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NBA 2K2

Score: 90%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Sega Sports
Developer: EA Games
Media: GD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Sports

Graphics & Sound:

Since the Dreamcast's debut, have you known of any Sega Sports game to have bad graphics? I can think of none. Guess what? NBA 2K2 follows the same theme. The overall graphics are magnificent. Whether it is the player models or the indoor/outdoor courts, everything is perfected right down to the last detail. I was most impressed with how each player looks different, even if they are the nobodies on the team. Outside of the court, the crowd looks great like it normally does. They react to the game, and applaud at no end.

I wish the audio were just as perfect as the visuals. Don't get me wrong, I think NBA 2K2 is the best basketball game out there for any system, but there are a few discrepancies that caught my attention. At times, I found there was no bouncing ball sound effect if the defense was playing tight D on the dribbler. Also, the commentator sometimes says a first-time sub is heading in after resting for a bit, as if he was playing before (after three years, they still haven't corrected that problem.) The other flaw I found was personal, since I'm from Minnesota. During the pregame, the announcer said Minnesota was the land of 1,000 lakes. However, the last time I checked, my home state contained around 10,000. Otherwise, the commentary was great because it never was the same, and it never lagged behind.


Gameplay:

What I liked most about NBA 2K2 was the fact that it fits the mold of an excellent sports simulation that keeps gamers coming back for more. Scoring is sweet whether it is a two-handed rim rattler, or a fade-away jumper from behind the arc. Players will get on hot and cold streaks, and you just have to ride the wave to victory. Defense lacked a little in the blocking department, but you can still swat that weak s#@t that comes into your house. Sadly though, the alley-oop is different from years past. Before, you could control the oops by pressing a button, but now it's all automatic, meaning you need to have a man in the post calling for the rock, with a clear path to the hole, before he even attempts going for Show Time.

Game modes wise, you'll be set until 2K3. You can Practice up your shot, or take on a friend or the computer in Exhibition or in the Street Court mode. That's where you head to one of five famous street courts, and play anywhere from two-on-two to five-on-five with the stars of the NBA. Otherwise, play through a Season, and then continue on with the Franchise mode, where you can draft the future stars of the league as the older ones fade away (cough, Jordan). If you get too tired of whooping your friends, head online and find some new challenges. And if you're even more tired with your team, create some new players, although that may prove to take a while (I'll explain later in Game Mechanics).


Difficulty:

If you've ever played a sports game in the past, no matter what system, you'll know that the difficulty of the computer's AI improves with every level. The same can be said for NBA 2K2. The three different degrees of difficulty are Rookie, Veteran, and All-Star. I started out with Veteran, only because I've played the game in the past. Yet, I still had trouble closing out games in the end at times. If you're new, definitely find your game in Rookie before moving on to higher levels. It will greatly affect your shooting and such.

Game Mechanics:

The biggest problems of NBA 2K2 come in this section. One thing I have never liked about the Dreamcast is that you basically need a VMU for each game you play. This is not so for 2K2... you need two. If you plan on saving your Season or Franchise, the majority of your VMU will be used. But if you plan on saving some settings or roster changes, you'll need another one because there won't be enough room on the first. Another problem I found was in the Create-a-Team, which took forever to load. My God, I've never seen the DC think so much! The same can be said for the online version, which I didn't even bother to play at times because it was too slow.

Besides those glitches of the game, the rest of NBA 2K2 runs smooth. The control handling fits your hand like it always does, and the loading time (besides the Create-a-Team) is very punctual.

I may have been very critical of the little things in NBA 2K2, but that's only because I believe it's one of the best basketball sims of the year. I picked at the little things because that was all there was to critique. Nonetheless, get out and buy this game!


-Red Dawg, GameVortex Communications
AKA Alex Redmann

Windows The Ward Sega Dreamcast NHL 2K2

 
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