The game features the addition of a dunk contest and three point shootout while polishing the controls to be the most realistic basketball sim on the market. It allows instant replay during the game (with the ability to save replays), several game modes ranging from street games to managing a basketball association, downloadable roster updates via the 2k lobby, online play, and player creation.
NBA 2K8 features several game modes to choose from:
In Association mode, you are given the ability to manage a team through several seasons. Players are given personality types that influence things like contract negotiations and performance. Players are also given roles such as 6th man to define their position on the team and it allows these players to tailor their abilities to fit that role. Managers can make trades to other teams, post players that they would like to trade on the trading block, and simulate games that they don't wish to play. Player stats increase and decrease throughout the season based on each player's performance.
In season mode, you select a team to manage for one season. Managers don't have to worry about things like player roles and personality types in this mode and just play/simulate each game.
A single basketball game where you are allowed to pick one team and play against the computer, against a friend, or against someone online. You are allowed to set your lineup at the start of the game.
In street mode you may play a game of street basketball with the number of players ranging from 1-on-1 to 5-on-5. Street mode is similar to an exhibition games with no real rules such as fouls and free throws. Players are allowed to set the number of points to play up to and choose from the entire roster of players for members of their team.
- Dunk Contest
The dunk contest is a new addition to the 2K franchise. You choose a player from the nba roster (only players with an acceptable dunk rating are selectable), and play against 3 other participants (which may be a combination of computer and local players). The contest takes place over the course of two rounds. Each round allows each participant to perform two dunks, and they are awarded points based on performance, uniqueness, and difficulty. The two participants with the most points after the first round advance to the second round where the scores are reset, and the final round is played to determine the winner. Dunks are performed via the right analog stick, and objects can also be placed around the hoop to dunk over.
- Three Point Shootout
The three point shootout is a new addition to the 2K franchise. You choose a player from the nba roster and participate against other players in a shootout. The shootout follows the format used during the NBA all-star weekend. Players start at one rack of 5 balls on the three point line. Each basket is worth 1 point except the final ball of each rack is worth 2 points. Players are given a time limit and must advance to the next rack whenever a rack has been emptied until they deplete the final rack or time runs out. The right analog stick is used for shooting each shot.
Players can participate in online tournaments where the player chooses a team and plays against other players in an elimination tournament with a customizable number of rounds.
Players can join or invite friends to participate in an online league. An online league is similar to the Season mode taken online. Players are pitted against other players in the league and are generally given a set amount of time to set-up and each match.
The NBA 2K8 soundtrack has a roster that is made up of some of the most respected hip-hop artist in industry. J Dilla headlined the soundtrack for the game. Other artist on the soundtrack included Madlib, MED, Q-Tip, Percce P, Quasimoto, J-Rocc, and Talib Kweli. The soundtrack does not just feature hip-hop, some prominent funk and rock artist are featured. Along with Drum and Bass artist A Called Gerald.
Peanut Butter Wolf released an album entitled Peanut Butter Wolf Presents 2K8: B-Ball Zombie War on his Stones Throw recorded label that has tracks from the game soundtrack along with unreleased and new material.
A full list of songs that appear in NBA 2K8
Artist - Song
J Dilla feat. Madlib - "The Official (2K8 Mix)"
J Dilla feat. Q-Tip & Talib Kweli - "Lightworks"
J Dilla feat. Common - "E=MC2"
Run-DMC - "Sucka MC's"
Stone Roses - "Fool's Gold"
Breakestra - "Getcho Soul Together Pt. 2"
Fishbone - "Skankin to the Beat"
Tommy Guerrero - "Molotov Telegram"
Percee P - "Throwback Rap Attack"
Quasimoto - "Chrome Dreams"
Devo - "Through Being Cool"
Quantic - "When You're Through"
J-Rocc - "Cold Heat Megamix"
Cut Chemist - "Bunky's Pick"
Billy Ball & The Upsetters - "Tighten Up Tighter"
The Highlighters Band - "Funky 16 Corners"
A Guy Called Gerald - "Hurry to Go Easy"
Sonic Trip - "Energy Play"
Baron Zen - "Turn Around (Peanut Butter Wolf Instrumental Mix)"
Finley Quaye - "Ultra Stimulation"
G-Love & Special Sauce - "Shooting Hoops"
Ernie & The Topnotes - "Dap Walk"
The Fabulous Jades - "Cold Heat"