It’s looking like NBA 2K12 is the closest basketball fans will get to an actual season this year. The league may have failed you this season but 2K Sports has created a worthy successor to last year’s sleeper hit. Regardless of genre, I believe that immersion is a necessary component to an enjoyable gameplay experience. NBA 2K12 acknowledges this while actually improving upon where its critically acclaimed predecessor left off.
The game essentially draws on nostalgia, dream match ups and competitive gameplay to create an accessible, fun product for fans of all ages. This years installment is a lot more than last years addition of Michael Jordan. 2K12 sees the playable debut of 10 new basketball legends including Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Bill Russell and a host of others to create modern-era matchups. NBA fans will surely nerd out at the attention to detail in 2K12. Select to play as circa 1960’s Boston Celtics and witness the transformation of modern day gameplay to a black and white television broadcast throwback with genuine announcers in uncanny detail.
Speaking of the graphics, many of the players have noticeably improved from 2K11’s somewhat extraterrestrial looking player aesthetic. Lebron James and Dirk Nowitzki are crafted meticulously as you control them rather fluidly up and down the court. New players will feel a slight learning curve with the sequence of controls. You can essentially micromanage everything that is going on in the game while on the court, both offensively and defensively.
Anyone looking to “boomshakalaka” his or her way to NBA Jam style glory will be in for a rude awakening. You have to contend with various control schemes that can indeed be frustrating at first but tutorials or practice modes are only a menu away. This time around, you are given much more control over strategy, foot movement and shooting mechanics. Online multiplayer addicts can also set up franchise modes and play against friends for an entire season.
NBA 2K12 endears sports gamers by paying attention to detail. It’s refreshing to hear play-by-play and color commentary that is so polished and intelligent. Announcers speak in real time, remember your players’ stats and will even reference them in future games during the season. Teams like our own Philadelphia Sixers, who admittedly have not been a winning team for the last couple of years.
With Association mode, you can actually take a lackluster team like the Sixers and witness the stadium slowly fill up more seats as your team actively keeps on winning. 2K Sports does a great job at making the player feel invested in his or her team, player and season.
Overall, I found the presentation and attention to detail to be some of NBA 2K12’s greatest strengths. The game’s high replay value, plethora of modes and unfortunately the NBA lockout itself will have you quickly immersed in addictive gameplay. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a casual gamer or die-hard basketball fan; NBA 2K12 is the benchmark for every other sports game out there.
Want to score a copy? We’ve got copies for the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii to giveaway courtesy of 2K Sports! Just leave a comment regarding your favorite basketball player and we’ll select two of you at random within the next week. Good luck!