So, with the lockout seemingly never ending and with hope of a full season almost gone, I decided that I needed some element of basketball in my life, even if it was a sim. NBA 2k12 had gotten rave reviews, and its predecessor, 2k11, was a great game. So I got the game, and these are my thoughts on it. I assume throughout this that you have played 2k11, since otherwise this thing would be about twice as long.
Presentation: The game looks much better than 2k11, which is good, since 2k11 looked great anyway. The menus are slicker and smoother, and it is still very easy to get around. The players have improved in terms of looks, though many of the minor players still look a little like aliens. For the Clippers, they nailed EJ and Blake imo, whereas Gomes and Mo looked really weird. The music is also good, at least for me, since it seemed to have more rap and less weird alternative rock or whatever was on last year. This is a personal preference however. The Pre-Game and Halftime shows are much improved and extended, with more stats of players being shown, and with trips around the league to see how other teams did. Grade of A
Controls: The shooting seems a bit quicker this year from the field, which I didnt like, and it seemed like they took a lot of the individuality out of different player's shots. The passing on the other hand seemed rather slow, with often open guys getting covered by the time the pass was on the way. Regular dribbling was very slick however, and I had several decent crossovers in my first couple of games. I was annoyed at the removal of hopstep from a basic control, even though it was a cheese, simply because I loved it so much. The other more complicated dribbles like Euro-Step and Side-Step did not seem to work for me, though that could still be a matter of timing. The players mvoed well, and fastbreaks seemed to go much more smoothly than in 2k11, and I had tons of great alley-oops. Grade of A-
AI: The defense in both team mode and My Player was very tough at Pro level, tougher than All Star was in 2k11. I thought this was nice, as I could no longer hopstep my way to 35 points a game. However, the teammate AI seemed rather off. On My Player, the offense seemed to consist mostly of just Pick and Rolls and Isos, and most points were scored on the fastbreak. There were also some really bad errors in terms of missing open players, namely me, but that could be because I was 19 and only played in three NBA games.When I played as the Clippers, it seemed like there was no off the ball movement, unlike in 2k11, where players seemed to make logical moves for what I was doing as the ball handler. While it makes the game more challenging to have to control the offense more, it still seemed like somewhat of a pain to just keep decent spacing. Grade of B
My Player: I made myself a 3 point specialist Shooting Guard, and immediately noticed some differences. There were only a few more options for customizing, but now, players have abilities which they can level up instead of their attributes: runners, reverse layups, fadeaways, crossovers, etc. They are very expensive, and the attributes are more expensive as well, but I started off with an overall of 61 (almost Gomes!) instead of the 36 that was customary in 2k11. I actually played worse in the opening game however, as my teammates seemed to ignore me much of the time, and I struggled to get open. Nonetheless, I met with the Knicks, Pacers, and 76ers, who had the 15th-17th picks for interviews, and I loved the questions they asked. The mock draft had a nice little assessment of strengths and weaknesses, and my strengths were conducting good interviews and always running to get open on the court. Sigh. I got picked at 17 by the Knicks and proceeded to play three games with them. I had a lot of fun, and quickly moved up from eighth in the rotation to being a 6th man, mainly due to my blocking and passing abilities. The AI ran a few plays for me, but I thought the offense was very static, though this could just be the Knicks with Melo and Amar'e hogging up the ball. There are also some nice new things like making money, and then spending it on various things: throwing a party, buying skill points, and getting new shoes. Grade of A
The Association: It was good in 2k11, and so far, I havent really noticed much different about it, though I heard the trades made by the CPU teams are smarter and less frequent, which is nice.
Creating a Legend: I tried out John Wall first, though my next target will of course be Blake Griffin. I loved the idea of taking over a player's career, and was very eager to try it out. I was slightly disappointed, as my team didnt seem to work with me well, and Wall was missing some incredibly easy shots, especially runners in the lane for whatever reason. It still has potential, and could be a lot of fun, especially since you wont have to develop your player much. Grade of B+
The Clippers: My first game was the Clips versus the KIngs with 7 minute quarters, and I had a great time. My defense was absolutely atrocious in the first half, but it got much better in the 2nd, and I got on the fastbreak a lot. DJ and Kaman seemed very weak as post defense, while Blake seemed far too good. I had a huge problem with the pick and roll, and the Kings of all teams knocked down 8 of 11 from deep. On offense, like I said above, my non-controlled teammates didnt move off the ball much, so I relied on the Pick and Roll and Pick and Pop. The fastbreak was deadly, with Mo and Bledsoe charging down court and giving some truly thunderous alley-oops to Blake. I also was able to nail several transition 3s if my bigs werent running with me. I had trouble with EJs shot, and I couldnt seem to get by him with anyone. Kaman on the other hand just knocked down one mid-range shot after another, and Mo was dominant, with 15 points and 11 assists. I also had some rediculous dunks with Aminu, who seemed overpowered, and Bledsoe, who seemed underpowered. Also, DJ got the puny rating of 65, worse than Aminu, Bledsoe, and Foye among others, and he didnt really do much. The offensive plays werent very good, but I didnt use them a lot, since the Kings werent stopping the pick and roll all night. Grade of A
Overall, NBA 2k12 seems like a fantastic game, but of course it suffers from no rookies being introduced, and also some AI issues. I would recommend it to anyone who liked 2k11 and basketball sims in general. I dont think it is the game breaker that some thought it was (got mostly 9.5s from online rating like IGN and Gamespot) , but I would give it a very nice 9.1. Have fun!