NBA 2K13

The Continuing Saga Of Bartleby Cheezburger

Is NBA 2K13 part of a dynasty?
Author: Aram Lecis
Published: October 27, 2012
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The last time we saw Bartleby Cheezburger he was trying to break into the majors on the Baltimore Orioles. That didn’t work out so hot and now he’s switched sports and he’s embarked on a budding career as Jeremy Lin’s backup on the Rockets. He had hoped to go higher than the 18th pick but coaches simply weren’t impressed with his game during the draft camp. No matter, the Rockets quickly launched a billboard campaign and twitter was abuzz with chatter about the Rockets and young Mr. Cheezburger. He won over fans with his humble, team-first postgame press conferences. In his spare time he worked out with some of the greatest legends of the game like Hakeem Olajuwon and Larry Bird honing different aspects of his game. Eventually he signed a shoe endorsement and after a few bad outings got into a huge rift with his teammates. Before he knew it, he was shipped off to Sacramento for a pair of aging veterans and he moved into the starting lineup. He led the league in scoring and assists three straight years, winning two MVPs and a pair of championships before retiring early to enjoy his wealth.

Yeah, the My Career mode of NBA 2K13 is pretty awesome. It’s not quite as cool as Road To The Show in MLB The Show but it comes pretty close. In fact, almost everything about actually playing basketball is really well done in this latest iteration of the long-running franchise. The experience is only marred by some shoddy UI issues and a few omissions from previous entries in the series.

For the last few years Visual Concepts and 2K Sports have had a virtual monopoly on NBA games as EA Sports hasn’t been able to get their act together to even release a game. Lack of competition often stagnates innovation and that’s on display with this year’s edition of the 2K franchise. Thankfully there was a really solid foundation here so the game is still an outstanding hardwood experience. After last year’s big acquisition of Michael Jordan and a ridiculous amount of retired legends the addition of Jay-Z as an executive producer probably seems like a bit of a letdown. Well, it sort of is. There is the expected presence of Hova and his protégés on the soundtrack of course, and the scuttlebutt is that he also suggested the inclusion of both the 1992 and 2012 Olympic Dream Teams. Thanks man!

Glitz and glamour aside what matters in any basketball simulation is how it plays. Thankfully NBA 2K13 plays really well! The controls haven’t changed much since the dawn of the 8-button gamepad so anyone who’s played a hoops game will like they are in total control from the get-go. Experienced vets can get more creative with the analog stick controls for juke steps and head fakes. Play calling is as simple as a press on the d-pad. More importantly, your AI teammates react exactly like you’d expect them to in a real game. Guys will set picks and screens, make backdoor cuts, and raise their hand when they think they’re open. On defense you’ll see ball rotations, help defense and boxing out. Set the CPU to play itself and it is practically like watching a live game.

You’ll find the latest roster updates for every team and there is even the option to download daily updates so you don’t have to move James Harden over to the Rockets yourself (great, another guy playing in front of Bartleby!). In addition to every current team they’ve put in a pretty healthy representation of classic teams from the last 5 decades of the NBA so you can recreate some dream matchups of the ’86 Celtics and the ’00 Lakers. Then you’ve got the previously mentioned Dream Teams, the current Team USA and a “celebrity” team that is a bit of a misnomer. Maybe you can make a case for Justin Bieber being an A-list guy, but folks like Jersey Shore’s Pauly D and Vinny, JB Smoove (Leon from Curb Your Enthusiasm) and hip-hopper Wale are definite D-listers. Of course you can create your own team as well and fill it with current, historical or entirely fictional players of your choosing.
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