NBA 2K12

It’s been a while since I’ve played an NBA video game. The last one I played was NBA Live 06. YIKES!

Needless to say I was blown away by this game. The graphics, announcers, controls, player animations, and sound are all top notch. By the far the best I’ve seen in a sports game. On top of that there’s a deep franchise mode and when playing online the NBA rosters are “living” which means they are updated daily. But this is to be expected now with the NBA 2K series so I’m not going to dwell on this. Just know that its all the gold standard for how a sports game should look, play, and feel.

Instead I’d like to focus on the NBA 2K12 “My Player” mode and the bevy of extras this game has.

First up is the “My Player” mode. You will create a player and are given certain skill sets you can choose from depending on your position. The goal here is to crack a NBA teams starting line-up and become a star. Unlike the MLB 2K12  “My Player” this mode is actually fun. Because of the fact that Basketball is a more improvised sport your player is placed on the court and free to roam. So when you are in the game you can move without the ball to get open, set screens, rebound, play defense, get the ball on offense and decide what to do. Before each game you are given a list of goals to reach while in the game. They are usually something like “Make two 3pt baskets” or “Have 2 or less turnovers in a game”. They are easy to reach and each one is tailored to your skill set. Completing each goal will get you some XP that can be used to improve an aspect of your player’s game. After just 3 games I was already a valuable part of my team and a Sixth Man of the Year candidate. By giving you goals that are easy to reach and placing you in the flow of a game its very easy to remain engaged while in the “My Player” mode.

All of you other team oriented sports games need to take note of what this game offers in terms of extras. The Classic Players and Teams are incredible. They have captured the look and play style of the these players and their eras down to a T. Magic Johnson’s no look passes to James Worth are amazing to see. They nailed the player animations. It was as if I was back in 12th grade again cheering for The Lake Show from my couch. Not only are the players captured so well but the presentation is top notch as well. If you are using the Bill Russell led Celtics then your game will be in black and white. Using the Jerry West led Lakers your game will be in muted colors and a bit grainy.

Jerry West. aka Mr. Clutch.

Here’s a small sampling of the Classic Teams/Players you can choose from.

1992-93 Bulls: B.J. Armstrong, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, Bill Cartwright, Scott Williams, John Paxson, Rodney McCray, Stacey King, Will Perdue, Ed Nealy

1992-93 Hornets: Muggsy Bogues, Kendall Gill, David Wingate, Larry Johnson, Alonzo Mourning, Dell Curry, Johnny Newman, Kenny Gattison, Tony Bennett, Sidney Green, Kevin Lynch

1990-91 Lakers: Magic Johnson, Byron Scott, James Worthy, Sam Perkins, Vlade Divac, A.C. Green, Larry Drew, Mychal Thompson, Elden Campbell

1986-87 Lakers: Magic Johnson, Byron Scott, James Worthy, A.C. Green, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Cooper, Kurt Rambis, Billy Thompson, Mychal Thompson, Frank Brickowski

1985-86 Celtics: Dennis Johnson, Danny Ainge, Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Bill Walton, Jerry Sichting, Scott Wedman, Sam Vincent

1964-65 Celtics: K.C. Jones, Sam Jones, John Havlicek, Tom Sanders, Bill Russell, Tom Heinsohn, Larry Siegfried, John Thompson, Mel Counts

1964-65 Lakers: Jerry West, Dick Barnett, Elgin Baylor, Rudy Larusso, Leroy Ellis, Jim King, Darrall Imhoff, Walt Hazzard, Don Nelson

1970-71 Lakers: Jerry West, Gail Goodrich, Keith Erickson, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Jim McMillian, Willie McCarter, Rick Roberson

1988-89 Pistons: Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Mark Aguirre, Rick Mahorn, Bill Laimbeer, Dennis Rodman, Vinnie Johnson, James Edwards, John Salley, Darryl Dawkins

1988-89 Bulls: John Paxson, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, Bill Cartwright, Sam Vincent, Brad Sellers, Craig Hodges, Dave Corzine, Charles Davis, Will Perdue

1993-94 Rockets: Kenny Smith, Vernon Maxwell, Robert Horry, Otis Thorpe, Hakeem Olajuwon, Mario Elie, Sam Cassell, Scott Brooks, Matt Bullard

1993-94 Nuggets: Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Bryant Stith, Reggie Williams, Rodney Rogers, Dikembe Mutombo, Robert Pack, Tom Hammonds

1995-96 Sonics: Gary Payton, Hersey Hawkins, Detlef Schrempf, Shawn Kemp, Ervin Johnson, Sam Perkins, Vincent Askew, Nate McMillan, Frank Brickowski, David Wingate

1994-95 Knicks: Derek Harper, John Starks, Charles Oakley, Patrick Ewing, Anthony Mason, Hubert Davis, Anthony Bonner, Greg Anthony, Monty Williams, Herb Williams, Doug Christie

1994-95 Magic: Penny Hardaway, Nick Anderson, Donald Royal, Horace Grant, Shaquille O’Neal, Dennis Scott, Brian Shaw, Anthony Bowie, Jeff Turner, Tree Rollins

1997-98 Jazz: John Stockton, Jeff Hornacek, Adam Keefe, Karl Malone, Greg Foster, Byron Russell, Greg Ostertag, Howard Eisley, Shandon Anderson, Antoine Carr

1997-98 Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Eddie Jones, Robert Horry, Shaquille O’Neal, Elden Campbell, Corie Blount, Jon Barry

Like I said, this is just a small sample size. There is so much content here that it really could have been released on its own as a full retail game. I just wish MLB 2K12 would have included something like this. It also gives me great hope that someday 2K will get the NFL license back and include something like this. Can you say “Bo Knows”? A boy can dream. But for now if you want to get your nostalgia blood flowing then NBA 2K12 will have to do. DON’T MISS OUT ON THIS!!!!!

Game Details:

Developer: Visual Concepts
Publisher: 2K Sports
Reviewed Platform: Xbox 360
Singleplayer 9
Multiplayer 8
Replayability 10
Graphics 9
Audio 9
Overall 9