NBA 2K13

The latest game from the NBA 2K series is coming dangerously close to suffering the Madden curse.  No, it’s not under performing after a break out year but rather is starting to run out of ways to innovate. This is by and large the biggest problems with all sports games.  At some point you can only tweak the game play so much and instead will start looking at the extras that you can pack into a game. The NBA 2K series is now at that point.  The gameplay is still airtight which is a very good thing.  Almost nothing in terms of controls has changed from last years title with one small exception.  The thumb sticks now play a bigger part in your dribbling and is integrated into the game very smoothly and it is very easy to get the hang of it.  Aside from that though there aren’t really any changes to the on the court play or presentation.

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Shawn Kemp makes his NBA 2K debut. The Rain Man Dunketh.

The biggest changes in the game are in what takes place off of the court.  When you create a player and try to rise to the top you are now faced with a new set of  “social” challenges.  Twitter has now been added to the game and how you interact with fans and media via the social networking tool can play a big roll in how your teammates, the local media, national media, and the front office perceives you.  Post game press conferences and occasional meetings with the GM also play a big roll in this now and you need to watch your words or you could pay the price.  The developers should have just called this “HD12 Mode” as it seems like they followed the Dwight Howard off-season fiasco very closely.  It’s a fun little addition to the game that makes it so you can’t really blindly navigate these mini games and hope for the best when it comes to how you act off the court.

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Scottie Pippen backs down Gary Payton in the post.

One of the coolest features of any NBA 2K title, at least in my opinion, are the inclusion of classic teams and classic players.  With this being an Olympic year it seems only fitting that you can play as the original Dream Team from 1992.  The roster is stacked with hall of famers and if you like you can play an ultimate exhibition game and pit the 1992 Dream Team against the 2012 U.S. Men’s team to see which era rules the virtual court. Spoiler alert, it’s the Dream Team.  There’s a few new classic players added to the mix as well.  Scottie Pippen and Charles Barkley are now in the game as licensed players and Shaq, Allen Iverson, and Shawn Kemp also make it into the game.  As an added bonus you can now use the classic teams in online play.

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Meet the 1992 Dream Team. Prepare to lose.

Aside from all of this the overall presentation is still top notch and some of the menus have been updated and are very slick looking and a tad easier to navigate.  One thing I really enjoy in this series is the in game broadcast and again it is at the top of its game and the announcing is just fantastic here.  Earlier I talked about how big of a roll social media played in your off the court career.  If you are acting like an ass in that aspect of the game then the announcers will take not of it and even mention your off the court problems during a game, especially if you just did something really stupid like turn the ball over or try to play 1 on 4 offense.

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The Mamba is as deadly as ever.

This is clearly the golden age of virtual Basketball games and NBA 2K13 is without a doubt the king of the court.  It has everything you could ask for and has done it without having to change to much.  But that being said I can’t help but wonder how long it will be before fans are asking for just a roster update instead of a full retail release as there isn’t much room for improvement.

Game Details:

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