#9 of 2010: NBA 2K10

Posted December 19th, 2009 at 10:33 am

The ranking of games in the best of 2009 list is based primarily on the personal amount of enjoyment had with a particular title. Some other factors include 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 a personal take on the games. The analysis is weighted largely towards those which I had the most fun with while considering them as a whole and compared relatively to the others.

NBA 2K10 is the most polarizing sports game released this year. It has its strong supporters but also those disappointed by detrimental bugs and a failure to deliver advertised features. For those familiar with the series it is a game that can be enjoyed but it is primarily dependent on what each individual wants to get out of it.

NBA 2K10 has received a great deal of backlash, much of that warranted. However it still provided a satisfying offline experience and the attempt to create a compelling career mode was a step in the right direction. Association mode remains a strength, though facing its own share of bugs. It still is the most well rounded franchise/dynasty mode amongst all the basketball games on the market. Sales have reflected a confidence in the series going into this release.

The time around the release of NBA 2K10 was a tumultuous. There were numerous issues such as framerate slowdown, clones in My Player mode, and non-functioning online modes. 2K did respond quickly and provide a comprehensive patch that at least did improve on many of the things they claimed it would. A second patch is now being worked on and should be out in January.

The posters at Neogaf gave NBA 2K10 the title of “video game scam of the year“. While the statement may be explosive the sentiment is understood. Online play once again was plagued by issues such as lag, server outages, and advertised modes that either were inconsistent or have yet to work. That first patch addressed an enormous list of problems many of which consumers should never have had to wait on. Reaction to the effectiveness of the patch has been mixed.

Online leagues, which has been one of the biggest selling points for the 2K franchise in recent years, hasn’t functioned since day one. The “Living Rosters” are inconsistently updated and seem to just concentrate on changes to a handful of players. Even worse was that default rosters were used for online play until early December. Team-Up mode, Crew games, and Pick-Up games all struggle with connection issues. Ranked games are at least playable (unless the server is down) but wins and losses are frequently not recorded.

I had really been looking forward to My Player mode. Over the past few years as career modes have expanded to different games it seemed that it would be perfectly suited for basketball. Despite this I found the mode to be primarily tedious with a grading system that oftentimes resulted in major frustration and changed the way you would naturally play the game. The framerate problems prior to the first patch really took me out of it for good, and needing to re-start the mode following that patch just sealed it. This mode has the potential to be much better if they continue to put a lot of effort into it in the coming years.

Despite all the problems many will feel comfortable with the game because of the single player experience or basic head-to-head play. That is certainly understandable and I wouldn’t fault anyone for that. At the same time many have felt that they deserved a better more polished product. That is a reasonable expectation for anyone to have had.

NBA 2K10 provides a familiar experience offline while attempting to expand with the career mode. However the problems with the game ended up overshadowing that. Its why so many can enjoy the game while others are completely frustrated by it. Ultimately I can’t put a game that is only half realized above any others this year. It was a struggle between recognizing what the game does well and being upset over the state of the game at release and online play that remains fatally flawed and unaddressed.

#9: NBA 2K10
#10: Fight Night Round 4
The Worst of 2009