Now that the NBA 2K13 demo has been released, we've sampled the game many of us will be playing religiously for the next six-to-eight months. This sneak peek primarily gave us a hands-on tutorial of the new gameplay enhancements.
However, if you've been following the stream of information about the game online, you know there will be tons more in the final package. I've been glued to the information like Bruce Bowen on Kobe Bryant in the fourth quarter of a playoff game.
I've also played the demo an embarrassing amount of times. Armed with that, here is my preview of NBA 2K13 and the specifics about release.
Release Date: October 2
Formats: Xbox 360, PS3, Nintendo Wii, Sony PSP, PC and Nintendo Wii U (date to be announced)
Publisher: 2K Sports
Nothing groundbreaking has taken place from a graphics standpoint. I have noticed a few players have received a more accurate facial render. Chris Paul stands out, as he no longer looks like a cross between Dwayne from What's Happening and Eddie Winslow from Family Matters.
This wasn't a terribly weak point of the series, but I won't say that it doesn't need a slight bit of polishing. The players could use a touch more life to them, but that is more of a style preference.
The stadiums and crowd still look great. The NBA 2K series consistently has one of the best—if not the best—looking crowd in the sports video game genre. From the look of the demo that seems to still be the case.
The presentation of the demo and the screenshots I've seen have a yellow dominated menu system. Jay-Z apparently had a hand in a few things in the presentation, and you can certainly see and hear his influence throughout. I'm indifferent about the way it affects the look thus far. Then again, this isn't the full version.
The in-game presentation has always been top-notch and it looks even better this year. Players are checking their faces for blood after hard fouls and looking for foul calls. It is pretty awesome and ultra realistic.
I can't wait to see how this aspect pans out when all systems are go.
Check out these videos of demo gameplay. The first one is an offline game and the second is against an online opponent.
This is a huge aspect of NBA 2K13. Getting your shot and breaking guys down off the dribble has been changed with the shot-stick and right-stick dribble controls. It does take some getting used to, but when you do, the results can be quite nice.
You really have more control over your player, but your challenge will be learning the dribble moves. The LT or LB button is the modifier, and it really helps to bring the more player specific actions into play.
Learning when and how to apply these new gameplay enhancements has a slight learning curve, but there are a few nice pay-offs. As long as gamers are willing to give themselves three or four games to get acclimated, the feedback should be predominantly positive.
One thing to remember is that if gamers insist on the older control set, it is available as an option in the retail version.
On defense the demo felt solid, but it seems that guys don't rise off their feet quite as quickly to contest shots, or to go after rebounds. It is a timing change, which again is fine, once you get used to it. It feels almost as if it were done this way purposely.
That could be wrong, but either way it isn't a grave detriment to the gameplay experience thus far. Here is a highlight reel of some of the nicest plays I've done or seen in the demo.
The soundtrack is awesome. Of course that is coming from a huge fan of Coldplay and old school hip hop. Without a doubt, this will be the best sports video game soundtrack since College Hoops 2K8—and possibly the best ever.
The in-game sounds are great with random chatter and appropriate sound effects. It sounds like a real NBA arena if you are sitting court side. The last piece to this puzzle won't be revealed until you're playing the retail version. It will have the full commentators included, the voice-overs during cutscenes, etc.
Based on the cutscenes within the My Career mode, the voice for your player seems to be the same for last year. I'm not sure if you'll have an option to modify that, but options are always nice.
Stay tuned for more on this when the final game is released.
My Career Mode
There will be a variety of game modes to choose from in the retail version. The revamped My Player has evolved into My Career. You will have more functionality with your player as a way to incorporate even more role-playing scenarios.
Players can request GM meetings to give their input on personnel moves. You can customize most everything about your appearance and swag. You can even choose your pregame ritual. Check out the developer insight video on the mode below.
Legends and Olympic Teams
The legends have returned, but it hasn't been revealed how they will be incorporated beyond the 1992 Dream Team inclusion. Both the 2012 U.S. Olympic team and the historic team that won gold in Barcelona are included.
I'm happy to see Charles Barkley and Allen Iverson were added, but I was still holding out hope for a Reggie Miller announcement. There has been no such luck thus far, but there is always DLC.
Here is the Olympic trailer featuring both gold medal-winning squads.
This will be 2K's take on the virtual card/fantasy draft concept that has been popularized by EA Sports. I like the details 2K is employing to place their signature on the concept.
Salary caps and other management options could make this pretty addictive. The mode is explained further by Eric Boenisch in the video below
Information on Association?
This is the one mode that hasn't really been discussed a lot. There was no developer insight released, and I'm starving for details. It is still my favorite way to play sports video games (referring to franchise mode experiences).
I won't take it as a bad sign that we've heard nothing. Instead, I'll be a glass half-full guy and hope that a pleasant surprise is on the way.
Where is my anticipation level? It is through the roof.
It is even higher than it was before the demo released. The 2K Sports marketing team has done a solid job slowly building towards the mammoth release on Tuesday.
The challenging, but rewarding gameplay on display in the demo pushed it over the top. I'm counting down the days to full release.
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