I played the 2K11 on the PS3 and the controls were not exactly easy to pick up. You can shoot using the right stick and that allows a fine-tuned alteration to the direction of the ball. Setting picks and calling plays takes far too many button presses, though. To just set a pick, you have to tap L1, then hold the button associated with each player, then know when to let go to have the other player roll to the basket. Yes, you can also just hold L1 for a random player to set a pick, but when you have five left on the shot clock, the pick takes too long to develop. Passing is a pain in the ass. I like that the game punishes you for stupid long passes down the court (the opposing team will steal it every time), but that means you will throw the ball away a lot. It doesn't help that the direction which you throw the ball is also controlled by the left stick, which is the same stick that moves your player across the floor. As with any sports game, there is a point where you forget all of this and you just play, but it takes playing through ten or fifteen games in NBA 2K11 before it clicks.
Playing with the Move was a joy in comparison. In a strange configuration, your left hand holds the left side of the controller and you move the player with the left stick. In your right hand is the Move, and you handle shooting and all other actions with it. You will not get all of the finely tuned control and play-calling, but dribbling, juking and doing post-up moves is all controlled with a wag of the Move. It's a more intuitive control scheme; you defend by holding the Move up or to the side depending on how your opponent moves. Perhaps the game compensates for the casual player, but I honestly had a lot more fun, and was more successful, playing with the Move. If you're interested in NBA 2K11 but are a little cautious of the difficulty, playing with the Move is a nice compromise.
NBA 2K11 is the most accurate basketball simulation that I've ever played. All of the players and teams, from 1986 to the present day, look and feel like real basketball. It's also as difficult as playing real basketball, with a steep curve against those who have never played an NBA 2K game. For the less-learned sports fans, I could have done with better designed tutorials or practice modes, but I guess that's asking too much. 2K Sports did an excellent job with the Jordan Challenges, and a slick presentation pervades the whole game. If you've always wanted an accurate basketball simulation videogame, you have it in NBA 2K11.
Bottom Line: NBA fans will appreciate the accurate nuances and historical details of 2K11 while those less hardcore might be put off by the difficulty. Those people should play it with the Move.
Recommendation: Buy it if you love basketball and want to start a league with your buddies or get to the NBA with My Player. Even if you only have a passing interest, NBA 2K11 is worth a rent just to play the Jordan Challenges and experience the intro.
This review was based on the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
As a lifelong Boston fan, playing as Jordan dropping 63 points on the Celtics felt so wrong and so right at the same time.