Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 28
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 28
  3. Negative: 0 out of 28
Buy On
  1. 81
    A confounding mix of good, bad, and just plain stupid. Like Charles Barkley, the 2K series remains great, but is still lacking that elusive championship ring.
  2. Even though there are some rough edges in its franchise mode, ESPN NBA 2K5's basic gameplay mechanics are extremely well done, making the game easy to recommend to any basketball fan. It hits the mark in just about every aspect of basketball, including post-up play, rebounding, and passing.
  3. Game Informer
    This is still the best playing, most rewarding and realistic basketball game that money can buy. [Nov 2004, p.143]
  4. All said, NBA 2K5 is the best basketball game on the market. Period. NBA team comparison: 2003-2004 Detroit Pistons – Does what it needs to do to get it done. Teamwork and fundamentals give this game the championship it rightfully deserves.
  5. With top-notch graphics and a mostly solid game of basketball that rewards practice and knowledge, ESPN NBA 2k5 is loads of fun.
  6. 90
    While EA's series definitely has its strong points, ESPN NBA 2K5 has better graphics, AI, and that highly addictive 24-7 mode.
  7. If there's one area in which ESPN clearly dominates the competition, it's in its graphics. Player models are terrific, the framerate is smooth throughout and the animations are pretty fluid.
  8. GamePro
    No one's going to beat 2K5 on price, and the game's as tough as nails on the court. [Dec 2004, p.142]
  9. 80
    If you already own "ESPN NBA 2K4" basketball game, 2K5 is probably not worth the dough -- prettier graphics aren't enough. The $20 price tag puts it in reach of most everyone else, though.
  10. AceGamez
    There are many features here to keep you entertained while going solo but if you're looking for a multiplayer friendly game, ESPN doesn't really deliver.
  11. Official Xbox Magazine
    The controls feel loose and non-responsive, which makes executing everything from a simple dunk to a pick-and-roll more exasperating than it should be. [Dec 2004, p.89]
  12. Play Magazine
    It just shies away from greatness given how good last year's game was. [Dec 2004, p.103]
  13. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    2K5 looks better, moves better, and controls more intuitively than EA's hoopster. [Dec 2004, p.158]
  14. 90
    An excellent basketball game. It offers loads of gameplay, solid physics, unparalleled animations, and terrific graphics. It would be a bargain at $50, let alone the $20 it's selling for.
  15. Wisely staying away from being a full on sim, NBA 2K5 features incredibly slick gameplay, intuitive action and - most importantly - delivers a fantastic game of Basketball that dumps on EA's recent effort from a great height.
  16. For those looking for a variety of online modes, great graphics, and technically accurate five-on-five play, ESPN 2K5 is the only way to go.
  17. The controls and the gameplay just aren't what they used to be, and this has allowed "NBA Live" to catch up this year.
  18. Simply put, ESPN NBA 2K5 can't be beat when it comes to value and offers quite possibly the best virtual game of basketball on the market today.
  19. netjak
    Even though I'm not blown away by the gameplay or even the different modes of play, I can definitely see a fair amount of replay value in this game.
  20. The announcing is unfortunately not up to the previous standards seen in the 2K series.
  21. The 24/7 create-a-player mode is hugely addictive, letting you train your character and complete increasingly tough challenges. ESPN's weaknesses are a limited defensive game and shallow franchise mode.
  22. Absolutely the way to go. The upgraded franchise mode with the awesome Full Authority feature and the return of the 24/7 mode make this game more than worth its 20 dollar price tag.
  23. Xbox Nation Magazine
    The first thing you're going to notice about this game is how unbelievably gorgeous it is. [Dec 2004, p.94]
  24. 91
    Sega finally got the rhythm back again as ESPN NBA 2K5 excels on all levels and is easily the best playing and most featured filled basketball game on the market.
  25. My plea to VC: Please don't revert back to last year's game. The game is a few steps away from being a great game. Just fix the bugs.
  26. Overall, this game is a three pointer from downtown. Granted, it was banked off the boards and hit the rim, but it still went in.
  27. Flaws in the graphics and lack of improvement in 24/7 mode are outweighed by the positives of improvements in gameplay, the Association, and online.
  28. 78
    Even if you don't know how to play the game, the rules are easily picked up and gameplay is relatively smooth and quite fun –however, if you wish to advance your play, invent set moves and plays then the game can become much more enjoyable for the advanced player.

Awards & Rankings

#26 Most Discussed Xbox Game of 2004
#58 Most Shared Xbox Game of 2004
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 22 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 22
  2. Negative: 1 out of 22
  1. idk
    Jul 20, 2005
    Dont get this game, ea does a better job of creating more control, better yet, just wait for the xbox 360 and get nba live 06-next gen.
  2. Arthur
    Apr 29, 2005
    I got this the day it came out for $15. I thought it was just okay at first, but the 24/7 mode plus a great franchise mode and very realistic I got this the day it came out for $15. I thought it was just okay at first, but the 24/7 mode plus a great franchise mode and very realistic gameplay that will grow on you quickly, it might be the best money a basketball fan could spend. Full Review »
  3. BobM.
    Feb 1, 2005
    I would have given this game a 10 without any doubts but the graphics arent as good because the camera not low to the floor like NBA live I would have given this game a 10 without any doubts but the graphics arent as good because the camera not low to the floor like NBA live 2005. The extras you can do are awesome such as franchise mode or picking your players shoes. Full Review »