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Sega's NBA 2K series returns for a third appearance on Xbox with the new name of ESPN NBA Basketball and a redesigned look. One of the biggest changes to the title's presentation is a more complete use of the ESPN license for such details as picture-in-picture introductions, both studio and color commentary, and authentic menu graphics and camera angles taken from televised games. Other visual refinements include updated player models and new lighting effects, which realistically show shadows on the hardwood for the first time in the series. As in previous titles, the game features a complete lineup of players, stadiums, and teams with ratings based on the 2002-2003 season.
ESPN NBA Basketball also features a multiplayer franchise mode supporting up to 30 teams as well as Xbox Live support for online play, downloadable rosters, and chat functions. Once in the game, players can perform a wide variety of moves under their direct control. Both no-look and behind-the-back passes have been included for some razzle-dazzle in the offensive game, as well as the usual crossover dribbles and show stopping dunks to help change momentum. ESPN NBA Basketball has been designed to imitate the real-life pace of an NBA game, so there will be more opportunities for fast breaks and sudden explosiveness from teams having the right personnel. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide