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OS Scores Explained College Hoops 2K8 Overview (Xbox 360)
Pros
Legacy mode; Customization; Newly edited rosters
Cons
Gameplay didn't pass the test of time; Simulated upsets happen too frequently; Outdated graphics
Bottom Line
The Legacy Mode is more than enough to offset unsatisfying gameplay. Given the current low price of this game, its a no-brainer purchase.
8.5
out of 10
College Hoops 2K8 REVIEW

College Hoops 2K8 Review (Xbox 360)

 
College Hoops 2K8, though well-received, didn’t exactly rack up the accolades when it first came out almost five years ago. In fact, Operation Sports gave the game a measly seven on the old review scale -- nowhere near an score for what has been considered an all-time classic by the OS community. But since then, a devoted cult following has sprung up around the game. A large community of gamers continues to play College Hoops 2K8 religiously. For this piece, I revisited the game based on the current OS review standards and used rosters from the 2011-12 season to see how well the game holds up and how we might judge this much-beloved title if it came out today. 
 
Critics of the sports gaming genre claim that many new games are little more than a roster update. Well, thanks to some talented and dedicated gamers, College Hoops 2K8 gets that roster update every year (and at no cost to gamers!). For this piece, I used Raiderfan’s most recent roster set.
 
The fact that high-quality rosters like Raiderfan’s exist speaks to one of the game’s strengths – customization. Individual players can be edited all the way down to their potential ratings. The create-a-school feature is solid as well. Add on the many unlockables, including jerseys and arenas, and there’s a lot to do in this one.  
 
Gameplay
 
In the gameplay department, it’s hard to complain too much about balance issues – of which there are plenty – because the game’s sliders function so well. Unfortunately, the core gameplay is really showing its age, and that’s a problem sliders can’t fix. Driving to the hoop is awkward. Quite frankly, the game doesn’t play well on the default camera angle. It’s very difficult to find space to drive to the hoop on default settings, and without using an end-to-end camera, it’s next-to-impossible. The inside game is difficult to control and your players miss a surprising percentage of inside shots on default settings. 
 
One feature worth mentioning is the “sixth man” momentum effects. When the home team is playing well, a little meter on the screen fills up to reflect their success. As the meter fills, the crowd grows increasingly raucous and home team players gain a boost in their ratings. The visiting team can halt this momentum by making their own great plays or calling a timeout. It’s a simple feature that’s executed very well. Games at neutral sites even include a meter for both teams, which shows nice attention to detail by the developers (Why is this not in NBA 2K?).
 
The gameplay isn’t terrible; it’s just unsatisfying, especially now that we’ve seen what is possible on current-gen consoles. For me, NBA 2K11 was the first game to really nail the interactions between a dominant point guard and his on-ball defender. After getting used to breaking down CPU defenses with speed or driving to the hoop and kicking the ball back out for a wide-open three, it’s tough to go back to a game where those things don’t really happen. In its time, College Hoops 2K8 had top-notch gameplay. But it can’t compare to recent titles.
 
 
Game Modes
 
Thankfully, the game’s version of a career mode, called Legacy Mode, is still stellar. Gamers have two options: Career and Open. The Career version has you starting out at a small school, building your reputation and ratings en route to better job offers. Meanwhile, Open Legacy Mode allows you to take over any program and max out your coach’s ratings right away. Whichever option you choose, you can swap teams between conferences, customize schedules and even add your team to a variety of in-season tournaments. 
 
Legacy Mode remains one of the deepest and most fun career modes ever seen in a sports game. The key to the mode’s success lies in how well recruiting works. You can begin tracking players as high school freshmen, and maintaining contact through their first three years of high school pays dividends when you’re recruiting them as seniors. Player ratings are gradually revealed through contact and scouting actions. Recruiting doesn’t include any of the “pitches” we see in the NCAA Football series, but it still feels rich. Perhaps the coolest part is that lower-ranked recruits can still turn in to difference-makers. Features like player progression and morale work better than expected as well. Simply put, Legacy Mode stands the test of time. 
 
Another cool Legacy Mode feature is the season preview, weekly wrap-up and Selection Sunday shows. The in-season shows aren’t complicated, but they add another layer of realism and immersion to the mode. The Selection Sunday show, though, is still awesome. There’s legitimate tension in watching the brackets revealed game-by-game. The show even identifies bubble teams before the brackets are revealed and finishes with a “who’s in/who’s out” breakdown of these teams. Again, immersion matters, and this feature is still a highlight. 
 
Unfortunately, the simulation engine generates too many weird upsets. Sometimes, you don’t want to play a game against Radford or Western Kentucky when you can just sim past it and move on to a more interesting game. But I lost simulated games against both in my first season – before winning simulated games against multiple top-10 opponents. College basketball is unpredictable, but this game takes it a little too far. Then again, I'm sure Duke and Missouri would have something to say about this.
 
Final Thoughts
 
Overall, the graphics and gameplay of College Hoops 2K8 don’t hold up very well. In fact, I’m surprised at how little I enjoyed the actual basketball games. But Legacy Mode remains one of the best career modes in sports gaming history. If 2K slapped college uniforms on [I]NBA 2K11’s[/I] gameplay and attached to the College Hoops 2K8 Legacy Mode, the result might be the greatest sports game ever. 
 
Graphics: Player models and faces that were goofy four years ago now look ghoulish. Animations are okay, although some player movements are clunky. The arenas, though, are beautifully rendered and incredibly detailed. 
 
Sound: Although the commentary gets old quickly, the crowd noise is great. It’s rare that a college sports game captures the intensity of an NCAA crowd, but this one does. 
 
Learning Curve: This game is challenging even on the default settings. But the controls are simple enough that anyone with a passing familiarity with basketball should figure things out in no time at all. 
 
Replay Value: Immense. Legacy Mode is deep, engrossing, and fun. It’s not hard to see why so many people are still playing. 

Member Comments
# 1 Boogiemanjay @ 03/19/12 02:35 PM
Agree 100% who ever bring back college I'm going with
Them
 
# 2 ehh @ 03/19/12 02:58 PM
Very fair review. The game deserved a 7 when it first dropped, pre-patch. It was another run-of-the-mill 2K basketball game that had quite a few gameplay frustrations. The patch really took the game to another level.

Sadly the game has aged too much for me to play anymore. The controls feel archaic after 2K11 dropped, spacing is very poor, playing calling and off-the-ball movement is poor, etc. This was a legendary game though especially from a depth perspective.

The other thing I'll remember 2K8 the most for is the CPU's IQ and overall ability. This is the best hum-vs-cpu sports game I've ever played. The CPU was smart, relentless, focused, etc. I could be 4-5 years into my UConn legacy, bring my 99 overall team on the road somewhere and get lose by double-digits to an unranked team without it feeling cheesy. I think that's why I never really got bored of this game - the challenge never faded. Almost every sports game eventually becomes too easy or you have to make the CPU too cheesy to beat you consistently. 2K8 avoided that.
 
# 3 tril @ 03/19/12 04:29 PM
this happens every year;
just when I think 2k8 has run its course, I immediately fall back in love with this game.
updated playbooks and rosters have helped with more player movement, and motion.

The only thing that really bothers me about the game now is the ay the ball handlers dribble up court. the hunch back is the only graphics I do not like.
In addition the game continues to provide fresh animations. Im still discovering new "WOW" moments in the game.
and like Bo said the legacy mode is deep. the ups and downs are enormous. I continue to have losing seasosn when rebuilding etc. When recruiting, Ive obviously used some house rules to keep the game interesting.

I als think that starting in with NBA2k9 on the PC, that alot of the CH2k8 gameplay AI started to creep its way into the NBA series. as a matter of fact NBA2k12 has alot of similaries with CH2k8. NBA2k12 just has better graphics and animations, but the freegflow feel and AI is definetly there.

In addition, I still do not know why the NBA series has never incorporated the CH2k8 dynamic passing scheme.
bounce passses, etc on fast breaks are a thing of beauty in 2k8.

2k needs to bring back the college serie.
 
# 4 huntt26 @ 03/19/12 04:41 PM
College Hoops for life!
 
# 5 TallyBoi7 @ 03/19/12 04:43 PM
I've just gotten back into College Hoops 2K8 as well, and I'm still enjoying it. As stated before, the legacy mode is deep and games with the CPU are a challenge.

2K Sports should really consider creating another College Basketball game. I'm sure the game would be hit...especially if it plays pretty closely to its NBA counterpart.

Please bring this series back.
 
# 6 SageInfinite @ 03/19/12 04:44 PM
2k should just drop MLB and bring back college hoops.
 
# 7 Lukin4 @ 03/19/12 06:13 PM
Still play this most days... the career legacy mode is immense!!!
 
# 8 Jakeness23 @ 03/19/12 07:35 PM
Honestly, whichever company brings back college basketball, may be the one I end up staying with. (BOTH should bring back college basketball IMO...)
 
# 9 videlsports @ 03/19/12 07:50 PM
I hope 2k will consider a double package of Nba 2k and college b-ball ( 2- discs) I will pay 120 for it
 
# 10 rhs_rizzo @ 03/19/12 08:01 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by videlsports
I hope 2k will consider a double package of Nba 2k and college b-ball ( 2- discs) I will pay 120 for it
I would consider it but I wouldn't touch the NBA game!
 
# 11 DaReapa @ 03/19/12 08:39 PM
To me, Choops 2K8 is still the best basketball game of all time. Amazingly the presentation is still among the best there has ever been in sports gaming (even going as far as showing "clips" from concurrent games during the course of the season, la NFL2K5).
 
# 12 crob8822 @ 03/19/12 08:44 PM
2012 and I am still playing this game with current roster, I feel there is still a market for this game and the series needs a revival.
 
# 13 redskinst21 @ 03/19/12 09:15 PM
tried buying this game on amazon or ebay tonight and cant find anything less the 40 for used. no way im paying that. no store within 100 miles has it but a 2 hour drive may be worth it but cost me 40 in gas so im screwed either way
 
# 14 garyjr33 @ 03/19/12 09:19 PM
I want to buy this game again...but I heard the servers are shut down for ps3 so you can't get the rosters for this season. I do not have the time to edit them all myself. I wish I could find a way to get the rosters or find the time and resources to edit them all myself.
 
# 15 Marino @ 03/19/12 09:24 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by garyjr33
I want to buy this game again...but I heard the servers are shut down for ps3 so you can't get the rosters for this season. I do not have the time to edit them all myself. I wish I could find a way to get the rosters or find the time and resources to edit them all myself.
Not true, you can still get rosters on the PS3.
 
# 16 Mr. Rad @ 03/19/12 10:37 PM
Best console sports game I've ever played period. I don't find the gameplay lacking, although I am not trying this after playing the current NBA games.
 
# 17 bhl @ 03/20/12 12:28 AM
One of the coolest moments I ever had in 2k8 was when I was recruiting in Legacy mode. I had two players that were of the same class, same city. I realized that I was recruiting twins.
 
# 18 BaylorBearBryant @ 03/20/12 01:14 AM
Somebody please make a new college basketball game.
 
# 19 JBrown247 @ 03/20/12 01:36 AM
Legacy mode was/is the bomb, but I tried to play it the other day, and it is just too old now. It is sad. I played more seasons in Legacy than I have in any other game. I was trying to get to Kansas and was in my 5th year or so at Wichita State. I just can't play it anymore. It looks like they are skating and the post is horrible. It had a nice run though. Lasted longer in my play cycle than any other sports game (till last year).
 
# 20 Dazraz @ 03/20/12 04:26 AM
I did pick up College Hoops In 2010. Although very impressed with the depth & the level of customisation in the game the visuals & gameplay led me to shelve the game pretty quickly.
I totally agree if 2K could take their NBA game engine into the college arena then we would have something special.
 

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