Friday, October 10, 2008

NBA 2K9 Hurts My Brain

Well, it does.

There is a common misconception about me and sports games. A lot of readers assume that --

A: I hate sports games


B: I want every game to be ultra realistic down to the finest detail

Both are untrue. I want the fundamentals to be right. Walks, penalties, basic strategy, free throws, no important stats totally out of whack, that sort of thing. Too MUCH realism can be a bad thing because in the end we are just fans with jobs and shit to do.

NHL 09 is NOT authentic hockey -- passing is way too easy and penalties are just plain screwed up. But it's damn fun. I can live with that. I can't live with NCAA 09's complete lack of defensive awareness. Just cannot get past it. Oh, and I love great sports games, and hate bad ones and tend to ignore the middling ones. I think a lot of people fall into those categories.

NBA 2K9 is an enigma.

There has been this push of late to "dumb down" sports games because the controls are so hard to master. NHL 2K's mantra this year was "just make it fun." I never completely agreed with that ideal but NBA 2K9 is the poster child for complexity. This game is HARD.

I played 2K8 extensively and thought that was a tad complex but going into the 2K9 manual I started chuckling because there's no humanly way I will ever remember all of these button combos to pull of certain moves. No way no how.

The game on default sliders on PRO level is unforgiving -- good luck holding the AI to under 50-60% shooting. Even with a lock down team like Boston, after 5 games on default Pro I am giving up 62% FG a game. I am no basketball game novice. I've been there, done that and bought multiple T-shirts but man...this game does NOT play around. It's geared, out of the box, heavily to the offense because I'm also shooting 60% as well. I'd go as far to say that default Pro is really arcadey.

The good news? The sliders work. REALLY work.

I lowered CPU 3Pt shooting to 25 (from 50) and Atlanta's Mike Bibby was shooting AIR BALLS. Literally -- air balls. So perhaps some slight adjustments will do the trick because right now playing defense in this game is incredibly hard and I hate to even imagine playing on a higher lvl of difficulty.

Does it pass The Garnett Test?

Sort of.

The sliders in NBA Live 09 are not effective in slowing down KG -- put shooting at zero and he still kills people mercilessly.

Basic shooting sliders in 2K9 can slow KG down as can slider changes to Defend Passing lanes, Strength, and On Ball Defense.

But if you really want this to help, make sure to change controllers before a game and tell the AI to "deny Garnett (or the scoring machine of your choice) the ball" and then switch back to control your team.

This helps a lot. So, out of the box? Not so much. But the settings DO make a difference.

I haven't seen the bugs some have mentioned, but Ive only played 6-7 games.

I do know this -- this game is friggin hard.