mode – pick your player and climb the ranks in the all-new player ranking system – from Bench Warmer to Rookie, to Pro, to Superstar, all the way up to Team 2K.

Team 2K: The best online players get the opportunity to be elected to the Team 2K Hall of Fame.
2K Share: Create, upload and share rosters, sliders and even players created with the all-new Player DNA feature, including the revamped Reelmaker.

I recently reviewed NBA 09 for the 360 and gave it a score of 7.3 as it didn’t add anything new to the genre or the series, it felt a bit limited and clunky with its controls. I did state that I bet that NBA 2K9 would be a much better game and while that’s true, it doesn’t make enough of an impact to be a worthy purchase.

There are a few new things like 5 on 5 online multiplayer and minigames, the controls feel more refined and responsive but it doesn’t feel that there’s enough new content. Sure, it’s probably the best NBA game in years but only because they have been too similar for far too long. 2K9 has all the modes you would expect and while there are some new things to be found, it’s simply not enough.

I felt I had a problem shooting at times, I had to hold down the X button for a few seconds and then release it to throw a long shot instead of just tapping it to throw to the basket. It’s not a huge problem and I doubt most will notice it, but other improvements to things such as AI and dribbling takes the series up a considerable notch.

Graphically, NBA 2K9 wins hands down in the contest against NBA 09. Crowds are more detailed and players look great. Commentary is the best in some time with some real insight into the game. I admit to not being the biggest fan of Basketball, which you would notice if you read the NBA 09 review…but I do appreciate the effort that has gone into NBA 2K9. It improves the gameplay, just not the content.

The Verdict

I’ve kept this review brief for a reason, NBA 2K9 wins the battle of the NBA games for this year, but only marginally. It feels more refined and improved but it lacks any new modes that will impress fans other than 5v5 online. This is definitely a game that will please the 2K fans, just not on the bigger scale that most will have hoped for.