Review by JPeeples

Reviewed: 03/31/01 | Updated: 03/31/01

The greatest b-ball game ever.

NBA2K1 was released in November of 2000 for the Sega Dreamcast. It was developed by Visual Concepts and was distributed by Sega. This game is the sequel to the critically acclaimed NBA2K, which was the first 128 bit basketball game ever. This game combines everything that NBA2K had, plus more. There is now a Street mode that allows you to play with any team in the NBA on any one of five famous basketball parks. NBA2K1 also features classic players in the game. There is now also internet play via Sega’s ISP, SegaNet. Now then, without further ado, let’s get onto the review.

Graphics- 10/10- Amazing, simply amazing. The graphics are the best I have ever seen for a basketball game, and are among the finest ever on the Dreamcast. The playerrs are highly detailed; so much so, that you can see the tattoos on the players, not to mention hair styles, and bald spots. The animation is silky-smooth; virtually ever little nuance in basketball has been captured via the fluid animation. The game moves at a rock solid 60 Frames Per Second (or FPS for short.) The courts are among the most detailed I have ever seen. The hardwood looks perfect, it’s very glossy and looks just like its real-life counterpart. There is a ton of activity on the sidelines, for example, if a player screws up, the coach can be seen moping around the sideline. Also, if the home team is doing very well, the fans will celebrate. Too bad that they’re 2D, they would look awesome in 3D. The opening entrances of the games are amazing. Lighting effects run rampant when the home team is announced, these effects really add to the feel of an actual NBA game, I’ve got to give mad props to Visual Concepts for these little touches.

Pros- Super smooth animation. Rock solid frame rate. Little touches in the crowd and on the sidelines help witht he feel of an NBA game.
Cons- The crowd is in 2D, while this is more than acceptable, it’s a little disappointing.

Sound- 9/10- The announcing in the game is, for the most part, amazing. The announcers do a good job at calling the game, but they mess up some things, like the shots being attempted, a bit more than I would like. The sound effects are simply amazing and add a lot to the game. For example, when the home team does well, the crowd roars in approval. The effects of the sneakers on the hardwood are excellent, they are done very well.

Pros- The announcing, is, for the most part, amazing. Sound effects are excellent.
Cons- The announcers mess up sometimes.

Gameplay- 10/10- Every facet of basketball, from the shooting and dunking of the offense, to the blocking and stealing of the defense can be performed with ease in NBA2K1. This is all thanks to the super-smooth game engine used for the game. I have never played a basketball game that had such smooth transitions between movements, you can go from a dunk, to a block, to a steal within a second. It’s amazing. On top of the flawless game engine, many new modes have been added. One of these modes is a Street mode, which, as I explained in my introduction, allows you to play on a street court as any NBA team. This is a nice mode because it really portrays street basketball well, there are no rules, and it’s a ton of fun. All in all, the gameplay in NBA2K1 is virtually flawless.

Pros- Flawless game engine. Excellent shot transition.
Cons- None.

Control- 10/10- The control is some of the most responsive that I’ve ever experienced. There is absolutely no delay between your button press, and the on-screen action. It is seamless. Like I said before, anything you can do in basketball can pretty much be done in this game without problems. The control needs to be responsive in a basketball game, and it’s responsive in spades in this game. Kudos to VC for giving gamers the best control ever in a b-ball game.

Presentation- 9/10- The menus and game introductions are very well done. They are full of flasthy little effects that really add to the presentation. The loading screen is even fancy, it features a revolving basketball in the middle of the screen. However, the flashy effects do have a drawback, they can sometimes make menu navigation tricky. Thankfully, it doesn’t interfere at all with the actual gameplay.

Challenge- 10/10- Holy crap does the CPU AI put up a fight. NBA2K1 features the most tenacious defense that I have ever encountered in a b-ball game. It’s insane. They will do whatever it takes to block your shot and/or stealt the ball.

Replay Value-10/10- The net play gives this game unlimited replay value, if you get bored with the game, just hook it up to SegaNet, find someone to play a game against, and go nuts. The game comes with 50 free hours of SegaNet.

Overall-10/10- The game has some of the best graphics I’ve ever seen in a basketball game. The sound of the game is simply amazing. The control is some of the tightest I have ever experienced; and the gameplay is the smoothest I’ve ever played. I must once again commend Visual Concepts for this game.

Final Thought- This is, without a doubt, the greatest basketball game that I have ever played. The gameplay is some of the smoothest I’ve ever experienced and the graphics are top-notch. I was coming into the game with some doubts, I wondered if it could live up to the hype. Well, I’m more than happy to say that it does.

Buy or Rent?-Rent- If you’re a hardcore b-ball fan, buy the game. It will give you tons of fun for a long period of time. If you’re a casual b-ball fan, just rent the game. You’ll probably be able to get what you need out of it.

Other Stuff- I loved the inclusion of classic players in this game. You can play as Larry Bird, Wilt Chaimberland, and Julius “Dr. J” Erving, among others. This, at the very least, gives long-time b-ball fans a reason to buy the game. It also allows newer b-ball fans to play as some of the players who revolutionized basketball.

How does it compare to other basketball games?

Well, for one thing, it’s got the internet play, which NO other basketball game (other than NBA Jam: Tournament Edition) has ever had. For another, it’s got the best overall graphics of any b-ball game out there. NBA Live 2001 may have better graphics in some areas, but the animation is nowhere near as smooth. The commentary in NBA2K1 is better than Live’s. Not to mention the super-smooth gameplay. While Live’s gameplay is smooth, it’s not as smooth as the gameplay in NBA2K1.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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