Review by SatoshiMutou
"If is the best 2K can get, forget about buying any future titles."
Many wonder why I give 2K13 such a poor score. Its a great basketball game, probably the best one on the market. However, that doesn't mean much. I been playing 2K since 2K7, and over the years, there has been great leaps for the series, each year would bring out a lot of new options, modes and improvements. In this year's version however, there's hardly anything worth mentioning that makes it that more special than 2K12. The rating I'm giving on this game is basically in terms of comparison to the previous version. Even as a stand alone game, its still incredibly lacking.
Since 2K11, the 2k games aren't changing outside of controls and graphics. The games are simply becoming DLC at best. Even this year they took out the all-star game to sell as a separate game. So you make a new game and now you take out a mode, and make the game even more redundant than it already is. It doesn't make any sense how 2K feels that this is success to making a good game.
The graphics are better.....but are they? The opening screen looks like a part of Las Vegas. Everything has all these weird flashy lights and even some of the player models still don't look like the players themselves (is it that hard to get Dirk Nowitzki right?). The players don't look much different than the previous version. The crowd looks just as generic. The stadiums look fine and are all covered in advertisements as usual (sprite slam cam is back).
Now in terms of gameplay, there is really nothing NEW about it. Then again, its basketball, so you ask yourself, what can be new at all? The game modes in the game seem all like the same thing. You get MyPlayer where you can create your own player to join the NBA, Create a Legend where you take over an existing NBA player's career, and Association where you pick a team and go through a regular NBA season. Its very redundant how a majority of the game modes are really all the same thing. They all consist of you participating in an 82 game season with an all-star game, a playoffs, and that is it.
Not only are all the modes the same thing, but some of them are so senseless. Create a Legend is pointless, what if I pick a guy who is already stacked like Lebron or Kevin Durant? There is almost no way to improve some of these guys. Guys like Chris Paul are not going to be insane post players and Dwight Howard isn't going to be a three point specialist, so on some players there is just nothing to improve on. Unless you want to play this forever by trying to make Kwame Brown the next Shaq, then this mode might as well be skipped.
MyPlayer is a joke too. If you get drafted 24th in round 1, the team puts you on billboards, and builds all this hype around you. They throw all these shoe endorsements at some guy that's probably going straight to their bench. Yes that's right, if you are drafted to the Lakers, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard are no longer running the show. The late 1st rounder out of West Kentucky who lead his team to losing 1st round in the NIT tournament is now their superstar.
What sense does this make and how is that even realistic? Why does the GM ask a bench warmer how he wants to run his team? Its not only unrealistic, but its so boring. The mode makes you have to play every game or play "key games" (which is usually some division game or some rivalry game). Really all you are doing is letting the computer dictate how you want to play the game. You could just play association, create a player (yes you can make your own player without doing the mode), play him however you want, and not even bother. The game let's you do drills and you can even compete in a legends training camp (which is just the CPU doing moves and you copying them), but all the drills are the game from the last titles with nothing different and the legends training camp is pretty much nothing but you doing some moves that you won't ever do again.
Another tedious thing about this game is the press conferences, and interviews. All these things are just pointless and try to make the game seem more "realistic" but they are just even more annoying and don't really add to anything in the game. The interviews are terrible. You get asked some random question and even when you answer "I don't want to play for you" they ask you another question.
The press conferences happen after EVERY game. And again the game treats you like you are the team's franchise player. You are a scrub on the team (at least in the beginning), why are they asking you questions?! The answers change your fan support, league support or your teammate support slightly, but its all just more random stuff that doesn't change much. Half the time it doesn't matter how you answer. You can be cocky, modest, mad, whatever, sometimes it just does whatever it wants.
The game also adds Virtual Currency in this game that replace the skill points and my god this is the worse thing ever done to a video game. Every time you win in online games or do well in certain modes, you get them. The bad thing is that you can BUY them, which you probably won't, but lots of people out there will. The Virtual currency can either be used towards improving your player in MyPlayer or you can use them online in a mode called MyTeam. MyTeam is pretty much the same exact thing that Madden has, where you get packs with your Virtual Currency that give you new players, new arenas, playbooks, etc and you make a team with them. At first these seems really cool, except that people just buy tons of VC, stack their team, and kill the entire point of this mode. I'm not sure if 2K wanted every player to be a Lakers or Heat GM by allowing them to just throw money at the game to get the best players, but they pretty much did that.
Ultimately the biggest problem with this is that there is nothing really to complete in the game (unless you love achievements). In 2K7 they had a story where you would start in Miami after meeting Shaq, playing a bunch of people all over the US, working your way to a legends tournament. The game actually gave you a reason to keep playing. Even if the storyline wasn't amazing, the game had challenge in it. The game wasn't about playing a rubber band AI and getting random wins and loses. It wasn't about all these cheezy commercials about future games or stupid press conferences. The game had something you had to dig into instead of just playing the same exact games over and over again.
Sides this, blacktop mode returns, practice modes return, really nothing else sides what I mentioned. That and it's Kayne West/Jay-Z the video game. This doesn't bother me too much since it didn't change the game play and some of the music was good. The controls have been improved as usual, the bounce pass was brought back (no idea why it was ever removed), the game flows a bit better, there is more motion controls and driving the ball in has gotten a bit better. There is still issues when your players get out of bounds and when they try to throw the ball across the court. I'm sure these will be the selling points of 2K14, fixes on things that should have been fixed by now and probably weren't issues in previous games.
So basically in short, this title offers jack. Unless you like to steal the show from Lebron or Durant as a 2nd rounder from France who is a 6'4 PF, can't play defense, and has no post game, then I would pass on this game unless you desperately have to play basketball or want to have an expensive Jay-Z/Kayne West soundtrack with a guy who hasn't played a single NBA game this season (D-Rose with the free throws) on the cover. If you never seen any of the previous NBA 2k titles, then you may be impressed with the graphics, the sprite slam dunk cam, the soundtrack and having twitter followers (seriously, you get twitter followers in this game).
The main reasons why 2k gets such a low rating is for a few reasons. One is that the game has hardly any content as explained above. Second is how it's 2K who made this game. 2K usually makes games with more substance. If this was EA and we got another crappy game, it wouldn't be such a surprise. Finally, the #1 upsetting thing about this game is how the game tries to sell its gimmicks. Its almost selling everything that is wrong with the modern NBA. The obsession about image (like all the interviews, twitter handles, etc), the lack of personality (all Myplayer's give you the same voice and make you say the same things), over glorying you even from the start of your career, etc.
I really hope that 2K14 will offer something new to the series, since if not good luck with more DLC/roster updates. Incredibly disappointing to 2K and basketball fans. Its time for EA to step it up since if not I could easily save my 60 dollars, and not buy the same exact game every single year. Watching the games on TV is pretty much the same thing.
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 03/26/13
Game Release: NBA 2K13 (US, 10/02/12)
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