Getting in your face
Graphics haven’t improved much on NBA 2K10, but having said that, the visuals for the most recent version were remarkable good. On one occasion, my partner even asked me who was playing, thinking that I was streaming a game via the internet. From a distance, one could easily make that mistake. Even up close, one could be confused. The presentation of the game means that NBA 2K11 plays like a full television coverage. Pre-game, post game highlights, replays of game- breaking moments, dunk-cam and the half-time show make the game feel like an interactive ball game. During the game, courts reflect the overhead lights and are varied depending on where you’re playing.
The players too, seem to have their likenesses close to the mark. When playing, each of the players is easily distinguishable making it easy to locate your star player when he’s clear for that easy jump shot. I had an issue with the look of the coaches, though. Well, not so much the coach’s faces - as they looked close enough - but from the neck down, they looked somewhat unnatural, especially compared to the players. Their suits could use some work for the next instalment as they certainly looked a bit stiff.
Crowds are enthusiastic and jump out of their seats to cheer the great moves / plays. There is quite a variation in the crowd animations, so it doesn’t seem like every second person is identical. I did notice that on occasions, on a cut-away view of the crowd, it seems as though groups of the crowd were two-dimensional, flat looking people, which made them seem out of place. It doesn’t alter the gameplay, but definitely reduces the realism factor a tad.
Talking the talk
Audio is superb. Commentary for the most part is spot on, mirroring the play, although there were a couple of occasions where it seemed that the commentators were slightly ahead of the play. It could have just been my imagination though. The special comments were also insightful, and it took some time before the rotation of comments come around again for a second time. But when the comments do repeat, it is normally because you’ve been playing as the same team for an extended period. The courtside reports from Doris Burke also fit in well with the play and certainly add a little feminine perspective of the contest.
As mentioned earlier, the crowd does get excited by the spectacle on court. They cheer their approval when a player makes a huge dunk or scores to get the home team in front. The squeaking of the basketballer’s boots, the swish of the ball going through the hoop and other sound effects really help give NBA 2K11 a more interactive basketball experience. Music also does a great job of fitting into the NBA scene. Although some of the tracks don’t normally fit my music preference, they certainly suit the basketball scene and do a great job to put you in the mood for some slamming action.
The full NBA experience
So, apart from the Jordan Challenge mode, there isn’t a whole lot new in this version of the NBA 2K series. But it does have Michael Jordan. The MJ Challenge mode, although frustrating at times, certainly adds a new dimension to the series. Time will tell if the team at 2K Sports does something similar with other stars of the past for future titles. The presentation is outstanding, with the stunning visuals and audio, making the game seem like you are part of the action. The number of game modes and the ability to play some historical matches only gives the game further replayability. If you haven’t played a video basketball game for awhile (possibly since MJ retired), then NBA 2K11 is the one to pick up.
Presentation, including visuals and audio, make it seem like you’re a part of a telecasted game. You can play as Michael Jordan.
Some graphical issues can dispel the illusion somewhat. Navigating the menus can take a little getting used to.