I’m a huge fan of the NBA 2K franchise and I’ve said so in my reviews of NBA 2K9, NBA 2K10, and NBA 2K11. I even felt mostly positive about NBA 2K12 at first, though the game proved to be more flawed than I think any of us could tell. There was the whole My Player debacle that still has issues that have not been resolved for a lot of gamers even though updates have been released that were supposed to address them. There were the issues with online gameplay and the loss of “Crews”, which we only found out post release were likely due to a major overhaul of the code that supports online gameplay in the NBA 2K12 franchise. With a season that was shortened by the NBA lockout, 2K Sports might have surmised that if any year was going to be perfect to make major changes to the actual core code then this was it. I can’t say that I would have disagreed with them but that doesn’t excuse their unwillingness to actually fix issues with the game.
I still believe that NBA 2K11 may be the greatest sports title ever released and I can’t understand how NBA 2K12 can be so much of a regression from that masterpiece. 2K Sports could have taken NBA 2K11, fixed the major issues that fans had, updated the graphics, and released that and a lot of fans including myself would have been happy. Alas, that was not the case and there is no denying that NBA 2K12 was a step back for a franchise that was set to put a vice grip on the basketball simulation market. But all is not lost and there are still some things that 2K Sports can do in NBA 2K13 to get back on track.
Fix My Player Mode
My Player mode was on track to become the most popular game mode in the NBA 2K franchise after seeing its popularity skyrocket in NBA 2K10 and NBA 2K11, but then NBA 2K12 dropped and the problems started. My Player mode in NBA 2K12 has been plagued with multiple issues and it’s just soured a lot of players on the mode altogether. The mode has suffered from several variations of freezing, some of which just can’t be overcome. Then there is the ridiculous glitch that causes your team to basically trade everyone on your team and then trade those guys again. Don’t even get me started about the whole on the whole signature shoe issue.
It’s one thing to trade a few role players over the course of the season, but when OKC trades Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook or Miami trades Lebron James and Dwayne Wade then there is a big problem with the logic. I didn’t even mention how they managed to make it so you blow wide open layups even when you have high ratings. For the life of me I couldn’t figure this one out, almost anybody that is good enough to make it to the NBA can make a layup and it shouldn’t be any different in the game. I mean let’s be honest, if they can’t make a layup they wouldn’t be in the league. I know they want to make players feel like they are building their player up, but open layups should be a high probability shot for almost every player.
It would definitely be great to see a more interactive offseason where you had more ability to work on specific aspects of your game. You could do drills or different activities in the gym or perhaps you could do work in the community to improve your popularity. They also need to make sure play-calling ability works as soon as you get the notice that you can do it, they have had issues in the past with the 2K Insider telling you that you can now call plays but then still not being able to (when not playing the PG position). They also need to take a new strategy on drills, they are pretty much useless and become repetitive very quickly to the point where a lot of players hardly ever use them. I would be happy with less interactive mini-games that were fun and actually gave me a chance to make them really worthwhile towards developing my player.
Continue To Improve Passing
This was perhaps the only glaring flaw in NBA 2K11 and they definitely made some improvements in NBA 2K12 but it could still be much better. They still haven’t addressed the issue of the CPU being able to steal passes without actually seeing them which becomes frustrating when a fastbreak is broken up because of it. There are still issues with using the analog stick to pass the ball as it doesn’t always go to the player you want it to. For this game to be the definitive basketball simulation, the passing game has to be on point. If you get out on a fast break and try to make passes that NBA players make in real life you should be able to make them in the game. NBA 2K12 was a step in the right direction, but NBA 2K13 can go even further.
Stabilize Online Gameplay
NBA 2K11 had some serious issues with the stability of online gameplay when it first came out and NBA 2K12 was no different. They managed to really improve the online gameplay in both games several months after the game’s release which is good but they need to deliver that kind of stability and quality on release day. I can understand a lot more when shooters have stability problems because there are a lot more dynamics and a lot more variables to account for but with a basketball simulation like this there are far less variables and should be much easier to account for.
Roster Updates/Living Rosters
The biggest issue with both Roster Updates and Living Rosters is the frequency and/or completeness of them. 2K Sports needs to continue to improve on their process and speed to make sure that they are delivering timely updates. This is definitely an area where they could learn a few things from the EA Sports Madden team who seem to manage to deliver updates and tweaks in a much higher volume than 2K Sports does even though they have to handle more players.
Improved A.I. Logic
So the CPU in the game is still hit or miss and doesn’t always do what you expect them to do. On fastbreaks, if you are out on the floor with numbers the CPU should crash to towards the rim looking for the pass but for some reason the spacing is still not right. They still need to address CPU movement without the ball as the CPU stands still too much, lots of times there will be a clear open cutting lane and the CPU NEVER takes it. It would be nice to see a more realistic flow in the way players move around the floor and I would love to see CPU teammates behave more aggressively in terms of getting open.
I still hate the fact that a lot of menus come up on-screen that you can’t quickly get rid of, it totally slows down gameplay. Whether it’s the substitution animations or the stat graphics that come up from time to time, they take too long and you can’t quickly skip them in most cases. They also love to talk about a particular stat and show the leaders in the category, but if you are in it they hardly ever actually mention the player in question’s name which is just weird.
NBA 2K12 made huge leaps in terms of the accuracy, timing, and relevancy of commentary. It would be nice to see them expand this to give you unique commentary during the regular season that acknowledged specific accomplishments like winning player of the week/month, averaging a triple-double, or leading the league in specific categories. 2K Sports needs to continue this trend and make sure they have that same level of commentary in the post-game and during the playoffs. There is a lot of room to do stuff like this in My Player mode, they need to take advantage of the opportunity.
I’m starting to think that it is just impossible to make a basketball game that has anything that could really even be called defense. Every year they make small improvements but they don’t seem to be making the major improvements that we would expect. The ability to close down the post and affect shots in the lane has been drastically improved over the past few years. Why then when you run out to try to either chase off a shooter or contest their shot does it hardly ever seem to affect them? If you jump out on a shooter with your hand in his face it should have some kind of effect on the shot.
So those are the highlights in terms of what we think NBA 2K13 has to address to not only win fans back who are upset about the issues with NBA 2K12 but also what they need to do to move the franchise forward.
Now you know what we think, hit up the comments and let us know what you think NBA 2K13 has to have!!
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