NBA 2K12 Aims To Be The Stuff of Legends [PREVIEW]
Last week I was invited to check out a preview of NBA 2K12, the newest installment of one of my favorite sports video game franchises. Easily my best lunch break ever. This year, NBA 2K12 returns with an updated post-play system, a revamped physics system, and a brand-new “NBA’s Greatest” mode. Check out COED’s first impressions along with screenshots and the game’s trailer below.
When I first sat down with my NBA 2K12 ‘host,’ I let him know that I wanted to play head-to-head. As a huge NBA 2K fan, my bread and butter is ripping apart 16-year-olds on Xbox Live. A live one-on-one game would be my chance to get a feel of how the new installment would handle. As we booted the game up, he told me about a few of the game-play changes. These included a new physics system that took player momentum into account, a new post-play system that now involves the ‘Y’ button, and a new play-calling system. The first thing I picked up on was the physics system.
I’m a fan of 2K more than Live because I feel like 2K’s movement is much more realistic – after all, they call themselves a basketball simulation. I really liked last year’s physics system, quick players like Derek Rose were really able to get to the basket. Having said that, if Rose didn’t make a smart play in the paint, a big man would alter their shot just like would happen in real life.
This year, the ball physics have really changed to reflect the player’s handling. I went to grab a board with Brendan Heywood and Mr. Stonehands couldn’t keep control of the rock and lost it out-of-bounds. Frustrating? Yes. At the same time, I’ve seen this happen in more than a few times in real life. When I scrambled to get the ball from going out-of-bounds, I noticed that the first row of the audience is completely interactive. Like, hop-over-the-front-row interactive.
For the demo, I played with the Mavericks, the team that I used (before they made it to the Playoffs, thank you very much) in NBA 2K11. I immediately noticed that besides the updated ball physics, players actually jump now when they shoot – making Shawn Marion’s shot somewhat bearable (Jason Kidd still gets an inch off the floor).
If you watched the NBA Playoffs last year, you know that posting up with Dirk is pretty important. I had no gripe with last year’s post-control, but 2K felt the need to shake it up a bit. Instead of holding down the left trigger, all you need to do now is press ‘Y,’ and the player locks-into a backdown. Yes, this frees up the left and right triggers as well as the shot-stick for modifiers, but I’m not sure how I feel about this addition. I’ll have to wait for some more time with the game to see.
Since I play online a bunch, it’s really important for me to call plays that can take advantage of certain defenses. Last year’s play-calling was deep, but this year’s is much better. It allows for a deeper customization, at the same time giving rookies the ability to call basics like ‘Best Play.’ If you switch to a zone on defense, hotspots will show up as to where your assignment is – yes, those change appropriately as you rotate.
The one feature that 2K really wanted to show me was their new ‘Legends’ mode. If you’ve read any updates about this 2K12, you know that Jordan is joined this year by Larry Bird and Magic Johnson on the cover art, each having his own copy of the game. The ‘Jordan Challenge’ has been replaced by an “NBA’s Greatest” mode, where you can take control of 15 legendary teams. Some of these players include obvious choices like Bill Russell, Patrick Ewing, Dr. J, and even Scottie Pippen (minus Jordan).
Besides the obvious roster changes that come with the throw-back teams, changes like camera filters (B&W when you play with Bill Russell), no three-point lines, and old scorer’s tables are visible. These alterations really make the presentation seem completely different and definitely provide a different experience than the modern-day game. As I said before, I really like playing against other players online, but the ‘Legends’ mode is much more than just a last-minute add-on. 2K has done a pretty incredible job of making this the highlight of the game.
Keep in mind: this is a preview, not a review. All the same, I was really happy with the new 2K game (I can’t be impressed when I’ve loved their earlier games). Yes, they’ve got a really good franchise already going for them but it’s more than apparent that 2K isn’t resting on their laurels. From what I have seen (which was apparently the final game-play build), NBA 2K12 is definitely worth a first-round pick. The only issue I could find is that it doesn’t come out until October 4th.