Sunday, October 3, 2010

Temper your NBA 2K11 expectations

It occurred to me today that IGN is currently the only website that has reviewed NBA 2K11 - even though it is only two days before launch, and numerous fans already have copies of the game in their hands.

The scenario just mutually benefits 2K and IGN too much for it to not be coincidence. The only review out for a week is a near perfect score? IGN is getting all the hits from rabid fans dying to read the review, while 2K is getting a ton of praise (not that they don't deserve it - more on that later).

Critiques of the review have been that the review doesn't really say much about the actual game. For instance, it's been reported that coaches get fired after every loss in My Player. Clearly this is a huge glitch to a game mode that should be dragging down the game's score (and something that needs to be patched ASAP). This wasn't even mentioned in the review.

It has been proven in the past that IGN is not a credible basketball game reviewer either.

Some IGN history
(PS2 & PS3 Aggregate Scores taken from

2K11: 9.5
2K10: 8.5 (AG: 81.95)
2K9: 8.5 (AG: 82.44)
2K8: 7.9 (AG: 83.56)
2K7: 8.5 (AG: 81.30)
2K6: 8.0 (AG: 82.53)
2K5: 8.0 (AG: 82.19)
2K4: 9.2 (AG: 86.13) - reviews slanted upward by the $20 pricetag
2K3: 8.7 (AG: 85.81)
2K2: 8.6 (AG: 88.84)
2K1: 8.8 (AG: 89.68) - dreamcast score used

NBA Live
Live 10: 8.2 (AG: 81.21)
Live 09: 6.5 (AG: 75.98)
Live 08: 6.9 (AG: 73.70)
Live 07: 6.0 (AG: 60.69)
Live 06: 9.0 (AG: 76.78)
Live 05: 8.9 (AG: 81.85)
Live 04: 8.8 (AG: 83.13)
Live 03: 8.7 (AG: 82.84)
Live 02: 7.6 (AG: 70.49)

Live 01: 7.4 (AG: 74.73)

Look at those trends. Very concerning. IGN was riding EA's jock HARD from 2002-2006 until EA released such a crappy game in 07 that even IGN couldn't support it.

Ever since then, IGN has been riding 2K hardbody, with the exception of 2008 (which was ironically the Aggregate highpoint of 2K from 2005-2010). It is humorous to me that 2K8 was apparently only 0.3 better of a game than Live 02, since 2K8 was my second favorite 2K game and Live 02 was so bad I swore to never play Live again (hello, 2K series).

IGN does not know basketball games. Period. They are a media influenced company that jumps on the bandwagon, and they've been caught doing it again (what better bandwagon to jump on than a game featuring the most bandwagoned player of all-time?)

Take the 9.5 with a grain of salt. I don't doubt that the game is good and an upgrade over it's predecessor, but even if 2K11 is worth a 10 point boost from 2K10, that's still only worth 9.1/10 to the rest of the video game world (i.e. the reviewers who actually know what they're talking about). In all likelihood the game is probably closer to 8.8 out of 10 - still an admirable score and the best we've seen from a basketball game since the 2K's inception a decade ago (when it came from nowhere to knock Live from it's nigh untouchable pedestal).


Mike said...

Maybe the reviewers at IGN legitimately felt those ratings were accurate for each of EAs and 2Ks. It's their opinion.

Why argue they're biased reviewers because they don't share your thoughts on how good 2K8 was?

I didn't care for the game Borderlands but I wouldn't bother saying something to the effect of, "It's humorous to me that Syphon Filter 2 is apparently only .1 of a better game than Borderlands since Syphon Filter 2 is my second favorite game from Eidetic and Borderlands was so bad I returned it two days after I got it from GameFly."

Don't know why you would go out of your way to complain about a review score if you haven't played it yet. (Or have you?)

Not trying to take a shot at you though. I like reading this blog. I was just surprised I saw something like this up here today.

Anonymous said...

yea me say the least.
we're talking about a guy who's blog is 100% 2k SOMEthing(baseball,basketball).
I like your rosters, but this I can do without.
bc we're all buying the game no matter what may need patched, know why?
because its a damn good game, period. but its still a game.
it will have some stuff that needs patched,just as rosters will need edits or tweaks.
as long as its not a big issue like framerate i'm fine with it.
spend your time thinking about your roster,making it better, faster. (ie complete it while the real season is going)

and ix nay the b.s

Anonymous said...

so if it has high rating from other sites, are they "benefiting" too?

Chill with the conspiracy theories man...Its a good game....a game you havent even played yet.

Rashidi said...

I brought up the aggregate scores for a reason. IGN is out of touch with what makes a good basketball game, because most of their scores vary significantly from the greater majority.

My 2K8 point was that they gave it the lowest score in 2Ks history even though it was the most highly regarded one of the last 6 years. My personal opinion of where 2K8 ranks is not the issue here.

Rashidi said...

Comment #3: THERE ARE NO OTHER SITES. Ign has the exclusive pre-release review.

Pre-release reviews affect sales much more than post-release reviews.

Do you really think other sites DON'T want to review 2K11 before it comes out?

Anonymous said...

So I guess that 9.7 I came across isn't legitimate either.

These conspiracy theories are outstanding comedic gold. Keep 'em coming.

Anonymous said...

Rashidi, you read the fired glitch of Gamefaqs. I can tell you he's making it up. Coaches do not get fired that frequently.

Mike said...

I have a friend who thinks Rockstar Games paid review sites (Including IGN) to give GTA IV a high rating to spike sales. Is that what you mean?

That's the only reason I think a review site would ride someone's jock like you said. What else would they get out of trying to defend a companies releases?

The perfect 10 rating for GTA IV is very peculiar especially in the sense of it being such a rare rating and most people agree it ended up being a disappointment.

So I'm not sure if you mean to say IGN is not good at judging the merits of one particular basketball game or if you are implying they might give the games good ratings for a behind the curtains reason. Or both.

Malcolm said...

I agree with you Rashidi in my opinion 2k8 was probably the best game before this one but with all the new features and revamped isomotion controls minus the Jordan challenge mode and 8.8 wouldn't suffice.

Rashidi said...

Comment#7: I read it on 2K Sports I think. Either way, I expect glitches because there always are (especially with the last 3 releases).

It certainly would have helped if IGN actually went into detail in their review instead of writing a puff piece.

Rashidi said...

Comment#8: People want to read good reviews. They want to hear about why a game they've anticipated for so long is so good. A disappointed reader is not going to spend much time on the site.

IGN overrates MANY games, so this is hardly unfounded. GTA IV got a perfect 10 out of 10. The game was good, but I'm sure most gamers wouldn't have called it perfect.

Final Fantasy XIII got 8.9 out of 10 and NUMEROUS fans HATE it. So if NBA 2K11 is only 0.6 higher than that... it's not exactly out of the woods yet.

Hillary Goldstein said...

Hello Rashidi,

I am the writer of the review you claim to be bias and inconsistent. First of all, I write reviews with the highest integrity. I must write reviews from a technical standpoint, and under specific criteria. Graphical, technological, interactivity, and most importantly immersion.

The gameplay is near flawless, hence the high rating for it. I specifically mentioned that there are some minor game bugs but they are few and far between.

As of playing the video game, there was no such glitch. Therefore I cannot reduce my rating of this video game based on some alleged glitch that didn't even occur a month before the review was published. I have played the game extensively: the sum of the hours I have played NBA 2k11 are as much as I have played Zelda, Halo, and Call of Duty combined.

You can do a lot in NBA 2k11 franchise mode, that I had to withhold from the public. You are affected by the economic climates, players can have family problems, there separate team chemistry problems, etc.

You know we are talking about the greatest sports game of our generation, perhaps of all time. I can fairly say on record, that this is better than NFL 2k5 was.... if NFL 2k5 had a Backbreaker physics engine.

Would you like to elaborate on it more?

Pastapadre said...

Well, Live is better than 2k.

Anonymous said...

Hillary, how has 2k dealt with the many online flaws that we saw last year? There were no lobbies to speak of. There is a pregame glitch where the users cannot start the game and this glitch has yet to be patched. Online records mean nothing considering the only modes to play are against friends or against random users. Players were constantly using their big men and star players on the baseline to get easy layup animations. Players were constantly pressing the steal button to generate easy turnovers since the game does not call reach in fouls enough. Since online gameplay is important to many, if not most users, I'd like to know how that aspect of the game has improved.

Anonymous said...

Also, has 2k done anything to the post game? There are barely any moves and the ones that can be performed on a consistent basis are way too slow moving. There were some cool moves like hook shots that could be done but those were very rare considering how difficult it is to pull one off.

Anonymous said...

-Take the 9.5 with a grain of salt. I don't doubt that the game is good and an upgrade over it's predecessor, but even if 2K11 is worth a 10 point boost from 2K10, that's still only worth 9.1/10 to the rest of the video game world

- a .4 difference? really?
btw OPERATIONSPORTS has a pre release review.

Rashidi said...

Thank you for the response Hilary, however based on IGN's history (having a lower bar than most other reviewers), I am still skeptical.

What you write might be accurate and unbiased, but that doesn't mean it jive's with the overall grade.

I recall many review sites blasting Final Fantasy XIII (for good reason)... and then giving the game 9/10. IGN was not an exception to this as they gave it 8.9 out of 10.

For example...
Final Fantasy XIII, however, is not without its fair share of problems -- problems which keep it from being as great as its legendary predecessors. The well-known mention of "linearity" when it comes to Final Fantasy XIII might be old hat by now, but it is a notable issue. The first 25 to 30 hours of the game are so linear, they might as well be on rails. Dungeons are nothing more than a series of pathways through various environments, with occasional detours hiding a floating treasure chest. This linearity wasn't particularly bothersome for me because I was enjoying the story and battles along the way, but this will be a huge blow to Final Fantasy veterans.

IGN rated this game a mere 1.1 away from a perfect score, but it seems the reviewer is openly acknowledging that many gamers would not agree with the score... which IMO shows the reviewer is out of touch with what fans of the genre are actually looking for in a game (which was essentially proven in gamer reactions).

Rashidi said...

Quoting your 2K11 review...
And lastly, there's My Player. And I say lastly because it's really the only mode that isn't up to snuff. There have been a number of improvements this year, including tracking of fan support for your created player, but there's a lot of work to be done to make My Player great. It takes far too long to get your player to the NBA and even longer still to get him some decent skills. I want to play as a young stud in the NBA, not as a desperate D-Leaguer hoping for a shot. The path should not be getting to the NBA, but where I take my career from there.

I doubt many will bother to stick it out with the slow-paced My Player mode.

My Player is a huge chunk of the game, and you seem to be pretty critical of it. Is this really all that is keeping the game from being a perfect 10? And should this be "weighted" at 0.5 points?

The article might not have been biased, but I cannot say the same for the score.

Rashidi said...

Comment #16:

That's a 9.1 IF the game deserves a 10 point boost.

Online play will be a major factor and that was barely covered in the IGN review. As Comment#14 pointed out, there are many issues with 2K online play and it doesn't sound like they were addressed.

Rashidi said...

Game Informer gave 2K11 an 8.75

Hilary Goldstein said...

My Player is a feature though; an added bonus. It does not affect gameplay. Some people may like the slow-paced nature of the game, it's my opinion that it should be a tad faster.

Rashidi said...

My Player is an added bonus? The hell?

Association is a feature too, does that mean that's an added bonus?

I personally NEVER play association. It's strictly Online for me although I dabbled in My Player last season and found that to be more engrossing than Association mode... and I think there are a lot of gamers like me.

It's clear from the achievements (as well as getting to use Jordan in MP once the challenges are complete) that My Player is a SIGNIFICANT piece of 2K11. The Slam Dunk contest and 3pt shootout are an added bonus. Since when is a core gameplay mode an added bonus?

Hilary Goldstein said...

I consider the gameplay to be 5 on 5, and everything else is an added bonus. Hence the high score.

Rashidi said...

I would consider that unfortunate then, since it's doubtful your core audience feels the same way.

Anonymous said...

Snip snap!

Rashidi said...

It's a shame Hilary isn't around to see how displeased the 2K community is with the "5 out of 5 gameplay".

Just remember: you heard it here first.