Monday, September 27, 2010

A brief update on NBA gaming

As you may have surmised by my lack of updates, it's been a little while since I've played any NBA 2K10. Partially this is because it's just hard to get into it during the off-season. Not to mention NHL 11 is pretty friggin' sweet. However, I've also had an increasingly common system error on my PC that causes the game to spontaneously freeze to a black screen for two or three seconds, then finally reload at the pause menu. I've traced it back to a hardware conflict of some sort, but nobody can seem to pinpoint what causes this because it's a very generic error. It's frustrating since it really disrupts the flow of the game (though at least it's not as bad as a racing game where I've already gone off track and crashed into the barriers by the time the game recovers), and the error is getting more and more frequent.

Needless to say, this has kind of zapped my desire to continue my current NBA 2K10 My Player career, especially since I have recently gotten a PS3 and we're so close to the release NBA 2K11 and it's competitor NBA Elite 11 (formerly NBA Live). Or not. Keep reading...

The NBA 2K11 demo was recently released on the Xbox360 and Playstation 3, roughly three weeks prior to the game's scheduled October 5th release. I have, however, only played the demo once because the demo is crap.

Don't get me wrong. The game itself isn't necessarily crap, and I actually expect it to be pretty good. I loved NBA 2K10, and theoretically it should only be better with the addition of the Michael Jordan modes, plus fixes and improvements to the addictive My Player mode, not to mention any other polishing and fine-tuning. The problem is the demo's lack of options. As in any options. At all. You get to play five minutes of action as the Lakers against the Celtics in Pro difficulty with all the defaults, and no commentary. That's it. You have to play as the Lakers. You have to play with the annoying broadcast-style camera. You have to use the default control scheme and default difficulty levels (which make blocks and steals far too frequent).


As you might have guessed, I was none too pleased with being forced to play on the same team as Kobe (I felt like a much shorter, much less athletic, and much less successful Luke Walton for five minutes, though I did spend roughly as much time on an actual basketball court as he did during the playoffs). Aside from that, it seems like a pretty solid game. Okay, yes, your players' speed being restricted to either running or crawling like you are being weighed down by the gravity on Jupiter, and the graphics used for the ball itself are disturbingly, oddly shiny like it was doused in a layer of baby oil. But beyond that, I'm looking forward to buying this title.

Lucky me, I suppose, since it looks like it'll be a little while before I could buy NBA Elite 11 even if I wanted to. EA Sports has officially delayed the release of NBA Elite 11, while in the interim NBA Live 10 will be updated via free downloadable content for the 2010-2011 NBA season. Also, the PS3 and Xbox360 versions of NBA Jam that were supposed to be included with Elite will now be separate releases, though we still don't have the details of how they're going to handle that. (However, the Wii version of NBA Jam still is set to be released on October 5th. So that's nice.)

The explanation given by EA Sports president Peter Moore is vague at best, but it boils down to the actual response from the general public to the playable demo -- it's crap. It's buggy, the new control scheme is not being very well-received (it's not as bad as some people claim, especially if you've played NHL 11 with its similar new controls scheme, but it's still needing improvement), and the game is buggy and lacking polish.

And seriouly, did I mention the bugs? Check out this video (NSFW audio):

Fast-forward to 3:00 into the video. Trust me.

What the fuck, indeed.

I'll be interested to see what the final version of NBA Elite 11 looks like, assuming it ever actually sees the light of day. I personally thought it didn't play that bad, and the graphics looked okay (if a little shiny) to me, but there are quite a few dissenting opinion out there. Looks like EA's got some serious programming to do.

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