Welcome to part one of a three part roundtable discussion of NBA 2K12 between five members of the NLSC Team: Patrick (Pdub), Jon (JaoSming), Lean, The X and myself. In this first part of the roundtable, we cover our initial impressions of NBA 2K12 including our favourite additions, our biggest complaints, the little things that stand out and more. Check back tomorrow for part two, which will cover our thoughts on gameplay, Association and My Player.
Andrew: It’d have to be the new/revamped controls for me. I don’t totally love them, pulling off some moves still feels a bit contrived and more complicated than I’d like it to be but for the most part they’re intuitive, responsive and the basics are easy enough to remember and execute. All in all, I’d have to say it’s my favourite 2K control scheme to date.
Jon: All the classic teams with full rosters, by a long shot. I love the commercials in My Player, but by having 35 classic teams 2K easily made NBA 2K12 one of the most replayable games ever. Even if the lockout claims the entire season, we can play plenty of Modern vs Classic match ups and do a full Classic Association. I haven’t even mentioned how useful having all these extra team slots and classic player art already in the game will help mod makers for both the PC and Xbox 360.
Patrick: The ability for the developers to update art. Now all that’s next is for them to add some kind of face-to-cyberface tech to my player.
Lean: Though I haven’t tried it yet, the Online Association mode surely gives a good ring. Having real people go against you in a real-time league is a mode that I could call as the best addition, if any of the online functions work that is.
The X: All the new NBA Greatest teams. Not only have they incorporated them into the game with true to era presentation, but the team at 2K has managed to captured the essence of non-featured greats such as Sam Jones and John Havlicek well. You can see they’ve gone to great lengths to try to recreate each team and player and it is appreciated. I hope they continue to add more great teams and legends in the future (and not remove any of ones they’ve already added).
Favourite “Little Thing”
Andrew: I’m going to cheat and say all the little things in presentation. The championship ring ceremony in Association and My Player. David Stern and Adam Silver providing voiceover for the Draft. The retrospective approach to commentary in NBA’s Greatest, including Kerr’s quips about himself.
Jon: I really enjoy how the players can jump the scorer’s table and go into the second row of the crowd, but my favorite little thing is how the crowd will try and catch a loose ball. If the ball rolls towards the first row, the crowd has an actual animation to try and get out of the way. If the ball is swatted or deflected deeper into the crowd, those crowd members will try and catch it. A nice addition with that is how the mascots will fire a t-shirt cannon and the crowd will use the same animations to try and catch the flying t-shirt. Very small, but nice addition to the game.
Patrick: Create-A-Player improvements. Custom jumpshots for the win. There a couple with glitches, but most of them combine form and jump style very well. Only way to improve this is to allow manual customizations to each part of the jump shot, or even capture your own by using kinect or playstation move, somehow. Skin tones and faces look quite better this year, and you can adjust certain hair lengths and put an nba logo anywhere on a headband that you want. I’m looking forward to possible future improvements like separating free throw routines from the shot form so we don’t have to sit through the entire ritual when cycling the styles. They still need to add more normal maps to further differentiate the details on created/generated players but this years improvements are a good step in the right direction.
Lean: Steve Kerr’s addition to the commentary team. Honestly, I find Clark Kellogg’s comment snippets a bit too arrogant at times that somehow I go and say “I don’t need your opinion, Clark” while playing. Kerr’s addition to the mix has given a “clean” approach of his opinions to every play or so.
The X: Improved dynamic commentary in Association mode. Although it’s far from being perfect, it’s definitely seems improved from NBA 2K11. Great to hear commentators mentioning it’s great to have Brandon Jennings back from injury (he missed a few weeks and it was his first game back).
Andrew: An assortment of bugs and a handful of issues that should’ve been stamped out last year. No game is perfect and 100% bug-free, but there’s really no excuse for some of these issues to be present, be it logic issues in Association and My Player or the completed NBA’s Greatest games being marked as uncompleted again and the unlocked teams locked once again. 2K went all out in a lot of areas this year but they missed some very important little things that needed a tune-up or bugs that should have been caught before the game shipped. Unfortunately, it’s probably going to be a long time before PC users get any kind of patch, if history is anything to go by.
Jon: By far the worst thing 2K Sports did this year was water down NBA Blacktop mode and then charge for DLC that includes most of the Blacktop modes. In years past we could play 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, 4v4, 5v5 to a point number of our choosing and pick between full or half court games. Then there were the 3 point contest, dunk contest, and 21 modes. This year all we get is a 5v5 game with a neutral sounding (not acting) crowd on two versions of Rucker Park. While the crowd is a nice addition, it doesn’t make up for the features left out. While I can understand paying for a cell-shaded, Times Square court with HORSE, new legends, and special tournament modes, removing key Blacktop features so the base game can’t compare with the DLC (and not offering the DLC to PC users) is turrible.
Patrick: Impeding and holding when trying to make cuts across the key. There is this one animation that plays out when trying to make a cut across, into, or out of the key. This animation completely negates your momentum, and even happens when a defender is not directly in your path, causing you to stop. I have had this animation play out 5-6 times while trying to get through the key and still didn’t end up with a 3 second call. I’m sure 2K knows about it, so they delayed the 3 second calls. I understand that I should not be able to hit this path perfectly every time. I just have to try and go around them, but they will grab me from behind or from the side and completely stop my momentum. It’s really annoying.
Lean: It has to be the bigs taking threes. And in general, the CPU taking too much threes. While it can be fixed with sliders, I still give the game its praise on what it comes with by default out of the box. Last year, I was not really a fan of the CPU player intercepting the ball without actually “seeing” it. Now this is what I have to complain about.
The X: For a game so far along in its life cycle, it has too many bugs and glitches, as well as AI logic issues in various game modes.
Best “Whoa” Moment
Andrew: Even though I saw it before the game came out, I’d have go with the intro, weird as that may seem. It’s just a really cool concept and gets you pumped up to play. Plus, it ends with Derrick Rose passing to Michael Jordan for a dunk from the free throw line.
Jon: The only moment they truly dropped my jaw so far this year was when I dribbled around a defensive player during that speed dribble animation. The live ball physics were a great addition to the game, and while there are still some warping issues, the good outweighs the bad by far.
Patrick: When I first watched the games introduction video. That has to be the best basketball game intro video ever. Maybe even the best sports game intro. Momentous Celtic, did you make that?
Lean: The variety in presentation is something that I have to give a whoa about. While it will get stale as the year goes on, I must say that 2K is still beyond above par with their presentation.
The X: Nothing has really stood out but I’ve had a lot of moments where I’m like, that’s cool. The game intro and various presentation aspects added to the game come to mind.
Biggest “Facepalm” Moment
Andrew: It has to be all the online issues; I’ve yet to be able to get online with the PC version. Combined with the fact that the new community site has yet to be launched going on a month after the game’s release, confusion with Online Associations and the problems PC and console users alike have had with disconnections, finding match-ups and so on, online support has been a mess. I can kind of overlook it because I’m still more of an offline player myself, but these days a sports game has to have robust online support and NBA 2K12 has come up short in that area.
Jon: I am tempted to say the last place Wizards straight up swapping first round picks with my third place Celtics, but the biggest facepalm moment in-game happens to me seemingly every other game or so. After an offensive rebound, the AI will simply walk out of bounds giving me the ball. Not the worst thing to happen in a basketball video game, but it seems like something that should have been caught before the release.
Patrick: Playing a game online, I got a fast break and passed an alleyoop off the backboard at a near 45 degree angle to Blake Griffin who slammed it down. I went to save the replay and the option was not there. I thought it might be available to save at the end of the game at the game track menu. There was no game track menu. All that was shown was a combined box score of both teams and an option to press B to exit.
Lean: I have never played an online game because I still haven’t been able to connect up to now. The game is able to count how many people are currently online, but I still am not able to play one online game. I’m using the PC version, so this may only be a platform issue. Also, this is my chance to say that the graphics for the PC version made me hit another facepalm. There’s certainly a lack of lighting or shaders on the PC version compared to an un-modded PC version of NBA 2K11.
The X: They got David Stern and Adam Silver’s voices in the game, but outside of the generic My Player rookies plus 2011 real life NBA draftees, they don’t mention a lot of names that are in the commentator’s database. In Association mode, the whole generated draft class had Stern and Silver saying “with the xx pick, the [insert team] selects the 20 year old from [insert college]”. What a waste. I can understand it’s probably not feasible to do the whole names database, but for me it was a huge disappointment. Don’t include a feature like this if it’s half baked in Association. I can understand for My Player, just not Association. Maybe just include Stern’s intro and then don’t announce picks, who just have him say “with the xx pick, the [insert team] selects” and then come up with graphic showing the pick and player details.
Remember to check in tomorrow for our thoughts on gameplay, Association and My Player!