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Kimberley Ellis
30 Oct, 2011

NBA 2K12 Review

360 Review | It's got game.
With the NBA lockout already taking a toll on the start of the NBA season, the signs that there may not be any NBA action to watch this year is becoming a worrying possibility for basketball fans. Thankfully, NBA 2K12 does a superior job of filling the void while the real NBA is on hiatus, because this is hands down the best basketball simulation that we have ever played. PALGN has some serious love for last year's edition, but like an ambitious youngster making the transition into an all-star player, NBA 2K12 has propelled it's game to a whole other level.

Granted, if you've hunkered down with NBA 2K11, you'll find that the gameplay side of things won't feel wildly different in its latest iteration. Developer Visual Concepts hasn't brought any game-changing additions to this year's title, but instead has polished the already strong gameplay and address some of the flaws of its predecessor. A great deal of polish has gone into the player animations, with players moving more fluidly and realistic than even before. Gamers who like to zip around the court as a speedster playmaking will find that it's easier to string together a sequence of isomotion moves to make your dribbling and shooting moves even more impressive than ever before. The greatest change in the gameplay is the less clunky post game play. Having your big guys back down each other in the paint feels more organic, in comparison to the somewhat clunkiness of last year's efforts. There are plenty of other gameplay tweaks to be found, and while the game hasn't grown in huge strides like the last two editions of the title, the subtle additions do take away many of the frustrating aspects of last year's game.

Back it up like a dump truck.

Back it up like a dump truck.
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Chief among the solid tweaks to the title is the upgraded My Player mode. The last two iterations of this mode have seen it be a truly interesting premise, but execution of this career mode has been somewhat disappointing in comparison to the rest of the gameplay that the title has to offer. This time around we can honestly say that My Player has hit its mark and become one of the most engrossing game modes to appear on a sporting video game. Gone is the lengthy timesink of having to play for hours on end before your rookie can get a taste of some NBA action. This time around you begin with a quick pre-draft exhibition game with other top rookie players, as you aim to put a spotlight on your player and showcase your talents to NBA prospective teams. Your performance in the game, coupled with your responses to the post-game interviews will determine just how high your stock is in the draft.

Prospective teams will gauge your interest in playing for them with insanely detailed questions - and frankly 2K knows the makeup of the league to a tee. One example of this was when our plucky point guard was interviewed by the Washington Wizards. The team was quite frank about the fact that they already have a solid point guard to build their team around, and that they are mainly looking at you as a depth player. We bombed this interview because we told the organisation that we have no intention of playing second fiddle and that saw the draft stock of PALGN's phenom plummet significantly. Why? Because how you answer these questions affects both your draft status, and your player's persona.

I'd just like to say that I think I played frickin' awesome tonight!.

I'd just like to say that I think I played frickin' awesome tonight!.
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The interesting thing about My Player is that by enabling you to craft a persona for your player, you find yourself having a stronger attachment to the game and as silly as it sounds - it makes you want to turn your player from a potential star to a perennial all-star player just so you can prove your critics wrong. Again My Player contains a great combination of drills designed to help you upgrade your player's statsistics, post-game press conferences - where your answers to reporters' questions will affect the chemistry you have with your teammates, as well as your popularity throughout the league, and amongst your local fan base - and team centric gameplay which will ensure that your inner ball hog stays at bay. If creating a player and molding him from rookie to hall of famer isn't your thing, you can jump into Creating a Legend, which is a version of My Player which lets you take control of any current player in the league and guide their NBA future.

Association mode continues its winning ways, with the robust franchise mode continually scoring its way into fan's hearts. There have been a number of tweaks to the free agency and trade systems, but the biggest improvement by far is the fact that you can create your own online Association and carry out your own virtual NBA season with your friends.

Who wears short shorts?

Who wears short shorts?
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Last year's Jordan Challenge was a wonderfully enthralling treat for basketball aficionados that highlighted some of the most spectacular games of the Jordan era. Upping the ante this year is the NBA’s Greatest mode which allows players to step back in time and control the likes of Magic Johnson, Dr. J, and Bill Russell. After playing a few games of this mode, it's plain to see that Visual Concepts went to great lengths to honour the careers of these great players from the past with the game going as far as tailoring visual presentation packages which highlight the different eras of the game. For instance playing a 70s era game will have a washed out effect to reflect the presentation that a viewer at home would have experienced during that time period. By completing the challenges of this game mode, players will open up a wealth of historical NBA teams which can create some very exciting match ups. Want to see the Orlando Magic of the 90s (featuring Shaq) duke it out with Dwight Howard and the modern day iteration of the team? It's all possible. The large downside to this is that 2K has sadly gone down the paid DLC path and forced gamers to pony up extra cash in order to use these great past players/teams online - a disappointing move which is sure to irk many players.

NBA 2K12 is an easy way to lose a few hours and serves as a perfect remedy for the lack of real NBA games to watch. It's realistic, challenging, gorgeously presented and chock full of solid gameplay across a variety of modes that any basketball fan has to run down to the store and pick up a copy. It's just that good.
The Score
Realistic, challenging, gorgeously presented and chock full of solid gameplay, NBA 2K12 is the new benchmark for solid sporting titles.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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8 Comments
2 years ago
Interviews as part of a sports game? I'm amazed

I look forward to this increasing realism in the career mode. Soon we can hopefully look forward to handling your character in tasks such as: all-night hookers-and-blow parties, beating urine drug tests and awkward locker-room talk.

icon_lol.gif
2 years ago
It's awesome those interview bits, they had it in 2K11. Really adds to the whole NBA feel. I really tried bringing my character up through the draft, only just got into the first round, at pick 27.

After that it's really tough to get court time, to grow your character, etc (pretty much reflects the real NBA, nothing is guaranteed).
2 years ago
Does this include the lockout to the 2011/12 Nba Season.
2 years ago
That lock out really sucks! I was going to mention something to that affect, but I really don't want to think about that stupid 2% they're arguing over.

No NBA all through November now.
2 years ago
Indeed, the lack of an NBA season is making me a sad panda. Fingers crossed though, that the World All-Star Classic exhibition tour goes off without a hitch. I'd sell my soul to see some of the game's biggest names on our doorstep. icon_lol_old.gif
2 years ago
Miles ahead of any other sports franchise for mine. I spent 150+ hours on 2K11 and will likely end up with the same here. Having said that, playing D has become far more difficult in this one, to the point of being unrealistic - an average player shouldn't hit every single open jumper they take, but they do in 2K12.

Anyway, fuck knows when the season will start and the All-Star tour looks less and less likely, so this is the next best thing.
2 years ago
Fantastic game, i didn't think it would get much better.... and after a slow start, i am right back into the swing of things. The passing system drives me nuts at times, but it makes me concentrate more and only pass when 100% certain it will not get picked off.
2 years ago
Any chance of a review of the PS2 version? icon_biggrin.gif
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