NBA 2K12 Hands-On

Presentation and ball physics highlight our most recent experience with the upcoming basketball title.


NBA 2K12

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Regardless of what is currently going on with the labor situation in the NBA, we all know that come October, 2K Sports will be releasing its latest edition in the famed NBA 2K series. Even with no direct competition and having had a very solid game last year, the guys at 2K are not holding anything back and want to continue to improve their series in as many ways as possible. Getting to spend some time with the game recently, we found the improvements were evident even before the opening tip.

Dirk doing what he does best
Dirk doing what he does best
To start things off, the presentation for NBA 2K12 is a vast improvement over last year. Pregame animations are dynamically set to reflect the actual rituals the players partake in prior to each match. In our match, replaying last June's final, we were in Miami, and the way in which LeBron, D-Wade, and Chris Bosh interacted with each other was exactly what you'd expect in real life.

Also, based on the importance of a particular match, the pregame broadcasts will change. Because this was a fairly important match between the two best teams of the last season, the player introductions were more interactive than simply showing static player portraits. While games of importance will be introduced that are more in tune with an actual broadcast, matches between two lesser teams, such as the T-Wolves and Raptors, will only start with the most basic of introductions.

On the court, player animations and movements have seen a great improvement over last year. One issue many people felt--including me--was that players often didn't move as they should, especially in regard to the fact that many shot animations didn't properly represent the player who was taking the shot. Now, a player's shot animations feel and look as they should, and players adjust accordingly, depending on the situation.

Another thing that 2K is addressing is the ball. This year, the ball reacts more realistically. If you try to do too much with it, chances are you'll lose it much more easily. In an interesting situation, when a Mavs player tried to grab an offensive rebound because his handling was not that strong, the ball hit his hand and went loose. This then allowed a Heat defender to grab it and begin a counterattack. Ball handling will be much more important, and those who think they can dribble around players and not get punished will be in for quite a reality check.

Larry Bird is one of the three different covers you can pick up at launch
Larry Bird is one of the three different covers you can pick up at launch

Although it is still a few months away from release, NBA 2K12 is heading in the right direction. We only got to sample a small morsel of what is expected with the full retail release, but what lies in store as we move forward should make basketball fans quite excited. Hopefully, the start of the regular NBA season goes on without a hitch, and basketball fans will be in for quite a treat this fall.

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