Developer: Cyanide, Umix Studios
Review Context: I hardly play sport games anymore, since its mainly the same gameplay with updated rosters, but I do play some here and there since arcade sports games are no longer the draw. I have played a couple of fantasy league games for fun and nothing more.
Date of Playthrough: January 12, 2016
PC Specs Game Played on:
OS: Windows 10 64-bit
Processor: AMD Athlon(tm) II X2 245 Processor (2.9 GHZ)
Video Card: ATI Radeon HD 4600 Series
Disclosure: This review was based off of a review copy.
Love the game of basketball, but hate playing sim basketball games due to complex controls? Cyanide has you covered with this game, as you play the manager of a professional basketball team without having to learn which button passes. Will this fantasy league-like sim get you to become the ultimate owner, or will you just stick to watching the games and yelling at the TV over what play you would’ve ran?
Since the game is mostly using text, there is hardly anything that jumps out at you, however the format of the information is done well, so you can understand the actions that you take when reading contacts and price values. During the game you have a choice of 2D versus 3D viewing. 2D mode has you watching the game with the players as dots on the court, while 3D has the players in real time. The models are okay, since you’ll be spending more time behind the scenes to get upset with how the models look. Unfortunately, when I watch in 3D mode the frame rate would come to a standstill. It could be due to my outdated graphics cards, but I had to switch to 2D for smooth gameplay. For perspective, watching in 2D is equivalent to watching ESPN Gamecast with the court, dots for players, and commentary explaining what just happened.
This is a good example of a PC game, since the keyboard/mouse combo works well for a sim like this. You use the mouse to make decisions on contacts, stadiums, etc, while the keyboard is used for data entry. I feel that games like this work well on PC and would be hard on consoles, unless its Wii U since the Gamepad could be used to handle data entry, while the gameplay is on the TV. Other than that, using a standard controller would be cumbersome for something that has you reading most of the time.
I played around with GM mode in the NBA2K series; while its nice to have the ability to manage my team, I mainly did season mode. To play a game where its only GM mode is new territory for me. I have joined fantasy league games, but those were just you picking the best players, while this is making your team the best in the league. While there is a lot of management to be done, the tutorial guides you with what you should be doing. The options are skippable. I found myself just recruiting players, then going into season mode before I was reminded that I need to hire scouts, renew contracts, while keeping team moral high to prevent riff between the players.
You can create or edit a team(s) from a local or worldwide team, so the choices are endless and since the NBA license isn’t as locked down as the NFL, you can choose real players, though they play it safe by changing names (which you can easily rename).
This type of simulation is made for the fantasy league crowd. You can customize everything about your team, couch, stadium, and the works. While games like the NBA2K series let you be the General Manager for a team, there are limitations on what you can do. This game will show just how good you are with financial decisions, such as expanding the stadium, and prices for food and merchandise. Your decisions will determine if you have a team with smooth chemistry, or a team that wants to leave. I did my best to create my version of the San Antonio Spurs, and I thought I did a decent job, despite the stadium being too small while just barely not going over my salary cap.
During gameplay the quarters are shortened to ten minutes, but you can speed up the game. You can keep the default plays or you can create or edit the main plays. As stated earlier, commentary will be displayed to tell you what is happening if you’re playing in 2D mode. During timeouts your coach talk will also determine if the team plays better or worse. Be sure to look at your players’ stamina, as you tend to overlook this as the game plays and that can lead to an injury. There is a ranked leaderboard to see how your team fares against others online. In some ways its similar to the fantasy league, only instead of creating your perfect team, you’re creating the perfect team while not going over your salary cap. During my playtime the game crashed on me multiple times when I would jump to a certain day, not giving me a chance to save my progress.
Since you will be doing a lot of reading there hopefully will be some good beats to listen to and this game delivers. The soft R&B soundtrack helps with the vibe of the game to keep you from getting bored with no music. Gameplay has the normal crowd cheers and boos, while the sound effects make it feel like the game is being played in the gym instead of a professional basketball court, which was fine by me.
Similar Games Liked:
NBA2K14 (Xbox 360)