|System: Xbox 360, PS3*, PC|
|Dev: Visual Concepts|
|Pub: 2K Sports|
|Release: October 2, 2012|
|Players: 1-4 Offline, Online Multiplayer|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
A new type of event in the My Player/Career mode is the meeting with a general manager. In these meetings you get to update the GM on the progress of your team, your relationship with your coach and teammates, and the particulars of your ongoing NBA career. Your responses here flesh out your player's personality. You can act like a total dick and blame every single loss on your coach. Heck you can even try to get your coach fired. However, the attitudes of your teammates, the public, and the media change based on how you respond. For me, the meetings were always kind of awkward. I just sort of stammered over myself whenever I was asked a question and tries to placate the GM in any way I could. It's good to know that NBA 2k13 has gone the extra mile to add its own awkward social situation simulator.
A whole bunch of classic players and teams were added to the game this time around. It's nice to finally be able to play as Charles Barkley again, which is something most of us haven't been able to do since Shut Up and Jam! Controlling dream teams from the past is also a blast, and is great for nostalgia buffs (read: old people) like me who enjoy the days of Jordan more than they do the days of LeBron. There's even a celebrity team lead by… uggh… Justin Bieber. Yes, just like in NBA Jam, these celebrities are way better than they should be. They are easily some of the best players in the game and… it just feels wrong. It feels wrong in all the right ways though. Goofy stuff like this seriously ups the game's replay value. It's just… Justin Bieber… really?
Now it's time to talk about the elephant on the court, and by elephant I mean Jay-Z. Jay-Z was credited as an executive producer on this title, and of course he had a lot to say in the game's soundtrack. I can wholeheartedly say that the game's tunes are competent, but that's about all I can say. Jay-Z really didn't wow me here. The music still gets repetitive at times and sometimes it doesn't really feel like it fits the subject matter. I get that hip-hop and basketball go together, but some of these beats just don't seem to drive home the competitive feel the game should have. Don't get me wrong, the soundtrack is stellar. It includes hits from Nas and Mobb Deep and even music from Jay-Z himself. Still, I felt like it just took me out of the experience sometimes. I mean, Coldplay's Viva La Vida? U2's Elevation? Daft Punk's Around the World? I don't know, those songs just don't say "basketball" to me.
Everything else about the game, though, is a smash hit. The voice acting by the announcers is spot on. The animations on the court are smooth and realistic. The online play has perfect netcode and it never takes too long to find a match. It's a hands-down improvement over NBA 2k12 in every way. I'd say that NBA 2k13 is easily worth the trade-up even if you are only a casual basketball fan. The RPG elements in My Career add a new level of strategy to the game, the dream teams give the game a very arcade-like feel, and you get to make your own shoes! Any video game that was good enough to get me to design and purchase my own custom footwear is fun enough for me.
Angelo M. D'Argenio
Date: October 2, 2012