Dear 2K Sports,
NBA 2K11 is a great game. In fact, it just might be the best sports game I have ever played.
But here is the biggest flaw, and it's one I hope you thought about before you pulled the trigger on this: What the heck are you going to do next year?
The greatest basketball player of all time was featured in this game, and I have no clue how you follow that. I suppose you could use Magic Johnson or Larry Bird, but it's just not the same. For once, gamers did not have to create a bald guy and max out his attributes to create Michael Jordan. Finally, His Airness has given a video game company his blessing to use his image in a game.
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It was the first time a former player graced the cover of NBA 2K. Jordan has told reporters that he agreed to do the game because he wanted to connect to the younger generation. What better way to keep his legacy alive?
But what does that do for you, 2K Sports?
Oh, the new "Jordan Challenge" mode is addictive. What's not to like about playing with historic Bulls teams, taking the court with a rookie MJ or putting him on the Miami Heat to stack the deck (even more) or pairing Jordan with any other current NBA team to immediately bolster its backcourt?
In all honesty, the Jordan Challenge is solid enough to be its own game. It would have been easy for you to be content simply beating everyone to the punch in getting Jordan and his greatest Bulls teams in a video game and neglecting to make any other improvements in the game. That didn't happen.
You guys made improvements to core gameplay elements.
I'm still getting used to it, but I do like the improvements to the dribbling controls. Last year, I thought the "My Player" mode was the most addictive feature of the game. I had many gripes about its limitations but realized it was your first effort. Well, you managed to improve that mode, too.
The post-game press conferences are a fun new feature, especially since your player's response can tick off the rest of the league or your team. And you have given gamers more control by giving them the option to force a trade.
Even better than that, you made some noticeable tweaks to gameplay. The game runs much more quickly than last year, which is immediately noticeable when you tear out on a fast break. There's no longer a delay, and alley-oops resemble real life. There also are improvements to dunks, layups, blocked shots, kicked balls and steals. Even fumbling for a loose ball looks more realistic. The color commentators will begin telling little tidbits about a player, stop to talk about a highlight and then pick up their conversation about their previous thoughts about the player. The presentation is very much like real life.
All of you at 2K Sports have created a game that clearly reigns above all other basketball games — and, because of its depth, it could arguably be considered the best sports game ever. Yes, it's that good.
It's so good, in fact, that I'm anxious to see what you guys do next year.