On the court 2K8 plays almost exactly the same as 2K7, with a few exceptions. Lock-on D makes its way over from NBA 2K8 and allows you to really shut down an opposing player. But as in NBA 2K8, this feature can be abused, as it's possible for slow centers to pretty much blanket smaller, faster point guards. Also new this year is the sixth man advantage, which lets your team play better when the home crowd is going nuts. It doesn't seem to affect gameplay much, but it's a lot of fun to get the meter full and throw down a big dunk just to see and hear the crowd go wild. The rest of the gameplay feels just like last year's: The controls are responsive and allow for great freedom once you learn them, and there are a wide variety of animations. The game just feels good. But there are some negatives, too: Players don't move much on offense unless you call a play, there are too many missed layups, point guards go over and back too often, and there's a bit too much goaltending. Small nagging issues aside, though, the gameplay is very strong.
And so is the presentation. Cheerleaders and mascots patrol the sidelines, fans go berserk in the stands, and coaches stalk the bench yelling at their players. As was the case last year, the arenas look fantastic, and even the ones that aren't exact replicas of real courts look quite good. Players move realistically, and the transition from one move to the next is typically smooth. The one area in which player models are lacking is their heads, which just aren't up to the same level of quality as in NBA 2K8.
As great as the gameplay is, players still miss too many layups.
Amazingly, College Hoops 2K8 sounds better than it looks and plays. Vern Lundquist and Bill Rafferty do a nice job calling the action and are able to get excited about the play on the court without going overboard. Bonnie Bernstein is out as sideline reporter, replaced by Tracy Wolfson, who actually delivers some worthwhile information about what the coaches are doing. Most impressive, however, are the sounds of the games. The fans are lively and deliver some great chants even if you don't take the time to create your own. The number of real fight songs is staggering; even smaller schools are well represented with accurate songs from their respective marching bands. Toss in Dolby Digital support and you've got one fantastic-sounding game.
While there isn't a whole lot of fresh content in College Hoops 2K8, what is new almost universally makes this version of the game better than last year's. It plays better, there's more to do, and even the presentation, which was already great, has been improved. If you're not a diehard hoops fan and you're still happy with last year's game you could probably take a pass on 2K8, but if you love college basketball and you want the latest and greatest, College Hoops 2K8 won't let you down.