Thoughts on College Hoops 2K8

Posted November 25th, 2007 at 3:08 pm


I received my copy of College Hoops 2K8 on Friday and have been playing it quite a bit since. I have mixed emotions when it comes to laying out my impressions of 2K8. It really is an excellent game but there are certain aspects which are have caused me a great deal of frustration.

The majority of the time I’ve spent playing has come through online games so that is something to consider. I think some of those things may not be as much of an issue when playing the CPU, however I play the majority online so that is what I base my feelings off of.

The All-American Training Challenge is a nice addition and does a respectable job in letting you practice how to play the game in specific areas and improve at it. I’m not sure it really helped me though as things that I really need to get down like isomotion were glossed over and the instruction book is little to no help. The tutorial mode is there to assist with some of the isomotion though. The AATC doesn’t so much as teach as it does let you learn through trial and error.

2K Share is a fantastic addition. While March Madness 07 was the first to allow roster sharing through the game (with the EA Locker which is in again for 08) 2K Share takes it a step further allowing for not only roster files but also Legacy, settings/sliders, chants, and playbooks. It also is better than the EA Locker in that it posts to a public area for everyone to grab from. With the EA Locker you had to be on the person’s friends list in order to access their Locker.

I like the 6th Man Advantage, although the meter doesn’t always seem to match up properly with the situation. As a team on the road I feel like I’m fighting the crowd and that is really cool. It should present a challenge and it seems to. I can’t say whether it is properly balanced until playing many more games and situations but it doesn’t seem to be unfair. It feels as though it factors in the most in the first few minutes and last few minutes of games. My opponents all seemed to go on runs at those points and the rest of the time I was able to compete on a relatively even level. Because of 6th Man the atmosphere is excellent, I am very impressed by how loud and intimidating it can get.

I’m not and have never been a fan of the shot stick so I just use the button to shoot and I really don’t like the isomotion system. I much prefer having the right analog be used for dribble moves. The maximum passing is a nice option to have I just don’t see myself using it much if at all. There is just too much that I’m already thinking about and I don’t think I’ll get to the point where I can recognize the situations and make those specific types of passes fast enough.

I do really enjoy running plays in this game due to the indicators on the floor. It is just difficult at times to figure out what is coming next. By the time I’ve called a play and recognized where I should be going the defense is usually up on my player and forcing a turnover. I do appreciate that you can run plays in practice mode.

While the game doesn’t match up to March Madness graphically it is better than I had expected. The courts in particular look really good. The player models are tough to distinguish at times which means I’ve taken three pointers with open players and not realized they were a PF or C before it was too late.

The commentary needs improvement but it is passable. I’m sure those who have played the CH series a lot over the years have grown tired of it. I don’t pay that much attention to it really so it isn’t a huge concern of mine.

I’m a fan of the little nuances that the 2K games generally have. For example seeing players help others off the floor, high fives after getting fouled, and interactive sidelines and refs.

Online play has presented a good experience performance wise but has been a crapshoot in the level of enjoyment. This has been mainly due to the style of play from the opposition as there seems to be flaws in the game that are exploited while not presenting the proper level of risk. Now this is nothing new with sports games online but I’ve had games where I’ve really had fun despite losing and others that I’ve gotten so upset about that I just wanted to quit because it was ridiculously frustrating. The problems lie within the game and not the individuals playing it as I can’t fault people for playing a way that improves their chances of winning.

I am aware that sliders may correct some of these issues and that others they may be more prevalent with multiplayer however I’m just evaluating the game out of the box based on what I’ve played.

-One of the problems that I’ve had with the 2K basketball games over the years is how you get caught in animations and the game takes over for you. This is seen again when getting trapped or double teamed and no matter what is done to try and pass out of it the ball ends up getting knocked away for an easy steal. I would say it leads to a steal 75% of the time. This is one online tactic which is used and there just isn’t enough risk for the other team not to.

-The offensive rebounding seems iffy. There have been too many times where there is one offensive player down low and he somehow comes down with the board despite being properly boxed out and surrounded by three or four opposing players.

-The overall spacing seems a little tight to me. It is really difficult to get any consistent ball movement because of it. Although as I’ve gotten more comfortable with running plays I’ve been more successful.

-Turnovers tend to be way too frequent. This leads to the overall game just feeling sloppy. This seems to be partially due to the tight spacing and difficulty advancing the ball. Passes are deflected at an alarming rate and it is hard to do much more than pass to the player nearest you or cross court if a teammate is wide open.

-Full court press is tough to beat and leads to a lot of turnovers and easy scores. There just doesn’t seem to be much that can be done because the opposing players jump out and deflect the passes. One main problem is that there is a delay after pressing the button for the pass before the player throws it in. By the time the ball is passed the opposing player may have reacted and be in position for a deflection or steal.

-There are way too many blocks. I fight to get myself into position down low or drive the lane and it is probably going to be blocked over half the time. Also there are quite a lot of blocks on three point attempts. Players seem a little slow to get shots off allowing for the defense to react. Again I think it is a lack of spacing that makes this worse. There are at least a couple guys there to contest the shot no matter what.

So now I’ve laid out a list of things there that have bothered me. I suspect that those who play mainly offline wouldn’t experience quite the level of frustration that those have caused me and sliders should assist with them as well.

Atmosphere is one of the most important things to me in a sports game and 2K8 has it along with an advantage to the home team which I still don’t understand why most other games ignore. Sharing is the future of gaming as seen by games like NCAA Football 08 and Halo. It is great to have not only the names but other aspects of the game that can be transferred so easily. There is always more that can be done and hopefully they continue to expand on that next year.

Overall I have found myself hooked on the game and when not encountering the issues listed above really find it to be a lot of fun. There is a real sense of accomplishment when you execute well, 2K Share and 6th Man Advantage are great additions, and online play runs smoothly.