The main gripe I constantly hear from other people regarding sports games is that it’s just the same thing year in year out, with only a few minor adjustments here and there and the obvious roster updates. While I can’t argue with that point on some sporting titles, I will take issue with criticism of certain games when it isn’t warranted, and the 2K series of basketball games is one of those.

Titled NBA Blacktop, the street ball component has improved in a number of ways by means of simplicity and enjoyment. Gone is last year’s back-story to the mode; all you do now is just get out there and play ball in either a traditional street match up, or various contests with your favourite NBA stars and legends.

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The association mode however is where business starts to pick up. It gives you the feel of being the coach, the team and the general manager all in one mode. You’ll be tasked with sorting contracts, scouting up and coming players, and most importantly, winning games out there on the court. To call this mode deep is a severe understatement, and is heaven on earth for all you sim junkies out there.

Don’t feel like handling all the pressure of the contract negotiations? Then season mode is just for you. It takes nearly all the hard work out, so you can just go out there and play. Who ever said gaming took effort?

All of these modes are well and good, but it counts for nothing if the game doesn’t play tight and look good, but Visual Concepts has raised the bar with signature style animations and moves. There are countless new lay-ups, dribble moves, passes, and dunks, with these new animations complementing the fantastic jump shots, brought in and given polish from last year’s game.

The controls from last year’s game have also been improved for the better, as they have been broken down and simplified. Once you get to know them you’ll be able to pull off big moves in clutch situations, and really put the AI to the sword.

The announcers do a nice job of calling the action and mix in a fair amount of game analysis as well, with the repeated content kept to a surprising minimum.

NBA 2K8 is superior to last year's game in almost every way, which is no mean feat, as on this website NBA 2K7 it was rated 8.9 by yours truly. There's loads of new content with the gameplay being better than ever, and the AI providing a good test of your skills. The odd nag could be raised with some of the in-game navigation but nothing in any way detracts from the overall package. This is a game that's sure to please both casual and hardcore hoops fans alike, and is one of the best basketball games released on any console in the 2000’s.

"One of the best basketball games released on any console in the 2000’s."
- NBA 2K8
Follow Own it? Rating: G   Difficulty: Medium   Learning Curve: 30 Min


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