This game is one of those games that you can play over and over again and each time you do you will find a different reason why you love it. The game obviously revolves around the NBA (National Basketball Association) in America and features all the 30 teams and full rosters for each. The main gameplay mode in this game is called the Association mode. What this entails is taking your favorite team along an NBA journey. You have many options before you start the season, too many in fact. Most people probably wont make any changes to these settings but they are nice to have if you want to make any changes before you start (for example the length of the season you have 3 choices - 29 games, 56 games or a full 82 game season). A full length 82 game season will probably take a single person about 3 years to complete in my experience, unless of course you set the length of each game to all but a few minutes. The Association mode itself is incredibly deep with a lot of fun features, such as pre season training, entering the NBA draft at the end of the season (where you sign new, up and coming players from college) and assigning mid season training sessions to individual players and the full team respectively. If you choose to work on one player individually you will get to control him in the actual training session were you will have to reach a specific numerical target before the time limit runs out. Of course, if you get bored mid season you have the option to simulate games and events on your calender (your calendar is your main point of interest in the season, this is where you will see all of your assigned training sessions, up coming games and different events such as the rookie draft or trade deadline. Trading players in this game is also a lot of fun. It is also pretty realistic in that you really have to pick your timing of trades or who and where you want to trade to. The success of your proposed trades also depends greatly on your financial situation and the financial situation of the other team. A good addition to the trading mechanism is that you can complete 3 team trades, which is essentially adding another team to the trade. So you could send one player to one team, yet receive a player from a different team. The association mode is definitely the main reason to buy this game in my opinion. I think this because I am a die hard fan of basketball and love the realism that NBA 2K9 brings to basketball video games. Unlike it's rival, NBA Live, 2K9 is designed for realism and strategy and it really does deliver.
Another main mode in NBA 2K9 is giving the player(s) the option to participate in 3 point contests and dunk contests. These are surprisingly fun especially when you get another 3 friends together and spend the night pulling off crazy dunks whilst jumping over obstacles such as benches and cars! The 3 point contest is also a lot of fun. You get 60 seconds the work your way round a bunch of racks and score the highest amount of shots you can. This can get pretty tense and cause some rivalry when you beat your friend by one point 3 rounds in a go!
Online play is also pretty impressive. Your online statistics are constantly being tracked and recorded and are converted into a handy '2K rating' to show the top ballers online. You can play as many games as you want and you can encounter some really good opponents that make this game A LOT of fun online. Of course, you encounter your fair share of annoyances when people quit mid game and use a single player only rather than their whole team. But in general, it's a really great experience.
Overall I would definitely suggest this game to any basketball fan. Even if you're not a fan of basketball this game can be a lot of fun. The controls are quite complicated but once you get the hang of it (you should do pretty quickly) you will be draining 3's and dunking on Shaq in no time at all.
One small annoyance I have with this game is that the commentary is not great. You will hear a lot of the same comments repeated over and over again. Not such a big worry if you play with muted volume or with music playing, but can get pretty tedious after some time.
A great game, one you should check out.
However I have one piece of advice for you. This game will be pretty cheap nowadays if you go into your local game store so you can grab yourself a bargain. But if you don't mind forking out £30 then you can buy NBA 2K10 in about 2 months time. I believe the release date is early October 2009. 2K10 will build on all of the aspects I have mentioned above whilst also adding a wealth of new gameplay advances and gameplay modes. But if you can't wait, then grab 2K9. A fantastic game that I'm sure I will continue to play even when I have bought 2K10.
(Written under my ciao.co.uk account as well)