When Michael Jordan became a part of the NBA 2K series two years ago, everything changed. Visual Concepts gave us perhaps the greatest basketball game ever created, and it all started with the gameplay.
Rest assured, hardcore gamers, Visual Concepts hasn't mailed it in, despite virtually being guaranteed big-time sales every year. Two years later, the NBA 2K series still stands above the rest, and with some notable improvements, at that.
That is what should have gamers so excited. This appears to be a franchise that will continue to evolve and strive to get better each and every year.
So what improvements can you expect from NBA 2K13?
Beyond the fact that the gameplay is still fantastic, there's also something called a "Virtual Currency" system this year. It gives you "Experience Points" for everything you do, which allows you to build your "MyPlayer" into a superstar.
You have official adidas gear to use in pickup games, you have suits you can buy for press conferences and you have specific articles such as ankle braces that will boost your attributes—they give you better on-the-ball defense, get it? Then you won't break your ankles as much!
And for all of you who are sick and tired of the egomaniac Dwight Howard has become—which is basically everybody—you have the ability to control his life, and that of many players, in the "MyCareer" mode. You can meet with your general manager and demand that your coach be fired, or you can be a nice human being and take your teammates out to dinner or do charity events for the good of mankind.
There's also a new control-stick system for gameplay, which allows you to pump fake soaring defenders, but it does take a little work to master (think of yourself as a rookie who grows over time). It's also not as mechanical as it may sound; the gameplay is very natural, which is what we've come to expect from Visual Concepts.
Last but not least, you now have a "Shoe Creator," which is an extension of the basic version from previous editions. This time, you have 45 different layers of materials to work with, which makes the possibilities nearly endless. Whether you want a shoe with just a few sprinkles on it or the most elaborate design ever created, it's your choice.
Couple that with Jay-Z signing on—who supposedly got Scottie Pippen and Charles Barkley to become part of the game—and you have yourself yet another explosive basketball game, courtesy of Visual Concepts.
Don't worry about getting shortchanged. Visual Concepts is a developer you can trust, and it makes for a more joyous gaming community.