Game Guys review - NBA 2K13

4:38 PM, Oct 18, 2012   |    comments
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  • 'NBA 2K13' from 2K Sports for Xbox 360, Wii, Wii U, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, iOS, Android, and PC.
  • 'NBA 2K13' from 2K Sports for Xbox 360, Wii, Wii U, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, iOS, Android, and PC.
    
Related Links
  • SCREENSHOTS: NBA 2K13
  • NBA 2K13 - Official trailer
  • One really shouldn't mess with perfection.  Near perfection, however, like last year's NBA 2K12 can benefit with a bit of tweaking here and there.  For NBA 2K13, the latest in 2K Sports' successful pro basketball video game franchise, 2K tapped the talents of American icon and NBA franchise co-owner Jay-Z.  The end result is more than satisfactory.

    All the hard-ballin' NBA action that made NBA 2K11 and 2K12 such successes returns in 2K13.  Featuring all of the same game modes (and a couple new ones), NBA 2K13 provides a number of different play options -- maybe too many -- that sports game fans should love.  At the core, of course, are the standards such as single-game and franchise modes.  One bonus being the ability to not only play historic teams such as the '00-'01 Sacramento Kings, but also the 2012 Team USA and 1994 Dream Team.  That little something is should be a big draw for basketball fans young and old(er).

    The game's MyPlayer mode, which in the past had been all about the player creating his own NBA rookie with a goal of having a hall of fame worthy career, has been revamped.  Now, MyPlayer acts as the player's overaching in-game presence (last year's MyPlayer has been re-branded as "MyCareer" and works in largely the same way as before).  This new MyPlayer can be visually customized with clothing, shoes, and so on -- all bought with VC (NBA 2K13's in-game currency, which is earned through in-game actions or bought with real money).

    VC is also used to buy packs of players in the game's MyTeam play mode, which seems quite similar to microtransaction-based Facebook sports games such as MLB SuperStars and EA Sports Madden NFL.  Building a fantasy-type NBA team and playing others via the game's (extremely slow match-making) online capabilities in this manner might seem cool, but this feature only cheapens the overall NBA 2K13 experience.  Should 2K Sports look to cut one of this year's features in next year's game, MyTeam should be top on the list.

    Luckily, MyTeam is one of the very few problems with this year's title -- unless you're playing on the Xbox 360.  NBA 2K13 is Kinect-enabled (what Microsoft likes to call "Better with Kinect").  Much to the software giant's chagrin, this game is actually worse-off with the technology.  2K13 is supposed to be utilizing Kinect's voice recognition features for things like timeouts and on-the-fly team commands.  Unfortunately, Kinect is not only listening to the player, but the game as well as it comes out of television's speakers.  360 owners are better off disabling this feature.

    MyTeam and Kinect functionality aside, NBA 2K13 is just as solid with its on-the-court gameplay as it has pretty much always been, complete with expanded analog stick controls.  Now, in addition to shooting and free throws, the analog stick can also be used to manipulate how players dribble -- allowing for more complex and sometimes flashy moves as one drives towards the basket.

    Presentation has been a "wow" factor for 2K Sports' NBA video games for a number of years now, and NBA 2K13 is no different.  Visuals are extremely lifelike and players look even more like their real-life selves than ever before.  Even the venues look like they've had a slight visual touch-up compared to last year.  It's not all completely perfect, however, as video replays will stutter here and there -- not that replays have any real impact on the game as a whole.

    The game's audio, thanks in part to Jay-Z's involvement, is super.  In-game commentary by Kevin Harlan, Steve Kerr, and Clark Kellogg (along with sideline reporter Doris Burke) is solid.  The soundtrack, even more so -- something that's put forth from the get-go as the iconic rapper's popular track "Public Service Announcement" plays to a montage of basketball highlights upon booting-up the game.  If a sports game ever deserved to have its own soundtrack on iTunes, NBA 2K13 would be that game.

    2K Sports' NBA 2K13 is simply the best pro basketball video game released to date.  Skirting perfection, there is little negative to be said about this game.  Solid overall gameplay?  Check.  Great graphics?  Check.  Solid soundtrack?  Put a check there, too.  In fact, just about everything about this title makes it more than worthy for NBA fans to want to check it out.

    Final Game Guys grade: A

    (2K Sports provided a copy of this game for review.)

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