The latest in the NBA2K lineup, NBA2K11 brings a whole lot of content to the table, setting itself apart among the other bland yearly additions to sports games everywhere.

Michael Jordan, No name in sports brings any more cache with it then MJ. He did more than define an era of basketball. He broke the mold within popular culture for how athletes were treated and  portrayed. So Any game that puts him on the cover has a lot to live up to wouldn’t you say? Especially since the man last played a game in 2003, April 16th… in Philadelphia. Well I have a small confession to make. I’m a casual basketball fan, If the 76’ers are doing well I might watch a game, if its the Playoffs then I  definitely  will. I do love sports games overall though.

Lets cut to the goods, then I’ll fill you in on the details afterwards. This game is quite possibly one of the best sports games I have ever played… of Any Sport. After saying that it seems only fitting to have the greatest athlete of the sport’s history on the cover. The depth of the content in the game is astounding and the control is unreal. All other  superlatives  aside this is a fantastic game, with tons of polish.

The first time you put the disk in your machine the game runs through a  vignette  of Jordan’s career defining moments. And then without a menu to be seen the game drops you into the 1991 NBA finals. Jordan vs Magic. The uniforms, the arena, the players from both teams are done in exquisite detail. This was a jaw dropping moment for me. I wasn’t expecting it, and to be put in the drivers seat of a There are 10 historic Jordan  challenges  and the level of detail in each is astounding and rewarding to a fan of the game.

The Game: After you move beyond the Jordan content, which is both deep and wide, the game  itself  is great. I particularly love the control and the My player features. Your player gets graded on how good of a  teammate  he is,  whether  or not the point  guard  acts like a point  guard, a shooting  guard  acts like a shooting  guard, ect. You can’t be a center and hold onto the ball for ages behind the 3 line, because that isn’t what a center does.  This  happens in the game as a whole but gets glossed over easily because you can switch between players, in the my player mode this isn’t possible, you even have to sit on the bench, with the ability to fast forward to your next action. I love this mode, and outside of the Jordan content I spend most of my time in here. get  good  and your player gets drafted, earns shoe contracts and endorsement deals. Play around and get sent to the Development  League.

The Gameplay: The graphics are stunning, and without too many of the hitches usually found in emulating real people. The stars act like they do on TV, from the littlest moves to the feel of the Game. As a fan of the 76’ers my life isn’t too easy playing in career mode, but it makes the game feel right. No one wants to win  everything  all the time, but having the fine control available to at least try is nice. From on the fly coaching tweaks to intelligent roster management this game is head and shoulders above most other sports games. For one thing the other mangers in the league refuse to trade away  established  stars for draft picks and chumps, which is nice and realistic but doesn’t anyone want to trade me Kevin Durant for a draft pick and  Jason Kapono, and if you don’t pay attention you can even get taken by the AI in a bad trade, so be careful.

The Shoes: You can’t say Jumpman without hitting an Air Jordan in this game, even playing as poorly as I have I’ve managed to unlock a couple of different pairs of Air Jordan shoes, each allowing your players an extra edge on the court.

Replay Value: Unlike other games that focus on the past years champion, or a current star player this game feels timeless in that you get to play as an all time great, trying to do the things he did, or as a player in your own right, trying to reach a similar status.

Conclusion: I really can’t  state  this enough, there re so many tiny little details that make this game great. From this historic inclusion, the intelligent AI both on and off the court to the full and rich audio that accompanies the game along the way. If you like sports games then you owe it to  yourself  to give this game a spin. But just don’t come after me if you find yourself on  Wikipedia  looking up what how a  Point  Guard is supposed to play, just to finally get past the Summer Circuit and off of the D league teams…

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Disclosure: I was sent this game at no cost by 2K Sports for the purpose of review

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