First impressions of NBA 2K8

Let me get this out the way … I enjoy many parts of this game. I like how it looks, how it sounds, and how it’s managed to capture every twitch and physical nuance of every NBA star ranging from King James to the Big Ticket. The best part is the multitude of new features and moves — finger rolls, crossovers, post-up moves, etc.

Just one problem … I have no idea what the hell I’m doing. And I can’t be alone.

The instruction booklet (some people still read those), has a page or two telling you about all the cool stuff that comes with the game, but neglects to tell you any more. It’s like a big tease … no general explanations, no concepts on how the new moves are supposed to work … we’re essentially left to try and figure everything out. Worst instruction booklet EVER.

Now, I can survive based on my knowledge from the previous games — and I also managed to find an in-game tutorial regarding the slam-dunk contest — but in a lot of the games I’ve played either online or single player, I feel stuck in an experimental prison of stick-jiggling and trigger-pulling, just to see what might happen. Meanwhile, the other team’s PG is taking it to the cup at will, or driving-and-dishing while I’m trying to mess with the “lock-on-D” feature. I can only imagine what this would be like if I’d never played a 2K hoops game before. It could be a nightmare.

Other issues: The game seems more animation-heavy than ever, and there are still too many blown layups. I can understand if I blow a layup — I’m a short, stocky vacuum of hoops ability. But these guys are pros, and the next time I see Garnett blow a layup a foot away from the hoop, the controller’s going into the wall.

I’ll be doing a review for the paper — provided I figure everything out. Which is no guarantee.