Last year 2K Sports really stepped it up with their My Career mode, adding a ton of new features. I wrote about some of the things I really enjoyed, and some of the things I thought needed improvement. I was really excited to see how My Career mode would turn out in NBA 2K16, and just like last year, there were a lot of innovative new ideas, and there were some that were just plain bad. Here are my thoughts on this year’s My Career mode.
Starting From The Beginning
Hands down the best new element of My Career mode was starting out in high school and turning yourself from a highly touted prospect into potentially the first overall pick in the draft. You choose between a few different high schools, play a few games for the scouts, and next thing you know you’re having some of the best schools in the country knocking on your door waiting for you to commit to their programs. After you’ve played the handful of high school games, you get to choose which school you want to play ball for.
The college games were surprisingly well put together as well. You play against many of the players that we’re drafted in the 2015 draft, and how well you play in the college games affects your draft position. It was a great idea to incorporate the NCAA into My Career mode, since that experience has been missing ever since college basketball games have been mothballed for the foreseeable future.
Last year’s face scan feature produced some pretty shaky results at first, but after a few tries I was able to make my player with an almost uncanny resemblance to myself. This year I did not have such luck. Every face scan I attempted seemed promising at first when all of the of the reference points were being collected, but every scan turned me into Elephant Man. Luckily your face scan from NBA 2K15 can carry over into this year’s game, although it isn’t 100% of what it was last year. I found that my character had a lot of features that weren’t present last year, like big bags under my eyes and a slightly crooked nose. Unfortunately there were also a few bugs with the face scan throughout the My Career cut scenes. Occasionally my player would have a second set of teeth near the bottom of my chin that would stay there for the entire scene.
Livin’ Da Dream
This year 2K took a very different approach to the rookie season of NBA 2K16, with a pseudo-documentary about your rise to the NBA, put together by none other than Spike Lee. Having My Career mode turn into a Spike Lee Joint may sound like a good idea, but the result is an absolute nightmare. Here’s a quick synopsis on what “Livin’ Da Dream” is all about:
- You start off as a highly touted high school prospect in Harlem with your twin sister Cee-Cee and incredibly annoying friend Vic.
- Everyone knows you as “Freq”, which is short for your childhood nickname “Frequency Vibrations” which was given to you from kicking in the womb so much.
- As you rise through the different levels of basketball, from high school, college, and the NBA, all of your family, friends and management argue back and forth about what’s best for you and your career.
- Your incredibly annoying friend Vic gets in all kinds of trouble and causes a rift between you and the NBA team owner
All of this is packed in between the 8 games you play during your rookie season. That’s right, you only get to play 8 games of your rookie season. These games are essentially milestone games of the season, like facing off against a superstar like Blake Griffin, or the first home game of the year. After you play each of these 8 games you must suffer through a 20 minute cut scene in which you have virtually no power over any decision. The outcomes of the game do not matter at all, and just serve as filler in between scenes of this Spike Lee movie.
This all wouldn’t be so bad if you were able to make choices and actually play some basketball that matters. I personally couldn’t relate to a single aspect of “Livin’ Da Dream”, and I think a very large portion of 2K16‘s audience feels the same way. My Career mode is supposed to feel personal, taking a player that perfectly resembles you through face scan (if you’re lucky) and making all the choices you want to make when you get into the NBA. Instead you’re forced to live out someone else’s life, with no choice but to either go along for the ride or skip the cut scenes all-together.
After your rookie season, the Spike Lee nightmare ends and you’re back to playing normal basketball. You can choose to join a new team, picking 3 options and negotiating with them simultaneously before narrowing it down to the one you prefer. You are able to play all 82 games of the season, and on your off days you can befriend and hang out with other NBA players.
While My Career mode has certianly taken a massive step backwards this year, there is a lot of good elements to build off of next year. Starting off in high school and playing college ball is the highlight of the rookie season, and I hope that 2k decides to expand on that next year and do away with the whole Spike Lee cinematic production.