As a fan of NBA 2K12, and as the guy who reviewed the game for GotGame, I was delighted to get the chance to visit with 2K Sports and get a look at how NBA 2K13 is coming along.
As fans have no doubt already noticed, this year’s cover athletes feature Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose, as 2K Sports noted during our demo session that after 2K11 and 2K12 gave basketball fans a nice touch of the past with legendary players, this year, it’s “all about the young players.”
There were three key points or features if you will, that were highlighted during our hands-on demo. First up was the new Dribble Controls, which now take over the right analog stick. In last year’s edition, players used the right analog stick to setup their shots, and while that worked quite well, shooting is now set as a face button (though you can hold the left trigger to activate the Shot Stick if you want). Now, the right analog stick lets you control where you want the ball to go while dribbling, which after playing for a few minutes, felt very natural, responsive and sensible. The feeling of being able to place the ball wherever you want adds more realism to the already exceptional gameplay. I also noticed that the defensive A.I. had been tightened up just a bit more and reacted dynamically to how I was playing the game. If I went with similar plays too often, they’d begin to adapt, forcing me to mix up my plays. I also found that one-on-one matchups felt more balanced, or fair if you will. In other words, if you were face to face with an opponent, you certainly got the feeling that if matched up well, you had a realistic shot of defending him well, so the offensive player doesn’t seem to necessarily have the upper hand.
Talking with senior producer Rob Jones, I also got a look at the game’s Dynamic Shot Generator, which heavily takes into account physics, particularly in regards to momentum, a player’s size, position, etc. Each shot feels considerably different and I can see how various play sessions can likely yield very different results. In addition, each player will have Signature Skills, with up to five skills being assignable. These skills, which show up beneath the selected player’s name, will give him or his team some very beneficial abilities. For instance, your player could be a monster on defense, or perhaps be, what’s called a Floor General, which means you affect your teammates around you – more specifically they don’t get as fatigued since that skill makes you a great motivator and keeps them pumped up. Should be interesting to see what other skills are available and I imagine they will ignite plenty of extra strategy.
Upon arriving to the demo, I noticed Kinect was sitting on the table. I was informed later on in the demo that the game will in fact support Kinect functionality, but fortunately it won’t be of the mini-game kind. As demoed, Kinect will be used to call out plays, which worked quite well. You can also call out substitutions or even get in trouble with the refs if you yell out the wrong thing.
Having played a full quarter, I came away impressed with what I saw and felt from the game. 2K Sports has developed two very strong back-to-back NBA games, and 2K13 looks to possibly keep that streak going. In a future demo, we were promised to get more details on JAY Z’s involvement, as well as the game’s other features, but so far so good.