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NBA 2K2 (Dreamcast) artwork

NBA 2K2 (Dreamcast) review


"NBA2K2 is the pinnacle of basketball gaming at this point in time. No other game offers all the features and just straight out basketball options that NBA2K2 does. The only competitor to NBA2K2's throne, the NBA Live series, is still grossly behind the greatness that is NBA2K2."



NBA2K2 is the pinnacle of basketball gaming at this point in time. No other game offers all the features and just straight out basketball options that NBA2K2 does. The only competitor to NBA2K2's throne, the NBA Live series, is still grossly behind the greatness that is NBA2K2.

In NBA2K2, you play basketball. Obviously. You can choose to play just one game (Exhibition), an entire season, start a franchise and carry over your team from year to year, or skip straight to the NBA Playoffs. All modes feature extensive stat tracking, which is a must in the season and franchise modes.

In addition to these modes, you can also play the game online through your Dreamcast. However, this is only recommended if you have a fast (meaning faster than a 56k modem) connection. Attempting to play on a standard modem makes the game far too choppy.

All of the basketball action of NBA2K2 is near flawless. NBA2K2 is the first basketball game to feature a believable post up game, and one which is required to win. Gone are the days where you could just run and gun your way to victory, fastbreaking the opponent to death.

You must now pound the ball down inside every once in a while. From there, your player can easily execute drop steps, back his defender down, fade away for a short jumper, or kick the ball out to an open three point shooter. As a result, NBA2K2 features more depth than any other basketball game released before it.

Of course, if you do want to open the game up and run a bit, that option is still available. There's a vast array of crossover dribbles and spin moves for ballhandlers. You can set your coaching options on a bunch of different levels; maybe fastbreak more and keep the defenders tight on their men for steals? Switch to a 2-3 zone or the halfcourt trap? Go from isolation offense to the pick and roll? There's a vast array of strategic options before you.

Icon passing makes all the passing in NBA2K2 smooth. With two quick button presses, it's easy to swing the ball to any position you want. The first button (usually Y) brings up the menu, and the second passes the ball to that respective player. Each position is assigned to a default button; R for center, B for shooting guard, ect.

Defense is also a cinch. For the first time in recorded history, the defensive stance position (executed by holding down the L-button) is essential for good defense, and it doesn't cause the opposition to just run past you. It's required to stop people from posting up relentlessly on you, and it also increases the chances of stealing the ball or blocking a shot.

If there's one problem with NBA2K2, it's that the CPU difficultly is very easy unless you put it on the very hardest level. There's three setting, the first (rookie) being ridiculous, the second (pro) still a pushover, and the third (all-star) actually providing a challenge. My first game was against the ''Pro'' setting, and I still managed to demolish it by twenty points. The next game, the final tally was a win for myself by sixty-three points.

To ensure that NBA2K2 is realistic, each player is rated in a slew of categories, as in most basketball games. You can't have David Robinson on the perimeter jacking threes all night long unless you WANT to lose. Likewise, Mugsey Bouges is a bad player to use in the post up game.

Of the extra modes available in NBA2K2, the Franchise mode is unique. Commonly seen in football and baseball games, it's made an appearance in NBA2K2 with outstanding results. You're not only a player on a team now, you're also the General Manager, and responsible for making trades, signing players, staying under the salary cap, and using the NBA draft to your advantage.

All of this is executed flawlessly, and offers an experience as close to running an actual NBA team as possible. You can trade players for draft picks, old players for youth, or get that center you need to shore up your team's defense for a playoff run. Player ratings also fluctuate during the season; younger players become more skilled, older players see their stats decline. At the end of the season, some players may retire, and some may demand huge contracts. It's up to you as the GM to decide who to sign and who to non-tender.

However, the only conceivable problem is that for some reason NBA2K2 does not use dollars for salary; it uses points instead. There's still a ''salary cap'' though, it's just more of a ''point cap''. Superstar players are still paid accordingly; Kevin Garnett is a whopping 240 points a year, which is in key with his real salary.

Graphically, NBA2K2 does everything right, and almost nothing wrong. The attention to detail is amazing; each player right down to his tattoos and earrings are in the game. Players run realistically up and down the court, in fluid motion. You can even see them panting and breathing heavily when they're tired, a sure sign to take them out.

Musically, NBA2K2 is thankfully absent of sound during most of the actual gameplay. Of course, there's still the standard basketball sounds, such as the crowd chanting ''DEFENSE'' or the clank of a bad shot, but there's no crappy techno theme muddling up the outstanding sound effects. NBA2K2 keeps it simple in the sound department, with great results.

Overall, if you're a basketball fan, then NBA2K2 is worth the purchase of a Dreamcast if you don't have one. It's the height the basketball experience on the console, and it's really hard to imagine how they could improve it. Even if you don't like basketball, NBA2K2 is so fun and deep that it might convert you.

Rating: 10/10

sgreenwell's avatar
Community review by sgreenwell (Date unavailable)

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