Ah…NBA 2K13. It’s shameful how much smack talk can go down with a bit of 2K Sports in the room, but it’s all in good fun. Last week we got hands-on NBA 2K13 for Wii U with 2K Sports producer Ben Bishop. This is the first time the franchise takes it’s talents to a Nintendo console in HD. The time I spent playing NBA 2K13 on Wii U was just as enjoyable and visually sharp as I would expect its PS3 and Xbox 360 counterparts to be, of course, with some Wii U exclusive tweaks and additions.
Amongsts all three HD consoles NBA 2K13 is featured on, 2K Sports has put constant emphasis the balance tweaks and animations added to the game. Over 4000 animations via motion capture have been implemented that grind down to the very slightest transitional movements within each ball player’s animation. The new animations of NBA 2K13 add to the lively scene throughout the arenas during games; that attention to detail is second to none in recreating an authentic NBA experience. One of the most significant gameplay changes is the new dribble stick controls that replaces the shot stick executed with the right analog stick. The dribble stick gives you instinctive control of your player’s ball handling arsenal with inputs such as holding back to protect the ball from the defender. To utilize the shot stick as available in previous NBA 2K titles you have to hold the left trigger or revert to classic controls in the options menu.
2K is trimming the fat of what has already been a head-of-its-class title. Balance tweaks to the game will emphasize mismatches of speed, power, and agility in player match-ups. I have always been critical of NBA 2K’s attention to offensive gameplay which overshadows defense. With the offensive player having so many tools at his disposal, defending can be difficult, pre-determined, and unresponsive at times. After the few brief quarters of time with 2K13 I can’t make a call on whether there has been signifcant balance improvements in regards to offense and defense but throughout development 2K Sports has acknowledged the need for change.
Ever wondered what the inner psyche of your player was like during a session of 2K? Most of the time you can feel when the momentum of the game will allow for you to pursue a particular type of play style. Gatorade’s Biometric scan with the Wii U tablet will give you an in-depth analysis of your roster that details their mood, shooting streaks, and fatigue levels by simply holding the tablet up at the TV screen. In addition, the tablet remote allows you to set your offensive and defensive schemes on the fly one touch at a time. Due to Wii U’s nontraditional analog stick positions above the D-pad and face buttons, running plays with the touch of your tablet may be much more convenient than other methods.
2K Sport’s goal with NBA 2K13 is to simulate NBA basketball as well as humanely possible. With a lack of competing titles to push 2K Sports to improve the franchise I applaud their shown effort to keep developing a better game. NBA 2K13 launches Oct. 2nd on PS3 and Xbox 360; it will also be a launch title on Wii U.