On Oct. 7, a basketball gaming triple threat arrives, with the drop of NBA 2K9, NBA 09 The Inside and NBA Live 09. We made our selections for each game's best new feature, and even got some scoop on 2K9 from an insider. So head out, grab the goods and your guys, and pick the features that make your starting lineupand those that warm the bench.
Systems: XBOX 360, PS3, PS2
Overview: The 10th installment of 2K Sports' basketball franchise is touting bigger and better gameplay and more online features than ever before. According to 2K9 gameplay director Rob Jones, gamers will experience everything that cover athlete Kevin Garnett brings to his real-life game, including intensity, passion and the desire to be the best.
Most Improved Feature: Shot Stick Advance This control system has expanded to include a wider variety of shots and controls. "We reinstituted full control over running jump shots and being able to change your shot in the air as you see a [defender] coming to block you," Jones explains. Furthermore, "the more you play, the more [features] you find available to you."
Best New Feature: 2K Online You can have 10 guyseach doing his own thing, yet all playing the same game. "We did a lot of work to ensure that the enjoyment isn't limited to the guy who has the ball or the guy blocking him," Jones says. "Everybody has something to do in order for the whole team to be successful."
NBA 09 The Inside
Overview: The Inside does exactly what it says: takes you inside the NBA. You can elevate a player through the ranks, manage a whole franchise, perfect your shot with various new skill games, experience the life-like force of running into an opponent or dunk on a breakaway. Your choice.
Best New Feature: The Life Experience the journey of an NBA baller, both on and off the court. Guide up to three different characters from the D-league to the starting lineup using skill challenges and gameplay, all while managing storylines and interactions between you and teammates, coaches and opponents.
NBA Live 09
Systems: XBOX 360, PS3, PS2, Wii
Overview: The NBA is more alive than ever in EA's '09 edition. True-life gameplay features, such as Pick and Roll Control and Playcall Shooting, are infused with real-time updates of players as they make their way through the current season.
Best New Feature: Dynamic DNA While the idea of Dynamic DNA existed in previous versions, Live 365 kicks this feature up a notch by tracking the '08-'09 stats of players from more than 20 teams. That way, when a real player gets traded, goes cold or suffers an injury, it's reflected in the game.
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