The NBA season may be in a state of flux right now, but that doesn’t mean gamers can’t hit the hardwood with 2K Sports’ NBA 2K12.
While last year’s NBA 2K11 was about as awesome a basketball game I’ve ever played, this year’s edition somehow manages to blow it out of the water.
Taking center stage this year is the new NBA’s Greatest mode, which completely outshines Jordan Challenges from the previous game. Jordan does return, but he’s brought with him a whole heap of legendary players such as Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Bill Russell, Hakeem Olajuwon and others. (Johnson ,Bird and Jordan each get their own cover art too.)
In NBA’s Greatest, gamers will be able to take the reins of legendary teams in situations such as the ’91 Western Conference Championship between Magic Johnson and the Lakers, against Clyde Drexler and his Portland Trailblazers. What’s most amazing from this mode is how the game’s are presented in a way that matches the times. Say you’re playing as Bill Russell and the Celtics in a game from the 60’s, the game will be presented in black and white , with audio that sounds like a radio broadcast, coupled with uniforms and styles of that era. Even games from the late 80s or early 90s have that sort of washed-out look from old analog TVs that just seems like the real deal. Completing each challenge unlocks not only the team that was used and its star player, but also the opposing team. Unlocked teams can then be used to play against current teams, so if you want to see how Larry Bird and his Celtics do against Kobe and his Lakers, you can make it happen!
The AI has also gotten a nice upgrade as opposing teams are now much smarter, making you pay for mistakes and coming up with their own gameplans. Controls are also spot-on and very deep. While a casual player can learn the basics and hit the court, more experienced players, or those who wish to learn the game inside and out, will find all sorts of little moves such as which hand to do a lay-up with, sick slam dunks or fade-aways.
I also appreciated the commentary team, as not only is it very believable but it remains pretty fresh even throughout the course of an entire season. I like the fact that they also give historical facts, both in terms of statistics, play style and what each player meant to the league, while not just concentrating strictly on star players but also their supporting cast. Younger players will really get a lot out of learning more about some of the legendary players. Many times I forget I’m even playing a game, as the commentary flows extremely well. Add to that other presentation elements such as commercials for upcoming games, views from outside the arena, pre-game introductions and great crowd reactions, and you have a game that feels as much like a game on TV as it does on your console.
The My Player mode also gets improved, starting off a little bit differently with a single game, complete with full presentation and then you get to interview with three possible teams, before heading to the draft. From there your player will be a bit more advanced than in the previous game but his goal is to ultimately make it to the Hall of Fame, which is no easy task. The game’s franchise mode, dubbed Association is just as fun as it’s ever been and is the mode that really gets all the bells and whistles in terms of presentation.
I can’t stress enough just how enjoyable NBA 2K12 is to play. Whether you’re jumping online to play against friends, taking on the NBA’s Greatest, or playing as your favorite team through a season, this year’s edition is top notch from start to finish.
With the success of NBA 2K11 last year, it was hard to envision how 2K Sports could top themselves this year but they’ve managed to do just that.