NBA 2K12 Legends Showcase Hands-On - Jordan Is Better Than LeBron

We finally settle which NBA player is the greatest. At least in the virtual world.

NBA 2K12

When NBA 2K12 was released in early October, the highlight mode of the game was without a doubt NBA's Greatest. The mode gave basketball fans the opportunity to play with some of the best teams ever to grace the hard court. But what was missing was the ability to have the best players play against each other for court supremacy. That all changes with the upcoming release of the Legends Showcase, which is a downloadable content pack that will not only let you play as some of the greatest NBA players of all time, but also gives you the opportunity to see which duos and eras had the best athletes.

There will be five modes available in the Legends Showcase. If you just want to pick up and play one-versus-one or five-versus-five matches with the best of the best, the pick-up game option will let you do so. For one-versus-one, two-versus-two, and three-versus-three games, the matches will have you play half court with street-ball rules. For the unfamiliar, that typically means all baskets are worth one point except for threes, which are worth two; you need to clear the three-point line if the ball hits the rim; and you need to win by two points. If you play a four-versus-four or five-versus-five game, then you revert back to the standard full-court play but still retain the rules of the street.

The greatest players aren't limited to simple pick up and play as there are two modes focused on ending the debate. The first is the Teammate Challenge where 15 of the best NBA teammate combos ever to grace the NBA face off against each other. You'll have pairings like Alonzo Morning and Larry Johnson of the Hornets; Shaq and Penny from the Magic; and even Pippen and Jordan. You pick the pairing that you like and then face off against the 14 others to claim the title of best duo.

The best players fighting for court supremacy.

For those who may want to see which era had the best players, the Era Challenge mode provides the answer. Here, teams of three consist of the best players from a given decade. If you're a fan of the '80s, then your team of Isiah Thomas, Patrick Ewing, and Larry Bird will face off against other teams. Here, there are 10 teams to choose from, with two from each decade up to the present.

While the teams and players in the Teammate Challenge aren't exactly balanced, in Era Challenge, the developers chose teams to that ensure one big man, one forward, and one guard is included in each. This balance means that each of the 10 teams available should be able to contend with the others.

The remaining two modes give you the opportunity to play games that are familiar to the street basketball scene. Game of 21 is the standard game that so many basketball players have been playing since their youth. Here, up to four NBA players can get into it with standard rules: shoot for first, sink winning shot or drop back to 11, and so forth. The last mode available will probably be the most competitive: Horse. This is the game of showing off: sink that difficult shot and try to see if your opponent can copy it. If he sinks it, you try the next challenging shot, but if he misses it, then he gets a letter; the first to spell horse loses. Here, you'll be able to attempt a number of different and crazy shots, and the environment in which you're in can alter the ease or difficulty of the shot. Feel like shooting a granny shot from the three-point line? Then do so. Want to sink a basket from 90 feet out? Good luck.

In Horse, you first pick your spot from where you want to attempt the shot. Upon picking your spot, you'll have a number of different shot choices to choose from; the closer you are to the basket, the more options you'll have available. Once the shot type has been chosen, it's time to set up the shot, which means the arc of your throw. Arc will be extremely important especially if you're throwing over an obstacle or from a far distance. Once that's done, then you attempt to sink that basket. Here, you are given a quick glance at the shot's "sweet spot." This marker will briefly appear and then disappear with a basketball that floats along the arc path of your shot. If you manage to stop the ball at the sweet spot, the likelihood of sinking the basket is almost ensured; if you miss it, the shot will be missed.

Of the modes, Horse should be the most interesting to play with others but also the most challenging. It takes a while to get used to the proper arc placement and timing required to sink the basket. But thankfully, the great number of secret spots to take your shot can lead to some really fun situations.

NBA 2K12's Legends Showcase will be a strictly offline affair but will allow for up to four players to take part in the festivities. While there is no online aspect, the DLC will include the ability to play the current NBA's Greatest teams from the game and play them in online quickplay, which is something a lot of fans want. Expect the Legends Showcase to be available this holiday season on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

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