Developer: Visual Concepts Entertainment
Publisher: 2K Sports
Rating Guide: How I Review Games
It’s getting trickier and trickier to review these annual sports games. Year in and year out they try to do that one thing to make the game that much better than before. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Ultimately year after year the only thing gamers are really interested in is an updated roster for their team. 2K Games at least tries more than one new thing in NBA 2K13 but to me it missed its mark in more ways than one.
The new Kinect feature is actually pretty cool. You can speak your substitutions into the game and even attempt to get a technical foul by arguing a call. I never did but it was fun to try. If you want to substitute a player all you have to do is speak it. I enjoyed that more than the new control scheme. The control scheme drastically changes in NBA 2K13.
In fact the control scheme (Dribble Stick) changes so much about how you play that 2K Sports made the entire user manual about it. Seriously, the entire manual is only about the control scheme. Thankfully there’s an in depth tutorial to learn it but even then it’ll take some getting used to. Thankfully you can opt a more traditional scheme but because they default you to the Dribble Stick I had to mention how drastic it changes things.
I won’t mention the menu because if you’ve been a fan of NBA 2K then you’ll know the menus are nothing to get excited about. I know it’s the least of your concern when thinking about a basketball game but to me the little things matter too. Would it be too difficult to update the bland menus? Couldn’t they ask Jay Z for some menu influence?
Was including Jay Z’s name on the game a cash crab? Of course it was. Outside of the usual hip-hop inspired soundtrack, I can’t see much separating 2K13 from the norm when talking about the series. For a while now NBA 2K has had a heavy influence in hip-hop and the soundtracks have been really good. I suppose adding Jay Z was for some mysterious level of street cred. With that said, the soundtrack is very good for hip-hop and music fans alike. H to the Iz-O, V to the Iz-A .. Jigga what!
Along with returning favorites like MyPlayer and Online Association, there’s a currency system in place that you have to use in order to buy players for use in the NBA Blacktop mode. You get a certain amount of currency for playing and winning. You can then use it to unlock players. You can choose a few scenarios in the Blacktop mode including a 1 on 1, 2 on 2, 3 on 3 etc. Why would anyone want to go through the trouble of getting currency to unlock players? Your guess is as good as mine. If it’s for unlocking clothing and other things during the MyPlayer season, then fine. But I see no point in going from playing with players in the Exhibition yet can’t use them in Blacktop until you pay.
Another selling point of NBA 2K13 is the addition of the Dream Team and Charles Barkley. You can put the original Dream Team up against the new age Dream Team with LeBron James and crew. One other addition to the game is the celebrity All Star team featuring today’s most significant celebs. There’s a Justin Bieber NBA 2K13 highlight video floating around YouTube that is hilarious.
Visually the game has reached its ceiling I believe. The players all look like chubby little NBA players and they don’t look the part. By that I mean that they look lazy for lack of a better word. In fact, the movement of players just seems a tad too slow.
NBA 2K has always been about realism with its players but this time they seemed to have missed the mark. The uniforms have even taken a step back in being as fluid in motion as they used to. And I don’t want to get started on the hair in the game because it’s such a tragedy. Creating my character really shows how much of a disparity in graphics there is compared to previous versions. I’m not sure why other sites are failing to mention the noticeable dip in visual quality but I digress.
The good thing is that 2K13 manages to do what previous entries have and that’s capture the flow and emotion of the NBA. It’s hard to explain but the game just gets you as close to an NBA “on court” experience as possible minus the few kinks I mentioned.
Is NBA 2K13 the best basketball game out? Yes it is. You won’t find another basketball sim that does as good a job of mimicking an NBA game than NBA 2K13. Is it because it’s also the only basketball game out? Yes it is. The gameplay is solid but takes a dip due to the over complicated control scheme being introduced. If you’re a Jay Z fan then you’ll love the soundtrack and if you’re an NBA fan you’ll enjoy the new rosters.
2K Games wants you to believe they’re taking risks and improving but I think they’re starting to suffer from the lack of competition from EA.