NBA 2K10 My Player Impressions

Posted October 1st, 2009 at 8:53 am


I have a love-hate relationship with career modes in sports titles. I appreciate the ability to control a single player which in turn simplifies the games and presents clear objectives and measurements of success. At the same time I’ve always come across certain aspects that have soured the overall experience. Those conflicting feelings continue with NBA 2K10’s My Player mode.

My first thought after spending time with My Player is that it’s obviously vastly superior to what was offered with the Draft Combine. Not only is the gameplay slightly improved but there are various elements that come with the full mode that make it much more fun and interesting unlike the bore that was DC. However some fundamental flaws have definitely hurt my opinion of the mode. At the moment those things are discouraging but at least they would appear to be potentially fixable server side or via patch.

Starting in the Summer Circuit (unless you had DC and uploaded to the draft) you are given a handful of games and drills to complete. This is all very similar to what was found in DC just without the possibility of being drafted. In all likelihood, and it might be unavoidable, the player will be cut after those are completed and signed by an NBDL team. This is where the biggest problem presents itself.

The framerate once the NBDL is reached and the NBA takes a serious hit. While it does not make the game unplayable it is definitely annoying and very noticeable compared to the smooth play in the Summer Circuit. It would seem that the arenas packed with fans, addition of cheerleaders and PA announcer, spotlights, and everything else that comes with the move up have caused the inconsistent framerate. It doesn’t come across as evident in the videos but is more about the feel when playing with is jerky and slugglish. Not only does that make it visually annoying but it affects play in that it can screw with anything that depends on timing or reactionary moves.

The atmosphere, which could very well be what is causing the framerate slowdown, does make playing the game even without announcers much more enjoyable than playing in an empty gym. The crowd gets into the games, there is music from the soundtrack during time outs, there are spotlights used in the arena, and there is variety in that you’ll be playing different teams with their own unique colors and logos. I had suspected missing all that in the Draft Combine was a big part of why I didn’t enjoy it.


The other thing I have grown quite frustrated with is the positive or negative grading system. Originally I created a SF, and after scrapping that a SG, but had trouble getting opportunities to raise my grade in games. The player ratings are just so poor at the start that it becomes more about avoiding the things that might get you negative grades than trying to play naturally. After scrapping those positions I started up as a PG and have done much better. Having the ball in your hands consistently provides for more opportunities. I suspect big men also have that since they would have better chances at rebounds, boxing out, and higher shot percentages.

But it isn’t just a sense of imbalance in the positions but also in what counts as a positive and what registers as a negative. Frequently I find that one mistake can wipe out a lot more good that had been done previously. And it becomes especially frustrating when you get knocked for things that are either out of your control or just part of the game of basketball. I’m sorry, but committing a foul does not make you a bad teammate. Taking a subjectively “difficult” shot does not make you a bad teammate. Another totally subjective thing in “holding the ball too long” is usually bogus because I’m trying to run a play. The guy you’re assigned to is probably going to score over the course of a game, that they did does not make you a bad teammate. There should be a buffer, so that if those things occur too many times THEN you’re responsible and should take a hit.

As frustrating as all of that can be there is a genuine sense of achievement when you do something well. I hit a three to put the team up by one point with 11 seconds to go in a game. Not only was that a thrilling moment but I received a bonus for putting the team ahead in the last minute. I also like getting credit for boxing out, making good passes, getting assists, scoring on fast breaks, and so on. Clearly there are good things that come with the grading also. It just seems like the good can be wiped out in an instant because of determinations that are completely subjective or unfair.

Each game you get the three objectives which I’ve found to be more reasonable than in the Draft Combine. That might just be due to the new position I’m playing but they aren’t changing my strategy for how to play which is what had bothered me about it first. Given that you only get 100 points for each objective its not the end of the world if you don’t complete them. I usually worry about my grade and my stats before going for something specific mentioned in an objective.

Also an issue of much discussion is that the mode is locked in with five minute quarters. While I find this just about right in how long the games are taking to complete, it definitely does not result in accurate statistics. Scores are going to be low, minutes played are going to be low. Now since you’re generally playing to get your stats instead of just win the game naturally, you’re player will be in decent shape. He just won’t have spectacular sounding stats and players across the league will have anemic averages as well.

After having arrived in the NBDL you get 10 more drills that can be completed to earn more skill points and use them to increase your attributes. I’m not sure if there is a limit on the number of NBDL games you can play before they just decide that you’re not going to be NBA caliber, but I’m through nine games at this point. There is also no progress indicator to give you an idea of how well you are progressing towards the NBA.

As a PG I’ve found that I don’t always play the position. Much of the time I’ve been playing SG and even in a few cases SF. This is probably because I’m classified as a “3pt Specialist”. I like that you can get some variety and have some different goals over the course of a game.

The XBL status while you’re playing the mode shows some neat information. It displays the quarter and how many points, assists, and rebounds your player has at that very moment.


One of the things that really breaks up the monotony found in Draft Combine, is with My Player you’ll have substitutions and spend time on the bench. You can sim though the parts of the game when you’re on the bench or you’re able to watch the game from a sideline perspective. I would’ve preferred a way to just skip those parts entirely without having to go through the same process multiple times during a single game.

This also means your player gets a chance to rest and recover some turbo. In DC there was too much emphasis on drained turbo to the point where you would avoid doing some things just to conserve turbo. One example could be running down the court on a fast break to back up which was something that you didn’t want to waste turbo on. There is a pretty good balance in My Player that you don’t want to overuse turbo but you feel comfortable playing realistically.

While I do like that they’ve made it so you have to really work your way up, starting rated so low is just a little discouraging. I can definitely see some people getting tired of missing layups or open shots or getting harsh ratings and giving up on the mode because of it. At the same time it is nice to have a challenge and be able to build your player up over time.

The substitution patterns can be somewhat odd. While in the Summer Circuit I would notice times where I was taken out of the game, simmed ahead, and was put back in the game at the next dead ball. There were also instances where I’d start the second half on the bench and be subbed back in and only like seven seconds had elapsed. This seems to be less noticeable now that I’m in the NBDL and playing more minutes.

I’ve yet to determine whether this is a problem just in My Player or if it is the same with the regular games in 2K10, but I haven’t noted it in those games so far. In My Player it seems like any advantage fast breaks my teammates don’t cut to the basket. They all flare out to the three point line and simply aren’t aggressive which forces me to pull the ball back out.

I don’t know why it bugs me but why is only one player allowed to inbound the ball after a made basket? I may come down with the ball, or some other player may come across it first. Instead of any of us just throwing it in to the PG, it goes to one specific player (I haven’t looked to see what position it is) with a hard chest pass that sometimes is thrown while standing the opposite direction even. It just gives it a real mechanical feel that only one position inbounds the ball.

I’d like to have a way to pump up the crowd in the future. While playing home games I always have the urge to pump up the crowd in particular situations. It would be a neat feel to be able to do that and have the crowd react.

Overall I think My Player has some good potential and it has been built out well for a first attempt. Unfortunately a few major issues are hampering the experience. The framerate after having reached the NBDL needs to be addressed, and the grading criteria should be adjusted to be more fair. If just those two things are taken care of I would see this mode as a significant addition in the value and variety it adds to NBA 2K10.