men wear short shorts. If you don't believe me, just wait until you get your
hands on NBA 2K12's new mode NBA's Greatest. Inspired by last year's Jordan Challenges,
NBA's Greatest unearths classic match-ups from basketball's long history for
you to experience. But it's not just limited to His Airness anymore. You get to
dominate the glass as Wilt Chamberlain, play as the "The Logo" Jerry
West, and rattle the rim with amazing dunks as Dr. J.
NBA legends are spotlighted: Jordan, Magic, Larry Legend, Kareem, Dr. J,
Russell, West, Isiah Thomas, Olajuwon, The Big O, Stockton, Malone, Pippen,
Ewing, Wilt. Each challenge is simply to win a game with one of the Greatest.
It's a match-up of one of their best teams against a rival. The '86 Lakers play
the '86 Celtics, the '94 Knicks play the '94 Magic (with a very young
dance-lovin' Shaq), etc. Win a Greatest game and you unlock both teams for use
throughout NBA 2K12. This means you can pit Jerry West against Kobe Bryant or
Shaq against himself.
all, there are 34 teams to unlock in NBA's Greatest. This includes two bonus
teams – the '90 Warriors and the '01 Kings – which you'll get if you buy NBA
2K12 when it releases this October. Essentially, these teams are
"gifts" to anyone who buys the first pressing of the game. If you buy
NBA 2K12 at a discount in January 2012, you'll miss out on Chris Mullin and
Vlade Divac. I'm not sure how you'd live with yourself if that happened.
Sports went all out with this mode. It's not just that they got accurate
rosters, but everything about these games is era-specific. Play with Bill
Russell's '64 Celtics and the game is broadcast in black and white, with some
graininess. The commentary has a tinny quality to it too. Smartly, 2K isn't
trying to recreate commentary from decades past. Instead, the broadcast are
done as retrospectives. Russell's place in NBA history is discussed, for
example, and comparisons are made between him and other players. Playing games
in the '70s, before the three-point line existed, you'll hear how the
introduction of the trey changed the game forever. Cool stuff.
rules have been tweaked to match the era as well. Games allow you to dribble
for 10 seconds in the backcourt (modern day games allow only eight seconds),
types of fouls will change, and the AI clogs the paint as players did decades
ago. It's a pretty amazing transformation and almost spot-on accurate. I will
point out that I could call a zone defense in my games (zones have only been
allowed in the NBA this millennium), but that's pretty minor all things
mode authentic to by-gone eras in NBA history is probably not the best way to
try and experience gameplay improvements. But the most notable is the improved
fluidity, especially in the post game. Posting up is now a toggle (instead of
having to hold down a trigger to stay in the post) and the post moves have been
simplified. All this translates to quicker transitions from posting up to
shooting to celebrating like no one has ever made a sky hook shot before.
in-game play selection options, which were woeful in the past, received a
streamlined element too. Now it's easy to have the AI select the best play for
the situation. All you have to do is execute based on the on-screen
instructions. Those looking to get a bit more in-depth, can assign plays for
specific players and even tailor multiple options in case a play breaks down.
didn't get to spend a ton of time with NBA 2K12, but it plays better than NBA
2K11. And the new presentation wrinkles for NBA's Greatest show a lot of
promise for the care being given to the game as a whole. Last year's Jordan
Challenges provided a sense of history to the NBA, something no other hoops
game had ever pulled off. That history lesson is much stronger in NBA 2K12. Playing
some old NBA matches for an hour was like taking a time machine and
experiencing the League in different eras. You know, eras when players weren't
locked out of arenas.
Aug 29, 2011