Gift Ideas For Sports Fans: NBA 2k11 For XBox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii

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Gift Ideas For Sports Fans: NBA 2k11 For XBox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii

Product: NBA 2k11 for XBox 360, PlayStation 3 and/or Wii.

What it is: An NBA video game for your basketball-crazy family member, significant other or friend. 

Why it's a great gift: Because, quite simply, it's the best sports video game ever made. From the gameplay to the special features, NBA 2k11 has upped the bar for every sports game ever made after it. Are you an NBA history buff? Then you'll love the Jordan Challenge segment, which allows gamers to play through 10 of Michael Jordan's signature moments during his NBA career. You can score 63 on the Celtics in the 1986 playoffs, drop a double nickel in your fifth game back from retirement and go toe-to-toe with Magic Johnson for your first NBA championship. The scenarios are incredibly realistic too, with classic teams filled with real players and very specific commentary. For example, you can hear all about how John Starks bothers Jordan while torching him during the double nickel game.

That's just a sample of all the great stuff in the game. The gameplay is unbelievably realistic, featuring an AI that is much more skilled than in year's past. Teams have playbooks that specifically cater to their style, which allows you to run the Triangle offense with the Los Angeles Lakers or the Flex offense with the Utah Jazz. The faces and crowds look incredibly realistic, creating a situation where it feels like you're playing a real game. 

I haven't even begun talking about the franchise mode, which is way more realistic than in year's past, or the "My Player" mode, which allows you to build yourself up from a D-League castoff to a superstar. Those are also much better than in year's past. Basically, the game has it all. It became the first sports game ever to receive a 9.5 rating from IGN, and having played it a lot, I can tell you it deserves that honor.

Price: $54.99 online, though I've seen it for $60 in person. 

Where you can buy it: Amazon.com or any of the other online stores, GameStop or any other video game store. 

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