‘NBA 2K12’ is a step up from its predecessors


In game shot of Derek Rose dunking on Rajon Rondo

Josh Baumbach and Josh Baumbach

“NBA 2K11” was thought by many critics to be the best basketball game of all time. While this may have been true at the time, it now pales in comparison to “NBA 2K12.”

“2K11” had a mode called “The Jordan Challenge,” where the player had to recreate some of Michael Jordan’s greatest performances by reaching his statistical achievements in the game. This mode was a great addition to a series that was regularly just an updated roster every year.

Developer Visual Concepts upped the ante again this year, with the “NBA’s Greatest” mode. In this mode, the player recreates 15 different legends’ great games. This is the crowning achievement of “2K12.” Everything looks as it would if the player was watching a television broadcast from that time. For example, Bill Russell’s game is set in the 1960’s, so the game is in black and white, the shot clock is an LED display, and there is no 3-point line. This attention to detail and playability of the greats makes this mode the highlight of “2K12.”

“2K12” hasn’t forgotten about the non-nostalgic fans, however. The visuals have improved a bit over last year’s iteration, and the AI defense is less cruel, but there were still instances where it predicted a pass unnaturally. The character animations have vastly improved (Kobe Bryant no longer looks like an alien), and it seems they added more personal moves to each player. “2K12” is the sharpest sports game out right now.

The main issue with “2K11” was how tedious the “My Player” mode was. This mode has been drastically revamped this time around. Instead of the long pickup games and practices, it starts off with a rookie game before the NBA Draft, after which the player is drafted into the NBA. This mode still takes time to master, but it’s more fun than strenuous this time around.

For Sacramento Kings fans, make sure to buy this game early. The first run copies of “NBA 2K12” include a code to download the 2002 Kings team, along with the 1991 “Run TMC” Golden State Warriors. Replaying that fateful 2002 Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers has never felt so great.

With the 2011-2012 NBA season under threat of being canceled due to the lockout, basketball fans are looking for something to entertain them throughout this probable drought. Publisher 2K Sports may have taken a risk releasing an NBA game in what might be an NBA-less year, but it seems they have confidence in how good their product is. And with “2K12,” their confidence is justified.