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NBA 2K13 Preview (Xbox 360)

What is going on Operation Sports? Today I had the opportunity of attending Gamescom 2012 in Cologne Germany and got roughly 4 hours of face time with a playable demo of NBA 2K13. If you're looking for a reason to buy this game or to wait for another company's offering, you should probably stop reading. I'm giving my honest opinion from the small sample size I was able to get my hands on.

With that being said, I saw some good things as well as some bad things. Below I will break down everything I can and will answer any questions that you may have, to the best of my ability.

Presentation/Atmosphere:

Ok, the game opens up with an aerial view (real life shot) of the American Airlines Arena. Not sure if the music sequence was taken out but it wasn't in the demo. You immediately get sent into a television broadcast in which the starting lineups are introduced. You see shots of the usual Wade doing pull ups on the rim, LeBron doing the powder, and general sportsmanship being shown between the teams.

The commentary didn't really wow me -- they added some new things but it really sounded like last year. I'm sure some new lines and stories were recorded but I didn't get those in the demo.

The crowd... man... the crowd. The crowd, IMO, looked average and they moved poorly. This may be nitpicking but there was too much of that 'Miami burnt orange' in the crowd. I've watched quite a few Miami home games and I rarely see that much orange in the crowd -- didn't look natural at all. I think they need to add more of the home team's primary and secondary colors in the crowd to give it a better blend. Also, since it is the regular season, maybe even add some visiting team fans. Speaking of unnatural, the fans still waved wildly -- sometimes at odd times (like when the home team was on the free throw line). They do sit more but the waving needs to be brought down a notch. Other than that, the crowd swells did happen at the correct times. Honestly, I think the PA needs to be more of a dominant 'noise presence' to give it a perfect blend. Mix him/her in with the crowd swells and the atmosphere would be perfect.


Gameplay (Offense):

Player Movement -- Player movement seemed much more fluid this year. As a user, we have much more control of our player -- I didn't witness many 'mini movies', beautiful news for any 2k basketball gamer. I do however have a slight beef with the player collision system installed. It seemed as if there was a lack of contact animations on some of the fouls inside. The defensive player would fall (very natural IMO) but the offensive player looked as if the foul never occurred.

Other than that, I love the new collision detection, especially on the ball handler. You can really steer a player in the direction you want to go but if you steer too much or can't keep up with the player, as I found out the hard way against Westbrook, they will turn the corner on you and look to attack. The ball handler/defender relationship is a beautiful thing this season. It really makes on ball defense easier to do and turns it into a better option than playing off ball and attacking from the weak side.

Control Stick (Dribbling) - Honestly, this took me ONE five minute quarter to get used to (and the guy beat me 16-15). If you have ever played the NBA Live series you may be familiar with the control stick but please don't say it’s identical. The options you have at just a flick of your thumb, is remarkable. I played one guy and he just looked at me amazed as I used his spamming of the steal button to make him look foolish as a little baby cross followed by a quick hesitation had him reaching while the quick around the back move had him tying shoelaces in the front row. Truly a great addition to the series but don't worry about this turning into And 1. Dribbling, much to my displeasure, still drains energy so any move you do needs to be quick. One day 2k will read my mind and tie dribbling too long with ball security -- the better ball handlers can play with you a little longer than the rest. Until then we have this -- no matter if it drains energy or brings down ball security -- it’s an addition that most guys, especially the ones who haven't mastered the isomotion, will greatly appreciate. And if you are in that #IsomotionAchieved Club, things just got a lot easier for you, as the moves are pretty much similar for the most part.

Shooting - I had some issues but it was more of a 'camera angle' than anything else. I'm a 2k angle (absolute) guy and the camera was on broadcast (camera relative). One thing I did check on was the spin dunk/layup exploit. Either I couldn't do it right due to the camera or they removed it. Every time I tried it went into a half spin and pivot the other way.

Passing - Yes, it’s back. I didn't play against a zone defense to know if it’s truly there but trying to play the passing lanes just got a little riskier this year. The ball was whizzing from side to side with relative ease as well as going where I wanted it to go. Of course the best addition is the bounce pass. I saw some beautiful bounce passes on the break that normally would have been soft lobs that were knocked away or stolen in NBA 2K12. I'm sure I've confused a few German youth today with my complimentary remarks on few great dimes.

Rebounding -- Seen a couple of new animations in this area. The best thing I saw when it comes to rebounding was that the guy who was in the best position normally grabbed the board. No balls warping out of someone’s reach into the person behind them or anything like that. Then again, there weren't a lot of misses to judge as the difficulty seemed to be Pro Default.

Gameplay (Defense)

On ball defense - As I've mentioned above, it has been vastly improved this year. The option to force players a certain way (hopefully virtual Tyreke Evans has a left) will make team defense a bigger key this year. The contact on the perimeter will help you stay in front, but if you're too aggressive you will get burned.

Team defense - Well, this can be grouped into A.I., but correct defensive rotations were made by my A.I. teammates. I tried early to pressure Westbrook to get the ball out of his hands but he turned the corner on me in a hurry. In NBA 2K12, he's yammin' on anything in the paint. This season, the moment he turned that corner your big men (or anyone close) looked to step up to stop the drive. Since I'm talking about A.I. defense, yes I did see double teams. I personally faced a double team controlling LeBron James. The beauty of that double team is the fact that he wasn't hot or anything, it just came because he was in a deadly area, I'll assume for the defense. Unfortunately, the double actually pushed Perkins behind James and I pulled up and knocked down the jumper. Besides that, it’s great to see realistic defensive rotations and double teams make an upgraded return. Hopefully the complaints won't cause the 2K team to nerf them this year.

Bugs/Glitches:

Charge/Flop Bug - I couldn't do it myself but I did see it multiple times performed by a couple of 'charge cheesers' present. From what I can gather (couldn't catch it on film), it looks as if you are beat with your man outside of the 3 point line and click on another defender to draw the foul, when the defender falls (flops -- yes they are in this year from anywhere on the court) the offensive player's original assignment flew to the ground as well, normally nowhere near another player. It was a really weird thing that I hope some of the Team Up guys can find.

Overall Thoughts:

Now I won't say this is the greatest basketball this generation has to offer (even though I believe it will make others 'Watch The Throne') but it will very hard to dislike this offering unless some major flaw presents itself from now until release. A lot of the major things we complained about got implemented from the looks of my small sample. They truly seemed to have put our interests first in this one. NBA 2K13 is working with something special -- only thing missing is a LD2K gif. :)


NBA 2K13 Videos
Member Comments
# 1 jbthegreat @ 08/16/12 07:34 PM
nice read good times
 
# 2 Goffs @ 08/16/12 07:47 PM
Good read!
 
# 3 Colts18 @ 08/16/12 07:48 PM
Quote:
Team defense - Well, this can be grouped into A.I., but correct defensive rotations were made by my A.I. teammates. I tried early to pressure Westbrook to get the ball out of his hands but he turned the corner on me in a hurry. In NBA 2K12, he's yammin' on anything in the paint. This season, the moment he turned that corner your big men (or anyone close) looked to step up to stop the drive
Pretty sure after the babies cry about not being able to dunk whenever they want this will be dumbed down.
 
# 4 celticsfan1530 @ 08/16/12 07:49 PM
2K has done most of the things the fans asked for, glad they listen to us.
 
# 5 Vni @ 08/16/12 07:52 PM
Good read, great preview.

Thanks JerzeyReign.
 
# 6 barimanlhs @ 08/16/12 07:56 PM
Great read, its good to know that the rebounding seems to be fixed or ay least improved. I honestly want to try this game out, the fluidity and defensive controls sound like a lot of fun and hopefully less thrown controllers lol
 
# 7 jersez @ 08/16/12 07:59 PM
Great great great preview jerzy. I've seen some footage or a player going up for a layup or dunk, and it looked like the shot blocker and shooter just glazed each other, when the defender went right up to him. It's hard to describe and I forgot which video it was titled.

Did you see things like that example I gave?
 
# 8 aloncho11 @ 08/16/12 08:04 PM
Great read! I'm sure that this type of feedback is ideal for 2K to polish things out before release.
 
# 9 Vni @ 08/16/12 08:05 PM
What about the postgame? Nobody has really talked about it. Did you play in the post a bit JerzeyReign?
 
# 10 stillfeelme @ 08/16/12 08:10 PM
The game looks balanced even on this pro level. You can tell when you up the difficulty you will not be able to just iso all day or force your way to the paint. You will have to run some form on offense even quick plays pick and rolls if that is your strength to be successful that is what I am seeing even in the bad gameplay videos. This is a good read.

JerzeyReign were you shooting with X button or did you go full control stick? If you went full control stick how did you like it?

How would you say they improved speed between the fast or slow players?

Did you feel the effect of the sig skills at all?

How did the "live" ball feel this year? I know DaWolf said it was more loose any examples?

This game looks better than 2K12. I am sure you feel you are in control better than 2K11 and 12. They have more signature walking animations, the defense appears to be the most realistic. A representation of physics in the paint and on the perimeter. It looks like you have a possible counters to cheese inside and outside so I say this game will be a much better and realistically improved 2K12 to play sim ball probably a classic.
 
# 11 Norris_Cole @ 08/16/12 08:44 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vni
What about the postgame? Nobody has really talked about it. Did you play in the post a bit JerzeyReign?
I need to know about this as well, specially about the overpowered 2k12 up and under. And how about the pick and roll and specially pick and pop? It was basically useless in 2k12 due to big men usually popping out of the 3pt line instead of to the mid range area.

Great read by the way
 
# 12 gator3guy @ 08/16/12 08:50 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colts18
Pretty sure after the babies cry about not being able to dunk whenever they want this will be dumbed down.
Hopefully this is the case. Not the whining, but the lack of posterizing dunks on any and everybody.
 
# 13 Conda @ 08/16/12 09:05 PM
Great post. Pros > cons.
 
# 14 SouthBeach @ 08/16/12 09:11 PM
As a South Florida resident, I noticed the same thing you did after watching a few videos. The fans down here aren't really wearing Miami Heat colors in regular season games. I did notice a bit too much of that burnt yellow/orange.

Do you remember anything about fast breaks at all? Was there any clear separation between offensive and defensive player relative to their speed attributes? Perkins catching up to Wade/LeBron chasing down Thabo?
 
# 15 SouthBeach @ 08/16/12 09:15 PM
And from your description, it sounds like defense is a lot more fun and effective in 2K13. I'm big on double-teaming so that's great news that there is actually help defense when a player appears to be in their danger zone.
 
# 16 fsufan4423 @ 08/16/12 09:21 PM
I really hope 2K13 is as good as what I'm seeing from these early builds, I bailed on 12 pretty quick.
 
# 17 Blak_Baki_Hanma @ 08/16/12 09:28 PM
Any word on fatigue?... is it still a non-factor? Will calling timeouts still allow you to play the same 5 energized players for the entire game?

Any word or the ability to save an online profile so we don't have to make a whole slew of adjustments before every game?

And, of course, any word on server improvements, if any?

Thanks.
 
# 18 mrmass413 @ 08/16/12 09:39 PM
Did you notice any off the ball fouls?
 
# 19 LD2k @ 08/16/12 09:53 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by celticsfan1530
2K has done most of the things the fans asked for, glad they listen to us.
Dev's are very in tune with the fans and feedback. NBA 2K13 is a testament to that in my opinion.
 
# 20 Norris_Cole @ 08/16/12 09:54 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blak_Baki_Hanma
Any word on fatigue?... is it still a non-factor? Will calling timeouts still allow you to play the same 5 energized players for the entire game?

Any word or the ability to save an online profile so we don't have to make a whole slew of adjustments before every game?

And, of course, any word on server improvements, if any?

Thanks.
I think I saw LeBron with the gatorade icon in one of those gamescom videos, so I guess that's at least a good sign?
 

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