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NBA 2K1

Score: 80%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Sega Sports
Developer: Visual Concepts
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 4 (2 - 8 Online)
Genre: Sports (Basketball)

Graphics & Sound:

So how do the makers of one of the best-looking basketball video games follow up a year later? Improve the graphics even more so. NBA 2K1 has completely raised the bar of graphic quality. So what has improved? First, player details have been increased even more than I thought was possible. They have been updated with new hairstyles and tattoos. Facial expressions and player animations are also looking marvelous. And the arenas have been modeled into an accurate 3-Dimensional portrayal. The one beef I have with the graphics is the opening display background. With all the time spent on the actual game, I think it looks like someone put it together in five minutes. Not enough to make me hate the game though.

The sounds and music get a big plus too. All new commentary keeps up with the play-by-play throughout the game. And the pumped-up crowds along with the coach yelling at you to get better are even better than last year.


Gameplay:

My, what a year has done. NBA 2K1 has been completely revamped from the previous year in gameplay. This year's version provides more realistic blocking, shooting, and passing styles. No more blocking dunks all the way from the free throw line. Get ready for running jumpers, up-and-under lay-ups, and high-flying slam dunks that will completely raise the roof and send your opponent's momma home cryin'. And unlike NBA 2K, you won't fall asleep while waiting for your center to run up and down the court just to pass the ball into play.

Besides the game modes of old, Practice, Exhibition and Season, there are new ways to get your game on. Tourney (much like a Playoff mode to win the title) allows you to play against friends or the computer in a winner-takes-all style. Another feature is playing on four different Street Courts, allowing you to take your two-on-two game to new heights, or even play up to five-on-five. You can even suit up with the greats of the game with Historic Players such as Wilt "The Stilt" Chamberlain, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Decades of fun are awaiting a comeback game at your fingertips. Finally, if you are like me, you like to play as the GM. That is where the Franchise mode comes in to play, as you can try building up a dynasty like the Bulls, Celtics and Lakers. Players can get better or worse throughout the season, and if someone doesn't pan out, release their ass and try drafting an up-and-coming rookie. Plenty of new modes and features allow you the player for countless hours of enjoyment.


Difficulty:

When I first began to play NBA 2K1, I stupidly thought that the difficulty would be the same from the year before... how wrong I was. Each level of difficulty has increased a couple of notches for the levels of Rookie, Veteran, and All-Star. And the AI has been advanced to where the computer doesn't want to keep you in the game, but to put you away for good. They are not afraid to post-up down low and then kick it out for the three. Something else I experienced was the computer actually took time-outs, unheard of in my experience of gaming.

Game Mechanics:

Here is the section that has the most news. First, you can now save just the stuff you want on your VMU, which shouldn't fill it up with unneeded crap. Another thing that is important to know is that some of the controls have been rearranged from a year ago. But I'm sure the thing you're most curious about is the online playing ability. New features have been added to the online capability, different from NFL 2K1, creating it more like a chat room. Features include whether the user has a keyboard or not, or you can even look for someone you know through a searching process. The bad thing about playing online is very important... the gameplay itself is slower. By this I mean that it takes a second for a button to register. Shooting can sometimes be a problem, along with trying to block shots and some other things. It takes a bit to get used to, but after a while, you should be taking people to school with a killer crossover and a sweet jumper.

Back with a year under its belt, NBA 2K1 should prove to be one of the better basketball games this season. Once you step out onto the court, you'll find yourself screaming "Put me in coach! I can PLAY!"


-Red Dawg, GameVortex Communications
AKA Alex Redmann

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