NBA 2K12 Review for PlayStation 3 (PS3)

NBA 2K12 Review for PlayStation 3 (PS3)

Making A Great Thing Even Better

Frankly, I didn’t think that 2K Games was going to be able to outdo themselves; NBA 2K11 was pretty much exactly what I wanted from a basketball game. But 2K12 includes new features I didn’t even know to ask for. They overhauled the presentation, streamlined the gameplay, added brand new modes, and refined the movements of each model to look far more realistic. (Yet the players’ faces still look like poorly photocopied crime scene witness recount sketches. Oh well, I’m not going to nitpick.) 2K12 is a truly great basketball game.

The first thing you’ll notice is that the menu screen in the game has changed. Every mode in the game—from Quick Play to Create-a-Player to the new NBA’s Greatest mode—is right there on the “front page” so to speak, and can be accessed with little to no loading time. No one really complained about the menus from 2K11, but these are even better.

NBA 2K12 Screenshot

The NBA’s Greatest mode, in my opinion, is the coolest mode in the game. Remember the Jordan Challenges from 2K11? It’s a lot like those, but the greatness doesn’t stop at the former star of Space Jam . This time around, you will be able to control all of the great NBA stars of the past, from Larry Bird to Magic Johnson to Shaquille O’Neal.

Back in 2K11, the challenges would task you with completing different objectives over the course of a game. Instead, NBA’s Greatest simply asks you to win each dream matchup game. Some might say this removes a bit of the depth from the game, but in my opinion, it actually streamlines it. The challenges in 2K11 were a bit too tedious for me, and frankly, I’d rather blow my way through the NBA’s Greatest mode for the unlockable rewards: the teams themselves. Every team and player that you play as or against can be unlocked, allowing you to put together your own dream matches.

NBA 2K12 Screenshot

Oh, and fantasy games are presented in the style of their appropriate time period. This means that matches with Bill Russell and the 60’s Celtics are done in glorious campy black and white. Unfortunately, the 80s games aren’t nearly cheesy enough, but I can overlook that.

I have to hand it to 2K, they certainly know how to present a sports game. Each and every game you play is presented as a television sportscast, and while this is pretty much the norm for sports games today, 2K12 has nailed everything right down to the last detail. As you play, you’ll see advertisements for other games, miscellaneous scores and results, and stats for individual players. The commentators will rattle off trivia about the players you are currently controlling and the teams that are currently facing each other. Actually, what’s really cool is that this commentary changes in the NBA’s Greatest mode. Instead of rattling off trivia about current day players and teams, they rattle off trivia that was relevant at the time the game is supposed to be taking place in.

My Player mode has also gotten a face lift in many different ways. They have severely shortened the time it takes to get to the NBA. Instead of futzing around in pickup games, your character just plays one single game before interviewing with potential professional teams, then it’s straight on to the NBA draft. After that, you proceed as normal, leveling up your stats and completing objectives in an attempt to be a worthwhile team player. 2K12 starts you off with higher stats than 2K11, but it also gives you the overarching goal of getting into the Hall of Fame, so the game is simultaneously easier and harder at the same time. Overall, I’d say My Player mode has been made much less frustrating but no less fun. (Oh, and the press conferences are a real treat to watch.)

NBA 2K12 Screenshot

Then there’s Association, the franchise mode, which is pretty much what you would expect. You get to control a team and follow it through an entire season of matchups. Once again, this mode shines in presentation, with everything from team intros to mascots being accounted for. It’s mostly the same mode you remember from last year, but this time around you can play it online. This means you can play with your friends for an entire season. Of course, there is also a robust online suit for other modes too. Whether you are in it for the long haul or you just want a quick pickup game, 2K12 has you covered.

Supposedly, every aspect of NBA 2K12 can be updated dynamically—and by “dynamically,” I mean “on the fly.” If player stats, team jerseys, or even court appearances change, 2K12 can be updated to reflect these changes. It’s pretty awesome, but I can’t honestly say I have seen this in action yet. Most likely, all the awesome bits of the dynamic update system will happen behind the scenes and will rarely be noticed by gamers. That being said, it’s still a nice touch and I can’t wait to see the first update when it comes down the pipe.

NBA 2K12 Screenshot

The gameplay itself is largely the same as 2K11’s. The A.I. difficulty has been reduced, but only slightly. Some matches are still incredibly difficult, and this can lead to a measure of frustration.

The game’s analog stick shooting controls are good on the whole, but in the heat of a match you can certainly screw up. In fact, this has cost me entire games. Is this a realistic shooting setup or just a frustrating non-traditional control scheme? I’ll let you decide that one. Most people tend to like it, so I wouldn’t feel right about docking any points for something that I just can’t seem to get the hang of.

As I said before NBA 2K11 was, in my opinion, one of the best basketball games ever made, and more of the same is welcome. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, 2K12 just made the wheel a whole lot prettier, and that’s good enough for me. If you are a basketball fan, there is absolutely no reason not to get this game. Check it out, play it, love it, and just hope that 2K can find another way to outdo themselves when 2K13 comes around next year.

The presentation of this game is phenomenal, even though player faces still look like mannequins. 4.0 Control
I tend to screw up analog shooting. But everyone else in the world loves it, so who am I to argue? 4.6 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Best sports voice acting in any game ever. 4.3 Play Value
There is no reason not to get NBA 2K12 if you are a basketball fan. It will keep you busy clear through NBA 2K13. 4.3 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • NBA’s Greatest – Experience 15 of the NBA’s most celebrated careers and rivalries, painstakingly recreated in historic detail. Featuring such legends as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Dr. J, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and more.
  • Most Accurate NBA 2K Game Ever – Building off NBA Today’s real-time stats, rosters, schedules, and ratings, NBA 2K12 now delivers the most visually accurate NBA game as well. From shoes to player models and even court floors, every graphic detail of the game can now be dynamically updated. Broadcast style gets a boost as well with player interstitials promoting their upcoming games and dynamic pre-game highlight reels set to 2K Beats music.
  • Enhanced Gameplay – NBA 2K12 adds over 1,000 new animations this year and delivers all-new control mechanics for post play and ball control to make the game more intuitive to play than ever before.

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