Also On: Xbox 360
Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Visual Concepts
Medium: Blu-ray Disc
2K Sports’ series of basketball games have not only literally knocked out the completion, but they even have raised the bar for other sports games as well by leading the way in the most realistic visuals, commentary, and TV presentation. Even though EA has done the old bait and switch on bringing NBA Live back from the dead, 2K still holds their ground and ups the ante as if they had someone they were trying to outdo and impress. Well you’d figure that with NBA 2K13 they would take a breath and just phone it in right? Well it has comes to no surprise to this reviewer that this development team has plenty of love and pride in delivering the best they can, and with NBA 2K13, they shoot…and score once again.
Visually NBA 2K13 never fails to impress, and this year they even take it up another notch with a little help from Jay Z who’s really got game. Whether it’s the brilliant transition from authentic footage from outside the arena to a digital recreation of the inside, amazing between scoring replays that will measure dunk impact, amazing shots, players of the game, and more; Or the sheer realism of the player models and faces that have gotten better and better each year, and this year taking the cake recreating 90% of the players. This includes not only today’s NBA elite, but even Legends like the ‘92 Dream Team, ‘92 Bulls, and the greatest hoopster of them all, Justin Bieber. Ok that last part was a lie, well the part of Bieber being the greatest, but oddly enough the kid leads a celebrity all star squad with other celeb players like Bow Wow and JB Smoove. The player animations even top the rest of the visuals with amazing transitional moves that look so real and fluid that you could darn near fake out a person that you are watching a real NBA game, especially with the game’s in game commercials…for their own upcoming games of course, but it still is a fantastic effect nonetheless.
The commentary and sounds add to NBA 2K13’s realism and with spot on play by play calls that not only rarely repeat, but whether it’s the first time you hear it or the 100th the moment you hear the commentary broken up in mid speech to “ooh and ahh” over an amazing play or dunk, it truly sounds revolutionary. The sound track is finally diverse and not just a mix of only hip hop grooves, which I applaud Jay Z for an amazing mix of different genres to fit anyone’s audio palate. Nothing gets you pumped like authentic game sounds and music during a drive, whether it’s hearing D-FENCE, Let’s go Knicks, or many of the other spot on stadium specifics, the attention to detail is truly remarkable. The sound effects and reactive crowds chants, cheers, and jeers round out this pleasure on the ears quite nicely.
Game play is where 2K13 really takes the rock and drives it home with a boom shaka la…err..I’m sure that’s copyrighted, but you get my drift. Besides the aggressively ready-to-play and catch on to your game, A.I. you have a new and improved shooting style that includes a dribble stick that mixes holding down the shoulder buttons and using the right analog stick to perform ankle breaking steps, fadeaways, crossovers, and of course shoot in a number of ways that will not only score for you team but light up the crowd with excitement. These new ways to control you player may feel weird at first, and the lack of a tutorial or what signature moves look like, but trust me, once you’ve have gotten the mechanics down, the smooth transition from move to move will allow you to predetermine your play and drive to the hole, with leaving the your opponent in the dust becoming more like second nature in no time.
The wealth of options will keep the good times rolling for not only your NBA season, but if you felt so inclined you could skip 2K14, not that I’m sure the good folks at 2K would appreciate that, but it’s just that deep. You have a deep GM mode, a fantastic single player career mode called My Player, plenty of fantasy players and dream teams to play as in exhibition mode, and even a superior online franchise mode that even allows you to use your mobile device to make your decisions off the court on the go. Heck you can even create your own shoes! While I do wish that during the My Player mode I could choose a different voice for my off court interviews, as my guy sounds too gangsta for my taste, but honestly that is just nitpicking for perfection right?
All in all NBA 2K13 is the complete package, delivering anything a fan of NBA hoops could ask for. No matter how you like to play your game, either as a fantasy coach, GM, or player, you are in control of your game on any facet. To tack on the fact the game looks, plays, and sounds so lifelike you could fool onlookers is just the added bonus. You have to wonder where the franchise can go from here to please fans as there isn’t much they haven’t thought of, other than fights, which they may have missed the boat on considering they do have Sir Charles in the game. Alas, asking for that as an option is just silly, but pulling something like that out of a hat just goes to show you how little they need to add to the series at this point. Either way, I’m sure they will find a way to blow our socks off again next year.