Home | JaoSming’s Initial NBA 2K12 Demo Impressions (Updated)

JaoSming’s Initial NBA 2K12 Demo Impressions (Updated)

I just spent some early morning time with NBA 2K12’s demo and here are my impressions (feel free to post yours here).  If you don’t want to read, just know that the demo doesn’t come close to the hyped up expectations for this game.  Limited options and a stripped down gameplay effort makes me think that they would have been better off releasing the demo after the release rather than two weeks before it.

I knew I was in for disappointment when I woke up and saw this tweet from Da Czar,

2k really needs to rethink this barebones demo approach. Some people can’t see the full potential of their game with half of it “OFF”

I know 2K’s track record with their demos and I told Andrew the other day that the demo still showcases the gameplay…in this case, I kinda hope not. The post game is completely new, I didn’t know what I was doing down there (or up there, Dirk, turnaround, fer threeeeee). I was in the post and did LT+RS-Left to shoot a bank turnaround, instead I spun out of the post into a double team.  I know that the controls have changed, but shouldn’t RS always have to do with shooting?  Turns out I did not read the controls insight that came out yesterday.  Signature Gathers have moved from a button press to a gather/shot combo by holding LT and choosing a direction to shoot with RS.  The issue I was having was letting go of RS too soon so my player would do a move instead of the shot combination.  After playing with it some more, this has become one of my favorite additions to the game.

The live-ball stuff is nice. That is a great addition but I could still see the ball warp while on the ground when the dribbler was making subtle movements to make sure it got back to his hands. Hopefully that is what Wang is working on already for 2k13.

The animations are nice, I like the new dribbling mechanics, seem a bit more like freestyle from Live since they are only one move now. And there are different moves when the game feels you are defended or just hanging out 10 feet away from the 3pt line, so you can’t practice without D.  The blending of animations looked pretty damn good, my only concern was a little wobble of the body for Dirk’s shot.

The blocking is slowed down…and I still saw some floating blocks where players hung in the air too long. I still got user controlled steals that sent me way out of whack. Two examples of that. Attempted a steal as the offense was about to pass. Even though I hit the steal button once, Kidd swiped for the ball like normal as Chalmers was passing, and then, without any input, he tried to intercept the pass that went halfway across the court a second ago. Another was when I switched to Chandler in the post and the game automatically decided that I was going to try and steal the ball, which led to a Greatness dunk. Again, no input there.

I play 2K11 on Hall of Fame difficulty and Casual Sliders. I want the game to cheat and do everything it can to win and it’s made 2K11 last longer that it should have for me. I had more AI “psychic” steals in this demo than in the past 3 months of 2K11. The pass type decision system (bounce, lob, chest) was worse than ever for me. Basic passes into the post, on the perimeter, kickouts, all had issues with some defender flying in to grab the ball. Sliders will probably fix this again, but it was a shame to see especially after that Insight. This issue is still fixed by using lead passing, but that doesn’t help me when I want to fling the ball around the perimeter.  I am still having issues with the stealing, but Ronnie2K has tweeted that the difficulty and slider settings for the demo are Default and Casual, which explains the stealing issues.

Another huge disappointment was the out of bounds force field. It’s still there. I played the NBA Live games with that slider all the way down which removed the force field completely, and while 2K12’s is definitely less than 2K11’s and the games before it, I’d say it’s like 25% still there. You can run straight out of bounds, but before you do there is a little hiccup of a forcefield as if it’s saying “are you sure?”. It’s more noticeable if you run along the sideline and try to feather yourself out of bounds.  You can run along the entire sideline Mario running up against the force field.  Hopefully this is only because of the Casual sliders thing….

The presentation is straight sexy. They even got a little Dirk and LeBron playing in the bottom left corner like a commercial for a TV show. I do think the new scorebug is ugly though, there are going to need to be some texture updates for that.  The new Sprite Slam Cam is the best in the series.  Different camera angles with a slow-mo build up and real time for the finish.

There is a huge learning curve to be had with NBA 2K12, and while you can see all the different new additions, the demo doesn’t even come close to the hype that has been created in the past two months. Limited to one team, no play calling, no replay, no options whatsoever. I think I would have liked to play the GamesCom demo more than this, and that thing was in beta. Everyone who has had hands-on with 2K12 mentioned that they cannot play 2K11 anymore; good for them, cause I’m going to load it up right now to get this taste out of my mouth. I still have no doubt that NBA 2K12 is going to be a great game, but you wouldn’t know it from this demo.  I tried playing 2K11, and I couldn’t do it, way to make me eat my words Controls Insight….

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A Greatness dunk! Realism at its finest. Thank you 2K.