NBA 2K12 Review (Xbox 360)
Creating A Legend Mode
Your mileage may vary, but this was my favorite mode. Last year’s version gave players the chance to take Michael Jordan from Rookie to vet. How do you top that? By giving you access to basically the entire current NBA roster. (NOTE: James Harden, OKC Thunder. The beard in all its glory. And the OKC roster is awesome. Seriously. WIN). The catch? 1) No press conferences in this mode. An obvious choice since it would be incredibly expensive. And 2) no rookies.
Alas, as the game was nearing completion, the NBA lockout happened and for some stupid reason, the NBA refused to allow permission to use the latest rookies until after the season began. As a result, the in the box version of NBA 2k12 has 2 generic ‘rookie’ characters, both in the Western conference. Fortunately, now that the NBA season has finally started, this will soon be rectified. Actual NBA rookies will be added to the game via free DLC.
My Player Mode
Simply put, My Play mode is one of the beefiest single player options I’ve personally experienced in a sports game. Building off of previous incarnations, it’s been both expanded and streamlined to maximize the player’s sense of becoming a star while minimizing the tedium of actually getting there. You begin your career already in the pros, so no tedious playing just to get to the bare minimum of what you actually want to do. It’s as much fun in-game as in between when you consider endorsements, give interviews, negotiate your contract and generally enjoy the minutia of managing your image and your career.
One note: while you start out already in the pros, you have to earn a lot of XP to unlock goodies to customize your player with new abilities and personal flourishes. That makes it slow going at first. But don’t worry that this means you’re going to have to level-grind (to borrow a term from RPGs for a second) your way through the season. If you manage to play with skill despite lacking the perks, you’ll still have a shot of advancing at a fairly brisk pace.
That games will have licensed music is an unremarkable thing, but when a game has a perfectly chosen soundtrack that not only has a ton of killer songs but just feels like the essence of the subject at hand, it creates the perfect atmosphere. Such is the case with NBA 2K12. The soundtrack just kills it through and through with a mix of hip hop and indie groups like Bad Meets Evil, Shinobi Ninja, XV and The Death Set that perfectly captures the feel of a live NBA game – at least in my experience at the few Lakers games’ I’ve been at in person.
However, none of this matters as much as the fact that they actually went there and included Kurtis Blow’s “Basketball”. Why this song isn’t on the soundtrack for every basketball game ever made is a mystery, but it ought to be required like singing the Star Spangled Banner before a baseball game. Because seriously.
Simply put, there isn’t enough praise to heap upon NBA 2K12. It’s so good you can almost see Kobe’s divorce papers sticking out of his shorts. Accessible to casual basketball fans, easy to play and yet responsive and visceral, boasting excellent graphics and with NBA’s Greatest Mode some of the most incredible attention to detail yet seen in any sports game, it’s a masterpiece.
* Wonderful, responsive controls
* Incredible attention to detail, especially NBA’s Greatest Mode
* James Harden’s Beard recreated with 100% accuracy.
* Challenging without being monotonous
* Variety of modes guarantees a unique experience with every game
* Perfect soundtrack
* Uncanny valley effect; especially the eyes