Though last year’s NBA 2K11 turned out to be 2K Sports’ best effort on the basketball court, the team is looking to outdo itself with NBA 2K12.
Recently we had the chance to go hands-on with the game’s new NBA’s Greatest mode, which is the highlight of this year’s game. The new mode will be available to play right form the start and features 15 of the greatest NBA players of all-time. Gamers will be able to step into the shoes of Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Irving, Patrick Ewing, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, Scottie Pippen, Oscar Robertson, Bill Russell, John Stockton, Isiah Thomas and Jerry West.
After choosing a legend and his corresponding team, gamers will then take part in historic showdowns, where the goal is to simply win. After playing a handful of games, what stood out most was the presentation, both from the look of the game and how it was being broadcast, or commentated.
If you’re playing a game from say the 70s, you’ll see the game in black and white, with a grainy video effect, while players will don old school uniforms, arenas will look like they did during that time and the commentating will sound like it’s straight out of a mono radio, just to name a few examples. It’s all done very well and replicates what one would have seen during those eras. Rules and player tendencies will also reflect their time, such as no 3-pointers before 1965.
The commentating team is also spot-on. The flow and play-calling style seems so natural that you almost forget you’re playing a game. What’s also great is that you’ll also get historic references to each of the players, which serves as a nice history lesson for younger gamers who never saw some of these legends play. Additionally, though we have the 15 legends, the commentating team doesn’t necessarily focus on them, giving other players on their team some love, such as talking about James Worthy’s (Lakers) stats and what he’s done for the team.
Animations are extremely smooth while the crowds are lively and colorful. The first row of fans at courtside can also be interacted with. Say a player is trying to keep the ball in bounds and dives, he may push over some fans, or they may even try to hold you up.
The A.I. also seems pretty solid. The opposing team will play intelligently, making adjustments throughout a game and being pretty solid on defense. Not once did I see any stupid moves and in fact, was punished when I made a stupid pass.
Though NBA’s Greatest is only a piece of the entire package, it’s pretty clear from our demo that the game is shaping up to be 2K’s best.
NBA 2K12 is slated for an October 4 release, but we’ll have more hands-on time with the game in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.