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NBA 2K11 was my favorite basketball game in years, probably since NBA Live 2000. The Jordan Challenge mode was fun, the My Player mode was expanded and the on-court action was great. Does 2K12 improve on it’s championship? Let’s find out.
The first thing I noticed when I started playing was the graphics. The models and textures do not look markedly improved over last year, and I found some of the player faces to look worse. The animations though were much more fluid. The contact and bumping between players, along with just the way they move on the court are the best I’ve ever seen. The ball seems much more live this year, bouncing off player’s heels and legs if you’re careless with it. The game controls better simply because of the improved animations.
Game modes include most of the same options from last year, minus the online crew mode. My Player is better then ever, and the option to just play the key games of your season allows you to blow through the season without the long slog of playing 82 games. This is good because you have an ultimate goal this year, and that is to make the hall of fame. Association is not changed greatly from last year, with the exception of it being available online this year. The other big mode is the NBA’s Greatest.
This is a gem of a mode for fans of the NBA’s history. Going from Bill Russell’s Celtics of the ‘60s to the Lakers, Spurs and Jazz of the late ‘90s gives you a great cross section of the league through the years. Not only do you get to play as 15 of the greatest players in NBA history, including Bird, Magic, Kareem, Jerry West, and more, you get their full teams from a select year from their prime and a full team they played against. These teams add more great players, including David Robinson, Pete Marivich and Dikembe Mutumbo. Some lament the lack of goals in this year’s mode, but last year’s Jordan Challenge goals just muddied up the mode for me. You can’t play as these teams in exhibition from the start, but once you win with one of the NBA’s Greatest’ teams, both teams are unlocks for play at anytime.
The game controls really smoothly. I didn’t think I’d like the face up/back down switch button but it really works. Another change I love is the push-ahead fast break dribble, a great high risk/high reward move. They also removed much of the psychic defense, but it still rears it’s head on occasion.
This game is definitely better then last year, and should be an easy recommendation for any b-ball game fan – especially since the real NBA seems determined to not play this year. At least the virtual league will never lock you out.