Friday, December 29, 2017

2K18: Fixing PNO #2



 In part one of my Fixing PNO series we took a look at some of the issues (many of them legacy) plaguing 2K's Play Now Online mode. Things like steal spam (and how it ruins play-calling) beat defenders, Paint Passing, and how unnecessary mechanics like User Bonuses have hurt the foundation of NBA 2K were the focus. As always, I addressed solutions and ways to resolve these elements.

In part two I take a look at Player Collisions, Contesting, Shooter Fouls and everyone's favormanyite (sarcasm) Block Ratings and Timing. Hopefully many of these issues can be addressed in time for 2K19, many are deal-breakers and a commitment from the dev team to resolve a handful of legacy issues every cycle would regain some of the goodwill hardcore players lost as a result of the many broken aspects of NBA 2K18.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

2K18: Fixing PNO #1




Having played 2K regularly since 2K2 i'm a really big fan of the series, it represents its sport better than most sports games, but online competitive play is a different animal. Matching up against other users is as rewarding an experience as gaming offers, but it requires walking a tightrope of balance, counters and deftly avoiding/eliminating exploits or it can be a disaster. On a related note, 2K's Play Now Online (true simulation) Pro-Am (simulation with casual elements) and Park (casual) should be three completely different experiences. They also need the ability to be patched separately.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Unacceptable: Block Timing



Veteran players of NBA 2K have always understood why blocks (and steals as well) were given such a wide berth years ago. They were literally the only options on defense that prevented offenses from shooting 80% from the field. But times have changed since then. So much gameplay progress has been made. Now there are other options to bother the shots of offensive players. The issue now is that while the game has taken an obvious turn towards skill and timing, blocks (and block timing specifically) is still stuck in 2004. 2K has a great hoops foundation in 2017, there's no longer a need to disregard timing/skill when its required in almost every other area of gameplay.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

2K18: More Varied Outcomes



The best aspect of 2K's gameplay is unquestionably the variety of outcomes we see. Things like needing to read floppy plays to see if your shooter is open, you also need good decision making on screen-roll as well...transition is the same way. This helps the game avoid monotony, but MOST IMPORTANTLY it helps gameplay avoid exploits. Nothing good can come from users being able to generate specific outcomes repeatedly--especially if that outcome lacks diversity. Look at any of the worst exploits in gaming and you'll find being able to trigger animations where with very few outcomes (Madden 15's QB sneak and its still-presently-bad FB dive come to mind) Here are a few examples where NBA 2K needs work:

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Final State of Gameplay: 2K17



After a lengthy amount of playtime with the final patch, its obvious too much of 2K17's gameplay has been reduced to an embarrassing spam-fest. While the game plays "sim" for people who prefer that, it still gives the "savvy" players the leeway to go for steals several times a possession on EVERY possession (total lack of risk/reward balance) dunks are too easy, blocks are as bad if not worse (timing and skill-set have no bearing on success) leaving us with gameplay that isn't worthy of the NBA 2K series. Defensive rotations continue to struggle when the opponent inbounds to half-court and further and passing into the paint is child's play. The issues with long passes persist and obvious fouls still go uncalled. We know its late and gameplay usually suffers at this stage of the game's life cycle (players have had ample time to make sure their cheese is well fermented) still....lets hope this is the last year 2K is reduced to this level of gameplay--yes, even late.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

AI Defenders must resemble Real-life Counterparts



Imagine the look on your face if CP3 did a series of tomahawk dunks in a game against you, or if Joakim Noah went 5 for 5 from behind the arc. How about Dwight Howard converting 12 of 12 free throws? All good or nah? *Laughter* Probably no, right?...the reason is simple, because its not AUTHENTIC. Those players simply don't possess the skill-sets we just mentioned. Seeing those things happen in a game just wouldn't be worthy of simulation basketball.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

How the D-Stick can save NBA2K



To people who know, i've touted the benefits of an expanded and more dynamic right stick defense for some time now. Why? Because its really important. FACT: The NBA league leader in steals got just over 2 per night last year, the blocks leader got 3. The simple fact is that NBA is not a blocks and steals league, its a position defense one. Its a league where good defenses make shots harder...where good defenders bother/change more shots than they send into the front row or swipe away. NBA 2K is a good sim but its still a game where defenders are trying to block jump-shots, one of the biggest basketball no-no's of them all. And its not as if there isn't a way to challenge those shots by getting a hand up instead. Blocks and Steals are high risk plays and simply have to be more foul-prone, more Risk/Reward, and gameplay has to punish bad timing and using the wrong personnel instead of allowing it as a band-aid for defensive gameplay.