College Hoops 2K8 Review
$59.99 (XBOX 360, PS2 & PS3)
Does the sports world really need another “cover jinx”? Well, like it or not, there seems to be a pattern with the cover athletes on the excellent College Hoops games released by 2K Sports. The 2K5 and 2K6 cover stars, Josh Childress and Marvin Williams, have been stuck playing for the Atlanta Hawks their whole pro career, which is the epitome of being jinxed. Last year’s model, J.J. Redick, has had a spotty, injury-plagued NBA career so far. Greg Oden should have righted the ship for the game franchise this season, but he’ll have plenty of time to play the game what with being injured for the whole season.
Enough about that jinx nonsense - College Hoops 2K8 has got game. Lots of game. It’s as deep as Redick’s range on his jumper (Duke Redick, not Magic Redick). In fact, if you happen to be unemployed, not a student, have no significant other or family to speak of, and suffer from agoraphobia, this game is perfect for you. If you are a normal functioning human being, this game is a blast also.
All the usual game options you’d expect in a hoops game are here, including tournaments, quick games and legacy mode. There is also an All-American Training Challenge, where you will go head-to-head with former NCAA stars like Oden, Redick and Glen Davis in various drills and competitions. It is the legacy mode that goes real deep, as you have the choice of starting off coaching a low-level NCAA team and trying to build them into a winner (and not get fired) or you can pick your favorite team and do the same. You get to decide your rotation, the plays you run (you can even create your own plays), even your schedule. The game goes even deeper with the recruiting phase, where you get to scout out future stars. You can even play amateur games involving these prospects to really get a feel for who is right for your program. Once you decide who you want to target, you can bombard them with e-mails and phone calls, Kelvin Sampson-style (actually, you are limited to the number of times you’re allowed to contact a recruit, so you can’t really Sampson them).
The actual game play is loads of fun, with lots of new features including the ability to play lock-on D, throw various kinds of passes (lob, chest, bounce, etc.) and use your home crowd as a 6th Man Advantage to boost your play and hinder your opponents. And of course the game features the full range of online play options if that is your thing.
There aren’t too many negatives to speak of with the game. The graphics won’t wow you but they are more than adequate. The fact that no real player names are included in the game is easily remedied by various websites where you can download up-to-date roster info and upload it into your system. And once your idiot reviewer figured out that his game wasn’t broken and that he was supposed to use the motion sensor on his controller to shoot free throws, that negative was eliminated.
This game has too many features for one review article to touch on, so the best bet is to go out and grab a copy and explore the many features yourself. But if anyone at 2K Sports contacts you about modeling for the cover of an upcoming game, run away!
8 out of 10 stars
(Reviewed for Playstation 3)