CHICAGO — The latest edition of the NBA2K franchise is getting wide release today and the question is being begged as to how a basketball game can come out at a time when the sport itself is locked out.
Last year’s NBA2K11 was perhaps one of the greatest sports games to come out in the history of video games. From it’s deep gameplay to the various sub-plot games you can play the whole package was there last year. However, the NBA was there last year too and when the game’s 2012 incarnation comes out the players are technically not even a part of the league. This causes obvious problems in marketing but it also means certain players are not included in the game.
Because of the lockout rules being in effect, the folks over at Take-Two, the production company of NBA2K11, aren’t allowed to include the incoming rookie class. So if you’re a Cav’s fan this means no Kyrie Irving, if you’re a Kings fan this means no Jimmer.
However, the team at Take-Two got creative and utilized an aspect of last years game that worked really well. Just as you could play as Micheal Jordan last year, this year you can play as many NBA greats, not just Jordan.
NBA greats you can take control of include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Scottie Pippen, Patrick Ewing, and many, many more.
The ‘Create a Legend’ is also improved. Instead of just being able to take control of Micheal Jordan or an NBA Legend, you can take control of Derrick Rose or any other current NBA Star. The My Player Mode is also improved upon from last year (even though it seemed about perfect).
In the updated My Player Mode, the Rookie Combine and the Summer Circuit are removed and replaced with the Rookie Showcase. You can hire your own agent (ala the older versions of Madden’s same game mode) and David Stern returns to read the first round draft picks but Adam Silver comes out for the second round picks for a more realistic feel. Player receive paychecks in the form of points to use to improve your player (like earning points last year). There are also more endorsements such as a ”Where Amazing Happens” NBA commercials. The opportunity to have your player inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame at the end of your career is new to this years edition as well. Other smaller aspects that come up huge are the improved press conferences and the ability to hold basketball clinics in your hometown community to improve your fan approval.
The soundtrack is headlined by music by Travis Barker and Eminem (on separate tracks, not together). It just adds to the overall improvement from last year, which I didn’t think was possible. If you loved the edition last year, this one won’t disappoint. You also have the option of picking between three different covers for your copy: Michael Jordan (again), Larry Bird or Magic Johnson.
I’d say hold on to your copy from last year as the two are so similar but if you’re a die-hard NBA fan and you’re hurting over the Lockout then pick up this game and fill those wounds with some joy.
The Official Pippen Ain’t Easy Rating: 9.5/10