By Carson Barker,
1:10PM, Thu. Oct. 18, 2007
Once again, 2K Sports has control of the ball with this ’08 version of the NBA 2K franchise. What really makes this game shine like Shaq’s reflective, bald head are the graphics: crowd members’ facial expressions; worn, individual planks of wood on the court; three-dimensional sweat; and even the braillelike bumps on the basketball are just some of the many visual enhancements that, if you’re not careful, will steal your attention like Nowitzki taking the ball from a rookie. With its fast-action frame time, the first skill in mastering this game is learning how to keep up with it.
Instead of breaking the rules, NBA 2K8 lets the player change them. Options mode lets you take a peek at the NBA rules and subtly manipulate them to your own pleasure. Another extra feature that is oddly uncanny is the association mode. Players’ roles can affect the teams morale for better or worse, making the game more interactive than just a standard basketball game and notching up the sports-game industry’s attempt to keep up with role-playing games. Make the characters interactive, conditional, and personal, and the level of playing pushes the boundaries of a fictional realm.
Character realism and convoluted detail aside, the real brick or money shot of any sports game is gameplay. Most games have to choose between gameplay or graphics, but NBA 2K8 does a sleek job of combining the two like maple and polish. The players find rhythmic balance in almost every situation, frame time is quick and fluid, and mobility is intuitive after only a few quarters making the dunks smoother but equally devastating.