We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Get your week started here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to basketball video games.
In the last couple of episodes of the NLSC Podcast, Arcane and I have gotten back to discussing what we’re doing with basketball video games each week, be it NBA Live 16, NBA 2K16, or both. If you’ve listened to Episode #145, you may recall that I mentioned that I’ve started both a Dynasty game in NBA Live 16, and a MyLEAGUE game in NBA 2K16. In each game’s franchise mode, I’ve elected to take control of the Chicago Bulls, and make one offseason move: signing Ben Gordon.
On the surface, the more logical course of action would seem to be opting for completely different experiences in each game’s franchise mode. However, I thought that it would be interesting to see how the same approach would play out in each game, and how the results of each franchise game would ultimately compare to one another. Aside from differences in gameplay, MyLEAGUE is also a much deeper mode than Dynasty, which is likely to be a big factor in changing up the experience.
So, as I look to tip off both franchise games, what are my expectations?
As I mentioned, MyLEAGUE is considerably deeper than the current iteration of Dynasty Mode, or for that matter, Dynasty Mode prior to the reboot of the NBA Live series with NBA Live 14. I’m expecting that my NBA Live 16 Dynasty will be more of a “pick up and play” type of experience, one where I might take a slightly looser approach to realism. At the very least, there aren’t as many tasks to micromanage. Conversely, I expect MyLEAGUE to be a far more immersive experience, one that I can really sink my teeth into.
Which game will be the most enjoyable? I actually expect that I’ll enjoy both experiences for what they are; though, I guess it comes down to how much I enjoy playing each game over the course of a season. I want to see Dynasty Mode get a lot deeper in NBA Live 17 and beyond, but I’m well aware of what’s on tap right now, and I’ve made my peace with that as far as this year’s game is concerned. I therefore believe I can enjoy a more casual approach, given the circumstances. On the other hand, with MyLEAGUE having so much of what I want to see in a franchise mode, I anticipate having a lot of fun with all the bells and whistles.
I’m also interested to see if I’ll ultimately be tempted to make different decisions in each game, as the season progresses. For example, it’s possible that with a more casual approach in NBA Live 16, I’ll be inclined to try making some wacky trades. With different gameplay quirks, I might find that different lineups work better for me in each game. Some things that I feel inclined to do, I might not be able to achieve in both games, so I’ll have to decide whether to simply not do them, find a suitable variation of the idea that will work in the other game, or come up with something completely different altogether.
And of course, this is all assuming that I don’t ultimately get bored with one of the franchise games, or for that matter, both of them. Nevertheless, it’s struck me as a fun experiment.
For those of you who haven’t caught the Podcast yet, or have forgotten my explanation, the reason I’ve picked up Ben Gordon is because he became a star in my NBA Live 06 Dynasty. He was also, for a time, my favourite active player; truth be told, I wouldn’t be completely against him returning to the Bulls in real life, albeit at an affordable price. I believe they could do with a little extra offensive punch off the bench, and that goes for their video game counterparts, too. I actually picked up Ben Gordon in Ultimate Team in NBA Live 16, and he’s had some good games as my sixth man.
While gimmicky approaches to franchise games have the potential to ultimately ruin the experience, I’m optimistic about this idea. I don’t think this will be like my NBA Live 2002 Franchise with the Utah Jazz, mainly because this time, I’ll be using my favourite team. I’m also painfully aware of some of the pitfalls that I should avoid. With two versions of essentially the same franchise game – at least at the beginning – there’s also the freedom to experiment with one and be more cautious with the other, if I do decide to take them in different directions. And if one does happen to go down in flames, I still have the other one.
Having fun in the franchise modes of basketball video games is all about picking the right team, and running with ideas that appeal most to you. Somehow, this is an idea that I haven’t tried out yet, despite buying both games for a few years now. It’s about time that I give this experiment a try, to see how the same ideas will play out in both modes, or indeed whether I’ll be inclined to mix things up for deliberately contrasting experiences as the season wears on. Either way, I’ll be sure to comment on their progress, whether it’s in columns, the Podcast, or even some kind of story thread in the Forum. If you’re interested in how it will turn out, stay tuned.