We praised last year’s release of NBA 2K12 and will sing praises yet again for this year’s NBA 2K13 but the game is still not without its faults.  Last year’s game was released during the NBA lockout when both fans and players were unsure of what would become of the basketball season.  Because of this – rookies were not available to play in the NBA 2K12 game when it launched – it wasn’t a very fun time for basketball fans in general.  Fortunately for 2K and NBA fans – the basketball season looks to start off without a hitch and as a bonus coming off an ‘extra’ high as the USA Men’s National Team walked away with Olympic Gold.

2K Games does an excellent job of bringing the basketball experience to life as a video game.  Player’s actions and trademark moves are all captured with great delight and it is a pleasure to be surprised time and time again when you notice something.  This thrill can be limited by the assumption that you are already coming into the game a fan of basketball and that’s most likely the case if you pick up NBA 2K13.  Another thing we’ll assume is that you’ve seen or heard of the NBA 2K franchise in the past – heck they’ve been doing it now for years!

Last year’s game gave us the post-up play – where players could turn their back to the basket and perform a variety of ‘low post’ moves. This time around NBA 2K13 has added the ‘Control Stick‘ for dribbling.  The control stick option allows you to perform crossover moves and decide which hand (or area of your body) handles the basketball.  The control stick will take plenty of time to master and be difficult to use in practical situations.

Last year’s game gave us the Legends experience – in which players could recreate 15 historic NBA match-ups from the past and play them once again – recreating the same feel and vibe of those classic games.  This was probably one of our favorite additions to the game and we’re happy to see that classic NBA teams are back once again and playable.  For NBA 2K13 the developers went even a step further and added in both the 1992 Dream Team featuring (Jordan, Bird & Magic) and this year’s 2012 USA Men’s National Team featuring Kobe, LeBron & Durant.  Also – if you didn’t hear the game is produced by Jay-Z who apparently went out of his way to make sure that holdouts like Scottie Pippen and Charles Barkley made it to the roster – bravo for us!

Other notable returns and additions – MyPlayer is back (creating a player from scratch), being able to make customizable shoes is new and there is now a ‘Virtual Currency‘ in which you use experience points to unlock game items and help upgrade your MyPlayer.  As mentioned earlier Jay-Z is involved with NBA 2K13 so his signature branding can be seen all over the game and the quality of hip hop tracks has been a nice improvement to the game.

Assuming they’ll be an NBA 2K14 released next year – we’d love to see improvements made to  the menu system — let’s just start from scratch and simplify everything.  Another area of the game that needs DRAMATIC improvement is the dialogue scenes in the campaign that goes through MyPlayer.  Watching the animation and cut scenes of the draft, press conferences and interview portions of the game has become quite laughable – it really brings the overall quality of the game down a notch.

NBA 2K13 is available now on various systems (we played it on the PlayStation 3) – be sure to check out our gameplay with commentary by Robert Welkner featuring the Dream Team vs USA Men’s Team match-up!

Related Articles:

NBA 2K12 Review