NBA 2K13 Review
Over here in the UK, basketball is still an alien sport. Played by tall, loud and aggressive players, us Brits don’t bode well to the sport. It’s a shame because we miss out on the greatest sporting franchise of all time, NBA 2K. Constantly striving for perfection, the 2K series overflows with care and attention for one of America’s greatest past times.
After receiving a platter or Best Sport Game awards for 2012, 2K could have left their game alone and rested on their golden laurels but instead they have decided to take a few risky long shots. Some work and are brilliant whilst some feel slightly pointless. However overall, NBA 2K13 is not only the best basketball game ever; it is potentially one of the best games of the entire year.
By far the biggest change is the new control stick which utilises the right stick for all Isomotion moves whereas holding the left trigger and then right stick results in a shot.
The 2K series is not known as the most accessible, chewing up newcomers with a terrifying ferocity, and as a long time fan, I originally struggled with the stick and the ‘here is the control stick, twiddle it!’ instructions but much like the whole game, stick with it and it works.
When you do adapt, it is simply divine! Piecing crossovers and half spins together like a hybrid between Jordan and The Flash is something magical (could be seen as a pun!)
Partner this with the already smooth and slick gameplay and NBA 2K13 is the closest simulation to basketball ever. Player contact has also been improved meaning a screen from Tyson Chandler feels like the real thing- being hit by a falling building.
MyPlayer has also seen some changes with skill points being replaced by VC, currency that can be spent on anything from padded arm sleeves to LeBrons chalk entrance. The potential for customisation is huge yet feels somehow superficial. You gotta show off your game on the court, not in the press room!
The earning of VC in any mode is a brilliant idea, constantly rewarding you for playing. One thing we did notice though was the reliance on an online connection as the whole VC system is locked without the Internet. It seems like too much reliance on something that is not hugely needed.
Through all these changes though, NBA 2K13 is still contains the fundamentals that made the series so great. The game once again looks simply incredible with life like models that interact perfectly with each other. In fact, a passer-by genuinely asked what channel I was watching the match, it’s that uncanny.
The presentation compliments the graphics too with sponsored camera angles, in depth analysis and fantastic commentary (that now offer comments regarding your MyPlayer, a very satisfying feature)! Each match begins with a blood pumping Jay Z spliced intro film which strengths the illusion.
The world’s biggest rapper acts as executive producer and with a plethora of gritty tunes and an abundance of gold, his inclusion certainly makes things more exciting. It is worth raising though that whilst the menus may shine and very shiny shine they are painfully convoluted and archaic. To be honest, that’s the only real criticism of the whole game- the menus!
Last year’s most lauded feature, the Legends Showcase sadly does not make a return but the teams are available from the get go. Now including Allen Iversson’s 76ers and Shaq’s Lakers, the array of teams and rosters will have you pitching legendary teams together, and it is both surreal and top notch fun. Similarly, Team USA from this year’s Olympics is now included along with 1992 Dream Team. Want to see who would win between Kobe and Jordan or Love and Bird? Here’s your chance!
Once again, NBA 2K13 sits on its throne as the pinnacle of basketball games and yet again, sports games in general. For every mediocre ‘social integration’ attempt, there’s the inclusion of Sir Charles, for every ‘shoe creator’, there’s an increased array of post-shot animations. Whereas FIFA 12’s new defensive system split opinion last year, the new control stick for NBA is nothing short of a revolution and as a result, the on court game is out of this world.
The lack of a dedicated Legends Showcase or Jordan Challenges’ is probably the biggest let down especially after their overwhelming praise from previous years. The menus are near impossible to navigate resulting in an orgy of sliders and options and numbers and arrows and, well, you get the picture. Some of the features are hit and miss, feeling empty and pointless whilst the learning curve is more El Capitan than anything less than pants wittingly intimidating.
However, whilst away from the court it may not be perfect, when you step your virtual feet onto that virtual hardwood, everything is forgotten. Smooth, slick and uncannily realistic, NBA 2K13 continues the year by year trend. Made with love and passion for the game, 2K Sports have once again shown the likes of EA how to make an annual sports game.
NBA 2K13 is back for another season. In the words of our beloved Jon Hey ‘Boomshakalaka!’