How do you improve upon perfection? That’s the question that developers Visual Concepts have to answer on a yearly basis for their NBA 2K series.

I gave last year’s version five stars for what was a beautiful, brilliant basketball game. This year’s is back and although it appears the same on the outside, it’s a much different beast.

A year on and the already gorgeous visuals are just that slightly sharper, the animations that bit more realistic and detailed while an added level of gloss has been added to the in-game and on-screen presentations – including adding Kenny Smith to Shq and Ernie Johnson for pre-game, half-time and post-game analysis.

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But it’s when the action gets flowing that you’ll notice the fine tuning; it’s much smarter. The AI has been upgraded so opponents will react to your style of play, forcing you to make in-game adjustments and think like a coach. Scoring points is now much more realistic and reliant on set plays and concepts; barrelling head-first to the basket will end badly.

Not only do you have to out-play your opponent, you have to out-think them, too.

Popular game modes such as MyGM and MyLeague have been refined and upgraded, and could bring you all you ever want, while online play still shines.

The new MyCareer mode has also gone a major makeover and is directed by Spike Lee. There has been some criticism that the story arc doesn’t quite reflect what you are producing on the hardwood (on the cover of magazines while sitting on the bench for the Sacremento Kings), while there is a lack of truly defining choices in the way your career pans out.  But none of that really detracts from seeing your player grow into a star.

It's perfect, but better than last year's perfect. It's better and more true to life than any sports sim currently on the market. A real feat.

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