STAFF REVIEW of ESPN NBA 2K5 (Xbox)


Tuesday, October 12, 2004.
by Yellowlab

ESPN NBA 2K5 Box art I have not visited the NBA 2K series since 2K2, but seeing as how this years edition came out at the buzzer beater price of $19.99, along with the ESPN brand, I thought I\'d give it a go. There are many mode, including a franchise (association), street mode, and a 24/7 story type mode. Overall, it is a fun game, and worth the price, but I do have some issues with it. Mainly, there was not near the improvement I was expecting between the 2k2 and 2k5 versions, and in some aspects it took a step backwards. By contrast, when you compare the improvement between their NFL series from 2K2 to 2K5 it is astounding how far that series has come.


The overall gameplay is where the series took a few steps backwards. First off, it is very hard to drive to the hoop in 2K5, and darn near impossible to do an alley oop. Dunking is also a little harder. The movement is awkward when you first hit the turbo, and lacks fluidity. Ocassionally your player will go a different direction than you intend. There are some fancy new moves like behind the back dribble, a hop forward, and spin move. The good news is you get used to the controls and awkward movement after a few games, but the gameplay was much smoother in earlier 2K versions.


The visuals do the trick for the most part. The real life player models look similar to their counterparts, and the arenas and envirobnment (fans) are decent. The create a player is severely lacking with only about 7 heads to choose from, hair that looks like raw hamburger, and little customization.


The sound is a mixed bag. The commentators are flat and are too repetitive in their comments. The sound effects, including the crowd, are handled nicely. It utilizes custom soundtracks, but for some reason it just doesn\'t mesh as well as it did with football or the hockey 2k5 versions.


Suggestions:
The gameplay department needs to be smoothed out. I don\'t want it to be incredibily easy to drive, dunk, or alleyoop, but they went to the polar opposite and made these things way too hard. More options for create a player. Better commentary. A crib mode should be added.


Overall: 7.0 / 10
Gameplay: 6.0 / 10
Visuals: 7.0 / 10
Sound: 6.0 / 10

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