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 gamerankings.com)
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
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).