Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 30
  2. Negative: 0 out of 30
  1. A wonderfully done basketball game by 2K Sports that is worth all the money and time you will invest in it.
  2. 2K seems very comfortable with their winning formula - they've got a game that plays and looks great that improves a little each year. They've succeeded in adding wrinkles that do what should be the #1 goal of anyone who makes sports games: They stay out of the way.
  3. 91
    The game shines particularly bright in the Total Team Control mode, which allows you to hook up online with nine other players for 5-on-5 basketball. This mode simulates the experience of playing an actual game of basketball more closely than any videogame I've played.
  4. NBA 2K9 is the closest thing yet we’ve seen to a total hoops package. Other than a few minor quibbles – the visuals get choppy during the cutscenes between play and the Blacktop mode is a throwaway collection of uninteresting minigames – we’re utterly delighted with 2K’s latest ode to the hardwood.
  5. Everything about NBA 2K9 blows NBA Live 09 out of the water. If you're a basketball fan, NBA 2K9 is the game to get this season.
  6. 90
    This game delivers where it needs to, offering the most realistic NBA experience to date. Heck, even free-throw shooting means memorizing the shooting styles of different NBA players (a feature we really like, by the way).
  7. 88
    With the insight and dedication the makers of NBA 2K9 have applied to their franchise, dunking from my couch has never been more fun, more rewarding or closer to the real thing.
  8. NBA 2K9 achieves another success offering a title that justifies its new purchase. Essential for basket fans, it's again the finest virtual representation of that sport.
  9. In comparison to last year’s title, 2K’s 09 effort presents a faster, smoother, livelier, and perhaps most importantly, an even more accessible and realistic depiction of basketball.
  10. Just another sequel for a lot of money? Yes and no. You can find improvements concerning graphics, handling and feeling, but you won’t find real innovation.
  11. 85
    Refined gameplay that captures the speed of the NBA game without reverting to being an arcade title. A few annoyances here and there are all that hold this one back from a guaranteed spot in the Hall.
  12. With its realistic animations, solid controls, and ambitious Association mode, NBA 2K9 makes its title run once again. But the competition is stiffening, and next year needs to bring significant leaps forward with online play and the low-post game if 2K wants to make it 10 in a row.
  13. Basketball gameplay in NBA 2K9 is second to none of 2K Sports' competitors.
  14. Yes, NBA 2K9 is great. While Living Rosters and Five-on-Five online are noteworthy additions to the franchise, the game doesn’t feature much new stuff besides those two options. Instead, Visual Concepts tweaked, improved and continued to build upon several aspects the franchise has been accustomed to deliver year after year. It’s definitely good to see the improvement especially after the less-stellar 2K8. NBA 2K9 is the closest you will get to the NBA world and it’s definitely worth every penny.
  15. NBA 2K is still the standard for basketball gameplay, and if you're wondering which title to go with this year, NBA 2K9 is your choice.
  16. 84
    The Association mode is making a case for the best franchise mode in the entire genre, and the on court gameplay is mostly very solid. With some tweaks to the post play, and an overhauled menu system, next years' version has the potential to be a truly outstanding title.
  17. Casual hoops players aren't going to be wowed with this latest iteration of NBA 2K9, but it's meant to satisfy those who live and breathe basketball, as the improvements in the AI and atmosphere alone are sure to tickle the inner twine of dedicated fans.
  18. Whereas Live 09 offers similar new features, 2K has the ability to back up their new features with smooth on-court gameplay. This is simply a more fun basketball experience.
  19. This is a game designed and built for hardcore fans, and it's not going to waste any time concerning itself with anyone who doesn't "get it." To be perfectly blunt, the game is very, very hard, and most decidedly not for everyone, especially if you aren't an NBA superfan or a longtime franchise devotee.
  20. The slickest and toughest basketball game of the year. [Dec 2008, p.84]
  21. Factor in the terrible menu navigation, and 2K9 has more problems than the Charlotte Bobcats. However, its five-on-five online play, updated Association mode and enjoyable hoops action still makes it a slam dunk.
  22. Where it counts, 2K9 is hard to fault. [Dec 2008, p.121]
  23. NBA 2K9's game is strong, but most of its new features won't be appreciated by the average Joe.
  24. Still the best NBA game you can play, without question. However, the lack of new features may prevent it from being a slam dunk worthy of your $60.
  25. However you're playing the game, at whatever difficulty level, in single-player franchise mode, in quick games, or online in the promised five-on-five multiplayer games, NBA 2K9 looks like basketball does on your TV. [Dec 2008, p.94]
  26. A jazzy, jiving b-ball package, but too similar to 2K8. [Christmas 2008, p.82]
  27. If you're a dedicated NBA fan then there might just be enough here to keep you occupied. If not, there are better alternatives on the market.
  28. 67
    While this will probably be embraced by the fans, it’s just a little too realistic for its own good, and as such isn’t as fun as it could be. Anyone considering looking for a change could start this year.
  29. The Association mode is a very deep simulation experience that should satisfy most simulation fans. There's a wealth of information available and the ability to customize the league and determine how much control the owner has over the team.
  30. Newcomers beware. If you're not familiar with 2K's basketball games you'll need to spend an awful amount of hours to get into shape. Apart from the online and quickplay modes there isn't much to look forward to, and this years iteration will only satisfy old fans of the series.

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