NBA 2K11 Jordan Challenge Impressions

Posted October 6th, 2010 at 5:15 pm

The Michael Jordan mode most heavily marketed in NBA 2K11 is the “Jordan Challenge” which presents a set of 10 different scenarios to complete based on many of the biggest moments in his career. I went into the mode uncertain of whether it would be something that I’d continue playing past making a few, likely futile, attempts. Despite some initial frustrations it has almost an addictive quality to it and I am enjoying it much more than anticipated.

Upon my first try at “The Arrival” I seriously began contemplating whether I would be able to complete a single one of the challenges let alone the whole 10. That one requires scoring 63 or more points and shooting over 50% from the field.

The initial issue I had was that I’m simply not used to playing a basketball game in this manner, worrying only about a stats and pushing an individual over team. Combining that with being locked at eight minute quarters the pressure was felt immediately.

By getting through all of them the “Creating a Legend” mode is unlocked and that is something I’ve been looking forward to trying out, so it would be disappointing if I were to never reach it. I’m still concerned that will ultimately remain out of reach.

So I moved on to the one that looked the most achievable, that being “Bad Boys”. The requirements there are to score 47 or more points and win the game for the Bulls. After a few poor starts and restarts I finally began to get into the flow and have success scoring at the rate necessary. I completed that one with plenty of breathing room scoring 58 and winning by 8. That gave me quite a bit of confidence going into the next challenge.

I went back to “The Arrival” and got it on my next try scoring 68 points and shooting nearly 60% from the field. So I then went to the next one I felt I had a shot at “Shootout” which requires outscoring Dominique Wilkins while holding him under 25 points and beating the Hawks. I nailed this one on the first try too. The key was setting the defense to ‘always’ double team Wilkins. I then laid off other players to try and prevent him even getting the ball. He was held to 18 points, as Jordan I scored 43, and actually won the game by double-digits.

That is where I’m at right now. Looking ahead “The Shrug”, “Father’s Day Victory”, “The Flu Game”, and “Michael’s Last Dance” loom ominously. It is going to be tough to make the 6 three pointers in a half, get the number of rebounds, and get enough steals required in the respective games. I’ve read that some have moved Jordan to a low post position to aid in at least getting more rebound attempts so I may give that a shot.

Again the mode isn’t about playing realistically, though to an extent taking over a game as Michael Jordan is realistic. Just doing so with only eight minute quarters is not. It can also be a disjointed experience with the stopping and starting of games. Just a few minutes in if the stats aren’t starting to come in at the projected rate necessary then it is time to bail and start over. That can end up feeling like a waste of time because nothing comes out of it. But the feeling of achievement is there when it is finally completed.

From my observations the fatigue for Jordan doesn’t run down too harshly. So while in some games I’ve actually sat him for short periods of time (when the opportunity arose) it hasn’t felt necessary. I haven’t found that he runs out of stamina to an extent that it would affect his performance. So if needed going the full 32 minutes can be done, but even in that 32 minutes is a cramped period of time to complete the tasks.

I have read that some out there are finding the challenges frustrating. I can definitely understand that but in playing through them I’ve found myself improving vastly from one attempt to the next. The question is whether that will carry over to how I play the standard game or if that individual focus will ultimately be damaging.

I’m really enjoying the “Jordan Challenge” and completing the three so far has provided a high level of satisfaction. The only thing I would like changed would be the ability to increase the quarter length but in turn there would have to be an offset to that, ideally that could come with more of a fatigue drain. I’m very much looking forward to working through the rest of them and hopefully those ones cited earlier won’t give me quite the trouble that they would appear to on the surface.

What do you think of the “Jordan Challenge” so far and how many have you completed? Leave your thoughts in the comments!