Reviewed by Brandy Shaul
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2007-12-19 PS2 Sports E10 (Everyone 10+) Visual Concepts / 2K Sports

When it came time for me to review NBA 2K8, I have to admit I felt pretty out of place. After all, I'm not a big fan of watching basketball on television, and the closest I get to taking part in a real game is through a game of HORSE or PIG in a friend's driveway. However, 2K have made a name for themselves when it comes to making basketball titles accessible not only to the hardcore fans, but to the general public as well, so I was willing to put that idea to the test.

The game starts out as most sports title do. You name your VIP and pick your favorite team and are thrown directly into the action, no story needed. I chose the Pacers not only because I live in Indiana, but for another reason that I'll get to later.

When first starting, you'll see lots of modes at your disposal, ranging from a fully customizable 82-game season or career, street games, practice sessions, with multiple options available for each mode. The massive amount of customization made available throughout the game is top-notch and should provide even the biggest basketball fanatic with hundreds of hours of gameplay.

On the loading screen before each game, you'll see the control scheme, and if you're like me, might find yourself to be a bit apprehensive at the fact that literally every button on the controller has its own unique function. Again, this variety in terms of control and play styles is a very nice addition for those looking for a realistic basketball simulation.

But even with such complex controls, I am very happy to say that the basics are pretty easy to pick up. The right analog stick is your shot stick - pull back on it and your player shoots the ball. You can also shoot with the square button, but you have less control over the ball if you choose to do so. Passing is achieved by hitting the X button, and you can change your active player with R2.

For those, like myself, who are more interested in simplicity and a pick-up-and-play gaming style, those are the only major commands that you need to keep track of. Sure, the gameplay won't be as impressive without all of the extra moves, but as I said before, simplicity counts in my book.

But, for those that are more interested in more in-depth gameplay, NBA 2K8 will not let you down. The game provides so much in the way of impressive features and extras that it would be hard to list them all in a review. First off is the commentary system that seems to know what move you are going to make before you even makr it. Next are the practice tutorials, which I greatly appreciated seeing as how I haven't played this complex of a basketball game in probably a decade. Furthermore, there are five difficulty levels ranging from rookie to Hall of Fame, and as if that wasn't enough, you can also deck our your teams in multiple uniforms from the past and present. Let's just say that NBA 2K8 contains so much fan content that even a non-basketball fan such as myself can have a good time.

Remember when I said there were multiple reasons as to why I made my favorite team the Pacers? The first, as I said, was simply because I live in Indiana, and the second reason we'll get to now. Even though I don't make a point of watching basketball, I am not a complete hermit, so I do know what some of the players look like. By choosing the Pacers, I could see if the player resemblances actually held up on the PS2, without the graphical upgrade. And hold up they did.

Some of the players skin tones look a little weird, due to the addition of shiny, presumably sweat covered patches, and there is a bit of an issue with clipping, especially in the arms, when three or four players are standing very close together, but other than that, there's not much to complain about. The fans in the crowd actually move and cheer the way real people do, the basketball looks and behaves the way it should when being dribbled, and the wax on the floor really shines. All in all, the graphics in the game are pretty impressive, even on a PS2.

When it comes to the sound department, the game's music is made up of, for the most part, rap and alternative titles from artists such as Common and Run DMC. I wasn't as impressed with the soundtrack as I thought I was going to be, but that's all a matter of personal preference, and not something that actually affects the gameplay. In terms of the actual sound effects, after considering the fact that 2K have had years to get this part down to a science, I am glad to say that everything sounds the way it should.

When I started up my PS2 for my first game of 2K8, I have to admit my feelings going in were less than enthusiastic. I've been greatly disappointed by sports games in the past, but I am glad to report that this was a pleasant surprise. Most every aspect of the game is spot on, and even with last-gen graphics, I felt more like I was watching a game on television than actually playing a video game.

My only real complaint with the game is one of a nit-picking fashion, that complaint being the fact that you need more than half of a memory card (4447 kb) to save all of the content on your profile, which might cause of a lot of people to have to spend another $25 on another memory card before they can even really play the game.

Even with taking that into consideration, in the end, if you are a basketball fanatic, there is so much good about NBA 2K8 that it would be silly of me not to recommend an immediate purchase. Heck, even if you only have a passing fascination with the sport, this is still one to check out. One should also make note of the fact that the game is available on both the PS3 and the 360, which can only make things more positive. Since I haven?t played any other recent basketball Sims, I unfortunately have noting to compare 2K8 to, but with gameplay like this, I?m not even sure I want to spend my time playing anything else.

Special thanks to 2K Games and 2K Sports for providing a copy of this title.