|Platforms||Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows, Wii, Wii U, PSP, iOS, Android|
|Genre||Chic basketball champion|
|Buy from Amazon|
Visual Concepts’ NBA 2K series has been a heavy hitter in the basketball simulator game since the Dreamcast days, and in 2010 when Visual Concepts and 2K Sports became the first to grab the rights to feature Michael Jordan himself in their games, the 2K brand soon became the must-have in basketball sims. NBA 2K11 featured the ability gamers had only dreamt of, to soar and jump-shot like Jordan. As if sales weren’t evidence enough to display the 2K series’ dominance in the field, competitor EA soon sealed the 2K series’ role as the one to beat when they canceled their own NBA Live and NBA Elite. NBA 2K12 would soon be released, featuring even more NBA Legends and a new mode. Yet again, one year later NBA 2K13 is released with even more features, and completely Jay-Z-efied. Here is my review of NBA 2K13.
NBA 2K13 was released earlier this month and the Xbox 360 version provided to us by 2K Sports for review.
There have been a few major changes made to Visual Concepts and 2K Sports’ game this last year apart from just new legends and game modes. Among them is the introduction of a virtual currency, the business of the game being Executive Produced by Jay-Z, and the new “stick control system.”
From the subtitle on the box labeled “Executive Produced By Jay-Z” to the image of Jay-Z taking up more of the back cover than anything basketball to their boasting all over the box that he presided over the soundtrack, in-game presentation elements, and the overall style of the game. You should know before playing a minute of this game that hip-hop artist Jay-Z is going to be in some way prevalent in this game. While a large majority of the soundtrack does feature songs off of various Jay-Z albums and the rest of the songs featured are of a similar sound (Think Kanye West, NAS), it’s actually a nice variety of casual R&B that flows nice with the game-to-game vibe and doesn’t have you thinking “Jay-Z promotional tool.”
One of the new changes to this year’s installment in the 2K basketball series is the way in which you’ll be upgrading and obtaining pretty much everything: earning new threads for your created play in “MyPlayer” mode, upgrading your created NBA star’s stats in “MyCareer” mode, getting better players for your team in “MyTEAM” or “NBA BLACKTOP” modes, as well as accessing the ability to many more features in the game, you’re going to need to obtain and spend a new virtual currency in the game called “VC.” You can compile this VC either through earning your amount agreed upon over the year through your NBA contract while playing for your team in MyCareer mode, or through various bonuses during the year for performing well. You can also earn small amounts of VC through playing exhibition matches both online and off in all game modes, or simply purchase VC online for real money- 2,000 for 99 cents, 5,000 for $1.99, and 10,000 for $2.99 if you’re in a hurry.
In MyTEAM Game mode you can buy better coaches, playbooks, jerseys, stadiums, and players for your team, such as LeBron James for 20,000 VC points. In MyCareer mode you can spend your VC on more worthwhile things like 2,000 VC to max-out your jump-shot, passing, or ball handling attributes, or maybe 5,000 to make your dunks look like retro Michael Jordan’s. VC can also be used on more fashionable endeavors in MyPlayer mode, where you can acquire either fancy new suits and diamonds to don in the press meetings after your games, or some new team-colored hats, chains, sweatpants, and Jordan's to wear when you’re shooting around with your boys on the blacktop or hanging around the locker room.
The biggest actual gameplay change this year comes in the form of “The Control Stick.” All dribbling, shooting, passing, and post moves have been mapped to the right control stick, giving you complete control, similar to EA NBA Live’s “Freestyle” control mode. This offers all-new ankle-breaking animations, as well as the ability to smoothly string together different types of moves.
Something that goes hand-in-hand with the music selection (provided by Jay-Z) is the home screen, the first screen you’re brought to in the game. The menu system throughout the game is one of the most fluidly dynamic designed systems I’ve seen in awhile. I’m not sure if it’s the way the outlined selections subliminally vibe to the audio being played, or just the cool way my created all-star dances around the home screen in the custom-made outfit I designed him, but the intuitive trifold design of the home page that breaks down into a seamless menu offering you a list of game modes to select between is only one of 2K’s ingenious yet incredibly simplistic menu techniques that integrates perfectly with the soundtrack.
The MyCareer game mode is by far where I spent most of my time. For not being someone who was ever particularly fond of the NBA, or playing basketball (either virtually or in real life), I found myself very surprised at how caught up in this game I found myself. At times I could spend up to ten hours a day ensnared in the virtual reality of living my life as an NBA Star through this game- running the daily schedule of playing regular season games, working hard to get better and make it to the playoffs, meet with the GM, answer the media’s post-game questions after the games, trying to get media endorsements - I became obsessed. That’s when I realized how foolish I was for thinking this was just a mere basketball game.
NBA2K13’s new MyCareer mode gives you the opportunity to make a basketball player from the ground up - his look, his position, name and hometown, and his very base set of attributes, from which you can improve either through hard work or through VC you’ve purchased. You then control that player from the very beginning of his career, you start in the rookie game with other rookies, and your performance is then watched by scouts and coaches for all of the NBA teams. After that game you will be interviewed by a few interested NBA team coaches who want to draft you in the upcoming NBA draft. Depending on how you answer the questions, one of them will draft you in the next sequence. Afterwards, you are offered a contract, usually for four years, and then thats when you begin practicing and playing for that team. Eventually you will be able to meet with the GM and ask for a trade if you want. You can skip non-key scheduled games if you want and only play key games.
The amount of finesse and detail Visual Concepts has poured into every aspect of NBA 2K13 is almost an obsessive amount. The level of polish that can be seen from the gameplay to the aesthetics in the menus is something any game should strive for. It’s something I’ve never seen pulled off quite as wholly as in this title. There is no doubt that after experiencing all of it’s game modes it has to offer, there’s still much more to come back for, making NBA 2K13 one of the most complete and satisfying sports titles out there.