Now that EA Sports has realized that their basketball games can't really match up to the NBA 2K series, the 2K games have gotten that much better. NBA 2K12 was one of the best sports games in recent history, receiving a 9.5 rating from IGN, and Visual Concepts does not disappoint this time around.
I know what you might be thinking, "But Daine, 2K12 is awesome! Why would I want to play 2K13?" Well reader, I'm glad you asked. Here are the things fans should be pumped about.
I know, I know. "Making shoes is a feature?" YES IT IS. In previous games you could change the colors of different shoes to make them look however you wanted, but in 2K13 you make the shoes look however you want.
You get to edit over 40 layers of colors and other features, and not only will your in-game player wear them on the virtual court but you can wear them in real life! Shoe creator links with NikeID which allows you to order the shoes you made in the game.
When I saw that NBA 2K13 had Jay-Z as the executive producer, I didn't really think about it. It seemed like just a ploy to get Jay-Z's name and music on something. While that may be true, there is a lot more to it.
The first impressive thing Jay-Z brought to the game was actually two things: Charles Barkley and Scottie Pippen. Both Sir Charles and Pippen haven't appeared in games recently by personal preference, but apparently Jay-Z called them and got them to sign on to appear on the 1992 Dream Team in the game.
Jay-Z also picked all of the music for the game, suggested a background that pulses with the soundtrack, and expanded on the pregame mixes that blend virtual game tape with the soundtrack, which is actually pretty awesome.
Overall, while Jay-Z might not have changed much about the actual basketball aspect of the game, he sure made it look and sound great.
My Player Career Mode
One of my personal favorite game modes, My Player. This career mode allows you to play as a current NBA player or to create your own and get drafted, and play your entire career. The mode was a lot of fun in 2K12 and has gotten even better in this year's installment.
Like last year, you'll get experience points for your gameplay that you can use to upgrade your stats and ultimately get better. That's pretty much where the similarities stop.
Now you can spend points to take your team out to dinner, do charity work, or even ask for your head coach to be fired, which all effect how you develop as a player and how the fans like you.
You can also spend points to buy new suits for press conferences and other video in game, and you can purchase attire for playing on the blacktop if you ever feel like getting back to your virtual roots.
The feature that I'm most excited about in career mode though are the new accessories. 2K13 allows you to buy special accessories for your player that give him in-game bonuses like an Adidas arm sleeve that might increase your inside shooting. Very awesome. Sport simulation meets RPG.
Settle The Score
Magic and LeBron will be the most excited about this feature. NBA 2K13 allows you to take on the 1992 Dream Team using the 2012 team from the London Olympics.
This is an exciting feature, because while you can settle the score between the two teams, it's also great that the full '92 Dream Team is in the game. Who doesn't want to play with Magic, Larry Legend, and MJ all at once?
The New Stick Control System
Because the gameplay of NBA 2K12 was pretty much perfect, there haven't been that many changes in 2K13. One of the biggest changes is the use of the right stick.
The right stick now acts as a freestyle stick of sorts (think back to NBA Live's use of the right stick) and lets you use player momentum to get around defenders in creative ways and even throw sick, nasty bounce passes and do a whole bunch of other player specific moves.
Honorable Mention: Bieber Fever and Kinect
These two aren't really awesome enough to make the list, but should be mentioned.
First: you can dunk on Bieber. Yes, Justin Bieber is apparently in the game, but it's OK because you can virtually destroy him.
Second: (PS3 users disregard) If you have Kinect for your Xbox 360, you can do some awesome stuff. Thankfully, you don't have to make awkward movements to dribble or anything. Instead, you can use your voice to call plays, like screens and run plays, which is a cool wrinkle.
NBA 2K13 has pulled out all the stops making improvements to things I didn't even know needed improving in 2K12. 2K13 looks to be a great new addition to any sports gamer's library and look at that, it comes out today!