Games

The best is back

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PLAY By Mark Taliaferro

The one sport not currently dominated by EA Sports is basketball. 2K Sports still makes a far superior NBA game, and this version should be especially appealing to both hardcore and casual gamers.

NBA 2K11 will feature Michael Jordan on the cover, and the game will include the Jordan Challenge, a playable collection of Jordan’s career highlights. You’ll be asked to score 69 points against the Cavs in 1990, beat the Lakers in the 1991 NBA Finals, drop 55 on the Knicks in 1995 and beat down the Jazz in Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals despite having the flu.

The beauty of this feature is that it’s dripping with atmosphere. 2K Sports has licensed players from Jordan’s era so that you’re really playing with guys like Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and Horace Grant. And that flu game in Utah? There are animations specific to that game and to others to make the experience as lifelike as possible.

This game is always spectacular, but this year’s version looks like it will provide a special experience for older gamers who want to reminisce. The game will be in stores Oct. 5, but you can try it now by downloading the free demo on Xbox Live or the PlayStation 3 Network.

In The Net

NHL 11 by EA Sports hit stores last week. While hockey will never be the hot sport here in SEC country, the video game version of the sport is really hitting its stride.

The NHL series is what reinvented EA Sports in the eyes of avid sports video-gamers. About the time the Xbox 360 was launching in 2005, most of EA Sports’ franchises had become jokes to avid gamers. Most of their games were either painfully unrealistic or just plain terrible, and while the sales of some games, like Madden, remained strong, there were competing games in most sports that real gamers found superior.

As soon as EA Sports introduced the “Skill Stick” controls to NHL 07, the revolution was on. The NHL series has quickly become one of the finest overall sports games each year, and other EA franchises like FIFA followed it with massive improvements. The NHL series is now EA Sports’ premier game in terms accolades, and this year’s edition is the best yet.

Zombies!

Dead Rising 2 will be out Sept. 28, but you can get an early look at the game by purchasing a short prequel episode on Xbox Live (it’s not available on the PS3). The episode costs 400 Microsoft Points ($5).

The episode allows you develop your character up to Level 5, and anything you do, earn or collect in this episode will be carried over to the full game when you play it. The knee-jerk reaction for some will be that this is a cheap money-grab by the developer, but Capcom is providing a lot of game for $5. It’s worth it if you love killing zombies.

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