Another year means another round of NBA basketball in the 2K world. This one is probably even more sweet than even the infamous Jordan 2K11 due to NBA “Elite” (also known as NBA Live) officially shutting down their studios meaning there is only one basketball game in the market. 2K Sports once again adds more Legends to the NBA 2K franchise this time with three different type of games (the cover is Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, and Derrick Rose unlike the last two years where you can buy the regular Jordan Cover or the Magic Johnson and/or the Larry Bird Cover Edition) and new teams like the World Famous Dream Team, even Allen Iverson and his 2001 Sixers!
Let’s first look at the games Graphics aspect of things. Graphics in NBA 2K13 are usually very good for the game’s superstars and alright for the regular and role players; but in 2K13 I would have to say every character looks like themselves in real life. With the occasional impossible to do hair (i.e. Andre Miller) there are a few slipups, but with the crowd looking actually animated and not paper mâché, in addition to well-defined arenas/courts, the graphics are impressive.
Many changes were added to Gameplay with the MyPlayer probably being the greatest beneficiary. MyPlayer is the process all NBA 2K users must do when they boot up their disc in their Xbox/PS3 where they create a player at either of the five positions and determine what type of player they want him to play like (defensive, offensive, etc.). Most of this is the same, but what had changed was the efficiency of the MyPlayer. In previous games, MyPlayer was ranked very low (as most rookies are) but to an extension of where you literally were worse than high school basketball players in the NBA, and racking up experience (now dubbed Virtual Credit) points to build rating was nearly impossible. With these fixes, along with you starting near a normal rookie overall rating, the MyPlayer is fun experience where you go through the draft, build up your legacy on the court and off the court (using Twitter getting famous followers like Pauly D or NBA Legends like John Stockton), until you finally reach the Hall of Fame (hint: an achievement/trophy). Other little features of the MyPlayer include “Meeting with GM” where you can trash other players or coaches or be a nice guy and praise the job that is being done, or creating your own shoe from Nike.
What about the terms of regular gameplay? Well the Association and Online Association is still there, so you can choose to play as the team or rather play a GM/Coach role, assigning players role’s, making trades, promising minutes, drafting rookies etc. Another mode of play is the Create a Legend mode where, unlike MyPlayer, you take a current NBA player and use him instead making your way to fame. Overall actual gameplay is very accurate and smooth flowing. There are less Out of Bounds calls where in previous games you can almost freely run out of bounds with little to no warning. Game sliders allow you to alter gameplay as in all previous 2K games, there are tips displayed constantly throughout the game to teach you how to post-up, do cross-overs, box-out, all the buttons you never really use. The Shot Stick has now upgraded to a replacement for buttons if you feel they hinder you performance, so the stick can perform cross-overs and of course shoot for you. Jump shooting accuracy is not displayed anymore in practice mode, so you must still figure out on your own where the sweet-spot release for each player on your own. Last but not least, three-point field goals have actually been changed where if you are just a little in front of the line, it still counts as a three rather than in previous games where you were taking a long two.
What kind of sports game doesn’t have Online Mode? Well don’t worry NBA 2K13 continues it’s online play with of course its head-to-head matchups. Head-to-head matchups are just basic online games where you are rewarded a ton of VC per each completion. Next is the MyPlayer matchup, where you do a “pick-up” game of 3-on-3 with your and other random players “MyPlayer” and play to 21 (street rules so: 1’s and 2’s).
Other basic things have to do with Music, which is fantastic and done by famous rap-artist and minor owner of the Brooklyn Nets, Jay-Z. If you don’t like Jay-Z don’t worry, there are some instrumentals and there are other musical artists to soothe your taste. You can customize music in the arena (impossible to hear anyway) or the main menu screen. Lastly the broadcasting team, ACTUALLY keeps up with you in this game. Unfortunately, the more you play the less clever and more annoying they become.
NBA 2K13 is definitely the best game when it comes to basketball for any system (duh) and NBA 2K13 many new features keep the game fresh for a long time. If you aren’t a fan of myPlayer, create your own legend, or play an association, sometimes just play for fun against others or local, and achievements in the game give you a new style to play the game (like making you lose on purpose till the 4th quarter, etc.). Sports games are under constant scrutiny to change and not change at the same time and the team at 2K sports is definitely doing the right thing, so here’s to another year of basketball that isn’t locked-out!
Michael Troina writes features and reviews Nintendo games for Analog Addiciton. When he’s not writing or playing games or sports, he’s out at his job at the Daily Bugle taking pictures as the web-slinger we all have come to love…either that or he’s getting sandwich saving one world at a time. Find him anywhere with this flavors.me/michaeltroina