• 2K Games has for a while now been ahead of the competition when it comes to basketball sims, last years was just great. How to improve for this year? Well firstly get Jay-Z in to produce it, yup you read correctly. Then change the controls system to allow it to be more comfortable and easier for the new player. Up to date players, rosters, teams and everything else EA does for FIFA and the end result is possibly the best basketball ball simulation ever. A bold statement to make granted but this really delivers and sometimes you feel like you’re watching a game. Not surprising since Jay Z has produced this, even the tunes in the menus are hits and the little noises in the background sound authentic.

    In fact a few times during testing friends walked by and asked if I was watching last night’s game, when I was really playing. That’s a testament to the graphics and ease of flow of this game. Due to last year’s game being so damn good it was the perfect base to build from. Everything has been tweaked, enhanced and lifted. Let’s begin with the graphics as this is sublime to watch and play. The player animations are smooth as silk, each tap on the analogue stick is perfectly and quickly executed by the player. The turns, runs and lay ups all dead on with no lags, frame rate issues or slowdowns at all. During a frantic play with all players involved this suffers no problems with everything running perfectly. It actually feels like an arcade game at times because it so easy to play and the controls flow intuitively. Also the big guys have their signature moves and all of them look great while being easy to pull off.

    The control system and in particular the control sick (right stick) is the king here. Move with the left and wiggle the right to perform a brain dizzying number of offensive and defensive moves. All slick and smooth of course. It would have been nice if you had a tutorial giving you the basics instead of just being told it’s here though, a minor issue that you can remedy with lots of experimenting to figure out how to pull off the faints, just, cross overs and other nifty tricks. Expect to lose a few games whilst you practice but don’t get disheartened. Once mastered you will make even the great Jordan look like a chump. Speaking of Michael Jordan, did I mention the USA dream team of 1992 is here? As well as the 2012 Kevin Durant squad? Both are present here and finally you can play out your fantasy of who would win.

    Lots of modes are on offer here but masked behind the menu system. It’s hard to find what your after but with the tunes being as good as they are, we can forgive 2K this year. Next year however please make the menus more accessible and simple to navigate. ‘My player’ has been named ‘My Career’ and you start off by creating a custom player which this includes both shot animations and look. Once completed you take part in the rookie showcase game and get drafted. From here you begin your journey to basketball greatness. There is a massive amount of depth here as you get involved in the life of your player much more, chatting to the GM, endorsement deals, complex contract negotiations and more. It doesn’t end there as you can actually take part in social media, as well the ability to choose the player’s pre-game rituals and attires during events. You also have the My Team mode where you can collect players, uniforms and arenas. Additionally, you can also take your teams online and play against other players using the matching system.

    Another aspect that makes this title feel like a real thing you see on tv is the perfect commentary provided by legends Kevin Harlan, Steve Kerr, and Clark Kellogg. Everything they say is on cue and never wrong, each situation they describe is really what’s happening. It’s very rare in a game to have such close and accurate commentary; just ask FIFA. The sounds and speech are great as well, the arenas look great with the crowds actually moving and interacting. There is a lot to love about this game, however, the one big annoyance is the menu system as I have said. I repeat myself because it’s really annoying when great modes are hidden behind confusing systems.

    This in my opinion is the best basketball sim and maybe the best sports sim out there. Simply put this flows beautifully; the character animations, passing, shooting and even speech are in sync and damn good. The depth of the My career mode is staggering once you can actually go on social media. I also like the hard lessons it teaches as you progress from rookie to kick ass star. Also as a bonus for pre-ordering you get DLC for an all-star weekend. This includes has the slam dunk contests, three point contest and East Vs West All-Star game all set in Houston, the home of 2013 NBA all-star game. The only thing stopping this being a 10 is the menus. This is the king of sports sims and I take my hat off to 2K Games for putting out such an exceptional title.

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    The TotallyGN Verdict
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    • Player animations, shooting, defensive and all around game is a perfect representation of what you see on tv.
    • The wealth of detail in the sats and My Career mode is staggering.
    • Silly, awkward menu system needlessly hiding the amazing game modes.

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    Summary:

    The best sports sim out right now. If you are a basketball fan you should get this and you’ll be amazed at how realistic this looks.

    [note class=”alignright”]9[/note]
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    • Format: PS3
    • Developer: Visual Concepts
    • Publisher: 2K Sports
    • Release Date: 10/2/12

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    About The Author

    UK Editor

    A gamer that loves to play games and write about them. Just living the dream.