NBA 2K6 PS2 review

While EA is in no uncertain terms, king of the annual update, 2K games are marking a play for a corner in the market. Unfortunately for 2K, EA have already snatched the British monopoly with boxing, golf, rugby and most importantly football, well and truly covered. This simply leaves the market of vague and essentially American sports to play with. And in the past, to their credit, 2K have done a fantastic job of making their games playable to a populace that isn’t naturally interested.

However NBA 2K6 offers very little in gameplay that 2K5 didn’t. It is all very similar to what it was last time around.

Given the plethora of gaming options it’s understandable that there aren’t any further additions in this latest title. But there have been tweaks. The 24/7 mode – which saw you create a nobody and make him a ‘name’ – has been tweaked and offers a more gradual game. Whilst the premise is the same, you spend further time training your player before you get into the more meatier part of actually facing off against opponents – whether it be 1-on-1 or a free throw competition. In addition the end goal is more rewarding in that you have to make it from being an unranked street player to the upper echelons of professional stardom.

Providing you approve of the slightly jittery, but ultimately quite addictive gameplay, the 24/7 mode will keep you going for hours on end. Rather gloriously it makes up only about a quarter of NBA 2K6’s content. The Season mode could be a game in its self. It offers a blend of playing, managing and financial balancing. It charges you with the running of any one of the teams that currently make up the NBA. It works in a similar way to the Master League as seen in Pro Evolution Soccer – yet slightly more realistic due to the ‘face-to-face’ interaction with players and staff. However while initially this is quirky and mildly entertaining, it quickly becomes irritatingly familiar once the novelty has worn. Still, the challenge of taking a smaller team to the top of the NBA shouldn’t be ignored and provides a lengthy challenge. Also, a knowledge of the NBA helps especially as the game is fully licensed, but is not essential to enjoy as you pick up who’s worth a punt and who isn’t.

Unfortunately on their own these updates aren’t worth you parting with your money. You’re not going to enjoy this anymore than playing the previous version simply on what’s new on the options front. It is clear however where the energy was invested during development. The new ‘shot-stick’ feature, which sees you using the right analogue stick to shoot, tackle and pass, is a nice bit of innovation. While you can still use the buttons, the stick enables a new angle to the gameplay, albeit a slightly more difficult one. The game is easier to play with the buttons, but there is something compulsive about flicking the stick to perform a lay up rather than just pressing X. Only those who are willing to persevere and have a high threshold for frustration will truly benefit from the shot-stick feature. Most will give up and move back to the buttons, as they’re infinitely easier to play with.

And because of this most will be missing on the only thing that really makes this title worth buying over previous instalments. NBA 2K6 isn’t really worth your time. It’s a little better than previous instalments, but doesn’t offer enough to warrant buying, especially when you can pick up 2K5 for next to nothing.