Hoops games are a dime a dozen these days, but very few have ever gotten it completely right. As such, the quest for the ultimate fa-ball game continues, and Sega Sports along with internal U.S. development team Visual Concepts, are throwing their hat into the ring with MBA 2000 (working title), Sega's 128-Bit, Dreamcast-powered basketball juggernaut.
Featuring 1600-1700 motion-captured animations, NBA 2000 displays some of the most realistic, lifelike movements yet found in a sports game. While there are still some issues regarding ball placement (players look like they're palming the ball at the moment), the graphics are astounding, from both the complexity of the player models (each face has been texture-mapped with the actual player's face, i.e., Latrell Sprewell looks like himself) to the exceptionally detailed arenas. Ad banners hang from the rafters and, should you want to, you can see all the way up to the ceiling via the free-roaming camera. To say the level of detail in the game is incredible would be an understatement. The crowd is made up of individual sprites as opposed to mooshy-looking blurs like you'll find on the PS or N64. Details like players tattoos will be in place, as will other things like hair, goggles, knee-pads, elbow pads, socks...you name it. In fact, the game is so detail-precise, if you use the camera to scrutinize even the most minute detail, zoom in on a player and you can see the little mesh-holes on his jersey. There are even polygonal coaches stalking the sidelines. Look out!
As previously stated, the number of motion-captured animations is staggering, but unlike many other mo-cap-heavy games, this does not compromise the control. Usually you have to wait until the end of a mo-cap sequence before you can enter another command, making gameplay often frustrating and unresponsive. In NBA 2000, every move is interruptible, making the video game as spontaneous as the real-life game. Going up for a lay-up or a slam, but think the traffic is a little too heavy? Then heave a no-look pass behind your back or dish to the open man flanking the perimeter, with no sacrifice in response time. Visual Concepts is also keeping the little things in mind, such as making iit easier to run down the baseline without going out of bounds while attempting a three from the corner.
Scheduled to arrive in time for the beginning of the next NBA season, NBA 2000 is going straight for the jugular, taking on the likes of NBA Live with extreme confidence. One of the most promising basketball games to come around in a long while, b-ball fans will want to pay close attention to how this one develops.
Download NBA 2k1
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
Like its NFL counterpart, NBA 2000's gonna raise the roof when console gamers get a look at its slick graphics. The player models sport an impressive level of detail--their faces are so realistic, you'll recognize famous athletes in a flash. Even the arenas look tight, from the scoreboard to the hometown crowds that cheer and boo the action. The game even features fully animated coaches, refs, and scorers tables. Best of all, Sega's promising a speed of 60 frames per second, which is wicked fast
As far as features go, details were still scarce at press time. Each team plays in the style of its real-life counterpart and NBA coaches designed the playbooks. Players will respond to in-game situations like their real-life counterparts, too...but that probably doesn't mean Rodman will take off mid-season to hit the craps tables in Vegas. Along with all the pros, NBA 2000 will also provide four-player action, trades, and season play. As long as the gameplay keeps up with the razzle-dazzle, NBA 2000 should tip off to plenty of interest from the hoops crowd.
The next generation of sports games for the Dreamcast will be hitting a virtual court near you this fall, starting with Visual Concepts' already outstanding-looking NBA 2000. Forget what you think you know about the graphics in hoops games--this title contains hyper-realistic eye-candy like you've never seen before. For starters, each athlete will be imbued with lifelike details, including accurate placement of wristbands, elbow pads, and even tattoos. Visual Concepts will also use eight body types instead of just one to accurately sculpt each player. Other projected graphical highlights include 100-plus dunk animations, authentic replications of every NBA stadium, coaches pacing the sidelines, a layered interactive 3D crowd, active scorers' tables, and more.
While NBA 2000 is still early in development, Visual Concepts is looking to round out the incredible graphics with competitive A.I. opponents that will play and react to in-game action with court smarts. It also plans to infuse each team with its appropriate playing style, so the Lakers use their run-and-gun offense, but the Heat use their slow-paced defense-first attack. This design plan gives NBA 2000 superstar potential.
Get ready to eat some Spalding-burgers online, as Visual Concepts brings NBA 2K1 out of your living room and on to SegaNet. One glance at the new features is enough to set any NBA thug wannabe's heart racing. Aside from the online play, there's a Street Mode (2-to-2 to 5-on-5) featuring some of the famous playground haunts nationwide. And you get 50 classic players who span five decades to choose from. Want a little online 2-on-2, Magic and Legend Larry vs. Vince Carter and Kevin Garnett? You got it. Game engine refinements include a revamped passing system (no more pass to the outta-bounds ghost) and an expanded list of defensive moves (swat blocks, anyone?). For the proverbial icing on the cake, the number of funky flush dunks has been doubled to nearly 150. Finally, 2Ki's online lobby system promises some polish that its NFL cousin lacked, including the ability to check ping rates when you've been challenged. Aww yeah...look for Team EGM bailers online by the end of October.
THUD! That's me hitting the floor after my first impressions of NBA 2K1. Last year's title was above average, but like so many rookies in the league it mimics, it needed to concentrate more on the fundamentals. Visual Concepts did just that and the result is astounding. It's no longer a block n* dunk-athon. The game packs tons of improvements, but obviously online play tops the charts. Get up to eight freakin' bailers on the court with not one CPU controlled chump in sight. The intensity of multiplayer online hoops is almost as tangible as it is on the real court. You'll scream "Dude. I've got Marbury...Switch!" Ingame action features a much better representation of player contact than last year's title, as guys do the bump-and-grind in the paint and defend the perimeter properly. On the offensive side of the ball. VC has given gamers a wider spectrum of moves to employ. Guards shake and shiver by defenders, forwards swoop to the rack, and the power guys drop step their way to dunksville. This game just exudes hoop savvy. Franchise Mode is in there, as is Street ball and some other treats, but I'll be getting my Spalding-burgers online, thank you. My one gripe is that lag affects this game moreso than NFL 2K1. Shooting a precise jumper requires exact timing. Lag hampers that equation. But hey, find good connections, adjust a bit (if Quake guys can do it, we can too) and move on. Look for Hossman.
Visual Concepts gets an A+ for this sequel. They fixed the bomb pass problem (last year the computer players couldn't catch) as well as the errant throws to guys standing out of bounds. Oh yeah, the Center doesn't inbound the ball every time either. So essentially they fixed all the crap I bitched about last year. Now I love it It's gorgeous, fluid and competitive as hell. What more could you ask for in a basketball sim? If I could change one thing however, I'd add a few more special moves. There's a decent amount but hey, we could always use more. Online play is pretty good--with a good connection it runs almost as fast as a regular game. Don't think-buy it.
NBA 2K1 is a welcome breath of fresh air because it's actually a challenging basketball game. To score and breakdown defenses you'll have to think and not just drive your way recklessly to the hoop every time, and the computer is pretty crafty as well. It's the first time I've had to think while playing a hoops game in a while, and that's a big compliment. Sega Sports is truly on a roll. In addition to adding online play, they've managed to fix most of the flaws from last year's game. The rebounding is still sluggish and the computer isn't good at fast breaks, but if those are the only complaints I can muster, then you must know it's worth getting.
What's the deal?
We may sound like a broken record when we say, "It's the first insert sport here! to have online play for a console!" when we talk about Sega's sports games, but that's exactly what NBA 2K1 delivers. "Almost everyone who has tried the game online can barely detect a difference with offline play," says Visual Concepts' Rustin Lee. "Our game will not 'chug' unless your connection is horrible."
You might want to make sure you have some choice bandwidth because if NBA 2Ki's newfound depth pans out, you'll be burning up the phone lines while you learn the intricacies of the game. A new low-post game will let you bump, grind and drop step to the basket, while the refined passing system should help fast-breaks and halfcourt offenses operate more realistically. "We take pride in capturing the subtle nuances of the NBA that fans have grown to love about it," says Lee. We reckon fans'll grow to love NBA 2K1, too.
So why is it a must-get game?
The original NBA 2K had its flaws but showed immense potential as a next-generation basketball game. Just a modest amount of hoops time with the sequel online convinced us that this would not only be a novel online game to have, but a great hoops simulation as well.