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One of my favorite (and most conflicted, as I will detail in an upcoming article) game series’ latest entry has it’s demo out of Xbox 360 now.  It’s time to take NBA 2K13 for a spin and see how it holds up.

NBA 2K13

NBA 2K had been my preferred NBA game series ever since the original came out in 1999 for the Sega Dreamcast. It knocked EA Sports’ NBA Live series out for the count in 2010 (although they’re making a comeback this year) and has been to go-to for NBA simulation for a decade-plus. 2K13 shows the result of that but it’s also a little derivative.

The biggest change to the controls this year is the new control stick, which old school ballers will recognize as the Freestyle Controls from NBA Live 2003 and it’s successors. I’m not sure why they opted to go this route because, although the old control scheme of controlling dribble moves with player movement was a little cumbersome it felt more natural to me then using the two sticks together to move the player. It seems that 2K really wants you to use their shot stick modifier (hold the left trigger and the right stick turns goes from controlling dribbling to shooting) because I had trouble going from say a crossover to the shot button quickly enough to get it off while the defense was out of position. They also added a manual bounce pass modifier (again the left trigger… actually, whenever I mention ‘modifier’ with this game, just assume I mean the left trigger) that feels good when you pull it off, but I miss the lead pass option of the mid-2000s NBA 2Ks where you could double tap the pass button to lead your target on a fast break. Why did they take that out, anyway?

Anyway the demo plays well and looks at least as good as last year which as much as you can hope for in the seventh year of a continuing sports series on a given console. I’ll have more on the game up when it comes out October 2nd, and I’ll also start updating AlphaSports shortly thereafter with this year’s MyCAREER blog.