NBA 2K16 Pro-Am Impressions

Posted October 19th, 2015 at 12:15 pm


It took several weeks for Pro-Am to get up and running properly in NBA 2K16. The recent patch has fixed the primary issues – out on PS4 but Xbox One is still waiting on that – providing an opportunity to try it out in full for the first time.

The main selling point to the new Pro-Am is the ability to play as a team – keeping track of records, stats, and leaderboard placement. It’s the customization options that make it especially compelling however. There’s a completely different feeling with unique courts and uniforms involved. Even the crowd wears the team’s colors. While it’s great to play on your own court, there’s something really cool to discovering those created by others as well.

First everyone meets in the MyCourt of the person who set up the team. An issue here is that the friend’s list that displays seems to cut off at a certain point. Mine stopped displaying names in one case after “O” and another time it only made it to “M”. There’s no way to just directly invite by typing in a gamertag. Instead it’s necessary to open up the court for others to freely join. The determination of the “home team” is supposedly random but in four attempted sessions sadly our squad did not get to play at home even once.

Considering 10 different users were connected into them the games played well. There is a sluggishness to them however which proves problematic. This is seen most in movement, where players might get pulled out of bounds or in how it’s hard to set up and place an effective screen, as well as areas like free throws and getting passes out of the player’s hands quickly. Also it should be noted that hitting right on the D-Pad brings up a handful of camera options.

The biggest concern with Pro-Am right now is that teams will often find themselves simply over-matched and there’s not much that can be done about it. Lineups that aren’t filled with 80+ rated players are in most pairings going to struggle to do anything. That brings us back to VC as it’s clear that, just as is the case typically in MyCareer mode how players are intentionally started with an obscenely low rating, the idea is to make people feel as though they need to spend money to improve their guy enough to simply be competitive.

No matter how well a team plays if their ratings aren’t sufficient they aren’t going to be able to get the job done. Our team was at a huge disadvantage particularly in physicality. Having people playing out of position – my small forward for example was put at center to face a guy who appeared to be over seven feet tall – only exacerbates the problem. We were dominated in areas such as points in the paint, rebounding, and second chance points. Any contact on a shot and most of our players were sure to miss, while theirs would go right through that contact and score. That’s all about player ratings.

Feelings toward the mode will likely evolve over time. It’s definitely a fun way to play and could easily become the go-to mode for friends gathering together. As characters get better, whether due to buying VC or earning the way there, it will become even more enjoyable. The question is whether enough people will stick with it in the meantime or choose to pull out their wallets to make that happen sooner.