NBA 2K3 Review
Without question, NBA 2K3 is one of the most accurate representations of professional basketball to date.
Without question, NBA 2K3 is one of the most accurate representations of professional basketball to date. From posting up on the block to driving through the lane for a layup or a monstrous dunk, nearly every facet of the sport is executed very well, though that's not to say that there aren't some chinks in NBA 2K3's armor. There's still a lingering problem with the inconsistency in shot percentages and in the passing game, as well as a few nagging issues with basic dribbling movement when you're trying to navigate through a crowd of defenders. Still, in the grand scheme of things, these problems will largely go unnoticed by all but the hardest of the hard-core basketball fans, making NBA 2K3 a worthwhile purchase for anyone interested in the sport.
Like other games in Sega's 2K3 series, NBA 2K3 has not only been revamped to include the new ESPN interface, but has also received an upgrade to its franchise mode. Of course all of the basic options are still there--you can trade players, sign free agents, and take a look at your own roster, all of which can help you put together a competitive team before the season begins. When it does actually start, you can look at all kinds of statistics for teams and individual players or even see who leads the league in a specific category and which rookies are on top of their games. You can also monitor the all-star voting ballots in the hope that one of your players is at the top of the list. Based on all this information, you can then decide whether you want to try to trade for another player through traditional means, which entails direct negotiation with another team, or take a less proactive approach by putting your own players up on the trading blocks to see what kinds of offers you'll receive from other teams. If you're playing with a top-notch team, these options are obviously not as enticing as they would be for a team that's down on its luck and trying to build a solid franchise, but over the course of the season, some of your players may fall victim to various injuries, forcing you to look for a suitable replacement if one doesn't exist on your bench.
At the end of a season in franchise mode, you'll see the recipients of various awards, such as rookie of the year, sixth man, and the league's most valuable player, as well as players who have been voted as All-NBA first team, All-NBA second team, All-NBA third team, and All-NBA defensive team. But more importantly than all of that, you'll see which players are retiring as well as which players have been put on the free agent market, two things that can really impact a team. If you don't feel like taking the high-price free agent route, you can focus all of your attention on the rookie draft, which allows you to get surprisingly detailed information on each player entering the draft, down to the player that he most closely mimics in the NBA. For example, it might say that a rookie center plays like Shaquille O'Neal--as rare as that may be--and it's one of the nicer little touches in the game that makes the draft much more interesting. If you want to get an even better idea of an individual rookie's skills, then you can schedule workouts, though you have a limited number of workouts since they're essentially based on how much money you're willing to spend. Eventually, you'll reach a point in the off-season where you can start training players, and one of the more interesting aspects of this particular feature is that you can train a player in one of several different specific categories, ranging from post defense to perimeter offense. The whole off-season process can seem a little intimidating, but those not willing to put up with the gobs of information being thrown around can let the computer do most of the work.
In fact, if you don't particularly care about constructing a franchise or you want to avoid off-season high jinks altogether, then NBA 2K3 offers several other modes to choose from. There's a street basketball option where you can basically play a game of two-on-two or five-on-five without any refs on some of the most well-known street courts in the country. You can even adjust the weather and time of day, so you could play in the middle of a downpour at night. There are also season, playoff, and tournament options, so you can play through a single season, jump right into the playoffs, or make a custom tournament. Lastly, NBA 2K3 features a practice mode, in which you can have a friendly scrimmage against another team, practice free throws, or get the timing down on your shots.
But as fine-tuned as you think your stroke might be, it doesn't seem to matter sometimes in NBA 2K3. You'll undoubtedly vocalize your frustration when you see a star point guard miss three layups in a row or one of the best post-up men in the league miss three or four shots taken five feet away from the basket. This doesn't necessarily pertain to a player being either hot or cold, because your entire team seemingly goes cold at once. Incidentally, this particular problem mostly springs up when your team has pulled ahead, so in essence, it's the equivalent of the rubber-band AI used in some racing games--to keep the score close, the game puts an invisible handicap on your players. Unfortunately, that still doesn't explain why some shots don't go in even when the score is close. It would've been preferable to have the defending team step up its defense, but in this case, you'll simply miss shots that players in the actual sport would rarely miss.
- Player Reviews: 4
- Game Universe:
- NBA 2K2 (DC, PS2, GC, XBOX),
- NBA 2K3 (XBOX, PS2, GC),
- ESPN NBA Basketball (PS2, XBOX),
- ESPN NBA 2K5 (PS2, XBOX),
- NBA 2K6 (PS2, X360, XBOX),
- NBA 2K7 (PS3, PS2, XBOX, X360),
- NBA 2K8 (X360, PS2, PS3),
- NBA 2K9 (X360, PS3, PS2, PC),
- NBA 2K10 (X360, WII, PC, PS3, PS2, PSP),
- NBA 2K10: Draft Combine (X360, PS3)
- Number of Players: