Developer: Visual Concepts
Publisher: 2K Sports
2K Sports and company made a huge impact with NBA 2K11 when they revolved a portion of the game around Michael Jordan, and now NBA 2K12 is set to make a bigger impact involving more legends. With the end of the NBA Lockout, get your season tickets ready, here’s the review.
From North Carolina, Michael Jordan!!!
Unaffected by the lockout, 2K Sports went ahead with plans to release the latest instalment of the yearly franchise. The vast majority of player models look like their real-life counterparts, and as well as capturing the looks of the player, the models also move like them. The fine details of the court are also something that shouldn’t go unnoticed – the painted logos, lines, and scoring tables are picked up from the stadiums around the league. Even the details in the parquet show up on the floor. The presentation can be changed in terms of camera angles, such as during the “NBA’s Greatest” mode, where a camera filter is used to make the camera looked aged or even shift it to black-and-white in some cases.
Gameplay is deceptively deep and very responsive. As a newcomer to the franchise, we initially felt overwhelmed, but soon settled down nicely. Plays must be called using the directional pad, while the left analog stick is used for movement. Usually the A.I. is unresponsive until a play is called and they move to their own designated positions. This tends to get frustrating when looking for an open player, as your teammates rely on you to do the vast majority of the work necessary to win the game.
Shooting can be used with a face button or the right analog stick. As someone that usually plays arcade-style games, we usually relied on the face buttons; however,we tried out the analog stick and that was just as responsive. Everything else from passing to posting works well. The opponent’s A.I. is also responsive as they go after rebounds and do their best to deflect passes.
Too Big, Too Strong, Too Fast, Too Good
Alongside the standard exhibition and franchise modes, NBA 2K12 offers a variety of new modes including Create-A-Legend. In this year’s version, rather than taking control of a rookie Michael Jordan on any team, the player has the choice of any player on any team, and you then play out the rest of their career. Another similar mode is My Player, in which you create your own player from scratch. You play one game in the “Rookie Showcase Game” and are graded on your performance in that game. After which, you are interviewed by a few teams and drafted. During the course of the career, a player can be on billboards and magazine covers, they can create shoes and even an NBA “Where Amazing Happens” commercial. Players receive paychecks to use on skill points or new things like a basketball clinic to raise their local fan popularity. Instead of playing every game of the season, users can choose to play only key games instead of the 82-game grind. The point of this is so players can make it through their career. Press conferences have been upgraded, and now you can see your players status in terms of league popularity, team chemistry, and fan support. All this to get enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Using three cover players including Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson was likely done to highlight the NBA Greatest mode – one game highlighting 15 different NBA greats from the past, including the three aforementioned legends, playing 15 different games in their career. Sub-goals are set, such as scoring a set amount of points or holding your opponent to a certain shooting percentage. Winning the game usually unlocks the team, or teams, in the game. As mentioned earlier, camera filters are used to make the footage looked aged, and in some cases black-and-white, for these games. This is done to represent a visual depiction of a 2K Sports broadcast. Once that team is unlocked, they are free to use throughout the game for ultimate bragging rights, leaving players to settle their own “who is the greatest team of all time” argument.
Either get up or get out the way
One word of advice is to keep your television’s sound system to a moderate level when playing this game. We can speak from experience that NBA 2K12 sounds like going to a live event – pipe organs, music, the roar of the crowd, chanting, drums, it is all there. Any fan of NBA basketball will lose themselves in their own game through not only the visuals but also the drowning sound of a basketball game. It adds a little intensity when you’re on the road playing in a place like Madison Square Garden against the Knicks, or out west in the Staples Center against the Lakers.
Kevin Harlan, Clark Kellogg and Doris Burke are joined by Steve Kerr, formerly of the NBA Live series. Their commentary tracks are both informative and offer a little entertainment. Personally, we applaud the fact that if they’re talking about a certain player, they will get side-tracked by a big play happening on the floor, but when they’re done talking about the play, they will go back to the point they were making before the play. It doesn’t sound forced but rather like an actual transition, with the commentator usually saying “As I was saying…” before their original point.
Big time players make the big time plays
NBA 2K12 isn’t just a great sports game, it’s a great game in general. There is a great deal of content to go through for both newcomers and veteran players. Newcomers might take a while to become skilled, and it helps to have a working knowledge of basketball to understand the nuances of the game. As one of those newcomers, at first we were slightly overwhelmed and then frustrated because we kept losing, but then we felt comfortable finding the open man to shoot a 15-foot jumper after cutting inside drawing a double team.
The major flaw with the game is that the player customization isn’t as deep as some other games. With a massive sports game such as this, the overall customization feels like it takes a back seat to the gameplay. With that said, that’s not entirely a bad thing. The developers delivered a great NBA simulation game with both modern and classic representations of the game. Personally, we loved playing this game and feel that NBA 2K12 delivers a hybrid of watching a game on TV and the excitement of being a part of the game itself. And it is a beautiful game. The only thing missing is the local commentary team, but NBA fans should buy this game.
Final Verdict: NBA 2K12 gets 10 Stacey King Memos out of 10
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This review is based on a retail copy of the Playstation 3 version of NBA 2K12 by 2K Sports