Welcome to the third and final part of the roundtable discussion of NBA 2K12 between Patrick (Pdub), Jon (JaoSming), Lean, The X and myself. Today we’re wrapping up the roundtable with our thoughts on NBA’s Greatest and the presentation in this year’s game, as well as covering a couple of other topics of interest and summing up our opinion of NBA 2K12. Don’t forget to check out part one and part two if you didn’t catch them the first time around.
Andrew: Great presentation, fun concept, fair reward. Some of the dunks and dribbling moves really aren’t era-appropriate the further you go back, as are some of the rules/strategies (zone defense, for example), but the level of authenticity is to be commended. Biggest complaint is the aforementioned issue with completed challenges being marked as uncompleted, forcing you to play the game again if you happen to have autosave on.
Jon: NBA’s Greatest was one of my favorite additions to the game…but very underwhelming. Being able to play as all these classic players, on mostly accurate floors, and time specific presentation and rules was amazing, but not being able to use the presentation or rule sets in quick matches is a shame. Another feature of past 2K games that was taken out for 2K12 and being released as a part of that $10 DLC was taking the classic players and putting them on current NBA teams. It’s too bad that all this great content is only allowed in this one mode.
Patrick: Probably the most polished mode of all of them. The visual and audible presentation are a great touch. The signature packages make many of the stars look just as real as current NBA players. It’s just a blast to play and satisfies some nostalgia for a child of the 80’s and 90’s like myself. It’s unfortunate a few players that people would probably like to see in the game weren’t able to be contracted.
Lean: Nice touch on the era-specific presentation (albeit the game wrap-up screen does not change), the mode can be a pain in the ass to anyone who’s new to the series.
The X: This is one of the game’s shining light. I think some of players on the greatest teams are overrated and it’s unusual to see so many (or any) dunks in a 1960’s game, but for overall nostalgia value I can overlook these couple of misgivings and appreciate what has been served up by the crew at 2K.
Andrew: Outstanding. They’ve gone all out in trying to replicate a television broadcast, about all they’re missing is a licensing deal with TNT. Commentary is good and sounds quite natural, though there are a few lines and anecdotes that you end up hearing a little too often. Still, commentary in sports games has come a long way and they’ve done a good job with it. I’m also glad to see that they included the same menus in all versions of the game this year and the PC version didn’t get the NBA 2K10 menus again. And as I mentioned above, the authenticity in the NBA’s Greatest presentation is superb.
Jon: I love the presentation in this game. Commercials in My Player, ads in Association games, the classic broadcasts and the new Home screen are wins all around. My only issue with the presentation is in the Create a Player screen where the player doesn’t shoot towards or dunk on the hoop that is on the screen.
Patrick: The general presentation is fantastic and I have yet to hear the predictable lines that I am accustomed to hearing. The visual post processing in NBA 2K’s greatest give some games a classic broadcast feel, but I would have liked to have an option to turn them off. The pauses for statistical overlays are still a bit predictable, as it only shows stats that players on your team or stats that involve your team being in the leaders. I have yet to see many overlays for stats of the current game I am playing, though the commentators do point them out vocally at times. Steve Kerr adds an extra voice to the commentary team, but I am sure this will get old quick. I expected better situational in-game commentary based on what was happening during a season, and while they made progress, it can still seem stale when they aren’t mentioning how close you are to making the playoffs or getting eliminated as the clock ticks down in a close game. Sometimes Craig and Kerr get quiet for a while.
Lean: This is where 2K really does a good job. Having different TV broadcast intros, starting lineup sequences, commentary variations, Damon Bruce for your intro and halftime show adds the round-up for a good TV broadcast feel. I’m always a fan of their graphic transitions. One nitpick I could say is the use of the same fonts from last year but it’s just me. I could care less for the music they used for the game but I am a big fan of the song they used in the intro as it gives you the old school feel. I think the new home screen feels a bit cluttered, great idea for shortcuts to the game modes though.
The X: Great, 2K keeps lifting the bar for sim basketball titles. They’ve encapsulated the feel of TV broadcasts and excitement well. It’s also nice to see that playoff crowds seem a bit better also. Graphics also look slightly better on PS3 than previous versions and new front menu interface looks good.
Take one thing from a past 2K game/NBA Live and insert it into 2K12 to make it better
Andrew: All-Star Weekend.
Jon: The fully featured Blacktop mode from NBA 2K10. It had a normal dunk contest, multiple courts we could choose from and is just overall better than the travesty of a Blacktop mode we got this year.
Patrick: Any of the NBA Live Xbox 360 versions’ graphics quality. Probably NBA Live 10’s without the over saturation of the skin. Except it would have to be done without lowering the level of detail of the player models during gameplay like NBA Live 10 seemed to have done.
Lean: The complete Blacktop and All-Star Weekend.
The X: I’m cheating here, but importable draft classes from 2K’s College Hoops series (meaning they’d have to start making the College 2K series again). Other than that, ability to retire a player’s jerseys in Dynasty mode from Live 2004.
Thoughts on the hype machine before the game’s release
Andrew: Even with my complaints, there’s a lot to be excited about and enjoy in NBA 2K12. A lot of work went into building upon NBA 2K11 and the guys at 2K should be commended for their efforts. However, in retrospect the fact they weren’t keen on addressing certain issues when asked (offline Association, online crews) should’ve raised some red flags. The score of 9.5 in IGN’s pre-release review also makes me wonder just how deeply they delved into the game, or whether the presence of certain bugs/AI/logic issues aren’t taken into account in the grand scheme of things.
Jon: I wasn’t a fan of all the hype 2K created before the game was released. Even though we got some high quality commercials for the game, and some great insights, we didn’t get as much technical talk in the insights and we only got one official gameplay video before release. It seemed like 2K was focused more on getting non-basketball game players to buy the game rather than keeping their established user base. This is understandable though, especially since there isn’t any competition for 2K this year.
Patrick: I think 2K Sports hyped exactly what the selling points of the game were, and did it well. However, most gameplay videos came from a pre-release version at a gaming event and the demo was so small that I don’t think it was worth the resources. A few more gameplay videos and Q&A’s articles would have been nice, as long as it didn’t take away from the development time.
Lean: In line with Andrew’s reference to IGN’s 9.5 rating, I read their review and was not completely sold. My take is that they didn’t go much in-depth. I’m not saying that the game does not deserve a 9.5, though. For me a lot of the hype came from the developers’ insight. Sure they added little things like the NikeID shoes which as of the moment, still does not work for me. Reading through their insights built the hype for me as I always think that those words came from the devs themselves, so I’m inclined to believe so.
The X: I’m okay with the over-hype, it’s better to get as much as info as possible. The downside is that given the level of hype, it should come as no surprise why so many people are disappointed with the game. 2K need to hype as much as possible this year as they needed to sell as many copies as possible before lockout destroyed some of their goodwill. I loved the Drake vs Wilson commercials, a very nice touch. Need more of them.
How long do you think you’ll play 2K12 for this year?
Andrew: I expect I’ll be playing it on and off until next October, when NBA 2K13 comes out (and EA Sports finally releases their next NBA sim game, whatever they end up calling it). A patch that addresses the main gripes with the game would certainly encourage me to play it on a more regular basis but all the same, I don’t think it’ll collect too much dust over the next twelve months.
Jon: There is no doubt in my mind that I will be playing NBA 2K12 until the 2013 games come out in a year. While I am going to try and be a little more skeptical of 2K13, unless the do a complete overhaul of their engine, I am excited to see what they do next year when EA re-enters the simulation basketball market.
Patrick: I think I will play this right up until October of next year, depending on what the hype looks like for the NBA games coming out then.
Lean: I was surprised to play 2K11 until last month, so I’d say that I’ll be playing this game up until 2K13 comes out (or if the next games have higher PC requirements).
The X: I played 2K11 for the whole year, so I anticipate I will get a whole year’s gaming out of 2K12. Despite it’s misgivings, it is a very polished sim basketball title and for that reason, it’ll get a lot of play.
Choose: Great game or Disappointment
Andrew: NBA 2K12 isn’t without its flaws but on the whole, I’d say great game. A patch to fix some the most troubling issues is essential, however.
Jon: NBA 2K12 is a Great Game. There are negatives, negatives that will probably not get fully fixed in whatever patch 2K might release, but overall I don’t think it is possible to say that this isn’t the best NBA simulation video game ever created.
Patrick: Great game. Very deep again and requires a lot of gameplay time before changing sliders or any other gameplay customizations.
Lean: This is a good follow-up to 2K11. I’m still not saying it’s a great game because my impression still stands that 2K12 is more like 2K11.5 but as I play through it, I’ll be appreciating this more. Still, a thumbs up from me.
The X: Neither, it’s somewhere in between. It’s got some great elements and some disappointing ones. I will enjoy it for what it is, an incremental step forward in the series.