NBA 2K3 Review
Without question, NBA 2K3 is one of the most accurate representations of professional basketball to date.
The odd shot-percentage system is annoying, but it can inadvertently motivate you to play better on offense and make sure that your player has a completely open shot. Thankfully, you'll have a number of weapons at your disposal to do just that. When you have the ball, your player can do a number of juke moves, such as spins or crossovers, that will occasionally let you break past a defender for an easier shot. Also, NBA 2K3 introduces a new ball-fake move where you can fake that you're going in one direction and then immediately go in other, increasing the chance of blowing by the defender. It works quite well, particularly when driving to the lane, because defenders will scramble into the paint to block your shot, only to cause a foul. However, it's worth noting that this particular move is mapped to the Z button on the GameCube controller, so it feels a little awkward when executing it initially.
Another addition to NBA 2K3 is the midair adjustment. If you're a point guard driving through the lane and you see a center coming over to block your layup, you can adjust the shot in midair so that the defender misses the ball completely. It's pretty cool looking and works well against opponents (particularly when controlled by humans) who like to have a big man waiting around near the basket.
The post-up game is still really solid. When your player goes into the post, either you can try to back the defender down and get as close to the basket as possible before making a quick jump shot, or you can put the ball on the ground and try to dribble to the basket with your shoulder driving into the opponent. The latter option doesn't always work that well for a straight dunk or layup to the basket because the animation is so slow that it gives plenty of time for another defender to come over and double, but it's usually good for getting one or two feet closer to the basket. In addition, sometimes it feels like your player will get stuck to another player when trying to drive to the basket in such a manner, which is really sort of annoying simply because it's so unrealistic, and the resulting animation can look a little choppy.
If there's one area where NBA 2K3 could use some more work, it's the passing game. As in previous games in the NBA 2K3 series, the default method is still incredibly inaccurate, so much that your players will occasionally pass the ball in the direction opposite of what you intended. However, the icon passing system is still intact, and you can use the C stick if you don't want to stop just before passing the ball.
Whether it's zone or man to man, playing the passing lanes is absolutely crucial on defense. The easiest way to steal the ball in NBA 2K3 is to put a defensive player's body directly between two offensive players. Your opponent will try to pass the ball to the other player, but since you're in the way, your player will steal the ball. The same applies to fronting on post players--simply double-down a guard on the opposing team's post-up player, and you've increased your chances of stealing the ball dramatically. It might seem like steals would occur frequently since the passing system can be inaccurate at times, but surprisingly, they don't.
Much like with the rest of the game, a few additions have been made here and there in terms of graphical improvements over previous games in the NBA 2K series. Player faces have become a little more accurate, though some faces are certainly a little more realistic than others. You'll also notice some nice animation in the game, such as when a player runs into a pick or when you're performing some of the more complicated juke maneuvers, and as always, the dunks look fantastic. The first row in the crowd, including cheerleaders, is now fully polygonal, and some arenas even feature a fully modeled mascot lurking behind the basket. All of the arenas look incredibly similar to their real-life counterparts, down to the style of advertisements on the scoreboards. The frame rate usually remains brisk throughout the game, but it does seem to stutter at times.
The audio side of NBA 2K3 has also been subjected to some refinements. The commentary in the game is very smooth, and rarely do the play-by-play and color commentary sound robotic. Plus, the two announcers give some rather insightful comments about the action transpiring on the court. They do repeat themselves for certain types of plays, but the repetition seems far less frequent than in previous games in the series.
NBA 2K3 has some annoying flaws--the default passing system can be inaccurate, especially on the fast break, and there are some weird problems with shot selection--but in truth, these aren't flaws that dramatically hinder the gameplay experience. Rather, they force you to play a more realistic game of basketball, so you're going to take the time to make a precise pass or make sure that your man is completely open before taking a three-pointer by setting picks. If you're a basketball fan, you really can't go wrong by picking up NBA 2K3.
- 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: