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Hoop Droop

Good Luck Finding Fun In NBA 2K11

February 21, 2011
By Doug Elfman, The Game Dork

Now that football season is over, it's time for basketball. Or it should be. I would sooner spend $60 on mauve throw pillows than on NBA 2K11.

I m going to be a little harsh here, because I love basketball games, and I so want to play a fun one, but NBA 2K11 is, to me, a catastrophe.

The controls are so unresponsive that when I pass the ball to a teammate who needs to move toward the basket, my ball handler sometimes ACTUALLY TAKES A STEP BACKWARD AWAY FROM THE LANE.

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Then there's the usual idiotic basketball-game lunacy (by the computer against the player) called rubber-banding.

Rubber-banding is this: When your team is ahead in a sports game, the computer cheats against you to make the game closer by making your players unable to score points. At the same time, the computer s players go on Hall of Fame runs to make the game tighter.

Rubber-banding works well in many games - to help gamers when they're behind - in car racing especially. But NBA 2K11 leans heavily on beating you, and for that, this game can polish my leather.

Fact Box

Top Ten New Games

Here are the Top 10 best-selling video games, according to Games are listed by title, company, gaming system, and rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board. Most games are priced $60 for Xbox 360 and PS 3; $50 for Wii; $40 for PSP; $30 for DS and PS 2.

1. Zumba Fitness: Join the Party (Majesco) for Wii; rated E

2. Call of Duty: Black Ops (Activision) for Xbox 360; also available for PS 3, Wii, PC; rated M (blood, gore, intense violence, strong language)

3. BulletStorm Epic Edition (EA) for Xbox 360; also available for PS 3; rated M (blood, gore, intense violence, partial nudity, sexual themes, strong language, use of alcohol)

4. NBA 2K11 (2K Sports) for Xbox 360; rated E 10+ (mild violence)

5. Pokemon White (Nintendo) March 6 release pre-order for DS; rated E

6. Assassin s Creed: Brotherhood (Ubisoft) for Xbox 360; also available for PS 3; rated M (blood, sexual themes, strong language, violence)

7. Dead Space 2 (EA) for Xbox 360; also available for PS 3 and PC; rated M (blood, gore, intense violence, strong language)

8. Red Dead Redemption (Take Two) for PS 3; also available for Xbox 360; rated M (blood, intense violence, nudity, strong language, strong sexual content, use of drugs)

9. Red Dead Redemption for Xbox 360

10. Killzone 3 (Sony) for PS 3; rated M (blood, gore, intense violence, strong language)

(Ratings: E for Everyone; T for Teen; M for Mature 17+)

I was playing one game as top-tier Miami against lowly Cleveland. Should be a blow out, right? Yeah, well, Cleveland made a trio of 3-pointers in a row to send the game to overtime and keep it close to the end.

Cleveland. Against Miami. Hit a trio of threes. Yeah, uh-huh.

After five quarters, I won with an anemic, high school-sounding score of 44-41.

I kept playing Miami against Cleveland to see if that game was a fluke. Any team can have a good game, Cleveland included.

But Cleveland (controlled by the cheating computer) kept making late runs, improbable 3s, unlikely steals.

My best Miami victory against Cleveland was 42-31. I consider that a great accomplishment contextually, and no fun.

Wait, there's more frustration ahead.

Each team - yours and the computer's - are constantly fouling, effectively turning NBA 2K11 into a game of whistles and waiting.

And even though basketball players look and move similar to their real-life counterparts, these virtual basketballers are plagued by sudden stumbles due to I-don't-know-what.

I've seen 2K11's Dwyane Wade miss 4-foot jumpers while going 2-for-10 from the field. I've seen Chris Bosh turn the ball over frequently, even though he's barely getting touched.

Now, obviously, Wade and Bosh aren't perfect in real life, so they shouldn't be flawless in virtual form, either. But this is just unrealistic, silly. Some of the things I've dealt with in 2K11 have led me to question if basketball games will ever be good again.

And why does it have to be like this? So game makers can prove they can craft a basketball video game that stumps me continually with un-suave movements? OK then, they win. I'm stumped. I won't play 2K11 anymore.

One last thing. This game has sold 4 million copies already, and received great reviews. To those who like this game, I say: Good for you. But don't you remember what it used to be like to play fun, easy-flowing basketball games in the old days, two or three years ago?

( NBA 2K11 by 2K Sports retails for $40 for Xbox 360 and Wii; $20 for PC and PSP - Plays very un-fun. Looks great. Very challenging. Rated E 10+ for mild violence. One star out of four.)

Doug Elfman is an award-winning entertainment columnist who lives in Las Vegas. He blogs at



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