Published on October 18th, 2011 | by Kyle Spencer, Editor
NBA 2K12 Review
Developer: 2K Sports
Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PSP and Wii
Release Date: October 4, 2011
Even with an NBA lockout hitting American cities across the country, that didn’t stop 2K Sports from making one of the greatest basketball games ever created. Of course I said the same thing last year and that was coming off a basketball game that I didn’t think could get any better, but I was wrong—2K12 just upped the ante. I hope that other sports franchises take notes of what 2K has done.
You may remember with Michael Jordan gracing the cover of last year’s iteration, brought on one of the games greatest features: The Jordan challenges. In 2K12 there are three different cover athletes. Most of you will see the Michael cover, but Magic and Larry also graced separate covers. This brings us to one of the games greatest modes, again: The NBA Greats challenge. This game mode puts 10 of the game’s greatest against other legendary teams. You can unlock these teams as you play through the challenges allowing you to put the legends up against today’s greats. Want to put LeBron James up against Jordan? Or how about Dwight Howard up against Shaq when he was with the Orlando Magic? 2K12 allows you to put all your NBA fantasies of who could beat who to the ultimate test.
Visually the game is stunning. 2K did a lot to make the games that you play look a lot like actual game broadcasts. This also holds true to the classic games as well. Play with the 1960s Celtics and the game will play in black and white. The announcers themselves and the audio will sound dated as if coming from that particular era. The players all look a lot better as well. Last year’s iteration featured some odd-looking basketball players that looked nothing like their real life counterpart. This year the new graphics engine made the player look a little bit more life like. However some of the players still look pretty bad, there is some improvement here.
The game’s controls are an improvement from last year’s almost perfect controls. Even though the AI is still a bit cheap and does things that a normal player would not do, the game is still fluid and features some of the best shooting elements I have seen in a basketball game. Choose which way to fake an even which hand you want to lay the ball up with, brings that sense of realism to the game.
A lot of the game modes return with few tweaks, with the exception of My Player mode. Association, which is NBA 2K12‘s franchise mode returns with very few improvements made. This game mode puts you in control of your basketball team. Presentation and audio commentary are the lime light of this game mode, and makes it seem as if you were watching the game for real on National Television. The trade AI is still sharp, like last year, so if you think that you could easily dump off one of your weakest players for one of the other teams strongest players, be prepared to see the rejection screen often. 2K also implemented online play with Association, so now you can take your franchise team online and play against your friends through an entire season. Seems fun considering their may not be a real NBA season this year anyways.
2K really stepped up their game with this release. Last year I questioned where can this franchise go from here. I again question for next year’s iteration: where can they possibly go? This goes to show that, yes, sports games can get better and better each year, even if the previous year’s game was the best you have seen. Each team and players you play against in the challenges are unlockable and playable. Put the original “Dream Team” together on one team if you like, even though that could be a possible route for the franchise to go next year. How about NBA 2K13: The Dream Team?
2K Sports has outdone themselves. Got three of the games best athletes gracing this year’s cover. No matter what team you feel is the best team in NBA history, you will have the opportunity to play with them against some of the other great teams of that era, or today. Is LeBron really as good as Jordan was? Let 2K12 settle those differences, and it does so in dramatic fashion. If you are an avid fan of the sport, picking up NBA 2K12 is a no-brainer. Even if you are not a fan now, you were back in the day, and this game lets you relive those glory days.
[xrr label=”Rating: 9.7/10″ rating=9.7/10]
+ Stunning Visuals
+ Game mode improvements
+ Black and white gameplay
– AI still needs a minor tweaking