NBA 2K16 Review (Xbox One)

It’s NBA 2K season once again with the release of NBA 2K16. The NBA 2K series has for many years now been highly rated, and regarded as the best Basketball video game out there today. It’s always been true every year, and with NBA 2K16 nothing has changed in that department as once again we have another great Basketball game, and here is why.

The biggest feature and addition to the NBA 2K series is the “Livin Da Dream” story which is connected to MyCareer mode. In “Livin Da Dream” you play as Frequency Vibrations who at the start of the story is a stand out at High School. You progress through High School, choose a College which leads you towards the NBA draft. The “Livin Da Dream” part of MyCareer mode is very dialogue and story heavy which isn’t like any previous MyCareer in the NBA 2K series.


“Livin Da Dream” ends after your character finishes their rookie season, and is pretty much the prologue to the MyCareer mode we are used too. It’s a nice change of pace compared to previous MyCareer modes, it felt too quick to get to the NBA and wasn’t as in depth as “Livin Da Dream”. It was also interesting to have a background and story for the MyPlayer we create for the mode rather than having a random and uninteresting created character.

The “Livin Da Dream” part of MyCareer is around 3-4 hours long, but your career still goes on after finishing the first rookie season, but it will be similar to the previous MyCareer modes with less dialogue, but more freedom. That was my biggest issue with “Livin Da Dream” it was too linear due to the dialogue and story. You was asked if you wanted to stay at College and play for a few more years or just jump straight to the NBA draft. I wanted to stay in College and play some more College games, but it was a linear path as you have to continue to the NBA without a choice. You also play a select amount of matches rather than full seasons, so for example in your rookie season you only play 8 matches.

MyCareer after “Livin Da Dream” is were you start to really create the legend that you want to end up being as you progress through this mode. You will choose the endorsements you want, you will decide which team would be best for you to play for, and who you want to connect with. Overall I thought “Livin Da Dream” was an interesting way to start a career mode, as sports games aren’t usually story heavy like this so it was interesting to play. I also liked how it was connected to MyCareer, and there will be small references to “Livin Da Dream” in your MyCareer after the “Livin Da Dream” story. Should it be done again next year? I think they should try it again as I thought it was a nice addition to the mode, and gave the mode some backstory and character to it.

I’m a big fan of sports games that manage to capture the feel and the presentation of an actual TV broadcast of the sport. NBA 2K has always been highly praised for this, but with NBA 2K16, I think it might be one of the best presented sports games ever made. Everything is captured and presented well to really make the player feel like they are actually watching an actual NBA game on TV. There are pregame shows that go through the upcoming game and post game shows that looks at who was the stand out player. There are also interviews that play during breaks of play, with players answering questions which is presented as if it was recorded earlier in the day. 2K Sports have managed to absolutely capture that feel that many other sports games today are really lacking.

As usual the gameplay in NBA 2K16 is almost flawless, and the best video game simulation of a Basketball game. The AI this year compared to previous years is more aggressive, and will also learn how you are playing the game, and the rival team will adapt to that situation causing you to think of different ways to keep your lead going and different ways to keep on defending against the opposing side. Due to these changes, the games you play will be much more intense as one wrong move, and you will end up losing the ball, and with Basketball it just takes that one wrong move for it to all go wrong.

The Final Verdict 

NBA 2K16 might be the best NBA game out there today. It’s one of the best sports simulations I’ve ever played, the TV feel has been captured better than any other sport simulation.  The gameplay also managed to feel like an actual Basketball game, and the gameplay has had some significant changes from last year to help make it that much better. There’s also a lot to do in the game with MyCareer and MyGM being the best examples of sandbox modes that will keep you coming back to this great game until next year.

+MyCareer/Livin Da Dream

+Fantastic presentation


– Although enjoyable and fresh, “Livin Da Dream” also had moments that were too linear than they should have been along with the story being a little boring at times.

Final Score


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