NBA 2K10 Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | Wii
NBA 2K10 box art
System: X360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PC, PSP Review Rating Legend
Dev: Visual Concepts 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: 2K Sports 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Nov. 9, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

With a few rare exceptions, sports gaming has not enjoyed a pleasant tenure on the Nintendo Wii. Few sports games besides the Madden series have taken the time to build a game from the ground up for the system and understand the complex control scheme. It's certainly possible to make great sports games on Wii, but, unfortunately, years into the system's lifespan, we continue to get slapdash ports like NBA 2K10 that are hastily jammed onto the system like a square peg in a round hole.

NBA 2K10 screenshot

The Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of NBA 2K10 are quite good, but when you translate that same game to the Wii, you end up with a product with almost no redeeming qualities whatsoever. From start to finish, this game is a broken example of how not to make a Wii sports title.

For starters, the game is absolutely hideous. It's one of the worst looking major games yet released on the system. Rather than understanding that the system is not capable of realistic graphics and changing to a more stylized visual aesthetic, 2K decided to try to squeeze through the bottleneck that is the Wii's graphical capabilities.

This is the worst looking game in the NBA 2K basketball series since ESPN NBA Basketball 2K4 was released back in 2003 on the PS2. Players have giant meat-club hands that are directly connected to their forearms. Their faces look like they were made by scanning images of pictures of NBA stars and then stretching that picture over the front of a blank head rather than being made by an artist's rendering.

Things get even worse with the controls. Just about the only thing that reliably works in this control scheme is the joystick. Yes, if you push forward, the player will run forward, but that's about the most complex maneuver you should expect to pull off on a consistent basis. The game tries to teach you how to execute behind the back crossovers, spin moves, and other kinds of complex techniques, but it fails. All of these moves require that you press several different buttons in sequence, and then pull off a perfect joystick movement (such as a half circle). Combine that with the fact that you first have to memorize the long sequence, and then you have to not only execute it while struggling with the game's inability to recognize the motions, but do so on the first try with precise timing during the right moment when it actually matters in the game.

NBA 2K10 screenshot

Complex maneuvers aren't the real problem, though. The major issue is that even simple tasks like shooting are a total mystery. The game never really explains how to shoot effectively, but settles for telling you that shooting and jumping is done by raising the Wii Remote up. How high? How fast? Does it affect the shot if you release? What if the remote goes off to the left as you raise it? Does that affect accuracy? That's up to you to figure out, and you probably never will because some games you'll rain down 3-pointers in double coverage without a second thought, and then you'll miss 20 shots in a row in the next.

This trouble extends itself to the defensive side of the ball. It's at this point that you'd be better off just putting the controller down for a few minutes and see if they score. Because there's nothing you're going to be able to do about it anyways. Blocking and stealing are both done by moving the Wii Remote, and by the time you swing the remote, the move is registered by the game, and the character acts out the excruciatingly slow animation, but the time for that move has already passed. And if you try to do it preemptively, the opponent will run right around you and dunk. Once again, you'll be powerless to stop it because you're stuck in a long, slow character animation. This is all assuming, for the sake of argument, that you're actually able to pull off one of those moves, which is easier said than done.

NBA 2K10 screenshot

The struggle with the controls is without a doubt the biggest problem with the entire game, but perhaps the most embarrassing is the menu interface. I've been playing games for twenty years, and it took me a substantially long time just to figure out how to play a game of basketball in NBA 2K10. It took me days to become at all comfortable with navigating the interface, and I still get confused sometimes.

Screenshots / Images
NBA 2K10 screenshot - click to enlarge NBA 2K10 screenshot - click to enlarge NBA 2K10 screenshot - click to enlarge NBA 2K10 screenshot - click to enlarge

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