Posted October 9, 2011 by Arec Phanthapanya in Video Game Reviews

NBA 2K12 Review

Could this year’s iteration of the NBA 2K series be the best basketball game ever?  Or were the new “improvements” detrimental to the game?

With the NBA lockout possibly destroying the chances of another NBA season, 2K Sport was not deterred from making another game for those that are still looking to have an NBA experience.  Every year, 2K Sports has been improving its game and this year is no different, even with the lack of competition *cough*NBA ELITE*cough* .  Some fans of the game may not like these improvements because they preferred last year’s gameplay; however, the changes that were added has made the game a much better experience in my case.  I am having an absolute blast with the game and have not been able to put it down since I got my hands on it.  If you are not happy with the NBA and its lockout, then NBA 2K12 will be more than enough to tide you over until this season -or another- starts.

BeastNotes Version:

Several improvements have made the game a much better NBA experience.  With the NBA lockout, NBA 2K12 delivers for those that still wants to experience the NBA in all its virtual glory.  My Player mode has been given several much needed changes and they have all paid off.  It is not as barebones as it was last year.  My Player mode now has goals for the player to accomplish throughout their career.  Presentation for games are refreshing and the addition of Steve Kerr to commentate alongside longtime commentators Kevin Harlan and Clark Kellogg has made the commentary much better.  Franchise mode is still as impressive as ever, possibly the deepest Franchise mode to date.  Unfortunately, Franchise mode, as well as My Player mode, is plagued with horrible trades by A.I. controlled teams.  NBA’s Greatest mode is a welcomed addition and is more than just something to past time with.  Reliving moments or games as one of the league’s greatest?  Who would past that up?  Unfortunately, NBA 2K12 does not deliver in its Online component even with the addition of “Online Franchise mode”.  Online features are not robust, but it gets the job done if you are just looking for a quick match with a random person or friend.


NBA 2K12’s presentation has vastly improved from last year’s iteration.  From the opening scenes of the introduction, I was impressed with Visual Concept messing around with the concept (see what I did there) of NBA legends versus the stars of today.  It was refreshing.  When I started to play a game, I was blown away by what they have done with the game presentation.  In fact, I think Visual Concept has done a better job than the likes of TNT and such.  I loved what they did as they announced the starting lineups.  It felt like I was watching an actual NBA game.  The color commentary is great.  You might be able to recognize the newest addition to the commentary cast as Steve Kerr.  The commentary for the game is intelligent and informative as they are able to break down teams, give insight on players and teams, and even cut off comments when something exciting happens during the game.  Visual Concepts outdid itself this year.


Rather than adding new gameplay mechanics, 2K Sports simply improved the controls for NBA 2K12 in order to give the player more control.  The controls are not as simple as last year’s game so people who really liked the control scheme will have to remaster them once again.  Player collisions are still in the game and it seems like they are much more natural than before.  It is still annoying, for me at least, when that happens and I get “stuck” to my defender and cannot get to the position that I need to be in for a play that was called.  Yes, that is still in the game.  The offensive game is much easier as the controls allow better controls for precise dribble moves and shots.  Post game has been improved as well because of the new control scheme, and, just like last year, 2K Sports has added tons of signature jumpshots and moves.

Franchise mode is as robust as ever.  The scouting system is indepth, the free agency system is easy to navigate, and managing your team’s roster, personalities, and staff is easy as well.  You have total control over what you want to do with your team.  The trading system is still considered “archaic” but it gets the job done.  However, more work should be put into it in future games.  As mentioned before, the A.I. controlled team does make some boneheaded trades.  You will see some outrageous trades as you progress through the season.  In fact, you might not even recognize some of the teams as they might get a complete overhaul.  This can be really annoying as it takes away from the simulation experience as you might not play against Kobe if you are facing the Lakers.  Other than that, the mode is great fun and addicting.

My Player mode has some big changes this year.  It feels much less barebones from last year.  Now, the dreaded summer league games are no longer in the mode.  Instead, your upcoming rookie is evaluated in a single “Rookie Showcase” game and a series of interviews with the teams that are interested in acquiring you.  How well you do in the game and in the interview will determine your spot in the NBA Draft.  The grading system is much more forgiving, but that does not mean it will be easy to get A+ ratings every game.  In fact, getting an A+ rating is much harder this year than it was last year.  Your rookie does not start off with a low overall like last year’s game.  2K Sports has heard the fans complaints and made it so that our rookies are much more realistic as far as ratings go.  I absolutely love the My Player mode this year as skill points are not as easy to acquire and there is much more customization to the mode.  You can have a “custom jumpshot” and custom set of dribble skillsets.  2K Sports did a great job with the mode this year.

Online mode can be a little clunky.  The matchmaking system is not that great.  However, the new addition of an online Franchise mode is greatly appreciated by those that enjoy that type of simulation.  As far as organization goes for leagues, there are more options and leeway for those that cannot make the game.  Other than that, online mode gets the job done but it leaves the taste of “I wish there was more” in my mouth.  The newest addition (and highly advertised) this year is NBA’s Greatest mode.  It is basically a replacement of last year’s Jordan Challenge mode.  Instead of focusing on just Michael Jordan this year, 2K Sports decided that the other legends needed some attention as well.  Now, you will be able to play legends such as Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Patrick Ewing, Bill Russel, and Gary Payton to name a few.  This mode is a great time killer and is very enjoyable to say the least.  You also have the option to add these legends to current teams if you wish.

What You’ll Love:

  • NBA Simulation
  • NBA Legends
  • My Player Mode
  • Franchise Mode
  • Fluid Controls

What You’ll Hate:

  • A.I. Team Management
  • “Defender Glue”
  • Lack of *Better* Online Features
Final Thoughts:
I absolutely loved this year’s game.  I feel like 2K Sports have done a great job with what they added and fixed.  It would have been a perfect basketball game, hell, sports game if they polished and added a bit more things.  I have not been able to put the game down since even though I really need to finish Batman: Arkham Asylum in order to prepare for Arkham City but, man, NBA 2K12 is just way too fun.  It is definitely worth the $59.99 price tag, but if you can find it anywhere cheaper then it would be a steal.  NBA 2K12 will definitely satisfy those that are itching for some NBA action because of the lockout.


Buy It: Buy this game if you cannot wait for the NBA lockout to be over, if you enjoy basketball simulation, or if you would like to role play as an NBA player.  Also, reliving moments virtually as your favorite NBA legend is great too.

Rent It: Rent this game only if you want to see if there is any difference that justifies spending more money on this game.  I know some people are quite satisfied with NBA 2k11 and have passed on NBA 2k12 because they liked 2k11 a lot more.

Skip It: Skip this game if you are not a basketball fan or even a sports fan.  Basically, if this is not your cup of tea then your money can be spent elsewhere.





Arec Phanthapanya

I did not choose the thug life. The thug life chose me. Contributer to the GPR show!