NBA 2K11 was a fantastic game. The classic teams (mainly the Sonics), the graphics, the gameplay; the game had it all. No chance 2K was going to be able to even match what 2K11 accomplished.
We were wrong.
After getting some quality time playing NBA 2K12 I can safely say that the crew has done it again. For the umpteenth time, NBA2K will almost certainly be better than its predecessor.
The gameplay has taken it to another level. Every year you hear us at OS talk about how the game feels better or the game is more fluid. After playing 2K12 I take that comment with a grain of salt. 2K12 has shown how much more fluid a game can be. Player movements are seamless while running across the court interacting with the other nine players. All animations run smoother. Jump shots, alley oops, lay ups, and dunks all look like the way they should. I saw a loose ball roll across the court and it made my jaw drop.
I had about six total hours of game time and I didn’t see one clunky animation. I was never stuck in an animation that caused me to lose possession. Instead, with the player falling out of bounds, passing is still an option. Total control has finally found its way into sports gaming.
One of the bigger improvements this year was all in the post game. The ‘Y’ button is now the button to post up (hop step is part of the shot stick now). I was able to figure out a couple post moves, and enjoyed it thoroughly. But Rob Jones recreated Hakeem’s shake – it was beautiful. One of my more proud moments was when using Ewing to spin around a young Shaq for a monster slam that caused the whole room to scream. And there is still a lot left to uncover.
Also, at long last, help defense actually does what it supposed to do -- help. This goes hand in hand with the improved AI. The CPU isn’t stupid anymore – in fact you need to be smart in order to win. If you don’t know the game of basketball, your frustration levels will cause your head to explode if you try to play the game on a higher difficulty setting.
A lot of the cheese moves have been addressed. Spin dunking is still in the game, but you can stop it easily with good defense. Defenses are more aware of lead passing, which will not allow users to abuse the new fast break (which is fabulous in its own right).
Signature style is better than ever. Durant’s shot is a thing of beauty. When you play with Dirk, enjoy posting up your defender and sinking awkward looking fadeaways all day.
I know you’re sick of hearing about legends, but it really is as good as advertised. One big change with the classic games this year is the ability to change the difficulty and quarter lengths. Game developers felt the goals from the Jordan challenge were fun, but didn’t allow the user to play the game. Too many people would just take every shot with Jordan rather than playing the game how it’s meant to be played. So if you want a challenge, beef it up to All-Pro,; if you want to unlock the teams for quick play, rock Rookie until all 15 challenges are complete.
My favorite part from this mode was the presentation. The crew over at 2K did a great job capturing what it felt like to play in all decades. As you know, when playing in the ‘60s the presentation is grainy and black and white. Another nice touch to it is the dark, shaded out corners. Even the game clock in the corner looks like an old school digital clock.
As you advance to the newer era games you’ll notice the changes. You’ll slowly move into the Technicolor era, but still have the grainy feel. Eventually you’ll see a broadcast similar to the good old days of the NBA on NBC with the big fatty yellow text taking up the entire screen.
One final thing to be mentioned is the rules from each era. If there was no 3-point line when the game happened, there won’t be one when you play. Players will play the way they did in the ‘80s. When Pistol Pete is on the floor you’ll be able to tell he is the best player by far. The defense won’t be too much different, so zone may pop up on the occasion. Also fouls will still be called as often as they do when you play with the current teams, so you won’t be able to rough the opponent too much.
My Player is this year’s bread and butter. The mode has been taken to a whole new level. Everything Ronnie has released the past week or so is not just a gimmick, it’s flat out awesome. But what you all want to know about revolves around the gameplay.
The gameplay has vastly improved in My Player. It seems as though 2K has finally been able to translate the regular gameplay into the mode. It runs as smoothly what I mentioned earlier in this article.
CPU AI is greatly improved, both on your team and the opponent. Sometimes your teammates will get a little selfish in the Rookie Showcase, but that’s expected. After the showcase you’re thrown straight into interviews with three teams. I was a 3-point threat shooting guard and was interviewed by Charlotte, Sacramento and Utah. Each team asks questions based on your position, how much you can contribute, if you’re OK with riding the pine and questions revolving around their star player. The way you answer these questions can make you look like a nice guy or an arrogant bucket case, so be careful.
The next step is a mock draft, which will give a fairly detailed description on all prospects. I was slated to go No. 9 overall to the Bobcats, which was spot on. Steve’s point guard was projected No. 18, but fell to No. 21 after being pretty arrogant in interviews. Contract negotiations are in the game, but you can’t do anything about the rookie contract.
Now don’t be discouraged by the Rookie Showcase gameplay from your teammates. Once you get into the NBA (no D-League in My Player this year), teams will play the way they’re supposed to play. On Charlotte, Augustine took a lot of shots and Thomas did work in the post. I know Charlotte isn’t the best team with the best options, but you won’t be the No. 1 option off the bat. I only had a couple of stints off the bench in my one game.
Your player’s grade is more accurate this year. You won’t be knocked points for taking a last-second half court shot anymore or for your teammate allowing your man to score. The only frustration I came across was on defense. Once in a while your team’s defense will get out of sync and “your man” will switch constantly eventually leading to him scoring taking away points. It isn’t a game-killer since it doesn’t happen often, and I’m sure a patch will easily fix it.
There is a lot more to My Player I can rant on and on about, but it’s all in the Insight, which you should have already read.
To sum it all up, NBA 2K12 offers so much more this year that it will easily surpass the greatness we experienced in 2K11. From head to toe it has been improved. Honestly, I definitely missed some details in this article since it was a massive overload of 2K12 info for me, so hopefully when Steve posts his impressions article on Monday he fills you in on what I may have left out.
But for now, do your best lasting another three weeks with 2K11. After playing 2K12, I can’t even enjoy that game after playing what potentially looks to be the greatest basketball game of all-time.