2K Sports give gamers stiff b-ball challenge

Like a true 2K geek, I quickly ran to the nearest gaming store and bought NBA 2K9. For the first time in a long time, I bought a GameStop video game that actually still had the plastic wrapper on it. Of course, I’m excited. I played 2K8, when it was still relevant and thoroughly enjoyed it.As I put the game into my XBox 360, I waited with the anticipation of a 5-year-old on Christmas morning as the game loaded. The opening sequence was pretty cool, by the way, making the NBA team logos move around instead of their generic sitting-still sequence.

Being the type of gamer I am, I always pick a weak team to improve on during an Association. Instead of jumping into that mode, I decided to play an exhibition with a created player. I added myself into the game and decided to play with the Memphis Grizzlies.

After being thumped thoroughly, I decided to download a roster update and delete myself from the game. I quickly played a game with the Denver Nuggets against a poor Memphis Grizzlies team that sucked without me (at least I thought they did).

The point that I’m trying to make is that NBA 2K9 is not your ordinary basketball game. It’s a lot harder, as I was getting whipped on the Pro setting. Yes, embarrassing. Don’t worry, I finally beat a team, blowing them out by 20 points. But that was only because they weren’t on point that game.

The graphics of NBA 2K9 are awesome. Some of the faces are hits and misses, but they will do for now. The arena floors (after the update) show the reflections of the lights. Players’ sweat drip and glisten off their body, showing who’s working hard and who’s a benchwarmer.

The animations are better, flowing more fluidly than its predecessor. I love how players will get fouled, and their teammates will come help them up. At times, the player who committed the foul will help the guy up. Little things like this make this game work for me.

I didn’t get a chance to get deep into Association mode. One killer thing for me is the Salary Cap. While it makes the game “realistic,” it also makes it hard to rebuild a team. Not many teams (only one had a real salary cap space the last time I played) are able to accept trades, as it would break the rules.

One feature I did get into was the Slam Dunk Contest. It has a mediocre difficulty, and the judges do take points off if you aren’t original. I also found it funny to see Kobe Bryant try to dunk over a car only to come up short and crash to the ground.

Despite its many glitches highlighted on YouTube, NBA 2K9 is a great buy for a basketball fan. However, you must have XBox Live to get rid of most of the glitches. The living roster, which keeps player ratings and rosters current, also includes patches for those insane glitches. If you are a basketball fan, go cop NBA 2K9 and enjoy winning – or losing – like I did.