NBA 2K15 Review (PS4)

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By: Ricky Strong (@strongricky)

The reigning champion of basketball games is back with the promise of more features and as always more gameplay improvements. NBA 2K14 was the game to show off the PS4’s power, with life like visuals that fooled many a family member that passed by as I played. With the success of 2K14, 2K Sports had their work cut out for them to provide a new experience on their highly successful debut on the PS4.

I am going to go ahead and get this out of the way. NBA 2K15 is the best basketball game I have ever played, hands down. NBA 2K15 does have it’s flaws, but most of them could theoretically be fixed with a software update. There are currently some server issues that are really annoying, but the game just launched and it is ridiculously popular. The worst aspect of the server issues is that you cannot play MyTeam or MyPlayer (unless you want to play and not earn VC). It will be fixed, and luckily you can still play the great MyGM mode while they are down.

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Gameplay
NBA 2K14 set the bar really high with how great the gameplay was on the first “Next Gen” basketball game. 2K15 fixes a lot of the little problems you noticed if you played a lot of 2K14 like I did. Bounce passes are a viable option now, while before the defense would alway miraculously pick them off. Ball handlers intelligently dribble now and don’t dribble off the back of their teammates foot EVERY time you get behind them. Rebounding is much improved and players hold on to rebounds much better than in 2K14.

The biggest omission in improving gameplay has to be the frequency of call for illegal screens. It still happens way too frequently, and greatly diminishes the impact of basketball’s best play the screen and roll. The biggest addition to 2K15 is definitely the new shot meter. Once you initiate a shot, the meter starts filling up. The goal is to release the shot on the white line inside the meter for a perfect shot. Surrounding the white line of perfection is an area in which you can still make the shot, but the chances are slightly diminished. That area gets larger when the player is in hot spots on the court that correlate to their real life statistics. So if you are playing with LeBron expect his best spots on the court to be around the basket, the right corner 3, and both elbows at the free throw line.

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Collisions have been improved significantly and there is far less clipping than in 2K14. Now you can drive to the rim with a smaller guard and attack the larger defenders. It looks really cool when you jump and hit the defender in the chest, bounce back and change the shot to get a better look at the rim. It is a small improvement compared to adding new features or adding the Hornets new floor, but it makes the game feel so much more authentic than ever before.

Three-point shooting has been much improved, and the ratio of make to miss is much more realistic. Defense feels much improved, with players bumping and contact occurring much more frequently. Steals and tipped passes feel much better, which makes for a lot of fun scrambles when your friends like to pass cross court too much.

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Features
NBA 2K15 features the return of MyPlayer, MyGM, and MyTeam from 2K14 but with new features to keep them fresh and entertaining. The new MyPlayer mode is awesome. You can scan your face in the game with the Playstation Camera, but make sure to consult Ronnie2K’s guide to face scanning so you don’t end up making a goblin. This year’s MyPlayer mode has your player as one of the many guys that actually don’t make it on a team through the draft. You have to work your way up from 10 day contracts to 5 year max deals. MyPlayer is definitely a hidden gem that you should definitely try.

My favorite part about building up your MyPlayer is using him in MyPark. MyPark is online multiplayer that lets you take your MyPlayer and play 2v2, 3v3, and 5v5 pickup games. You pick a crew to run with, that also gives your attributes a boost depending on which crew you pick. Then you are in a huge park that has multiple courts dedicated for either 2v2 or 3v3. If you want to play 5v5 you have to travel to the Jordan Rec Center gym by going through a gate at the entrance. There you will find 3 open 5v5 courts and a court dedicated to faction rivalry games.

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MyGM and MyTeam are generally the same as last year, with visual improvement and added features. MyGM definitely benefits from the added features. You now can focus the training regime of your team during practices, call of practice to give your guys a rest, or add practices if they just aren’t playing to your liking. Conversations can go much deeper now, and budgets feature a hard cap and luxury tax. MyGM is definitely one of the most improved aspects of 2K15. MyTeam now features an auction house!

Presentation
NBA 2K14 left a lot of room for improvement in presentation, and 2K15 definitely delivered. Now there is a pre-game show with Shaq and Ernie Johnson. They discuss the matchup and offer some genuinely funny jokes, and is a welcome addition. Pharrell curated the soundtrack and did an excellent job. You hear songs you never thought you would hear on a basketball game right from the start, and though some people will be disappointed I absolutely love it. Instant replay has also been improved for the players that like to show off when they get a nasty dunk with LeBron or score 100 with Durant.

Overall
NBA 2K15 is the most complete package put together in a basketball game, from the life-like visuals to being chock-full of features. NBA 2K15 is a must have and is the best basketball game I have ever played.

Rating 5 out of 5


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