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Score: 97%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: 2K Sports
Developer: Visual Concepts
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Sports (Basketball)/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

With the game clock ticking down on the Xbox, it appears the good folks at 2K Sports are taking things down to the wire visually with NBA 2K6. The 2K series has always been one of the best looking games year after year, but itís been a couple of years since I got a chance to play the latest season. I have to rave that 2K6 is one of the best regarding animations and graphical quality. Itís not so much that the marquee players look ďdead on;Ē itís more that the overall presentation is so impressive. Arenas are packed to the brim with team-frenzy fans, complete with 3D animations in the background. No more with 2D cutouts in the first few rows. Now, whether this is new to NBA 2K6 or not, I donít know. However, itís still visually stunning and definitely worth the mention.

From a TV presentation standpoint, 2K Games gets it. Kevin Harlan and Kenny Smith call a very good game, but they do an even better job of not overdoing it with non-stop crappy banter. Plus, 2K Sports does a great piece of work with replays, whether they are instant replays or highlights looking back at someoneís performance from the game. You might find yourself rubbing your eyes trying to figure out if itís a video game or a game on TNT.

Two things did catch my eye regarding the graphics that kept me from scoring NBA 2K6 even higher. The first was the camera, which sometimes wasnít zoomed out enough, so I would lose track of where the ball was off screen or where my player was. The other has to do with slam dunks. To me it looks like the guys donít actually grab the rim, yet it bends down. Itís not so much a ďcollision detection flawĒ as it is a ďnon-collision detection flaw.Ē

A fairly hip-hop/rap-based soundtrack highlights 2K6. The music is nothing I would listen to on a constant basis away from the game, but it does the job. Meantime, the other standard sounds from a basketball game suffice.


Besides the standard modes like Play Now, Season, The Association (Franchise mode), Street, and Tournament, you can also hit the outside courts around the country in 24/7: Road to the EBC. This is where you take on current and historic NBA players, along with hip-hop artists, in 1-on-1 and 2-on-2 match ups with your created player. Once you build up your attributes and complete your entire pick up games, youíll select a team to play with in the Entertainerís Basketball Classic. After you win the tournament, your street baller will be eligible to play in The Association mode. However, even though I won the Classic, I never found my player in my newly created franchise mode.

NBA 2K6 also offers something for the Xbox Live gamer. Not only can you play against someone across the country with exhibition and street games, but for those of you who are online a majority of your time, you can also start up Tournaments and Leagues with your online friends. Both modes allow for custom options in the event you want a shortened season or want to turn off some rules. Writerís note: I didnít take part in the Xbox Live portion of NBA 2K6 because I currently donít have Xbox Live.


Like the previous seasons, NBA 2K6 presents a difficulty for everyone. This yearís version has five different levels: Rookie, Pro, All Star, Superstar, and Hall of Fame. The first few are geared towards the inexperienced gamers, while the upper degrees make things a little more challenging. And as always, you have the option to turn on and off rules to customize the game to your liking.

One thing I was a little disappointed in with NBA 2K6 was the lack of info in the manual. The controls are covered, as is a heavy section of the above-mentioned Xbox Live game modes. However, I was looking for a bit of info about The Association mode, yet found nothing on any of the pages. While Iíll admit most of those modes are pretty standard, I would like a slight reference on a few things for those who donít buy the 2K series every year.

Game Mechanics:

New to the controls of this yearís game is the focus on the right thumbstick, both offensively and defensively. On offense, itís called the Shot Stick. Use this when youíre driving in the lane for a finger roll lay up or a power dunk, or if youíre inside the arc and are in the need of a fade-away jumper. On defense, use the stick to poke the ball away from your opponent or to jump into a passing lane to steal the rock. I liked using the right thumbstick on both sides of the ball, although it made a little more sense to me defensively.

The rest of the controls are fairly straightforward, although I have mixed feelings about using the right trigger as both the crossover command and as the turbo. Every time you want to run down the court with the ball, you take an extra second by doing a weak crossover. Still, it felt natural after a short time of testing it out.

The loading times in NBA 2K6 arenít bad, although the loads are noticeable when playing a TV presentation-styled game. Things pause for about a second between game action and replay action (at the end of the half or at the end of the game). Itís not awful by any stretch of the imagination, but itís there.

Bottom line, if youíre a basketball junkie looking for a videogame fix, NBA 2K6 is the game for you. Even though weíre witnessing the end of the Xbox era, 2K Games definitely offers up some intense action that is worth the price of admission.

-Red Dawg, GameVortex Communications
AKA Alex Redmann

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