Publisher: 2K Sports Developer: Visual Concepts Released: 16th March 2006 Players: 1 – 2 / online www: 2ksports.com Rating: G
Vastly superior to 2005, NBA 2K6 boasts some of the most fluid sequences available in a sporting simulator. In one-player mode, it’s possible to pull off spontaneous collaborative efforts like the give-and-go and alley-oop, directing the motions of both participants as soon as the defence presents an opening – making the game very enjoyable to watch. Seeing a real-time adjustment lead to a basket is much more satisfying than executing a pre-scripted play, with your animated automatons merely going through the motions. While it’s impossible to reproduce the physical dynamics of a no-look pass, 2K6 realistically rewards court vision. Players with point guard sensibilities can spring quick touch passes, or fake a shot before dropping a bounce pass into the post.
Shooters still launch outside jumpers with a single button tap, but dunks and finger-roll lay-ups require the simultaneous manipulation of three controls. This task seems daunting and ungainly at first, but the learning curve is quick; my first three games against the computer were an 80-point loss, a 12-point loss, and a 14-point win.
Of the game’s alternate-court features, the streetball setting is most compelling. Players can select any NBA twosomes, threesomes, or foursomes to run playground-style at locales both venerable (Rucker Park, Venice Beach) and obscure (steel mill, truck stop.) The fast-break flow of a full-court three-on-three battle is especially exciting. 2K6 includes a Cribs setting as well but instead of striving for luxury cars, mansions, and yachts, players can unlock rec room games such as darts and air-hockey while filling their trophy cases. Players furnish their penthouse pads by achieving triple-doubles, 100-point games, and other on-court goals. It’s not exactly materialism run amok but 2K6 does give you that disillusioned sense of basketball fame and fortune. With the XBox 360 version and a high-definition TV, NBA 2K6 is a sight to be seen with realistic animations of every move under the sun, near-to-life likenesses of players, great gameplay. Plus with their slightly cheaper price, EA Sports may soon have to keep an eye on what 2K Sports have up their sleeve as they step up the pace.