NBA 2K15 Review

Richard Walker

For years now, the NBA 2K franchise hasn't really put a foot wrong. Last year, it proved the only truly great basketball game in town for another year, and this year it seems that it could well be the same old story with NBA 2K15. It's another pretty damn comprehensive sports game, comprised of an embarrassment of basketballing riches, but it's hamstrung by 2K Sport's godawful servers. So much so in fact, that a momentary outage booted us out of a MyCareer game, which is beyond annoying.

The issues don't stop there, with NBA 2K15's new MyPark mode sometimes proving laggy, while the rest of the online experience can be something of a headache. You're better off playing solo or on a couch with friends. 2K15's online component has improved since launch thanks to updates, but it's still something that could benefit from some attention for next year's game, so that it functions properly out of the box. Nevertheless, NBA 2K15 succeeds in delivering another fantastic game of basketball on the shiny hardwood, where it really matters.


Wave them around like you just don't care!

As always, the action is fairly smooth and enjoyable, for the most part, with the Pro Stick providing plenty of options for passing, dribbling and shooting. AI has been improved, so players actually set screens and make sensible, purposeful movements around the court. The game's thousands of new animations make things a little less stilted too, although changes in player direction and certain gestures can look unnatural, while Doris Burke's 'RealVoice' player interviews are home to some hilarious glitches.

NBA 2K15 brings plenty of modes and features to the table again too, from NBA Today, where you'll find quick games, online matches and every NBA team, 25 Euroleague clubs and a host of classic NBA squads from decades gone by, to MyGM, wherein you'll manage an NBA team of your choice as an up-and-coming executive. Should you find MyGM mode appealing, you can influence almost every facet of the team, as you make promises to the owner and strive to deliver on your lofty goals. It can become pretty involving, but not nearly as all-consuming as MyCareer, which has undergone a bit of a revamp for 2K15.

You'll take your fledgling, slightly arrogant MyPlayer from the status of lowly undrafted rookie to the big time, as a star NBA player from your chosen team takes you under his wing. MyCareer now plays out as a far more engaging story, with halftime talks from your coach, occasional drills to sharpen your skills and any Virtual Currency you earn available to spend on new threads, skill boosts and more. Perform poorly on the court, and your teammate will give you a dressing down, which you can respond to with an aggressive or understanding dialogue choice. Perform consistently badly, and your 10-day contract will expire, with you dropped from the team.


Sweaty.

Over 30 NBA stars lend their voices to MyCareer, and it's something of a mixed bag. We played for the Phoenix Suns with Markieff Morris, whose voice performance is one of the most phoned-in and monotone deliveries we've ever heard in a video game. Others offer better, more natural voice overs, but most are pretty dreary. Dodgy voice work aside, MyCareer is genuinely superb and a deeply involving game in and of itself. Only MyTeam comes close to providing the same kind of moreish entertainment, with its FIFA Ultimate Team-style card collecting, player management and what not.

You can easily lose hours to NBA 2K15's plethora of modes, and it's really testament to just how strong the core basketball experience remains, with an unrivalled level of realism and authenticity. There are additions for newcomers, like the shot meter attached to the player indicator that enables you to see where you need to improve your touch with the Pro-Stick when shooting. It can be a little off-putting at times, but the shot meter can be turned off should you find it too distracting.

The expansive MyLeague mode rounds out another incredible offering, which only serves in making the shoddiness of the game's online servers even more frustrating. NBA 2K15 flirts dangerously close with achieving perfection, yet it's severely let down by its hideous online performance. While patches have improved things somewhat, it doesn't work nearly as smoothly as it should. Clearly this needs to be a focal point for NBA 2K16, when it rolls around next year.


"Leave it, mate! He ain't worth it!"

The achievements could do with a bit of freshening up too, as it's largely made up of some of the very same tasks from last year's game. And the year before that, and the year before that... Again, it's a list that encourages you to delve into each of NBA 2K15's modes, putting in a good few hours with each. It'll be an enormous time sink, that's for sure, but then evidently, that's the whole idea. You'll need to become a level 100 GM, an All-Star and Hall of Famer in MyPlayer, collect every card and complete every Domination match-up in MyTeam and be nothing short of exemplary on the court to complete everything. You'll need to play the long game.

Another superlative effort, NBA 2K15 almost does everything right for another year. But there's simply no escaping how poor the online component of the game is, thanks to 2K Sport's lacklustre servers. On-court, where it really counts, the experience is still unmatched, with fantastic commentary, slick gameplay, total authenticity and attention to detail. There's still loads of room for improvement though, especially in MyPark, which at present features a bit too much hanging around and waiting to get a game going. Assuming it even works properly, of course.

While not a huge leap over last year's game, NBA 2K15 is nonetheless a fantastic basketball game, despite its issues. More a safe lay-up than a resounding slam dunk then.

NBA 2K15

2K Sports and Visual Concepts takes NBA 2K15 to the next level for another year, but stops short of introducing any sweeping changes. The on-court action has been refined and MyCareer is arguably better than ever, making NBA 2K15 another fine basketball game. It's just a shame that the online facet of the game is so poor. Despite this, NBA 2K15 is still well worth checking out.

Form widget
80%
Audio
85%

Pharrell does a fine job in curating the game's soundtrack, and the crowd audio and atmospherics are excellent. The only fly in the ointment are some of the phoned-in voice overs from the NBA players in MyCareer.

Visuals
85%

The best-looking NBA game yet, 2K15 looks pretty spectacular. Again, it's not perfect, with some glitches and slightly dodgy animations a blot on an otherwise aesthetically strong sports title.

Playability
85%

A case of fine-tuning this year, building upon the previous year's robust basketball offering. There's still some room for improvement, but this is certainly a confident step in the right direction.

Delivery
75%

Loads of modes and features, NBA 2K15 is overflowing with content. It's just a shame that the online experience is a bit shonky and MyCareer can be somewhat punishing. New presentation touches like Ernie Johnson and Shaq introducing each game, mong other things, make NBA 2K15 feel more authentic.

Achievements
70%

Another list that's a lot like last year's. It covers all of the requisite areas, as usual, but it's rather predictable stuff that does nothing new.

Game navigation