GAMEPLAYThe new control stick takes a few games getting the hang of. A good way learn quickly is to head into the tutorial mode(training camp) which really gives you an in-depth feel of how to use the stick. Once you have your controls mastered the game really shines, gone are the odd bumps from perimeter defenders, stale crossovers and sluggish movements. With the new control stick it makes offense so much easier to create space for yourself on the floor. This year it seems they have made the game more accessible on lower difficulties, even on All-Star it seems like every shot goes in, luckily you can change the game play sliders or difficulty to give you a full simulation game. Unfortunately though whatever level you decide to play on your A.I team-mates are still horrible on defense, letting so many open cuts to the lane and leaving open players on a fast break way too often. On-ball defense has been improved slightly but not as much as I was hoping. When playing your friends or someone online it's way too easy to get by the defender. It feels to me that with so many options with the new control stick on offense that being a defender you really are given no resources to match, but to just hope that the shooter misses. Speed has also been slightly improved although I still see Gasol or Noah beating Rondo and Westbrook on a fast break at times. Signature skills have been allocated well, but I don't see this feature as a game changer. Apart from players ratings you couldn't tell the difference between the skills, although it's a great feature for My Player mode it gives you that extra goal to define who your player is. Pick and rolls work really well this year and setting up the offense on the fly is a breeze. Passing has been improved which is a big welcome. There is much more variety of passes that opens up the game with full control over which pass to use on a break or at the point really makes the game run smoothly. Rebounding seems to have really stepped up a notch with team height really playing a factor on the boards which is a good addition but I still see too many offensive rebounds, even when I have 3 or 4 players going for the rebound, the ball goes the other player, hopefully that gets fixed in the next game patch.
PRESENTATIONJay-Z' input still shocks me how much he has impacted the game especially with the pre game intros. It feels like you're switching from MTV to ESPN, I'm a Jay-Z fan but I think at times it's overboard then again Jay-Z is a business man. Same goes for the soundtrack it's good but can be slept on, especially if you're not a hip hop fan. In game menu's are still chunky and take a while finding what you want, but overall this year it seems that 2K don't mind taking the odd chance because at the end of the day they know if you want a current basketball sim, it's your only choice, and it paid off. My favourite is the new live video clips from outside overlooking the stadiums just before a new quarter. It look amazing it gives you that authentic game-day feel as well as the new pre game rituals from the players. One thing I have noticed though is the uniforms when at a free throw have line have been downgraded from 2k12 , but that's just me being picky.
GAME MODESThis year there are game more modes than ever before, but that isn't always the best thing. All modes that were in 2k12 have had only minor upgrades this year. My Player has had a big visual update with new Twitter feeds, intros, clothing and interviews, but on the court A.I game play and computer management still have the same downfall the series has seen over the last two years. Association Mode hasn't changed much, but that's not a bad thing - its a solid franchise dynasty that delivers a great perspective of owning your own NBA team. If you're new to the series and don't play online I recommend giving this mode a try. The biggest two additions this year that caught my eye was My Team and the All Star weekend add-on content. My Team mode has great potential, this mode is very similar to ultimate team mode that you see on Madden and hockey games but with a twist. 2K has a player stock-market, similar to Dream Team or Super Coach here in Australia for AFL, where your players at the start of the season are worth x amount and depending on how they play in real life relates to how much they are worth throughout the season. Unfortunately the NBA season hasn't started yet to see how well it works but once it does this mode will be awesome to play. If you pre-ordered the game this year you received an add on content that was the All Star package. This included the Sprite slam dunk contest, the Footlocker three-point shootout, the NBA All Star game and the rookie rising star challenge. This mode is a huge upgrade from the dunk and three-point comp from blacktop mode seen in the last few instalments. This mode gives you the ability to put up Stars vs Legends in a guitar hero style competition. Its great with friends, and easy to do, the scoring is a little off but its a great new mode that brings something fresh to the table. The same for the 3 point can't be said, the shooting is laggy and its all about momentum, but the players at time seem to struggle even picking the ball out of the rack. All Star game has been glossed over with new presentation and special commentary to feel that you're in Houston for the prestigious weekend.
ONLINEFinally I can play more than five online games without the game lagging or the server disconnecting from a friend or a random opponent. That being said I'm waiting for someone to find an online exploit which will ruin the whole experience. Back again this year is Online Association. This is one of my favourite modes online and with the servers being a lot more stable it should be good to get a few Aussies together in the same league to go for the championship. With online being improved so much this year, 2k really have hit a home run, making all of the game modes playable and the struggles of online issues a memory of the past.
OVERALLNBA2K13 has really improved over last years efforts. It still has a few issues and bugs as for the previous few years but it makes an impression on you with slick movements, impressive presentation, new game modes and an all-round polished product. The online experience has been fixed and the addition of VC gives you reward for playing multiple game modes. Its a must buy for any basketball fan. Looks like I finally might be able to put away 2k12.
The Good + Online Stability + Customisation + New Control Stick The Bad - A.I of teammates - Similar Graphics to last year - Justin Bieber can be a fan of your MyPlayer!