NBA is back, at least in videogame form with NBA 2K12. The follow up to last years smash success that highlighted ‘The Greatest’ Michael Jordan. This year looks to take a new direction to realistic televised presentation as well as more legendary players and teams than ever before. Can this year’s iteration live up to the legacy of the players without no actual NBA season in sight or is it as locked out as the players themselves are?
Players who got a hand at NBA 2K11 last year will see that the interface has changed and overall presentation has garnered an overhaul. The main menu is now more stylized like and streamlined with all of your gameplay options in front of the player. Games now have a halftime show which is represented by some short adverts regarding upcoming games and showing of mascots and cheerleaders for the respective home team. There is also ‘commercials’ that occur every time there is a major time out on the court and also show upcoming games. The presentation of it all is rather great, and it almost makes you want real commercials from Sprite and others in the game. The feel of it serves its purpose of attempting to showcase a television-like atmosphere. Players are slightly more detailed this time around and animations feel more fluid.
One of the key modes of the past few years is the My Player mode, where you create a player and have them become a part of the NBA. This year they made great strides by adding more options for attributes and ways to spend skill points. A bevy of shoes from major brands such as Jordan and Nike are available and some are even customizable. This year though, instead of having players compete in the a draft combine, players participate in a rookie showcase and based upon your performance are approached by three general managers in the locker room. Players will then answer a few questions which will ultimately determine which team they will end up on. It is unique take on the aspect as well as a great attempt to really sync the player and their created superstar into the world of an NBA player. Besides the normal objectives that occur in the game for your player, there are also dynamic objectives that will happen under certain circumstances like, your team losing by only a few points or something to that affect. After every game in My Player, there will be a press conference where the media will ask questions and you will choose one of four possible answers, your answers will determine, Player, Team and Fan support. Every so often your player will get paid and will be able to use his money to either purchase skill points or give back to fans and team. Players can also attend legendary training camps based off of famous players such as Michael Jordan, Jerry West and more. Another small addition is the endorsements where you can review your teams current publicity and your run up to getting your own branded Nike Jordan shoe. Other than that, it is the same great My Player mode everyone has come to love.
Last year Michael Jordan set the standard for a featured player in an NBA title so 2K Sports had to go back to the drawing board and see who can outdo Michael Jordan? Well, they came back with not just one legendary superstar, but fifteen. That is not including the legendary teams like the ’92-’93 Chicago Bulls or the ’94-’95 New York Knicks. Players range from Magic Johnson to Karl Malone and even Larry Bird. The presentation in these games are amazing, from the look of the broadcast to the arenas it is clear that the developers at 2K really did their research and it shows. Players moves are authentic as the uniforms on their backs. To many gamers, these games are only a memory but now players will be able to recreate them with their own hands which is a great feeling for basketball fanatics. A returning feature, the Create A Legend mode has had a revamp which allows for any current NBA player to be chosen to go through the motions under the control of the player. The only exceptions are that there is no press conferences post game, and there are only two rookies due to the NBA lockout. A small price to pay for the ability to choose any NBA player.
The online returns with the basic setup of modes and now requires you to login with a 2K account which can be linked to your Twitter, Facebook and Youtube profiles. Once you setup your account, you will be able to create a 2K player for the profile. It adds a depth of personalization to the online portion. Quick Match and Quick Match team up return. Players will progress their online player from prospect to All-Star status through the course of their online foray as well as having the ability to track their stats.
NBA 2K12 has managed to outdo its predecessor in almost every category possible. It may be hard to imagine with the lockout still rearing in our minds but the only major affect it has had on the title is the inability to use this current years rookies in the game which is what may stray purists from buying this title as it keeps players looking the way they did in 2K11. This is just a small gripe I feel. The presentation is top notch and the gameplay is as fine-tuned and solid as ever, the soundtrack is just as good as last years. The system that 2K and Visual Concepts have created for the content updates that allow for up to the minute shoes, court, and arena info to create one of the most realistic sports titles, period. The addition of more legendary players and the slight changes to My Player even show strides. There are some features that are lacking from the series as a whole that we would love to see included in future iterations, such as 1 on 1 basketball or even a slam dunk contest. Nevertheless, if you are a basketball fan, don’t let the lockout get you down, grab the rock and toss it around, even if it is only in your living room.
Final Score: 4.5/5