One of the best parts of spring is March Madness and the NCAA tourney. Even people who have no idea are scrambling around filling out tourney brackets (and probably winning). Now we can live those out on the consoles with College Hoops 2k8, the next and very sound basketball release from 2KSports. Standard 2KSports game play and some new features make College Hoops a great way to pass the time until the Big Dance.
College Hoops game play is as solid as ever in this installment. The new addition to the game play is the 6th man meter. This simulates the energy of the crowd watching and reacting to what is happening on the court. If the crowd is pumped up, you can get away with trying some ridiculous shots and possibly making them. If the crowd is down, you may end up banging a few shots off the rim. It’s a fun concept, and it works pretty well for the most part. It just doesn’t seem to rise and fall quick enough. Real crowds’ emotions change in a second, and this meter doesn’t really do a good job of replicating that. The next major improvement is the new passing options. You can now choose which type of pass you would like to execute (bounce, chest, etc) instead of the sloppy default pass. This helps you squeak in those passes to players that could never have a chance of getting the default pass.
There are still some issues with the game play, however. The collision detection is sometimes a little clunky. Sometimes the players don’t seem to bump each other properly. The other concern is the boundary of the court. Sometimes it’s quite clear that a player is bouncing the ball right on the end line, but this is never called. These are minor issues bit still an annoyance and are holding this title back from a great rating.
The graphics are clean, and very appealing. It seems they have gone through some strides to vary the look of the players unlike previous attempts. Now everybody does not look the same all the time, which is nice to see. Due to NCAA rules, we will never actually see likenesses of the real players, so we will have to settle for this.
The audio presentation is a real double edged sword. The atmospheric sounds of the arena and the crowd chants and heckles are great and really make you feel like you are in the arena. But as great as that is, the audio commentary is terrible. There’s nothing to talk about because they can’t use real players, so you are stuck with them describing the action on the floor about 3 seconds late or more. It’s not very good at all and needs to be reconstructed from the ground up for a college title.
The online play is well done and very smooth. I didn’t notice any lag issues at all while online. You can join a league or play in a bracketed tourney. All well deployed and maintained. So if you get tired of beating up on East Carolina, hop online and face some tough human competition.
College Hoops 2K8 is another solid release in the 2KSports lineup. It has added some new features and continues to be a satisfying basketball experience. The audio commentary is the worst part of the game, but if you can get past that, it’s a fun title. Online play and great Franchise style options keep this title with high replay value.
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