Generally favorable reviews - based on 51 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 47 out of 51
  2. Negative: 0 out of 51
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  1. Mar 3, 2016
    NBA 2K16 has raised the bar not just for future iterations of the series but for every sports game developed beyond this point.
  2. 100
    Perfected gameplay and an abundance of addicting modes make NBA 2K16 a heavyweight contender for the greatest sports game ever made.
  3. Sep 29, 2015
    Alluring and fun, NBA 2K16 puts all the other sports games on the bench. Because of this series, basketball takes on a new dimension each year. Thank you Visual Concepts.
  4. Oct 23, 2015
    Best sports game ever made (probably!). I can’t wait to see them top it next year.
  5. Sep 29, 2015
    If we had to capture NBA 2K16 superiority over any other sports game, we would probably choose Pau Gasol's overwhelming power, shown in the latest Eurobasket. 2K Sports franchise's new entry has the best that basketball has to offer, with many modes to enjoy it as never before. NBA 2K16 just destroys any other challenger who dares to take a step forward.
  6. Sep 28, 2015
    NBA 2K16 is, simply put, the best basketball game of the year. Spike Lee aside, the game is simply huge, full of new features and incredibly fun to play.
  7. Oct 13, 2015
    The story mode might be predictable, and there might still be issues with the online play, but NBA 2K16 is one of the best sports simulations out there.
  8. Sep 28, 2015
    NBA 2K16 is the best sports game of the year without any doubt. Visual Concepts shows everyone how to innovate in a genre where it's quite easy to get lazy. The ring belongs to it, my precious.
  9. Sep 29, 2015
    Aside from a few graphical elements and despite the fact that Spike Lee's "movie" doesn't work entirely, NBA 2K16 remains the basketball videogame for excellence.
  10. Sep 24, 2015
    Once again, NBA 2K achieves the best basketball simulator of the year with NBA 2K16, due to the great and immersive "My Career" mode directed by Spike Lee, 2K Pro Am and the new edition capabilities.
  11. Nov 23, 2015
    NBA 2K16 brings another year of championship quality basketball to the console and PC.
  12. Playstation Official Magazine UK
    Nov 16, 2015
    No sports experience comes close to NBA 2K16's presentation. [Dec 2015, p.91]
  13. Oct 9, 2015
    NBA 2K16 is a great sports simulation, a title packed with content that will allow basketball lovers to live out their fantasies, create some impressive matches, and experience presentation that rivals real-world broadcasts. The only major problem with the package is that the Livin' Da Dream narrative is relatively poor, given the hype associated with the involvement of Spike Lee, and some people might actually give up on MyCareer early because of it.
  14. Oct 7, 2015
    NBA 2K16 is the ultimate basketball simulation and an awesome game. The gameplay feels a lot more intelligent and that makes things a lot more challenging and fun. The new animations make the players look like their real life counterparts even more than before. You will have to get used to the controls, but it is definitely worth it.
  15. Oct 7, 2015
    NBA 2K takes a couple of steps forwards with subtle improvements, beautiful graphics and a huge amount of content.
  16. Oct 7, 2015
    One more time, the new game on the NBA 2K series becomes the best sports game of the year. NBA 2K16 is a complete package with tons of contents that will make happy all NBA fans and it has positive changes on its gameplay that makes it more intelligent, challenging and maybe the best basketball game so far.
  17. Oct 6, 2015
    NBA 2K16 shows love for the true basketball fans. The movement of the players is authentic and the tactical depth seems endless; this game is the best basketball muse that we have seen thus far.
  18. Oct 6, 2015
    A must-buy sports game, there is no better basketball simulation out there.
  19. Oct 2, 2015
    NBA 2K16 is the first true classic sports game of this console generation. I can only hope other sports games follow Visual Concepts’ steadfast dedication to innovating on both the gameplay and game mode fronts.
  20. Oct 1, 2015
    Marvel at NBA 2K16’s drive for excellence and all they’ve put into making this year’s sim incredible. Year by year 2K has learned to make a more solid sports title, and now it’s not just a highlight-reel player, but an accomplished All-Star video game.
  21. Oct 1, 2015
    Each new entry in the NBA 2K series makes it more impressive, more realistic, more believable. NBA 2K16 succeeds in making itself more easy for the newcomers and it's still very demanding for the experienced players.
  22. Oct 1, 2015
    The best basketball game around, giving you an enjoyable and realistic experience with tons of modes and options that will keep you busy for hours.
  23. Sep 30, 2015
    NBA 2K16 is the greatest incarnation of the franchise, a huge production and an absolute reference for the genre. A dream for every lover of basketball : TV presentation is unparalleled, gorgeous graphic, massive soundtrack and the presence of Michael Jordan as spiritual godfather. Hard to ask for more.
  24. Sep 29, 2015
    NBA 2K16 is one of the most complete packages I’ve ever seen. Developer Visual Concepts continues to raise the sports simulation bar by completely retooling its silky-smooth gameplay, adding brand-new physics systems, and refining its traditional game modes.
  25. Sep 29, 2015
    NBA 2K16 improves its gameplay to deliver an even better basketball experience. We would like to see Visual Concepts pushing its visual even further or introducing new modes (actually new, not renamed), but these are just a few things that would make an outstanding simulator even better.
  26. Sep 28, 2015
    NBA 2K 16’s strong fundamental basketball smarts, world-class presentation, and multitude of options make it the most ambitious sports game I’ve ever played.
  27. Sep 28, 2015
    The best basketball sim is back with new options, game modes and smart ideas to become one of the best sports games out there on any platform.
  28. Sep 27, 2015
    Probably one of the best sports game ever. More realistic and impressive than ever.
  29. Oct 14, 2015
    Once more Visual Concepts remains the undisputed leader in its league. Among its several annual improvements as per usual –such as the addition of new animations— its online environment is greatly improved allowing for smoother multiplayer experience. However, the ever-intrusive micro-transactions return to show their ugly face.
  30. Oct 13, 2015
    As it stands 2K is still a definite buy for basketball fans in general and especially for would be GM’s or owners.
  31. Oct 9, 2015
    This year's iteration still has its flaws like the inconsistent career and the coin system. But nonetheless right now this is still the best sports game out there.
  32. Oct 4, 2015
    Although the microtransactions devalue certain aspects of the game, and Pro-AM has connection issues, the on-court changes and additions are worth checking out for basketball enthusiasts.
  33. NBA 2K16 is still best basketball game in the market. But this time, MyCareer mode is very nicely prepared with a little help (Spike Lee). If you're a personal fan of basketball games, don't miss it. But remember that: NBA 2K16 is very hard for newcomers.
  34. Sep 29, 2015
    Spike Lee’s nuanced plotting and oftentimes poetic phrasing yield a promising beginning for sports game narrative, a beginning so affecting that Lee’s last scenes left me staggered.
  35. Sep 29, 2015
    NBA 2K16 took some unexpected chances, and its uniqueness is respectable, even if the final product is far from perfect.
  36. 85
    While there are certainly some stumbling points, NBA 2K16 is another great entry in 2K’s series. Livin’ Da Dream may feature more cutscenes than Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, but it’s an interesting way to present a career mode.
  37. Oct 1, 2015
    While Spike Lee’s forced linear career mode experiment misses the mark, 2K’s basketball engine is second to none, providing a realistic on court experience that has been modified in some smart ways.
  38. CD-Action
    Dec 16, 2015
    Let’s forget about terrible cutscenes directed by Spike Lee – the game itself is still a joy to play. [12/2015, p.54]
  39. Dec 15, 2015
    NBA 2K16 continues to be at the top of its game, even if the new career mode isn’t everything I wanted from a Spike Lee joint.
  40. Nov 18, 2015
    NBA 2K16 is the first time in quite a while I’ve seen the franchise make a serious misstep. Though there’s more than enough NBA goodness here to justify another courtside seat, the disappointing MyCareer mode is impossible to ignore.
  41. Oct 6, 2015
    NBA 2K16 is definitely hurt by Livin Da' Dream, which is problematic in ways that go beyond the scope of this review. It just doesn't work. Once you get past MyCareer, though, NBA 2K16 once again stands out as a top-tier sports sim.
  42. Oct 2, 2015
    NBA 2K16 is a solid and satisfying game. Once you get used to the controls and master the basics, gameplay will provide hours of great fun in variety of modes, even if the career is not that impressive. Unfortunately, the servers are also not always up to the task.
  43. Oct 1, 2015
    If you’re a basketball fan, then NBA 2K16 is definitely worth picking up. It has all the experiences you would want in a basketball game, and is easily one of the more entertaining sports games to pick up.
  44. Sep 30, 2015
    NBA 2K16 draws you in with its welcoming personality and expanded game modes. But it still manages to push you away with unexplained intricacies.
  45. Sep 29, 2015
    Visual Concepts improved even further the formula, but the MyCareer experiment worsens one of the better features of the series.
  46. 80
    All of these things combine to overcome Spike Lee’s disappointing turn at the helm of MyCareer. Give credit to the franchise for daring to do something different and new, even if it did fail...Because everywhere else, NBA 2K16 passes with flying colors. You’ll love this game...You just won’t love your career.
  47. Oct 1, 2015
    NBA 2K16 remains a great basketball game at its core, but makes a mistake in trying to give us a narrative-driven MyCareer mode.
  48. Sep 25, 2015
    When actually playing basketball in game, or even managing how your player spends his time, NBA 2K16 is a realistic and fun experience. Unfortunately, it's broken up far too often with online issues and Spike Lee cliches.
  49. Oct 26, 2015
    2K Games delivers a new way of playing career mode. With a story directed by Spike Lee, NBA 2K16 makes you want to hate it and love it at the same time. The cliché story might be a little over the top, but the gameplay itself is still very strong, making it probably the best basketball game out there to date.
  50. Sep 27, 2015
    Yes, basketball fans will likely have a great time playing NBA 2K16 for hours on end, but there are too many small steps back here that can’t be ignored. The good news for fans of sports games is that the first misstep in this great franchise is still a very good game, which speaks to how truly fun its gameplay is.
  51. Games Master UK
    Dec 1, 2015
    An overly restrictive and often embarrassing career mode undermines the excellent gameplay. [Dec 2015, p.72]
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 453 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Sep 25, 2015
    Long time, year in year out, 2K player. All of the updates to the gameplay and AI are stellar as usual. The attention to detail andLong time, year in year out, 2K player. All of the updates to the gameplay and AI are stellar as usual. The attention to detail and progression of the game mechanics is stellar. I have always played MyPlayer and MyGM.

    MyPlayer this year forces you to be a player named Frequency Vibrations from the projects in Brooklyn, and have an African American family with a twin sister. And it's called "Livin' Da Dream". Not joking. I'm trying to figure out how to reconcile these things as I hear the story and look at the Spaniard I have created to resemble myself. I can't decide if it's a reverse blindside or if my character is just having Rachel Dolezal type delusions. Spike Lee has made myplayer mode feel like it's choosing to exclude me, and make me feel that by participating I am appropriating a culture that is not mine. These are not things that are currently enhancing my experience.
    Full Review »
  2. Sep 25, 2015
    I play a few hundred hours of 2K every year, so I am always very excited by a new release. The gameplay is improved from last year. The UI isI play a few hundred hours of 2K every year, so I am always very excited by a new release. The gameplay is improved from last year. The UI is great and it's easier than ever to get right into the action.

    However, I primarily play MyPlayer, and this year's version is very troubling. I was very excited going in about Spike Lee's presence. I thought it would bring more depth to my yearly wish fulfilment of getting to play basketball in the NBA. You see, I played into High School and had to stop because my knees just weren't made for the sport. That's why MyPlayer has always been so immersive to me, I get to role play that my basketball career didn't end in high school. Before this year, the game was very good about letting you fill in the blanks of your own character's story, showing you some behind the scenes BS that was amusing but not very worthwhile. Yet the crux of my characters "story" was always supplied by me, and that was perfect. I always rolled what the game supplied in the cut scenes into the continuity of my own story. That is not possible this year.

    Spike Lee has made the game less inclusive. It feels as if he's sending the message to anyone that isn't an African American from the projects, that basketball is not for them. Playing through the career has been strange to say the least. The game lets you mold and put yourself in the game. But then it chooses the nickname "Frequency Vibrations" for you, and there's a signature on court dance you cannot stop your character from doing, despite both those things going against the type player I want to be.

    You have an African American family and twin sister that the game continually reminds you of, and the in game commentators constantly bring up you coming from the projects in Brooklyn. This constantly breaks immersion if you have a character with differently pigmented skin. And none of this even mentions the casual demonization of all the white men working in the sports business or the simplistic and stereotypical representations of young African Americans that is uncomfortable.

    The high school and college games leading into the draft are brilliant, and the new gameplay is great as usual. I'm just severely disappointed that 2K and Spike Lee have made MyPlayer mode into something that doesn’t make me feel welcome. However, if you don't play MyPlayer mode, or you don't put yourself in the game every year as I do. You may have no problem with this.

    I will still play the game and I'm sure I will enjoy my time in MyGM mode, even though it isn't the mode I'd prefer to be playing. Collapse
    Full Review »
  3. Sep 30, 2015
    Excellent game, excellent gameplay. Would have been a 9 or 10 if 2K hadn't included Livin' Da Dream. Horrible addition. Sports video gameExcellent game, excellent gameplay. Would have been a 9 or 10 if 2K hadn't included Livin' Da Dream. Horrible addition. Sports video game "create-a-player" modes are successful because they allow regular couch potatoes that cannot make it to the bug time in real life to live out their aspirations in the game. Spike Lee's overly scripted mode leaves NO room for freedom and very little room for personalization. Should be called Livin' Spike Lee's Dream. Full Review »