NBA 2K10

Combine lifelike faces with the expansive crowd and referee animations, and you’ve got the most real-to-life sports sim made.

NBA 2K10

Publisher: 2K Sports
Players: 1-4
Price: $59.99
Platform: Xbox 360 (reviewed), Playstation 3, Wii
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+
Developer: Visual Concepts
Release Date: 2009-10-06

Full disclosure, NBA 2K10 is my first foray into the 2K10 hoops world. For this, I apologize. To whom, I’m not particularly sure. Maybe myself. But it should be publicly noted that NBA 2K10 is far and away, the best basketball sim on the market.

Gameplay aside, the most recent 2K installment is the most graphically detailed and realistic sports game ever. After a few minutes with the game, the first thing that sticks out is the players’ faces, specifically, that the players look like they do in real life. I mentioned this in my review of NHL 2K10, but the realism is even more pronounced here where faces aren’t obscured by helmets and half shields. It may not add anything to the actual gameplay, but it significantly adds to the gaming experience. As games become more realistic, this appeared to be one of the last hurdles when trying to represent actual humans. Combine this with the expansive crowd and referee animations, and you’ve got the most real-to-life sports sim made.

Functionally, NBA 2K10 makes similar leaps. Specifically, the greatest advancement is the physics of players when they interact with one another. The game seems less pixelated and the players bump and jostle for position as if they’re humanly malleable. There are little, if any, moments of pixilated “warps” wherein the game glitches and simply moves the players so that they’re no longer overlapping.

This upgrade is the most integral part to the advanced realism of the gameplay. Boxing opponents out under the basket, fighting through screens, and on-the-ball defense are all improved over previous basketball games. And with this comes the ability to play a smoother and more functional game. For quite some time, succeeding in video games has been as much about understanding the glitches and limitations of the programming as it is in understanding the sport/action you’re mimicking. In NBA 2K10 these glitches are mostly relegated to referees stuck on repeat and a limited repertoire for the color commentators.

Undeniably, though, the best aspect of NBA 2K10 is the new My Player game mode. It’s nothing particularly revolutionary in its aim, but it is at all times simultaneously captivating, supremely realistic—almost to a fault—and couch punchingly frustrating. In it, you create a player to meet whatever specs and playing style you choose and are thrown into an NBA feeder system wherein you are unable to make shots, run quickly, or defend anyone. But the longer you play, the more your character advances. Becoming talented enough to make an open 10-footer feels like a major accomplishment. And the game keeps you interested by giving you a spattering of milestones—score 100 career points, get 100 career steals, etc.

But where NBA 2K10 makes its technical leaps, it also runs into a few new issues. The game is fueled by countless stats and graphics in-game that will occasionally remain on the screen during play, covering half to all of the court. And as mentioned earlier, the referee’s will occasionally get caught in a loop and pass the ball back and forth with a player waiting to inbound the ball. These intermittent problems are tolerable, though, and don’t take away much from the experience.

In the end, NBA 2K10 has legitimately elevated the expectations for sporting video games. It’s sheer playability combined with astounding graphical advancements make it one of the more impressive games—sports or otherwise—in recent memory.


In Americana music the present is female. Two-thirds of our year-end list is comprised of albums by women. Here, then, are the women (and a few men) who represented the best in Americana in 2017.

If a single moment best illustrates the current divide between Americana music and mainstream country music, it was Sturgill Simpson busking in the street outside the CMA Awards in Nashville. While Simpson played his guitar and sang in a sort of renegade-outsider protest, Garth Brooks was onstage lip-syncindg his way to Entertainer of the Year. Americana music is, of course, a sprawling range of roots genres that incorporates traditional aspects of country, blues, soul, bluegrass, etc., but often represents an amalgamation or reconstitution of those styles. But one common aspect of the music that Simpson appeared to be championing during his bit of street theater is the independence, artistic purity, and authenticity at the heart of Americana music. Clearly, that spirit is alive and well in the hundreds of releases each year that could be filed under Americana's vast umbrella.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.

60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

This week on our games podcast, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

This week, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

Keep reading... Show less

Which is the draw, the art or the artist? Critic Rachel Corbett examines the intertwined lives of two artists of two different generations and nationalities who worked in two starkly different media.

Artist biographies written for a popular audience necessarily involve compromise. On the one hand, we are only interested in the lives of artists because we are intrigued, engaged, and moved by their work. The confrontation with a work of art is an uncanny experience. We are drawn to, enraptured and entranced by, absorbed in the contemplation of an object. Even the performative arts (music, theater, dance) have an objective quality to them. In watching a play, we are not simply watching people do things; we are attending to the play as a thing that is more than the collection of actions performed. The play seems to have an existence beyond the human endeavor that instantiates it. It is simultaneously more and less than human: more because it's superordinate to human action and less because it's a mere object, lacking the evident subjectivity we prize in the human being.

Keep reading... Show less

Gabin's Maigret lets everyone else emote, sometimes hysterically, until he vents his own anger in the final revelations.

France's most celebrated home-grown detective character is Georges Simenon's Inspector Jules Maigret, an aging Paris homicide detective who, phlegmatically and unflappably, tracks down murderers to their lairs at the center of the human heart. He's invariably icon-ified as a shadowy figure smoking an eternal pipe, less fancy than Sherlock Holmes' curvy calabash but getting the job done in its laconic, unpretentious, middle-class manner.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.