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NBA 2K6 Xbox 360

Published by 2K Sports
Developed by Visual Concepts
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £39.99

NBA 2K6, an introduction.

Basketball fans hoping to get their hands on a great basketball game when the Xbox 360 launched will have been disappointed that the only title on offer was the disappointing NBA Live 06. NBA Live 06 lacked a lot of content and was simply a threadbare product. Thankfully basketball fans haven't had long to wait for NBA 2K6 to arrive on the Xbox 360. The NBA 2K series has been getting better and better and NBA 2K6 is easily one of the best basketball games to date.

What's the game about?

NBA 2K6 is simply a basketball extravaganza that's by far the best basketball game on the Xbox 360 so far. The modes on offer are 24/7: Road to the EBC, The Association, Season, Street, Tournament, Practice, Situation and Xbox Live. Whilst some modes are self explanatory, some do need some explanation. The Association is the games franchise mode. 24/7: Road to EBC is a mode where you can play as an aspiring young basketball player who is trying to make it in the NBA. Situation mode allows you to set up a mid-game situation and it's a great mode for practicing the effectiveness of tactics in a particular situation. Street allows for full court street games with a choice of 2 on 2, 3 on 3, 4 on 4 and 5 on 5 games. Half court, One on One and 21 games are also possible in Street mode.

What's good about the game?

As in previous games in the series the modes that will hold your attention are the 24/7: Road to the EBC and The Association. The 24/7 mode allows you to create your own basketball player, develop their skills and attempt to turn them into a great player and you can also earn endorsement deals as you make your way in the game. The Association is a reworked franchise mode that offers more depth than the franchise mode in ESPN NBA 2K5. Almost every aspect of the mode seems to have been improved and there's a heck of a lot to do here including scouting new players, training your team, interacting with your staff (who all have their own personalities) and having to keep the team's owner happy. If you make the most of The Association mode it's quite capable of taking weeks to play through a single season. The control system has been reworked and whilst it's more complex, it's far more satisfying. The right analogue stick, for instance, can be used to shoot with as well as performing various blocking manoeuvres. You'll also use the right analogue stick for free shots, which is far more satisfying than having to work with gauges to line up your shot. Five achievements have been added to help increase your Xbox 360 Gamerscore. The achievements on offer are 'Get A Triple Double' (250 points), 'Score 150 Points With Any Player' (150 points), Score 140 Points With Any Team (200 points), 'Make 15 3-Pointers In One Game' (150 points) and 'Grab 20 Rebounds With Any Player' (250) points.

What's not so good about the game?

If you already own the PlayStation 2 or Xbox version, there are only the upgraded visuals that differentiate the Xbox 360 version from those other versions and to get the full benefit of the superior graphical quality you're going to need a HD display. The game has five difficulty levels, Rookie, Pro, All Star, Superstar and Hall of Fame. Playing on All Star and above provides a real challenge and even seasoned basketball fans will be given a real challenge on these difficulty levels. The controls are fairly complicated to learn. However, once you've mastered them you'll find the control system to be really good. You'll also notice a fair amount of adverts in the game, which does seem a little strange and also a little disappointing. With the cost of game development always increasing, especially on 'next-generation' formats such as the Xbox 360, it's probably going to be a common occurrence, especially in sports titles.

How does it look?

There are both positive and negative aspects with the games visuals. If you own a HD display the game looks very impressive when you look at the courts and the player models. The crowd, coach and other peripheral figure models are clearly ported over from the PlayStation 2 and Xbox and they look pretty ugly next to the impressive, highly detailed player models. If you're playing on a standard TV the game has less of a 'next-generation' look about it. If you already own the PlayStation 2 or Xbox version and you only have access to a standard TV then you're not going to have much of an upgrade in visual quality.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

NBA 2K6 on the Xbox 360 is exactly the same as on the PlayStation 2 in regards to how deaf gamer friendly it is. As you would expect the game commentary isn't subtitled. There is some other speech in the game that isn't subtitled. In the 24/7: Road to the EBC mode, there's some introductory speech (that's given when you access various areas for the first time). There's some speech that introduces the players before a game too. All of this speech is pretty much non-essential though. All of the important information is shown in text so despite there being some unsubtitled speech in the game, it's not going to cause deaf gamers any problems.

Final thoughts.

With the Xbox 360 only around six months old, it's great to see that quality sports games are already arriving on the console. The first basketball game to arrive on the console, NBA Live 06, was essentially a disappointment but NBA 2K6 is probably the best basketball game on any platform at the moment. In fact the only major disappointment with NBA 2K6 on the Xbox 360 is that so many of the character models have simply been reused from the earlier PlayStation 2 and Xbox versions. When you see the rather large improvement in the player models on the Xbox 360 version and then see the rather ugly (by comparison) coach and other peripheral character models it's rather disappointing and it looks like corners were cut. In terms of how it plays though, NBA 2K6 is difficult to fault.

Overall Game Rating: 8.5/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

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NBA 2K6 is an excellent basketball game and it's great that the series has arrived on the Xbox 360 so early. Whilst some graphical upgrades have been made (the player models are superb) there are some areas where the game could have looked a lot better on the Xbox 360. If you want a great basketball game for your Xbox 360 then look no further than NBA 2K6.