NBA 2K12 Review

NBA 2K12

A lockout may be on the horizon for the NBA in real life, but the virtual world of basketball is still in great shape thanks to developer Visual Concepts. The 2K franchise has reigned supreme for years now and the latest entry, NBA 2K12, is yet another resounding success. The changes made this time around are subtle, but the result is the best basketball simulation out there.

Last year’s NBA 2K11 was all about Michael Jordan and the new Jordan Challenge mode. Gamers were able to recreate some of the most important moments in the basketball icon’s career, and fans seemed to really enjoy the new feature. Luckily, that mode makes another appearance in NBA 2K12, but this time the focus isn’t entirely on Jordan. Now titled NBA’s Greatest, the reworked mode allows players to pick from 15 different NBA Legends (including stars like Magic Johnson and Larry Bird), and statistical milestones aren’t required for each legend. Instead, gamers play in one game with that legend’s team where the sole purpose is to win. It’s a much simpler approach than what was found in NBA 2K11, but it ends up being more fun because you can play with and enjoy entire teams without having to worry about reaching a set number of points or rebounds. This mode also offers some stylized visuals that aim to replicate particular eras. For example, a game with Bill Russell’s Celtics is presented with a grainy black and white filter, mimicking the broadcasts of the 50s and 60s. This gives the mode an authentic feel that makes it that much more enjoyable and rewarding.

NBA 2K12

The revamped NBA’s Greatest mode is the biggest change found in NBA 2K12, but some key adjustments were also made to the My Player mode. Developing a player from the ground up is always fun in sports games, but NBA 2K11 had a few too many obstacles in the way. In order to actually reach the NBA you had to participate in a series of tedious and time-consuming training games. In this latest entry, the only requirements are playing in one rookie showcase game, interviewing with a few different teams, and then it’s off to the NBA draft. This streamlining goes a long way toward making the My Player mode much more accessible and in turn enjoyable.

Aside from the aforementioned changes, longtime fans shouldn’t expect too many surprises. Series staples like the Association and Creating a Legend modes are still in tact, as is the same core gameplay. Some minor tweaks were made though, such as more maneuverability in the post and slightly scaled back AI. This helps eliminate some of the frustration that has come with 2K Games games in the past. All of the regular online modes also return in NBA 2K12, but a new online association has been added. This allows an individual and 29 other friends to create an entire online league together. Most people purchasing this game probably don’t have 29 other friends playing it as well, but it’s still a very cool feature for the hardcore fanatics.

NBA 2K12

Realism has always been the name of the game when it comes to the 2K franchise, and NBA 2K12 keeps that tradition going. Familiar faces – Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki – look remarkably similar to their real life counterparts, and the fluid animations are fantastic. Visuals are only one part of the equation though; the audio also deserves some recognition. The music is the series’ standard mix of hip-hop, rap, and rock, but the commentary is where the presentation truly shines. Kevin Harlan and Clark Kellogg return yet again and are joined by former NBA player Steve Kerr. The three do a great job of providing useful insight and the wonderfully synced play-by-play is faithful to a real life broadcast.

The saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Developer Visual Concepts recognized that and chose to make minor tweaks and adjustments with NBA 2K12. However, that’s no cause for concern, as the small changes result in an all-around better game. And not only does NBA 2K12 improve upon its predecessor, it also takes the crown yet again as the best basketball simulation on the market.


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Author: Anthony LaBella View all posts by
My first experience playing a video game blew me away. The fact that Super Metroid was that game certainly helped. So I like to think Samus put me on the path to video games. Well, I guess my parents buying the SNES had a little something to do with it. Ever since then my passion for video games has grown. When I found that I could put words together into a coherent sentence, videogame journalism was a natural interest. Now I spend a large majority of my time either playing video games or writing about them, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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