One who never really played sports games, I went into NBA 2k13 skeptical if I would enjoy it or not. Of course, I did extensive research on past titles to assure myself that I knew just what to expect in terms of differences. Safe to say, I enjoyed the game incredibly and the wild features I came across made it an experience I can relate to in many ways.
From the moment I started the game I was in love with one aspect already – the game’s soundtrack. Picked out by one of he kings of rap himself, Jay-Z made sure to represent Roc-a-Fella Records with artists such as Kanye West and himself. For those who aren’t fans of rap music, take to Daft Punk’s Around the World or Coldplay’s Viva la Vida. My only complaint about the soundtrack would have to be the confusing inclusion of instrumental versions of some great tracks like H.A.M by The Throne and I’m a Boss by Meek Mill. However, safe to assume the soundtrack isn’t what draws players to an NBA game.
Gameplay for 2K13 remains strong. The newest addition is the analog-based Dribble Stick. This lets players use the trigger buttons and directions with the right analog stick to make shots and pass the ball to other players. While a unique innovation and a fantastic method to add more in-depth, fluid movements, lack of tutorials and improper teaching methods make for a difficult learning curve. Even when I did get the hang of the Dribble Stick, I still stuck with the timed button presses for shots and passes.
Being a new player to the game, I definitely needed to hit the training camp to get a hang of the game. While the training camp did help me get a hang on what exactly I had to do, it was the Shootaround mode that let me see that each player’s jump shot was different. The various tutorials, training modes, etc. gave me enough insight to be able to learn all the basics of gameplay in one quick sitting, definitely a plus. However, getting to these modes was a hassle and a half. The menu is a cluttered mess. With some menus incapable of being backed out of completely, it can be a pain to get back to a certain menu that you wanted to check out. Another issue with the game’s interface, per se, is the loading times. Loading times are excruciatingly long, leaving players staring at their player’s stats and starting line up for an extended amount of seconds. This is likely due to the aesthetics of the game, but even then, the times are a bit too long at times.
As noted before, the game looks fantastic. Player movements are incredibly fluid and quick along with superb details on NBA players. While the crowd doesn’t look too fantastic close up, at a quick glance, this can easily be mistaken for an actual NBA game in HD quality. The sound of the game is great as well, with crowd chants, sneaker scuffs and commentary fitting so perfectly into the game. This is of course alongside the superb soundtrack. With everything mentioned above, what exactly made this game stand out to me among many sports?
The inclusion of NBA Legends and celebrities did it! The inclusion of Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan (again) was a fantastic sight to see. However, the addition of Pauly D, Meek Mill and even the odd inclusion of Justin Bieber is a sight worth seeing. My favorite aspect of the game, however, has to be MyCareer. Sporting a player building experience, it was a great starting point for me. Between being able to have a sit down conversation with your team’s general manager and sitting down at press conferences, MyCareer was an incredibly worthwhile experience. Plus, watching your player grow up as an NBA player is enjoyable in itself. The game also incorporates online modes, with players meeting up in their locker room to play all kinds of modes, from Associations, Blacktop Games and full fledged games. Servers work great, and playing with your friends who’ve been begging you to pick up an NBA 2K game for years. Good news to those people – this won’t be the last.
For the first sports game in a while, NBA 2K13 left the perfect taste in my mouth for more to come. The game’s presentation is stellar, with a fantastic soundtrack and sounds overall. The menus are pretty unbearable and loading times are a buzzkill, but the fantastic gameplay makes up. Even the new Dribble Stick is great, once players get used to it. However, the lack of true tutorials on this new feature makes that learning a bit difficult. The inclusion of NBA legends and even celebrities is a pretty interesting and fun addition, while MyCareer proves to be the grandest starting point in a sports game for beginners and masters. NBA 2K13 isn’t my first video game ever, but my first in a while. After playing through it, I question why I waited so long to get back in the game.
- The game’s soundtrack is super across the board
- Gameplay remains solid, and even the new Dribble Stick is a welcome addition
- Presentation is stellar, between the fluid player movements and the sound of sneaker scuffing and commentary
- The inclusion of NBA Legends and a Celebrity Team are inventive, and a load of fun
- MyCareer is a great way to start the game, and is incredibly innovative with GM meetings, press conferences, etc.
- The menus are a cluttered mess
- Lack of true teaching methods and tutorials make learning the Dribble Stick feature rather difficult
- Loading times are excruciatingly long