SB Nation’s own Andrew Sharp is blown away by the game’s skillful use of Michael Jordan:
Basically, the only superstar that’s ever translated well to video games is Tim Duncan, and that’s because he’s actually a robot. Everyone else, it’s much harder to pin down. So, obviously, building an entire game around Michael Jordan was sort of the like the holy grail of hoops game development.
But they nailed it. I mean, they NAILED IT. Michael Jordan in a basketball game should be like Bo Jackson in Tecmo Bowl, and that’s exactly what he is here. When he gets hot… It’s over. His signature moves—the ball fakes, the finishes, the tongue—it’s all there.
Joystiq says it’s not an easy game, but neither is actual basketball:
If you’re new to the game, expect to fail quite a bit — but the ends justify the means. You’ll not only grow as a player of the game, but as an appreciator of the sport. In the end I’m betting you’ll, like me, come to realize NBA 2K11 is the truest adaptation of the sport available.
Game Informer also admires the non-Jordan stuff:
Visual Concepts keeps refining its game and opens a new door to the sports genre with the must-play Jordan Challenge mode. With solid presentation, a great franchise mode, and strong gameplay, NBA 2K11 is an impressive package.
IGN comes right out and says it:
It’s fitting that NBA 2K11 prominently features Michael Jordan. After all, His Airness is the greatest basketball player of all time and NBA 2K11 is the greatest basketball game ever made.
Still waiting on the first review to comment on the game’s actual star, “The Human Highlight Film.”