#1 of 2010: NBA 2K11

by
Posted January 11th, 2011 at 1:30 pm

It may be predictable but it is deserving. NBA 2K11 comes out on top of the best sports games of 2010 countdown having delivered on a complete experience and advancing the series from the premiere basketball title to a place in the cultural mainstream.

The ranking of games in the best of 2010 list is based on the personal amount of enjoyment had with a particular title, whether advertised features were fully delivered on, post-release support, community interaction and communication, overall gameplay experience, feature set, and online play performance. Again this is largely a personal take on the games and not a recap of those with the highest scores on Metacritic. The analysis is weighted heavily towards those which I had the most fun with while considering them as a whole and compared relatively to the field.

(Related: Hits and MissesTops October SalesTony Parker PunishedPatch DetailsNBA Today ImpressionsOnline ImpressionsCreating a Legend ImpressionsSocial Presence)

The decision to bring in Michael Jordan paid dividends, not just in the exposure that he brought the game but in the valuable way he was utilized. The Jordan Challenge mode was compelling and well designed, and the Creating a Legend career mode made for a unique way to play through a career. Classic teams were another addition that had varying degrees of emotional attachment. For someone like myself, a Sonics fan, it was great to be able to play with Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton.

The game was fully featured and deep, with one of the best franchise modes out there in “Association”, My Player career mode, and the Jordan modes. Association has a balanced split that makes it accessible but also offers plenty of options for the more hardcore crowd. Though not a fan of some of the design decisions for My Player, the Creating a Legend version solved many of the gripes and made it more fun to just play through. The classic teams again added the opportunity to re-live and reminisce about the past. NBA Today brings in some elements that keep things fresh such as dynamic commentary and stat overlays for the current season. 2K Sports deserves credit for not milking consumers through downloadable content as well and providing everything valuable they had planned for the game up-front.

NBA 2K11 broke into the mainstream and captured the attention of many who would maybe not even be interested in a basketball game due to the inclusion of Jordan. The game showed a stunning presence on social networks such as Twitter where it was found in the “Trending Topics” area for the good part of a week. Even bigger sellers such as Madden haven’t shown the ability to create that wave of discussion and excitement. Much of the credit goes to celebrities who were tweeting regarding their interest in the game, but just about everyone was talking about the release.

All of that resulted in a huge sales surge for the series. NBA 2K11 was the top selling game in its release month of October moving over a million copies. That doubled sales of 2K10 and makes for about a 400% increase in the last three years. Word of mouth has kept it moving at a good rate though it understandably fell back to earth after that massive month.

Despite all its triumphs NBA 2K11 still had its share of weak areas. The NBA Today feature didn’t work for a full month and there were freezing issues when entering the main menu. My Player had a freeze of its own that halted many careers. Post-release support has been weak, with just a single patch and inconsistent and lackluster roster updates. Knocking Tony Parker in an update seemed to be an attempt to attract coverage rather than being merited. The controls, though improved, still were not completely user-friendly and sometimes animations would take over at inopportune times. Online play is still tragically sub-par even though it showed some improvement. Considering the sales of the series over the past few years and especially this year there is no excuse not to provide a top notch online experience.

NBA 2K11 is the game that pulled everything together and made a successful run at the title. The question now is how will they follow it up. Will it be possible to catch the same magic again? 2K is in the position to capitalize and further entrench itself as a yearly staple in the gaming library of anyone with even faint interest in sports titles. But as everyone knows it is hard to repeat as champions.

#1: NBA 2K11
#2: 2010 FIFA World Cup
#3: NCAA Football 11
#4: EA Sports MMA
#5: FIFA 11
#6: Madden NFL 11
#7: Kinect Sports
#8: MLB 10 The Show
#9: NHL 11
#10: NBA Jam
The Biggest Stories of 2010
Community Awards Results
The Worst of 2010
Community Awards Voting

  • http://twitter.com/vlnj13 vlnj13

    I don’t necessarily agree with the idea that the controls are still not up to snuff, but a fair write up.

    • Anonymous

      PASTAPADRE the alleged “EA HOMER” makes 2K11 HIS #1 GAME OF THE YEAR!!!

      With that being said to all you Pastapadre haters….

      Kill Yourself!!!

      • Anonymous

        And DAley you really looking like a bitch now. Have fun with that Live ’10 Sucka

        bwhahahahaahhaahaha

  • Sdot

    YEA DATZ DA MILLION $ ?

    HOW / CAN DEY TOP WUT DEY DID NEX YR ??

    • SomeGuy

      Is there a class I can take to learn how to read/write is Retard?

      • Sdot

        GTF OFF MY DIK F@G

        • Ethanteabags

          ha ha. it’s funny because Sdot is a reTARD.

          • Sdot

            ITZ FUNNY CUZ U THINK ITZ COO 2 SUK DIK

          • Sdot

            ITZ FUNNY CUZ U THINK ITZ COO 2 SUK DIK

        • Ethanteabags

          ha ha. it’s funny because Sdot is a reTARD.

    • Anonymous

      They can fix/add little things that people have been complaining about for years. They can add both home and away accessories. Fix the animation transitions, and make it so you’re more in control of your player. Fix the clipping/morphing. I know it’s never going to be gone completely, but the amount that is still present is unacceptable. The AI, mostly on the user controlled team, is complete garbage, especially in My Player.

      • Sdot

        @ AMEN & SHOP YA’LL MISUNDASTOOD WUT IWAS SAYN AS DA FIXES YA’LL SUGGESTED WUD NOT

        MAKE IT 2K12 AS BIG A JUMP AS 2K11 WAS FROM 10 I WAS ASKN CAN DEY REPRODUCE DA HYPE / ANTICIPATION

        OF 2K11 WIT 2K12

    • Anonymous

      Actually a lot can be fixed, or upgraded but this is an excellent base

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention #1 of 2010: NBA 2K11 | pastapadre.com -- Topsy.com

  • Legendoflegends

    The A.I. in NBA 2k is one of the worst I’ve seen in years. The game played ok at first, but now the game plays like crap. Player’s fumbling the ball when U pass it to them way to much. Computer teammates often stand in the lane and get 3 second calls. The refs call some very questionable foul calls. Release points never did feel right online. On a fast break, they don’t run at an angle towards the rim, they run parallel to the baselline which is dumb. The game did play great at one point, but I’m not sure if they tweaked with it to much or what, but right now I’ll say the game definitely plays like crap online far as the A.I.. Controls just feel sluggish and stiff to me. I think 2k tweaked with it to much with patches/sliders etc.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1394448915 Chad Crabtree

    I think he is just referring to the fact that the controls aren’t intuitive. I still prefer dribbling on the right stick and have never gotten used to the shot stick. I never feel like i have the defender at my mercy in 2k. I know that player momentum is a huge part of 2k basketball, but I sometimes feel that it’s overdone a bit. I never feel “dangerous” with guards in 2k. It’s a difficult balance that EA’s titles haven’t gotten right either as many times, your moves are too effective in those games.

    • Nphillyk

      Good points, and I agree to an extent. However, if you truly learn how to use the momentum based system and master the vast amounts of dribble moves you can consistently give defenders nightmares when trying to defend you. Granted that you also need to be controlling a player that has a pretty decent perimeter game. I use the Atlanta Hawks and have never had an issue with beating defenders off the dribble with either J. Johnson or J. Crawford. It is however, more difficult to do with some of the other players on the roster.

  • jusmegamer

    I agree that they should have long ago upgraded online but MLB THE SHOW is the best selling baseball title and they have bad online also I hear. So, to say considering the sales NBA 2K has no excuse may be a little off base but I agree, I just don’t think we are being fair.

  • Anonymous

    HELL YEA BABY!! Well Deserved! NBA 2k11.. BEST GAME EVER MADE!

  • Josh

    Anyone know if Daley is off suicide watch?

    • arthur simpson III

      i would like to invite the people on this board to the funeral of Thomas Daley… a delusional kid who took his life after Pastapadre (his idol) put NBA2k11 as his #1 sports game in 2010. Services will be Jan 26th, 2011 in his hometown of West Bubbafuck, Idaho. He survived by his mother and father who let him stay in there basement.

      Yours Truely,
      West Bubbafuck Funeral Services Director
      Arthur Simpson III

      • Josh

        LMFAO!!! HILARIOUS!

  • Anonymous

    Glad to hear you liked 2k11 a lot this year Pasta. In the past you’ve had your doubts & complaints about 2k series which is very well understood. I know i’ve talked alot about the good & bad of 2k11 this year but after 2-3 months of playing i think i’ve gotten a good sense of what the game is.

    It’s a lot better than last year.

    Association is MUCH better, but i’m still waiting for the days of 2k4/5 where you could walk into your coach’s office & ask/demand things. (Would love to have more interaction involved)

    Gameplay wise? It’s probably the best, dribbling is greatly improved, so is weak side defense.
    But,players are wayyy to stagnant on offense still, if you’re not controlling the ball handler at all times expect them to make easy passes & shots. (I can’t control two ppl at once!)

    And for the love of god will those 3rd quarter runs plz stop? It’s happens too frequently & it’s been going on like that for years.

    As much as i’ve been a fan of My player in 2k10, i haven’t touched this one since october & honestly it doesn’t feel the same. It’s too punishing & the development of your player is beyond slow.

    Still waiting for them to fix the create-a-player models right (you can easily tell whose a generic model & whose not), give us more freedom with accessories such as diff. color headbands, placement of headbands, socks, sleeves, etc.

  • Sdwinder50

    NBA 2K11 or NCAA 11 Football were the top games in my book. Followed closely by MLB 11 The Show. Both NBA and NCAA made nice improvements this year, so they get the nod. FIFA World Cup was a great game too. All four are in my library. I am sure NHL 11 was a great game too, but only played the demo. NCAA 11 was the best football game I have played in many years.

    • jonathan

      for me, ncaa probably has the best gameplay of all the games. if they can add to the ambiance of playing on saturdays and include much more depth in the game (like they had on ps2 and xbox) ncaa 12 will be the best sports game next year.

  • Hawkeye4077

    Thought NCAA was too high up but otherwise agree with the list.

  • Hawkeye4077

    Thought NCAA was too high up but otherwise agree with the list.

  • Hawkeye4077

    Thought NCAA was too high up but otherwise agree with the list.

  • Hawkeye4077

    Thought NCAA was too high up but otherwise agree with the list.

  • Hawkeye4077

    Thought NCAA was too high up but otherwise agree with the list.

  • Hawkeye4077

    Thought NCAA was too high up but otherwise agree with the list.

  • Anonymous

    Well here is my take on 2k yes its a excellent game no doubt but until the online play is fix and there are primarily online gamers the online is completely horrible and EA still has that edge on them.And with that being said until 2k fixes there servers and controls cause the controls are still very bad and need work lots of work EA still has a opportunity to survive with there Basketball title. Here is my insight Vid People and Pasta Check it out you might find it very interesting here is the Link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RV9Jxhrlqfo so watch listen and enjoy.

    • Josh

      I agree about the online servers but I couldn’t care less about online. I completely disagree about the controls. There are so many different moves you can pull off if you master iso motion. The right stick shot stick is genius. You can control your post moves, which hand you want to shoot with, break out of any shot at anytime, etc…The controls in 2K are so deep that they might be too deep lol. This is coming from a guy who grew up on Live & hated isomotion when I switched to 2K but this year is a another ball game!

      • Josh

        Now that said they still need to give us complete control because the animations still tend to take over from time to time. That plus there’s still too much morphing going on.

      • Anonymous

        The problem is that movement and ball control are tied to the same stick. So you cannot do a simple dribble move (ie a crossover), without taking a step. Also, some of the stick movements are too close to each other. Sometimes I’ll want to do an in and out and end up doing a double cross. I personally still think that ball control should be on one stick and movement on the other.

        • Josh

          You do have a point. I can dig it.

  • http://twitter.com/foocards88 Craig Cutler

    Needed Reggie Miller

  • http://twitter.com/foocards88 Craig Cutler

    Needed Reggie Miller

    • Anonymous

      NOTHING needs Reggie Miller, except the Pacers at the moment LOL

    • Anonymous

      NOTHING needs Reggie Miller, except the Pacers at the moment LOL

    • Anonymous

      NOTHING needs Reggie Miller, except the Pacers at the moment LOL

  • Aceoye

    im not sure what deserves the #1 spot prolly ncaa but thats another story anyway 2k11 is a horrible game theres no way you can call the game a simulation its more of a arcade not offensivlet but defense wise.first thought people come up with when thinking of arcadey sports games like in madden is its way too easy to score well in 2k11 its way to easy to play defense theres no way out of all the games ive played online and off the score in the first quarter doesnt even hit double digits and by the end of the game its 40-60 something as the score. steals are way too easy and passing is too hard and players miss relativley open shots its ridiculous.The least fun out of 2k game ive ever had even worse than 2k10 and 2k10 was horrible as well..how can you make a simulation type game without the simulational scores??? am I supposed to put it on actual 15 min qtrs??? then when I put it on that ill have 30 steals or something so fake fix the game 2k and i am by no way a ea fan of any type i ve been playing 2k since well 2k on dreamcast!!!

  • Aceoye

    im not sure what deserves the #1 spot prolly ncaa but thats another story anyway 2k11 is a horrible game theres no way you can call the game a simulation its more of a arcade not offensivlet but defense wise.first thought people come up with when thinking of arcadey sports games like in madden is its way too easy to score well in 2k11 its way to easy to play defense theres no way out of all the games ive played online and off the score in the first quarter doesnt even hit double digits and by the end of the game its 40-60 something as the score. steals are way too easy and passing is too hard and players miss relativley open shots its ridiculous.The least fun out of 2k game ive ever had even worse than 2k10 and 2k10 was horrible as well..how can you make a simulation type game without the simulational scores??? am I supposed to put it on actual 15 min qtrs??? then when I put it on that ill have 30 steals or something so fake fix the game 2k and i am by no way a ea fan of any type i ve been playing 2k since well 2k on dreamcast!!!

  • jdeeee

    Dude copy edit your articles! “Broke out into…”? Whaaaaaaa?

  • jdeeee

    Dude copy edit your articles! “Broke out into…”? Whaaaaaaa?

  • sheredia

    nba 2k11 is arguably the best basketball game ever made……it got so many things right, a few things not so right, but it goes without saying, this is the most i’ve ever played a basketball game. ever.

  • HR

    Anything 2K/VC related sucks donkey dick.

  • Anonymous

    Not to be a grammar Nazi, but I just noticed you called 2K11 the best sports game of 2011 in the opening sentence… =)

    • http://pastapadre.com/ pastapadre

      Thanks. No matter how many times I read over before publishing things like that can slip by.

  • Anonymous

    Not to be a grammar Nazi, but I just noticed you called 2K11 the best sports game of 2011 in the opening sentence… =)

  • Anonymous

    Not to be a grammar Nazi, but I just noticed you called 2K11 the best sports game of 2011 in the opening sentence… =)

  • Clintbeastwoods

    Nba 2k11 is the best sports game of all time period! Nfl 2k5 is a close second! Facts are facts

    • Anonymous

      Not even close. Although that is my personal opinion. I view sports games much differently than other people. It has to represent the sport, and play fairly realistically. (Obviously, I have only thought this way since about midway through the PS2′s life cycle). The presentation, especially on the next-gen systems, needs to be much better than most games have shown. It can be done. No game has done presentation as well as NFL 2k5. Commentary, sad to say, was the best in MLB 2k9/10. I don’t understand how 2k Sports can have those 2 franchises and not use those same ideas in their best-selling game.

    • NELL86

      i want what u was smoking

  • Clintbeastwoods

    Nba jam, ea mma and madden 11 do not belong in a top ten list for best sports game of the year! You have to be smoking crack if you really consider those games to be worthy of any accolades! I completely understand that pasta is just being polite to his friends at ea by mentioning all of their games on his top ten list! At least he was honest enough to give nba 2k11 the number 1 spot! Everyone knows 2k makes better sports games than ea!

  • St8upcash

    make online work enuff said

  • Blak Baki Hanma

    Maybe next year online play will work… 2k11 is great if you like playing team sports by yourself. I haven’t gotten to the 2nd quarter in MONTHS. AND THEY RESET MY ONLINE RECORD. WHAT A JOKE.

  • http://twitter.com/Smokez4Dayz Black Irish

    you guys are complete assholes and need to really shut the fuck up.

  • NELL86

    most overrated sports video game off all time

  • TheDax

    Eh, not much of a fan of the gameplay. The CPU shoots a high percentage even on well defended shots and User teams blow several point blank shots and layups no matter what difficulty setting or the slider setup.

  • Crey49

    I really love the game especially the great moments of NBA legends, i don’t care if there is weak when it comes to essence of online gaming but you have done you’re best 2K…congrats!!!

  • Bong_Hole

    On NBA 2K11 My Player mode when I try to play pickup games the game freezes. This started happening just last week. I’m able to play Team-Up mode with my crew on line but just can’t seem to play online for pickup games. Anyone having this problem or know how to remedy this please let me know.

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