The Friday Five: 5 Worst Parts of Playing With Randoms

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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Ways to Improve The Neighborhood

Postby Andrew on Fri May 11, 2018 10:11 pm

May 11th: 5 Ways to Improve The Neighborhood

Through articles, episodes of the NLSC Podcast, and posts in the Forum, I've made my opinion of The Neighborhood quite clear. In short, I like it about as much as I do MyCAREER stories, which is to say, not very much at all. To me, it's amounted to a lot of wasted time running around the same mini suburb, going back and forth and enduring long loading screens. Whether it's changing my animations, joining my friends in 2K Pro-Am or The Playground, or picking up my endorsement money, it's basically impossible to have a streamlined experience.

However, while I certainly have my criticisms of The Neighborhood, I'd prefer them to be constructive. Even though I'm not a fan of the concept, there are ways that The Neighborhood could be more appealing and user-friendly, not to mention fairer in terms of grinding and potential microtransactions. My guess is that the developers aren't going to give up on the concept after just one game, and if certain changes were made, I for one would probably find it at least a little more tolerable. With that said, here are five ways that the 2K team could improve on the whole experience of The Neighborhood in future games.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Hopes for NBA Playgrounds 2

Postby Andrew on Fri May 18, 2018 11:23 pm

May 18th: 5 Hopes for NBA Playgrounds 2

Originally set for release next week on May 22nd, NBA Playgrounds 2 has now been delayed to an unspecified date. While some basketball gamers have expressed their excitement about a follow up to last year's title, others aren't so thrilled. Some gamers feel that it's coming too soon after the original, and are unhappy that support for the first NBA Playgrounds is ending with a few unfulfilled promises. Others simply didn't care for the first game at all, and feel little incentive to give its sequel a chance. The indefinite postponement likely doesn't allay their concerns or scepticism.

Even if the delay turns out to be for the best as Saber Interactive are insisting, NBA Playgrounds 2 is going to be a tough sell for some gamers. It's going to take a quality release to win gamers over, with clear improvements that wouldn't be possible via a patch. Whatever has led to the delay will also have to be a big deal. The previews have been somewhat promising so far though, and I do believe that NBA Playgrounds 2 has a great opportunity to become the definitive arcade hoops game of the current generation. There are a few things that it must do in order to achieve that however, which I'm outlining in the form of five hopes ahead of its eventual release.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Options That Would Be Handy

Postby Andrew on Fri May 25, 2018 9:12 pm

May 25th: 5 Options That Would Be Handy

When we're compiling our Wishlists and sending feedback to EA Sports and Visual Concepts, it's important that we prioritise. For example, a major gameplay flaw is far more important to address than a largely inconsequential cosmetic feature. Likewise, the functionality and user-friendliness of the menus is more important than the colour (though legibility and presentation obviously counts for something). Nevertheless, it's also a good idea to point out features and options that aren't necessarily vital, but in their own way, add something to the overall experience.

After all, sometimes it's the little things that really make a game enjoyable. Some options are essential, such as difficulty settings, gameplay sliders, and controller configurations, but features such as atmosphere settings, an accelerated clock, stats normalisation, and other such options can really enhance the experience. We can still enjoy the games without them, and in the grand scheme of things, they probably don't have a huge effect on Metacritic scores and general reception, but they'd nevertheless be welcome additions. Future versions of NBA Live and NBA 2K could be enhanced with the addition of handy options such as these.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Retro Teams I'd Like To See in NBA 2K (Part 4)

Postby Andrew on Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:34 pm

June 1st: 5 Retro Teams I'd Like To See in NBA 2K (Part 4)

As the title of this week's column indicates, this is Part 4 in an ongoing series offering up suggestions for new retro teams to be added in future NBA 2K games. Reiterating a point I made in Parts 1, 2, and 3 of the series, with so many noteworthy teams in the game already - especially past champions, their opponents, and many other significant squads - the door is now open for some unorthodox but nevertheless interesting teams from years gone by. In some cases, the addition of these retro teams allows for a few more notable players to be included, enhancing MyTEAM and retro roster projects.

Once again, I'll state that my opinion still stands regarding the retro teams mentioned in the previous three articles. I would still like to see those teams included, so these five new squads aren't intended to replace my previous suggestions. Also, I'm making these suggestions under the assumption that most (if not all) of the major players can be licensed to appear, otherwise it would defeat the purpose of adding them to the game. Quite a few of the players from these teams are in the game already though, which means that some of these suggestions may indeed be feasible. Without any further ado, let's get to another five retro teams that'd be fun to have in NBA 2K.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Times Basketball Games Were Rude to Gamers

Postby Andrew on Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:16 pm

June 8th: 5 Times Basketball Games Were Rude to Gamers

One of the great things about video games is that when they defeat or otherwise annoy you, you can tell them off without fear of repercussions. You can be as profane as you like - at least until your housemates or neighbours complain - and you won't hear a single retort from the game or system. Of course, there are times when a game might sling a rude remark your way, sometimes in response to the way you're playing, and other times almost completely unprovoked. That in turn might lead you to throw out a few more obscenities, though the game will take it all in stride.

As basketball video games have sought to incorporate more personality, and a bit of humour on some occasions, developers have slipped in a few rude messages. Now, these messages aren't profane or obscene, but their blunt or taunting nature can leave you muttering a few choice words in response. Other times, the game isn't trying to be rude, but whichever developer was responsible for writing the messages has ended up adopting a tone that they possibly didn't intend. Whatever the case may be, I'm listing five times that basketball video games ended up being rude to gamers. Your opinion may vary as to whether or not they actually enhance the experience!
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Reasons Not to Ragequit

Postby Andrew on Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:01 pm

June 15th: 5 Reasons Not to Ragequit

We've all been there. Whether it's the CPU not playing fair, or an embarrassing deficit to an online opponent, we suddenly find ourselves wanting to ragequit a basketball video game. While it's almost universally considered poor form to ragequit an online game you're losing, it can be a healthy decision when you're playing offline. It's much better than breaking a controller (or anything else in the vicinity), and if you're really not having any fun, you're better off taking a break and trying again later. Generally speaking, it's best not to try forcing yourself to endure unenjoyable experiences.

However, there are times when you should try to persevere. Beyond showing good sportsmanship in online play, there are incentives to gut out a game that isn't going your way. You may be missing out on a potentially rewarding experience, as well as a few valuable lessons that may help you to improve your play on the virtual hardwood. No one likes to lose, and losing badly is a bitter pill to swallow, but strength in the face of adversity builds character; so does good sportsmanship, for that matter. Before you let your frustration get the better of you, here are five reasons not to ragequit when playing basketball video games.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Retro Teams I'd Like To See in NBA 2K (Part 5)

Postby Andrew on Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:37 pm

June 22nd: 5 Retro Teams I'd Like To See in NBA 2K (Part 5)

Even with all the retro teams that are already in NBA 2K, I can't stop thinking of new squads that would be fun to play with. As I've previously noted, some of the additions in recent years have opened the door to teams outside of previous champions, NBA Finalists, and perennial title contenders. There have been plenty of squads throughout the years that have been memorable for one reason or another, if only for a season or two. It'd be great to get them into future NBA 2K games, not only to play with, but also to boost the ranks of historical players in MyTEAM and the All-Time squads.

Once again, this is part five in an ongoing series of suggestions for new retro teams. I'd still like to see the teams I mentioned in parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 included at some point, but with another five squads coming to mind, it was time for another list. As always, please note that these suggestions assume that most of the significant players (if not all of them) can be licensed to appear in the game, since it would be rather pointless to add these retro teams otherwise. Some are probably more feasible than others, while a few have the advantage of several players already appearing in the game. With that being said, let's get to the list!
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Examples of Content That Should Return

Postby Andrew on Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:12 pm

June 29th: 5 Examples of Content That Should Return

Basketball video games have come a long way when it comes to additional content. In the very early days, simply including every single NBA team (rather than a selection of the previous year's postseason teams) was a big deal. Once it became standard to include every team, extra content was basically limited to the custom teams and a few secret unlockable teams usually comprised of the game's developers. NBA Live 2000 would see the arrival of Legends, and then 2K would take historical content even further beginning in NBA 2K11, with the inclusion of Michael Jordan's Bulls squads.

Indeed, much of what we might have once called bonus content is now considered to be essential. It's difficult to imagine Visual Concepts removing the historical teams from NBA 2K; if it were to happen, the backlash would be tremendous. The removal of content is a sore point for basketball gamers because we have seen certain features disappear from both NBA Live and NBA 2K over the years. While content such as the historical and WNBA teams nicely round out recent games, there are things that a lot of gamers would like to see return. I obviously have my own list of content that I'd like to see again, which I present for everyone's consideration (including EA and 2K).
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Ways Basketball Games Are More Fun Now

Postby Andrew on Fri Jul 06, 2018 10:16 pm

July 6th: 5 Ways Basketball Games Are More Fun Now

We tend to enjoy basketball video games around these parts. It may not always seem like that, but a hardcore fanbase is always going to be passionate, and criticism always comes across louder than praise. We have our complaints, and there are things that we want to see improve, but generally speaking, we do have fun with basketball games. Whether we prefer franchise gaming, team building modes, the single player career experience, or online play, there's usually at least been a handful of games that have given us memorable and enjoyable moments on the virtual hardwood.

Of course, basketball games have been fun for a long time, and if you've been playing them for many years, then it's likely that you have many fond memories of older titles. It's often fun to revisit an old favourite, but other times, it's best to leave the memories alone. After all, technology and design concepts have come a long way over the past couple of decades, and there have been many improvements that make more modern basketball games more fun to play than their predecessors. It's not always apparent until you go back and play an old game, and there are always exceptions, but if you're feeling sceptical, here are five ways that basketball games are more fun now.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Ways Basketball Games Are Less Fun Now

Postby Andrew on Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:41 am

July 13th: 5 Ways Basketball Games Are Less Fun Now

Basketball video games have improved in leaps and bounds over the past couple of decades, but it hasn't always been a smooth journey. There have been missteps along the way, and moving forward, there's obviously still room for improvement in both NBA Live and NBA 2K. Despite that, it's fair to say that in many ways, basketball games are better than they've ever been, providing extremely fun experiences thanks to the factors I discussed in last week's Friday Five. At the same time, there are a few aspects of today's games that make them less fun than their predecessors.

It's difficult to say that without sounding like a grumpy old man being held hostage by his own nostalgia, but it's true. While design concepts and technology have come a long way, there are certain trends - some specific to basketball games, others common to video gaming in general - that make us yearn for the good old days. In some cases, the good old days aren't even that long ago, with some of these issues infiltrating our favourite basketball games within the past few years. It's not that basketball games aren't fun anymore, or necessarily worse than the titles that came before them, but the particular elements I'm about to discuss have come to affect our enjoyment.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Players Who Appeared In Video Games, But Not The NBA (Part 2)

Postby Andrew on Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:44 pm

July 20th: 5 Players Who Appeared In Video Games, But Not The NBA (Part 2)

Last year, I compiled a list of five players that had appeared in at least one NBA video game, but never logged a minute in the NBA itself. I found it to be a rather interesting and quirky phenomenon, and I figured that there would be further examples. In fact, I did have a sixth example which I held back from including as an honourable mention, just in case I had the opportunity to write a Part 2. Serendipity struck as I stumbled across two such examples recently, which inspired me to do a little research to see if I could find a couple more to make it five.

I did indeed find those last two examples, and so this week, I'm presenting a second list of five players who appeared in video games, but not the NBA. Keep in mind that some of these players may have appeared in Summer League or even Pre-Season games for NBA teams, but until they step out onto the court during a regular season game, they haven't officially made their NBA debut. I've also decided not to count the unlockable rookies in NBA Live 2004 who never made it to the NBA, as the situation is a little different with them being hidden out of the box. Also, I have to save a few examples for a potential Part 3 and beyond. With that being said, let's get to the list!
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Retro Teams I'd Like To See in NBA 2K (Part 6)

Postby Andrew on Fri Jul 27, 2018 9:14 pm

July 27th: 5 Retro Teams I'd Like To See in NBA 2K (Part 6)

Did you think that twenty-five suggestions for new retro teams would be all that I'd be able to come up with? Let's make it an even thirty! Yes, there are plenty more retro teams that could be added outside of the champions, NBA Finalists, and perennial contenders that originally made up most of the squads from yesteryear available in NBA 2K. As long as Visual Concepts are willing to add some other interesting teams, there are several that we can come up with that were noteworthy for one reason or another, even if they weren't among the most successful squads in history.

As usual, a reminder that these suggestions don't cancel out my previous picks, as I'd still like to see those retro teams added to the game at some point. These are just five more that would also be fun additions. Likewise, not all of the players are currently licensed and there's no guarantee that 2K would be able to secure their likeness rights, but these suggestions are operating under the assumption that they can sign most of (if not all of) the significant players. After all, there'd be no point including the teams if all of the big names won't sign on. Without any further ado, here are the next five retro teams that I believe would be great to have in future NBA 2K games.
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Re: The Friday Five: Top 5 Favourite Cards in NBA Live 18 Ultimate Team

Postby Andrew on Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:22 pm

August 3rd: Top 5 Favourite Cards in NBA Live 18 Ultimate Team

Ultimate Team has been my mode of choice in NBA Live 18. Despite a couple of nice additions this year, Franchise mode isn't quite deep enough for my liking; a situation that I hope will change. Although a lot of fine work was done with The One, I'm a little burned out on career modes from playing so much MyCAREER in recent years. Being in Australia, I found the online experience to be unusually laggy for an NBA Live title, making LIVE Events somewhat less fun for me than they probably were for others. As such, it's Ultimate Team that's held the most appeal for me.

It's not the first time that I've been drawn into the mode, either. As someone who used to collect basketball trading cards back in the 90s, Ultimate Team has brought back fond memories of opening packs and being excited at the haul, and coveting certain cards in particular. I'm clearly not alone, as the Ultimate Team discussion in our NBA Live 18 Forum has been the most popular topic in the section. With that in mind, I'm making a countdown of my Top 5 favourite cards in Ultimate Team this year. Keep in mind that they aren't necessarily the five best cards to have, just the five that I like the best, and most enjoyed having in my lineup.
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Re: The Friday Five: Top 5 Favourite Cards in NBA Live 18 Ultimate Team

Postby [Q] on Sat Aug 04, 2018 2:54 am

I agree Sonics Kemp & Big Moments Dirk were great cards to have. I also liked my Ladder Kuzma card that just kept getting better as time went on. I didn't have Lakers Shaq, but Magic Shaq seemed a bit better overall in ratings, so I went with him.
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Re: The Friday Five: Top 5 Favourite Cards in NBA Live 18 Ultimate Team

Postby Andrew on Sat Aug 04, 2018 11:50 am

Did Magic Shaq have any issues finishing? I felt I got screwed over with Lakers Shaq too often in Challenges on tougher difficulty settings, with him either getting swatted or overpowered in the paint.
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Re: The Friday Five: Top 5 Favourite Cards in NBA Live 18 Ultimate Team

Postby [Q] on Sat Aug 04, 2018 1:25 pm

He didn't get swatted but he would take more contact and miss more inside shots after that was patched in.
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Re: The Friday Five: Top 5 Favourite Cards in NBA Live 18 Ultimate Team

Postby Andrew on Sat Aug 04, 2018 1:30 pm

Glad to know I'm not the only one who was frustrated by that. I hope that kind of physicality is improved in NBA Live 19 and beyond, as a player like Shaq in his prime should be overpowering opponents quite consistently.
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Re: The Friday Five: Top 5 Legends I'd Like to See in NBA Live

Postby Andrew on Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:06 pm

August 10th: Top 5 Legends I'd Like to See in NBA Live

As NBA Live continues to evolve into a viable alternative to NBA 2K for basketball gamers seeking a sim experience, it's important that it becomes a well-rounded title. This means that on top of quality gameplay that realistically depicts the NBA, modes must also be deep and engaging. It's also important to include some additional content beyond the current NBA teams. NBA Live has obviously found a great hook in the global courts found in The Streets, as well as WNBA players, but one area where it could stand to improve is in its usage of historical content, specifically NBA Legends.

It's tough to match what NBA 2K has done in terms of utilising Legends, not only with its historical squads but also the All-Time Teams. However, NBA Live could do a little more with the Legends that EA Sports has licensed, beyond simply featuring them in Ultimate Team. From Decade All-Stars to the ability to assign Legends to the current teams, there are ways that they could (and should) have a bigger presence in NBA Live. There are some prominent names missing however, Legends that I'd love to see in EA's game once more. Licensing some of them is easier said than done, but should it ever be feasible, these are the Top 5 Legends I'd like to see in NBA Live.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Retro Teams I'd Like To See in NBA 2K (Part 7)

Postby Andrew on Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:49 pm

August 17th: 5 Retro Teams I'd Like To See in NBA 2K (Part 7)

It seems that I can't stop thinking about historical content that I'd like to see in future editions of NBA Live and NBA 2K. Following on from last week's countdown of the Top 5 Legends I'd like to see return to NBA Live, I've got another list of five retro teams that I believe would make great additions to NBA 2K. You'd think I might be out of ideas after parts one, two, three, four, five, and six, but there are still several teams outside of champions, their opponents, and other perennial contenders that would enhance the selection of retro teams.

As with the previous articles, I'll start out by explaining that my previous picks still stand. These new picks aren't meant to replace my previous suggestions, or take any priority over them. I'll also mention once again that these suggestions are being made under the assumption that all (or at least most) of the key players could be licensed, if they don't already appear in NBA 2K. After all, it would defeat the purpose of adding any historical squad if none of their star players and other key members of the team were featured. With that being said, let's get to another five retro teams that I'd like to see added to NBA 2K's roster of historical content.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Toughest Trophies & Achievements

Postby Andrew on Sat Aug 25, 2018 1:07 am

August 24th: 5 Toughest Trophies & Achievements

Trophies and achievements are an aspect of modern gaming that tends to divide most gamers into a couple of broad categories: those who take pride in collecting as many of them as possible, and those who are mostly indifferent to them. Some gamers may view trophies and achievements with some degree of scorn, but I've always found them to be a fun idea. They're a clear goal for completionists to aim for, and in many cases suggest interesting challenges, perhaps even hinting at modes and features we wouldn't normally think of trying out.

Of course, some trophies and achievements are attained very easily, simply by playing through a game's story or campaign. Such is the case with several basketball games, where progressing through the career mode or completing tutorials is enough to earn several of them. There are some that are far more difficult to attain though, and that's what we're looking at today. Since any trophies and achievements for online features eventually become impossible to attain when the servers are shut down, I'm excluding them from this list unless they were also notably difficult to get at the time; otherwise, they'd all make the list by default. Without any further ado, let's tip off the list!
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Toughest Trophies & Achievements

Postby [Q] on Mon Aug 27, 2018 5:14 pm

I did manage to get all of the trophies in Live 10. Don't recall how hard that Wade one was, but I'd imagine I tried it a couple of times. I remember having the hardest time getting 10 blocks with Dwight even with 12 minute quarters.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Toughest Trophies & Achievements

Postby Andrew on Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:19 pm

Ah yes, that one would be tough. Even with slider tweaks, it still comes down to having the opportunities with players driving to the basket.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Underrated Improvements in Basketball Games

Postby Andrew on Sat Sep 01, 2018 1:26 am

August 31st: 5 Underrated Improvements in Basketball Games

The preview season is almost over, with NBA Live 19 and NBA 2K19 coming out next week (or the week after, in the case of NBA 2K19's Standard Edition). For those of us who are picking up this year's basketball games, we're naturally hoping that they will provide us with a lot of fun and fulfilling experiences on the virtual hardwood over the course of the next twelve months. From returning features to new modes and content, hopefully we'll see a satisfactory number of improvements that make all of the anticipation worthwhile.

Of course, when we've been buying the newest basketball games every year, many of the improvements can feel rather incremental. It's not until we go back and play the previous game, or maybe a game from a few years back, that we really recognise and appreciate some of the improvements that have been made. Although there are older games that do still hold up, the further back we go, the more we can see just how far basketball games have come. Some of those improvements are certainly easy to take for granted, so for this week's Friday Five, I'm taking a look at five improvements in basketball games that tend to be somewhat underrated.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Reasons to Keep Saved Game Files

Postby Andrew on Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:35 pm

September 7th: 5 Reasons to Keep Saved Game Files

Another preview season is over, which means that NBA Live 19 and NBA 2K19 are upon us! If you're picking up this year's games, be sure to share your impressions with the rest of the community in the Forum, and stay tuned for the original content that we'll be producing for them. Hopefully this year's releases will meet most of your expectations (if not all of them), and it won't be long before you're starting new games and getting stuck into your favourite modes. Once that happens, you might be tempted to delete your saved game files from last year, as well as saves from other older titles.

Not so fast! While you may be about to move on to a new basketball video game, you shouldn't be too hasty to delete your old saved game files. We're well beyond the days of 8 megabyte memory cards and other storage devices with very limited capacity, so it shouldn't be an issue to hang onto your saves. You should have the room to keep files for several games in your collection, not just last year's release. It's a good idea to do just that, as losing your old saves is something that you can easily come to regret. To that end, here are five reasons to consider keeping your saved game files, even as you move on to the latest releases from EA Sports and Visual Concepts.
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Re: The Friday Five: Top 5 Positives and Negatives in NBA Live 19

Postby Andrew on Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:37 pm

September 14th: Top 5 Positives and Negatives in NBA Live 19

I will be producing a written review of NBA Live 19 in addition to discussing the game in the Forum and on the NLSC Podcast, but right now, I'm still collecting my thoughts and evaluating the game as the initial content updates and bug fixes come through. That full review will be coming soon, but in the meantime, I wanted to post some initial impressions of this year's release from EA Sports, spotlighting five of my most positive observations so far, as well as five things that stand out as some of the more prominent negatives.

Basically, if you're looking for a quick overview of my take on NBA Live 19 so far, this is it. In my opinion, the game has taken some further steps forward this year, and while there is still room for improvement in many key areas, a solid foundation has been established. In ranking the positives and negatives that I have observed so far, I'm basing them on my preferences and expectations of the game, so their importance (or indeed, whether or not they count as a positive or negative) may differ for you. With that being said, let's get on with a 2-for-1 edition of the Friday Five, and take a look at what's good and what's not so good in NBA Live 19!
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