Not 2 Good. Review

ESPN NBA 2Night 2002 Info


  • Sports


  • 1 - 8


  • Konami


  • Konami

Release Date

  • 11/30/1999
  • Out Now


  • PS2
  • Xbox


Not 2 Good.

From the witty repartee of the sharp-tongued hosts to the rapid fire end of the

day highlights set to grinding, thumping break beats, ESPN’s emphasis on frantic

energy stands in stark contrast to the bare bones insight of old-school sports

reporting like Howard Cosell or, in spirit at least, Bob Costas. Call it style

over substance, though it’s just as entertaining.


ESPN NBA 2Night 2002 captures the flashy mood of the show with lots of

noise and energy, but fails to deliver the gameplay goods.

NBA 2Night 2002 features all the game modes you’d expect – Exhibition,

Season, and Franchise. Franchise mode has some really nice touches; namely,

the ability to play GM and a well-planned trading scheme. You can also set the

Season length to a kickass 14 games, which means a guy like me who plays too

many video games can actually finish a season and vie for the title. Yay team.

There’s also a Player Creator, though the skin choices are somewhat paltry.

Thankfully, there’s a set skill point allotment, so you can’t create a 7-foot

invincible point guard.

Things seem to look good, as the game features a solid framerate and smooth

if somewhat sparse graphics. The animations are a little rigid and the face

mapping is shabby, though, dumping this somewhere in between the pretty NBA

and the dated NBA Live 2002.

The gameplay, however, is far worse than either of those games, due first

and foremost to the tough control. While it’s simple enough to move players

around the court, someone forgot to include the programming that tells players

near the basket to dunk, or lay it up, or really do just about anything other

than a 2-foot jump shot. Every so often the CPU will understand that the open

man you just passed to on the fast break should start a dunk animation rather

than stop and pull up with no defender in sight for a 10-foot jumper, but usually,

it doesn’t. This gets insanely frustrating.

Apparently someone knew this, because at any time you can press L2 while shooting

near the basket to manually make a guy take it up strong. But this leads to

another big problem – offensive fouls. On every difficulty setting, the defense

plays really close man-to-man. There’s a juke button, but it’s useless as you

never seem able to juke anyone. So what happens is that you get in close, start

driving to the basket thinking you’re around your man, hold L2 and shoot and

watch your man bowl over the defender for the inevitable offensive foul. Every



Artificial Intelligence consists of players running around randomly. You can

call plays on the fly, which is nice, but good luck trying to execute one. Tack

on to this some obvious pathfinding problems (players will run into one another

and get stuck) and you’ve got stupid computing.

The best way to win is to pass the ball around like crazy until you spot an

open guy, then shoot. This is harder than it sounds, though, since the auto-passing

is dumber than a bag of rocks. Passes never seem to go to the right guy. You

have to almost exclusively rely on the ‘icon passing’ by pressing L1. When you

couple this with pressing R2 for turbo and the aforementioned L2 for manual

dunks, you’ve got very, very clumsy controls.

You’ve also got clumsy announcing, thanks to Brent Musberger and, strangely

enough, Stuart Scott, one of the ESPN anchors. Musberger sounds like he’d rather

be fishing and Scott sounds like his little retarded friend. His attempts at

color commentary are random and recorded poorly. You might think the line “Shorty’s

got range!” demonstrates some kind of funny insight, but when he says it twelve

times about the 7-foot Dirk Nowitski over the course of one game, it takes the

wit out of the witticism.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the heinous menu music. During Franchise

mode, there’s this rap song – I think it’s rap – that sounds like a reject from

the Breakin’

soundtrack. It’s neither hip nor hop.

To be fair, there are a few nice touches here. Blocked shots actually look blocked thanks to players swatting correctly, and the dunk animations, when you manage to dunk, look good. Perhaps the coolest feature is that players will try to save a ball going out of bounds by diving after it and hurling it behind them back on the court. It looks very cool and actually works.

But again, this isn’t enough to make up for the annoying gameplay hitches.

Compared to games like NBA 2K2 and even NBA

, there’s really just no room on the court for NBA 2Night 2002.


Decent graphics
Some nice touches
Bad control
Weak AI
Bad sound
Can't compete with other b-ball games