• There are more sports games on the 360 than you can shake a stick at – 21 titles and climbing last time I looked…therefore when fans of a certain sports genre sees a new game, their immediate thoughts and desires are wishing that the game developer has created the game in the image they expect, especially if that said title is officially licensed. 2K Sports have been there and done this many times before and step into the gaming arena once more with NBA 2K6.

    NBA 2K6 for those still in the dark is a Basketball game, and one hell of a bundle/experience for you to get stuck into. You have the usual quick play game if you just fancy a no mess straight into the action slam-dunk. You have season modes to play through and a fully blown franchise mode and I do mean fully blown…to get your teeth into. Finally of course and last but by no means least you have full Xbox LIVE Multiplayer support to prove your ball skills are better than anyone else in the World.

    Once you have loaded NBA 2K6 you could be overwhelmed with the amount of options you are presented with on the opening screens, and whilst these do appear to be a minefield at first…the menu system is very well done. Rather than taking you hours to get used to them, you will find yourself jumping in and out of the menu system like a pro within minutes. They are self explanatory and well laid out. You have all the normal game modes laid out right in front of you and if you dig deeper into the options you then find the tweaks to the game like creating a character, adjusting team rosters and a whole host of gameplay options you can change.

    NBA 2K6

    On the opposite slant defensive play is also easily learnt and face button positions assigned to block, double team and steal the ball are all picked up within seconds of playing your first game. That said defensive play is a lot harder than offensive, but that is to be expected…jumping to block a shot or grab that important rebound takes practice, but once you have got it down you will be playing NBA 2K6 like a pro.

    The gameplay is easily stated as ‘silky smooth’, the pace of the game is fast and enjoyable, and you will find yourself moving from offensive to defensive play in the blink of an eye and loving every minute of it, and with no slow down in frame rate (nice!! – Ed). I do have to point out that this game is most certainly aimed at HD TV owners and having tested the game on a normal TV there is a big noticeable difference, but for the HD lovers out there you can almost imagine you are watching a real basketball game.

    Having gone through the looks department and ticked all the boxes, the sounds within NBA 2K6 are also very neatly done. Balls bounce as you would expect, trainers screeching on the courts as your players dance around with the ball and the crowd, cheerleaders and commentators throwing their mix into the audio pot.  The game is face paced and the audio is in perfect tempo with the game, even the cheesy adverts that are thrown in on certain shot replays are a perfect recreation of what you would expect to see and hear on American TV.

    In terms of problems, there is actually very little wrong with NBA 2K6. There are slight problems in looks when your players slam-dunk a shot in that their hands don’t quite connect with the hoop and hang time sometimes looks a tad messy. I have mentioned the crowd but at the end of the day who cares what the crowd looks like. Other problems exist on LIVE where slight lag came into effect, but I put that down to playing someone on another continent.Â

    The final problem and well this might not seem like a problem to anyone else but the achievements in NBA 2K6 were far, far too easy to attain. In one game I had taken 500 gamerscore points, with my second game tidying up on the other 500. I know sports games seem to be producing a struggle on what achievements developers can levy against their games, but with the huge wealth of gameplay modes available in NBA 2K6 I would have expected some more…and lets say harder to achieve points for me to aim at grabbing. There are only five achievements to get with NBA 2K6 and all of them based on either offensive or defensive stats you grab through a normal game and none being given for playing through the franchise mode – which leads me to say, you will probably not bother to play through this mode unless you are a hardcore fan.

    Moans aside with the achievements and the little gripes with the game, summing up NBA 2K6 is a superb game of basketball. The last time I had played a basketball game was on the Sega, and I had been very dubious about playing this game. But that said within minutes of playing I was having a wild time and this game really is worth owning and experiencing. It has looks appeal; it has sound appeal and a huge amount of longevity with the title, I really have only slightly scratched the surface on what you can do in this game. If you are simply looking for an additional 1000 points then rent the game as you can get them in less than one hours gameplay, but if you are a true basketball fan then this title is certainly for you – so buy, buy, buy…and get ready to set that hoop on fire.

    Score: 8/10

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