NBA 2K6 Xbox 360 Review

The first thing most people will notice once they start up a game of NBA 2K6 will be how incredible the game looks. Not only do the players look scarily lifelike they also move just how you would expect them to. There is no doubt the 360 release of NBA 2K6 looks the part but does it up the ante on its 2K5 relative?

Aside from the graphics, the game is stuffed to the brim with different modes of play to keep you coming back for more. Single-season, exhibition, and franchise modes are all there along with the 24/7 option. This means that not all your time will be spent playing one mode, as to get the most from the game you will need to explore all the options. What make this even better is that nearly all the modes are fun and have their own plus points so there always seem to be something new to do even after spending a solid week or two with the game. Creating your own player or even your own dynasty can take weeks as you start off from the depths of obscurity and work your way up. There is also the Crib option where you can buy stuff and deck out your crib as you advance which is a nice touch.

When in the heat of a game, you always seem like you are been challenged by the computer. Even if you have the game set to the easiest difficulty it is a struggle to build up anything more than a 10 point lead before they try their damnedest to make a comeback. At harder difficulties the AI really does make life hard for you and loads of work is needed to carve a path through the defence to let you have an open shot. Defence is also very important and if you don’t keep your concentration on the game at all time, the computer position will just carve through your team like a hot knife through butter. The first time I upped the game to the highest difficulty I got beaten by 30+ points. Before that I was thinking “hey I am good at this game” but I was quickly set straight. This high difficulty is great in my opinion as you are always learning when you play the game against the computer getting you ready for the harder opponents when you find them on Xbox Live (or sitting beside you on the sofa).

Of course that brings us on nicely to multiplayer; this mode is also featured packed with more modes like tournaments, leagues, and leader boards. From the collection of games I played online only one suffered from any case of lag (and I blame that on the other player’s connection). The rest all kept up the pace really well, with nothing ending up jerky and ruining the precision gameplay. Without doubt the best part of Live is the online tournaments which play just like the game’s offline season mode, but against real life gamers instead. You can also try setting up street mode games which is fun.

Presentation
Anyone that comes into the room while you’re playing NBA 2K6 and gives a quick glimpse at the TV will mistake it for an actual game of basketball; that is fact! The way the players move and act when they have the ball are just fantastic and when seen in replays, nigh on perfect. It is very rarely some out of place animation will pop up to ruin the illusion. The players also look like they are moving across the ground instead of just floating. When they jump you can see them pushing off the feet to get more height. Little details like sweat on skin looks highly realistic when it glistens from the arena’s light, also how a player’s jersey moves around as they jump all add to the immersion factor making NBA 2K6 one of the best looking 360 games yet. It is slightly disappointing that the crowds and cheerleaders and coaches are not as graphically detailed but I am sure that will be sorted for the 2K7 release. In terms of audio; Kevin Harlan and Kenny Smith bring the game to life with loads of lines of commentary that never seem to repeat enough to annoy. Most of the licensed music is terrible but customs soundtracks soon fix that blemish.

Overall
If you played the same game on lesser consoles (only in the technical sense of the word) then there really is no need to pick up this version as the only update it offers is in terms of eye candy with a graphical sheen. However, if this Xbox360 release is your first chance to play NBA2K6 and are an aficionado of the sport then there is no doubt you should rush to where all good games are sold to pick up a copy. NBA 2K6 is without a doubt the best virtual recreation of the basketball to date; trashing all competition just like Pro Evo does to FIFA each and every year.

8.7 out of 10

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