Tuesday, November 29, 2011

We review 2K Sport's latest installment in the NBA 2K Series, NBA 2K12.

Let’s be honest, 2K Sports has done for virtual basketball what EA has done with hockey, and Sony has done with baseball. NBA 2k11 won countless awards and is easily the companies' most successful franchise. So, how do you improve on a game that already has a lot going for it without messing up the formula? The answer is simple: don’t fix what isn’t broken. NBA 2k12 is the same great gameplay from 2K11 with updated AI, animations, and a new mode with authentic-style presentation. For fans of 2K and basketball in general, there is not a lot to complain about in this year’s outing and is a great way to play out the almost guaranteed canceled NBA season this year.

2K really enjoyed the Jordan Challenge mode from last year and decided to expand upon that mode this season with NBA Greatest. Following the careers of fifteen of NBA’s greatest players from all the different era’s of basketball. From Wilt Chamberlain to Magic Johnson and even all the way back to Bill Russell are covered here. One extremely satisfying feature of this mode is that the era your chosen team is playing in is accurately represented in-game. This means extremely short jerseys with knee-high socks, a black and white filter on everything, and even the removal of the three-point line pre-1979. It is these little attentions to detail that go a long way in making the NBA Greatest mode a blast to play. The only complaint that can be found is that the commentators call the game as if they are watching film and not the game as it actually happens.
Aside from NBA Greatest, the overall game itself has received a few gameplay updates. One of the biggest complaints from last year was that it was too easy to get caught in bad, clunky animations that ultimately caused a turnover. 2K worked on these issues and made the game move a lot smoother and easier to control. That being said, don’t expect the game to be a cakewalk because the AI has been upgraded as well. That is to say that the AI plays the game of basketball a lot smarter instead of pulling off moves and plays a human player could only hope to perform. This means you’ll need to have a pretty good understanding of the game, teams, and what your strengths or weaknesses are in order to be successful this year.
This was on quick game, with 5 mins. a quarter. So don't judge us by the score.
Another gameplay update that makes significant impact on how you play the game comes to the post game.Last year, you were required to find a defender, hold the LT button, and go into a post-up animation. This year, all that is needed is a press of the Y button (Triangle on PS3), and your player will turn his back to the net. From here, you have a list of moves you can perform that reads longer than a Mortal Kombat move set. The great thing about this post system is that you can transition from one move to another very fluidly in your attempt to get some separation from a defender. One thing to note is that not every player is able to pull off every move, so you’ll have to take into consideration the player you are using before you try that spin move and drive to the hoop.
2K Sports have always had solid presentation with their games, and NBA 2K12 is no exception. As previously stated, the presentation provided in the NBA Greatest mode is by far the most detail I’ve seen put into a sports game yet. The regular game also receives the same detailed treatment. Simply put Steve Kerr, Kevin Harlan, and Clark Kellogg are easily the best broadcast booth team in any sports video game to date. They have such good chemistry and play off each other so well it is as if they are calling the game in real-time. Add to this the overall TV style of stat overlays, transitions to replays, and excellent camera angles and you could just sit and watch a game instead of playing.
The grainy effect any no 3-point line shows the detail 2K Sports has put in the game.
There really is not much to find fault with this seasons' NBA game. However, there does seem to be once again an issue with online play performance, but that is the only blemish on an otherwise perfect game. In the handful of online games attempted for this review, I was never able to finish a game either due to disconnects or lag so bad the other person dropped out. While 2K has addressed these issues and is currently working to get patches out there, it is a little disheartening to find that online issues have popped up on a regular basis for this series over the past few years.
Online issues aside, this is a complete basketball experience that fans of the sport will be extremely pleased with. While the game itself may require a bit more of an understanding of the game in order to be successful, it is exactly this level of detail that has made this franchise as popular as it is. The addition of the NBA Greatest mode is a great way to get even more out of a game and feature some of the NBA’s legendary players. The presentation and gameplay are second to none, and players will find the game enjoyable long into the winter months and onto next season. For it's score, NBA 2K12 receives a 
Gameplay: 5.0/5.0 - The gameplay is rich in how it's presented, how you play, and the overall how fun you're having. The attention to NBA 2k12 details are so extensive, it'll impossible to even notice them all. We enjoyed every ton of the features, even the quick play was enjoyable to get a good little session going on.
Sound: 4.5/5.0 - The sound, to us, is the commentary, the voices you hear from the players as they play, and effects that help with visuals. This was an outstanding part of the game itself as we found the commentators to be very interesting when they talk. The new "sound technology" 2K12 brings is true. The commentators can be talking about a certain player and will stop when a big play arises at the time, and then resume back to what they were talking about. 
Graphics: 5.0/5.0 - There's really nothing to compare to NBA 2k12 graphics as it is currently the only basketball videogame to be out. However, the visuals are stunning and the presentation of the animations if perfected. It seems so realistic and unbelievable.
Replay Value: 4.75/5.0 - The replay value for this game is incredibly high, with so many game modes to choose from. You can play a quick game with any team you want and more user-created teams if you download from 2KShare. You can start a brand new association and take it 5 years forward, not forgetting you have 29 other teams to play as. You can play the revised My Player Mode as PG, while remembering you can play as 4 other positions as well and customize your player a million different ways. Oh, and you have several Greatest Players to play as. Did I forget something? Yeah, Online Association. And Online for that matter. The game has too many ways to play to NOT have replay value. 

Recommended. Only if you're into basketball. This game has plenty to offer than just what it looks like from gameplays and commentaries. Is it worth the $59.99 price tag? Probably not, but then again no game is worth the $59.99 price tag. Get it.

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