New Releases: What upcoming games are you looking forward to?
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Visual Concepts' pro basketball series enters its tenth season with NBA 2K9. As usual, the game features the league's players, teams, and venues, according to the rosters and statistics of the contemporary season. The long-running series is known for a distinct blend of realism and playability. Building upon the previous year's releases, 2K9 aims to retain that feel, while adding a few tweaks and perks. Several new Signature Styles have been added for more player-specific custom animations, and the new Hot Zone feature uses real-life NBA data to judge a player's best shot locations and give real-time, in-game feedback about shot possibilities as he moves around the floor.
For gamers who take their consoles online, the most significant addition in NBA 2K9 will be its "Living Rosters" feature. Similar to the news-feed influences of EA Sport's "Player DNA" functions, NBA 2K9 updates in-game player statistics throughout the 2008-2009 season, according to the performances of the real-life NBA players. Some players may gain strength for successes in certain areas while others may lose ability points by not living up to their perceived potential, and outstanding performances may be translated into new Signature Moves, which are downloaded and added into the game. Although these player changes are inspired by statistics based on real-life performances, they are mitigated by a human element in the process: The otherwise anonymous "2K Insider" is purported to have final say as to which changes are passed along to players each online update.
Another notable addition to the series' "Association" franchise mode involves the new Player Ambition statistic. There are three basic ambitions in the game — money, loyalty, and winning — and each player in the league is motivated by a blend of the three. A player motivated primarily by money may quickly sign with the highest bidder, while players with other motivations may take a lower paycheck in order to play for a familiar franchise or a team with strong playoff possibilities. When the trading is done and it's time to hit the court, Kevin Harlan returns to call the action, joined by NBA 2K series newcomers Clark "Special K" Kellogg in the booth and Cheryl Miller on the sidelines. ~ T.J. Deci, All Game Guide