With 2011 – 2012 the NBA season looking more and more unlikely every day, I felt I needed to get my basketball fix somehow. If I can’t watch the best players in the world play, why not take control of them in a video game? The NBA 2K series has recently set the standard for National Basketball Association (NBA) video games. While EA dominates the hockey video game market, 2K is the absolute leader for basketball simulation. Last year’s NBA 2k11 was absolutely phenomenal. It brought Michael Jordan back into the equation, allowing players to use him in the game to bring back those dominant Bulls teams. The graphics, controls, and overall experience were heads above the competition. It was so good in fact, that EA didn’t even bother releasing their NBA Elite game. 2K keeps upping the ante with NBA 2K12. It takes everything that made 11 so good, and improves upon it.
The graphics in this game are beautiful. Each player clearly resembles their real life counterpart. The arenas are all gorgeous, from the glean off the buffed floors, to the logos on the court floors, it all looks and feels real. It looks so good, my dad walked in while I was playing the game and thought I was watching a real life basketball game. He obviously wasn’t aware of the looming lockout.
The sound and music are equally incredible. The announcing is some of the best I’ve heard in a video game. In some cities, depending on who they have on the microphones, it may actually be an improvement over their real life announcers. I liked the soundtrack a lot too, which is usually good in 2K games.
After the successful introduction of Michael Jordan last year, 2K has added a ton of other greats to the game this year. You can use vintage Shaquille O’Neal, Magic Johnson, Scottie Pippen, and more. There are 15 total “Legends” whose terrific careers can be recreated within the game in great detail. Relive the Larry Bird – Magic Johnson rivalries and much more.
One of the most popular features in the 2K series is the ability to create your own player to see how they stack up in the big leagues. 2K sports has built upon this and made the “My Player” functionality that much better. You can now hear Commissioner David Stern call your name on draft night for your favorite team. Enter yourself into the rookie skills competition, earn huge endorsement deals, pad your stats, and ultimately get your name on a huge franchise player contract.
Most of the modes are back, my favorite being Association mode. Take your team from worst to first and watch the fans pack your arena to cheer you on. You can now even take your association mode online to play against your buddies and see how you stack up in the online community. The Playstation Network integration is seamless and a lot of fun.
Overall, this game is fantastic. It takes what made the old NBA 2K games and builds upon it in every way. The graphics, sound, presentation and game play are all the best around for basketball video games, and set the bar extremely high. If EA wants to reclaim the top spot in the basketball video game market, they certainly have their work cut out for them.
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