GAME NAME: NBA 2K12
DEVELOPER(S): Visual Concepts
PUBLISHER(S): 2K Sports
PLATFORM(S): Xbox 360, PS3, PSP, PS2, Wii
RELEASE DATE(S): 7 October 2011
Michael Jordan said it best: “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, and others make it happen.” For NBA fans the current lockdown is an inconvenient truth, thankfully 2K Sports have taken it upon themselves to fill the void, and they definitely deliver.
Starting with the presentation, enter an arena filled with atmosphere and excitement, not to mention the incredibly lifelike players. Cue the commentators who, despite the occasional repetition, describe with utter precision what is going on courtside, blended together with numerous facts and stats about players, teams, rivalries and everything else you could think of. The commentary matches the onscreen fluidity so auspiciously that in the middle of an anecdote, they cut to the action, only to return to the story after. Commentary in sport games is often a nauseating affair, not so in NBA 2k12.
The commentary would mean nothing without the meticulous attention to detail in the actual gameplay. When on offence setting up plays is akin to planning a chess move. Patience is needed and rushing into a play without thought will result in losing the ball. Defence is similarly reliant on patience, making sure players are covered, waiting for opportune moments to steal the ball, or going for that last minute block. It all needs to be thought out.
Caution is needed throughout, but the game does provide you with tons of weaponry with which to outclass your opponent, including hundreds of different attacking moves, from simple stutter steps to more advanced spin-offs, glossy, high impact slam dunks, alley-oops and post up plays. It is as if every single aspect of the game has been measured down to the nth degree in order to make it as useful as possible, and not just a gimmick.
In terms of modes NBA 2k12 has various offerings, the much improved My Player sees you take a rookie in the new season and try to build yourself up to a superstar. Following being drafted into a team as a reserve you need to fulfil objectives every game and improve your skills to make it to that elusive Hall of Fame. The progression is an absorbing experience which includes interviews after each game as you follow your character’s story while improving your game. Similarly, Creating a Legend mode allows you to take a current NBA player and turn him into a star in a similar way to My Player mode.
Association – effectively a career mode – returns with everything down to a T and now includes an online version. Nothing seems to have been left out at all as you try to build your team and lead them to the playoffs year after year. NBA Blacktop also returns if you want some streetball fun with half the rules.
While last year’s game included Jordan’s Challenges, NBA 2K 12’s new mode Greatest is a delightful inclusion which allows you to play as a team of legends from the old days with a completely retro feel and lets you relive some of the classics. Being able to play as legends such as MJ himself, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and others is simply an inspiring experience.
In such an in-depth, cleverly developed game it is near impossible to explain everything. It is impossible to explain in so few words how brilliantly it all comes together, how it also makes use of social media platforms to track achievements, or how you get a real sense of achievement when winning a game after executing a plan to perfection. It is impossible to explain the importance of training challenges, the joy of online matchups, or just how accessible all aspects of the game are.
What can be explained is that NBA 2k12 does an incredible job of simulating the sport, so much so that players may get slightly frustrated at first. It is important to note that the game requires players to learn progressively while playing game after game in order to become as proficient as possible. NBA 2K12 refuses to spoon-feed the player, but it does hold the spoon close enough for players to get hold of and choose what they want to do with it.
NBA 2K12 is as good a sports game as you will ever play. It doesn’t miss a beat and with the series improving each year it is clear that 2K Sports at the buzzer and simply can’t fail.