Ok, that’s an old game and the new version will be available in the near future, but there’s a reason why my opinion on this game took so long to elaborate, and why I was (slightly) disappointed by what a lot of websites considered one of the best sport games ever (not just BASKET game).
Let’s start with the timing.
Since I was a kid (eons ago) I used to devour basket games one after the other. We’re talking back to the first Nba live and Nba Jam for Mega Drive. Every year I’d buy one, or even more worthy basket titles. I spent many years enjoying the Nba Live series until the first Nba2k landed, and I’ve been a devote follower of 2k Sports ever since.
Year after year the new game improved the old one under many aspects: graphics, gameplay, realism, sound etc….everything felt better. So the last year I was extremely excited while reading all the reviews of Nba 2k13, claiming it was the best thing ever. According to those reviews, the best things that could happen to mankind are:
b) Nba 2k13
c) LeBron missing the last shot in a key game
d) World peace
So when I finally managed to buy and download the game on Steam I was extremely thrilled. After I spent a few months playing it in my favorite game mode (My Player) I had to change computer. Total backup of everything, I installed Steam and the game on the new pc and….all data was lost. Had to restart from scratch. And that’s why it took forever to complete it, considering I enjoy 48 minutes games and I only have the time to play 2 or 3 a week.
So, why am I not happy with Nba 2k13 for pc? Let’s start the list of the good and the bad.
Graphics: they improve every year and we’re getting to incredible levels of realism, especially when it comes down to animations.
My Player: in Nba 2k12 it was way too easy to power-creep game after game and by the end of season one my Center was able to shot from any position of the field at high %, even 3 pointers (wtf?), while at the same time being a powerhouse in the paint. In 2k13 they slowed the process enough so that by the end of season 1 my character was just “ok” and the way I played it made all the difference.
Overall gameplay: smooth animations, realistic movement mechanics and responsive controls made the game a joy to play.
So, now we move to the bad.
Graphics: I want REAL customization. Not just 3 options. I want to be able to turn off everything I don’t want on the screen. I don’t have framerate problems (i7+8gb ram + Ati 7970) but I find spectators distracting, annoying and ugly, because no matter how hard they try they always look like a copy paste of the same 3 models. I want them off completely. In before:”the public means immersion!”, bullshit, I immerse in a basketball game through the game itself, I want to focus on it, I don’t need to see a bunch of 3d models that all look alike moving in the same idiotic way. I don’t need the referees as well, they’re useless and just slow everything down (more on this later).
Sound: ingame sounds are great, the commentary is cool, but why on earth is every basketball game cursed by some crappy rap/hip pop garbage? Is there a contract that forces software houses to necessarily use garbage music in their games? I wouldn’t mind a mix of commercial stuff, but a soundtrack composed 90% by hip hop / rap and 10% of stuff that sounds worth only of night-time commercials? Bloody hell I’d rather prefer listening to Britney Spears, Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys.
Gameplay: The game is nicely balanced until you learn post moves, then you’re in God Mode. It feels more balanced using a PG/SG/SF, but if you play a PF/C once you have a high rating in post moves, layups, post fadeaway etc you’re basically unstoppable. Even at high difficulty level the only way to be slowed down is if you decide on purpose to skip post moves and rely on fakes, jumpshots, hooks etc, which is lame. I spent the first half of the season being a below-average C relying entirely on dunks and layups, and during the finals I was averaging 50 points per game (…) shooting over 70% (…) because there was no way for the opposing team to actually stop me.
I find it insanely annoying that everytime I call the ball I get the “bad call” penalty even if I’m alone under the basket and I receive the ball for a dunk, I mean wtf? I received the ball with no one guarding me, made a two handed jam and got fouled, and it was a bad call on my side?
Time wasters & bugs: OMG. I turned off every interruption in the game. No dunk reply, no presentation, I just want to play. Even with NO REPLAYS I still get the bloody dunk replays with the Power Meter which is the lamest thing ever. Random dude makes a 1h jam barely making it: Power Meter score 84. I made a 2h dunk on a fastbreak while being fauled: 69 score. WUT. I don’t want ANY reply. And I don’t want ANY information about schedule!!!! WHY IS IT EVEN IN THE GAME. I can take a few (SKIPPABLE) replays at the half time, BUT NOT WHILE I PLAY. And the unskippable game conference? Seriously?It’s fun for the first 10 games, then it’s like:”Oh crap, I hope the question will be quick so that I…..*ENDLESS WALL OF TEXT ASKING ME IF I’M HAPPY WITH MY 50PTS + 20 REBOUNDS + 6 BLOCKS GAME…………….FUUUUUUUUUUUU”.
Bugs: BLOODY FREE THROWS, I spent most of my time staring at the referees holding the ball while at the line waiting to receive the ball and get out of there….STUCK FOREVER, and it has not been patched since day1. But they have the time to patch coaches and other useless things!
Coach AI: “Oh you’re a 7’1 rookie Center with 50 quickness ? After a quick break I’ll let you play as a SG and guard Kobe. Oh damn boy you sucked, you’ll have to watch the rest of the game from the bench”. NOT KIDDING. NOT FUNNY.
Justin Bieber: Justin Bieber.
My Player: the overall career is cool, but I definitely preferred 2k12. Why? 2k12 felt more like a roleplaying game, where I had to start from pre-season games to show that I was worth something, and then the Celtics let me play in their summer league where I had to guard Kg (I got kicked in the balls so hard I wanted to quit and restart, hoping that a different team would pick me) and then I slowly made my way into the roster. During the first half of the first season I was a bench warmer and it took a lot of time to actually become part of the starting 5 and only in the second half of the first season I was actually worth something and I contributed a lot in our title victory (as mentioned at the beginning of this post, the 2nd part of the season was not very well balanced and led me to have a player that was way too complete). In 2k13 you play 1 game, you get drafted and unless you’re unable to play basket games you simply lead your team to the title with ease. A lot of people complained that 2k12 was too slow, to be honest it was what mad 2k12 so charming: you were a piece of garbage trying to make it into the Nba. Balancing was not good because it didn’t take long to go from scrub to hall of famer, but at least you started slow. In 2k13 it didn’t take me long to become the starting C in a team with Alridge (moved to PF) and Hickson (benched), and by the end of season one I had maxed all the shoting skills (apart from 3p shooting, but I was already at 50/70 and planned to cap it during the second season), layups, post moves and shoot in traffic. Talking about points: end of regular season I got 2800 points (yuhu!), I won the Nba finals and was the Mvp and I received roughly 700 (wut?).
So all in all, I was pleased by 2k13, but the game had so many things that were either annoying, boring or totally broken, that it reduced the quality of my experience by a lot. And most of those things (customization, bugs etc) could have been easily fixed…but that never happened.
So, am I going to buy and play 2k14 ? Of course, I won’t miss it for any reason in the world.
Have I enjoyed 2k13? Yes, but I was expecting a lot more from it and it let me down in the game mode that I enjoy the most.
Was it the best sport game ever? I hope not, it would mean sport games are not that good.