Steeled for a one-on-one against rival Elite 11, NBA 2K11 now finds itself sitting center-court unchallenged
as Elite skips out on the annual showdown. Luckily for basketball fans, NBA 2K11 turned out to be quite the slam dunk - though competition showed up in an unanticipated fashion.

That's because Elite 11's sudden withdrawal meant that tie-in freebie NBA Jam is to be released as a full game on PS3 and 360 as well as on Wii, while its predecessor NBA Live 10 has been promised a year's worth of free updates to keep it in the game.

Still, NBA 2K11 is not only a slam-dunk of a game with up-to-date team rosters and gameplay innovation, but also manages to install Michael Jordan as cover star and playable character, in both iconic matches and as a modern-day rookie.

Whereas sports games usually leave something in the locker for the following year's overhaul, or rest on the laurels of player endorsements, it seems like 2K's team did the unthinkable - they took a shot at making the best basketball game possible.

NBA 2K11 (Xbox 360, PlayStaiton 3)
Released: North America, October 5. Europe, October 8.
Age rating: Everyone / 3+
Price: $60 / €60

1UP - A-
"It's hard to imagine a basketball game bringing a more complete, authentic, and fun game" "Putting the greatest player of all-time in your hands right from the beginning is a sure-fire way to get you hooked." "You feel like you're watching an NBA game, the crowd noise and music in the stadiums make you feel like you're playing one."

GameTrailers - 9.2/10
"Easily the most impressive version of the series since 2K7, offering just the right amount of improvements and additions" "The computer executes plays more efficiently and exploits matchups, while on defense, they will work to shut down the same moves and plays"

Operation Sports - 9/10
"Michael Jordan is not the only great thing about this year's 2K hoops game. In NBA 2K11, on the court is where amazing happens." "Shooting the ball in this year's game is also really a game changer.. it's almost like playing with Kobe Bryant's full repertoire."

Game Informer - 8.75
"The attention to detail paid to Jordan himself is remarkable - 2K nailed the jump shot, crossover, ball fake, signature dunks, tongue wagging, and even the competitive stare" "The only complaints I have are the return of a few legacy issues like poor sideline negotiation, players shooting balls off the side of the backboard.. and the fundamental problems with help defense."

USA Today's Game Hunters - 3.5 out of 4
"Players have an incredible level of control" "Budding superstars must manage their reputations off the court during press conferences and other activities."

GameKult (French) - 8/10
"Not only dunks but also long shots, cross-over dribbles, and reverse lay-ups are portrayed with incredible realism." "If you love basketball, you know what you've got to do.."