Notes from the NBA 2K10 Launch Party
Drinks and games? Alright by me.
by Adam Fleischer
Around this time of year, I get a warm feeling inside.
We’re halfway through the SLAMonline Top 50, our annual countdown of the League’s best players. Season previews are beginning to surface. Basketball video game release dates are around the corner. To me, this means two things: 1) The season will be here before we’ve even gotten used to watching our favorite teams kick off on Sundays, and 2) The NBA 2K10 launch party is sure to pop off in the near future.
As it always has a funny tendency to do, the future became the present, and last night was the night for the annual event. Held this year at Capitale in New York City, Ryne, Konate and I were all on hand for the gathering.
Before things got too crowded, I gravitated toward one of the many systems set up in the bank-turned-function-holding-venue to try out the game. Despite Lang handing him an L when they played earlier this week, Ryne decided not to switch up his style and again chose his hometown Bulls for our head-to-head match up. I went with the Thunder—a youthful, exciting team that is probably still more suited for virtual success than wins out on the actual hardwood. I was looking forward to playing with the young guns, both established and otherwise, and they didn’t disappoint. KD was smooth and his jumper was wet. Westbrook was quick and understandably missed some outside shots; Jeff Green was not spectacular, but reliable. And James Harden was the eventual player of the game, a honor he earned hitting a bunch of midrange jumpers and working his way into the lane here and there en route to an 18-point debut. For Ryne, DRose had a couple controller-dropping worthy moves and Noah filled the stat sheet, but he was never quite able to overcome the 8-point lead I climbed to in the second quarter.
No question about it: The game was fresh. I’m an addict for the 2K brand of basketball, and I find myself shaking during summer months when I can almost taste the new generation but can’t yet have my fix. Last night was a welcomed dose of what’s to come in this version. There’s a slew of new features in this year’s game, but I didn’t get all the time I would have like to get fully acquainted (hours upon hours would have sufficed). Anyways, here are the ones that stuck out to me:
They’ve continued to make the game more realistic, providing a turbo meter so you can’t Usain Bolt around all day like it’s an arcade game. There are also more tip-ins and hustle plays where guys do things like dive for loose balls and get floor burns. They’ve thrown signature pregame warm-up routines in there, too. All of these features were evident when I played, and they add a valuable level of authenticity.
Things on the defensive side of the ball have also been beefed up. You’re now able to play your man in a certain direction, forcing him either right or left. You also have the ability to deny the ball from someone looking to get free. These additions, along with some added post moves, are sure to create an increasingly fun and real feel to the game. Admittedly, though, I wasn’t quite able to master them on my first go at it.
Once again this year, a handful of celebrities came through for the launch. Performances by Wale, Cassidy, and Duo Live kept the party moving as the night progressed, while early on it was all about the hoops. Brook Lopez, Nate Robinson, Andre Iguodala and Wale competed in a two-round 2K10 tournament in front of the crowd on a screen more fit for playing movies than games. For the second year in a row, AI came out on top. He may be the 26th best player in the League, but I wouldn’t be surprised if where he ranks among the gamers is a bit higher.
All in all, the night definitely proved to be a success (although the lack of hors d’oeuvres hurt, especially in comparison to last year’s offerings). It should be a pretty good indication of what we can expect from this year’s game: NBA players, dope hip-hop, unmatched gameplay, some misguided button mashing and an open bar. OK, maybe not the last one, but you get the point. You can go cop yours on October 6.