The champion returns.
Throughout the annuls of human history, when an individual or group transcends normal achievement, it is common to build a symbol so grand that tthere will be no question of their level of power and the respect they deserve: The Pyramids of Egypt, the Colossus of Rhodes, Trump Tower in Manhattan, Epcot Center in Orlando… er… you get the point. Now, when you are voted the best basketball game every year in the new millennia, it is time to grab a symbol to make the point.
[image1]So, who should grace the cover of the #1 NBA video game ten years running? Kobe Bryant? Kevin Garnett? Champions, both. LeBron James, perhaps the best player of the past decade? No, not good enough. NBA 2K11 wants the world to know that it is the greatest basketball game of all time, so the choice becomes obvious. Under the title there is a god driving the lane, tongue hanging low and free, #23 imprinted on his Chicago Bulls jersey. His Airness, Michael Jordan, has been chosen to be the standard bearer for NBA 2K11.
With a statement like that, the folks over at Visual Concepts have raised the bar for themselves. Not the type to rest on their laurels, Visual Concepts looks to go deeper with what will offered in NBA 2K11. With Jordan on the cover, you should be able to play as him, right? Yes, and more. You start out with the Jordan Challenge, where you take control of MJ and recreate some of his best performances. Beginning with his 63-point playoff game against the Celtics in 1986, other challenges include his first finals victory in 1991 against the Lakers, and the infamous “flu-game”, where a flu-ridden MJ dominates the Jazz in the ‘97 finals.
An important note on the challenge games: Every detail in each game is painstakingly recreated. Every member of every historic team are rated, their every movement captured, their style of play, everything. That alone is a level of detail that could drive a thousand programmers mad. This goes to prove the level of commitment that NBA 2K11 has in bringing to bear a quality NBA game.
[image2]After completing the Jordan Challenge, you unlock MJ as a player to be used in the other game modes. Three Jordans, to be exact: rookie Jordan, MJ at his peak, and “oh, you are still playing?” Washington Wizards Jordan. The compelling part of this is putting young MJ on your favorite team in Association mode. Could the Warriors finally be a good team if Air Jordan was leading the way? I found out, will you?
With all this Jordan excitement, I would hate to neglect the actual gameplay. NBA 2K11 has made its reputation off its accurate and realistic animations for moving, shooting, and passing. In other words, NBA 2K11 is a superb simulation, as close as you can get to playing b-ball without picking up the rock. To try and enhance the experience, NBA 2K11 offers you IsoMotion, a new way break ankles all over the court. A combination of holding/pressing the left trigger and the left stick, you can seamlessly execute crossovers, hesitations, and behind-the-back magic. The PS3 has integrated the Move controller wand with NBA 2K11, allowing for some insane dunking with the flip of the wrist.
My Player is back with a newer My Career mode. Aside from putting yourself into the NBA, you now experience the off-court aspects of an NBA superstar. No, not the Dom P. showers at high class strip clubs, but the press conferences and endorsement offers as well as other teams trying to trade for your services. You can even ditch your loyal, hometown team for a shot at a championship in Miami (*cough* LeBron).
[image3]NBA 2K11 has been such a popular, well-made game that it has a rabid following of fans. Many of these fans are celebrities who would gladly trade all their fame and fortune for a chance to play in an NBA game. NBA 2K11 did the next best thing and digitized these celebs into players. Available in Blacktop Mode (a sort of street atmosphere) are the faces and playing styles of the likes of Bow Wow, Snoop Dog (who composed the theme), and Game (ranked as the #2 online player for NBA 2K10). For those Canada-philes out there (you know who you are), you can also play as Drake. That’s right, DeGrassi High’s Jimmy Brooks walks again, and can ball better than ever. Who said miracles don’t happen?
NBA Today is back, where through the magic of the Internet, real-time, day-to-day stats and injuries are applied to NBA 2K11’s rosters. Just another example of the ultra-realism applied by Visual Concepts. Also available are online leagues and franchises where players can prove who the best virtual ballers really are.
If you thought that NBA 2K11 had reached a peak in visuals and presentation, 3-D will be available as a free download soon. With the 3-D glasses (not free), NBA games literally jump out at you as if you were in the stands.
NBA 2K11 has gone out of its way not to be just another NBA 2K game, but a better NBA 2K game. That is something considering the size of its trophy case. Ten years and running at the top, NBA 2K11 confidently places the crown atop its head as king of virtual NBA.