- Kinect Sensor Optional
- Publisher: 2K Sports
- Developer: Visual Concepts
- ESRB Rating: “E" for Everyone
- Genre: Basketball
- Pros: Tons of content; improvements to My Player mode; silky smooth gameplay; nice presentation; sliders; the Dream Team!
- Cons: New controls aren't explained well; menus
NBA 2K13's features list is fairly familiar for fans of the series, but with a number of improvements. My Player is back, of course, and lets you play through an entire career for your created player where you improve you skills the more you play. Signature skills are new this year and give you bonus boosts according to specific scenarios that you choose as you're building up your player's experience. These signature skills also apply to star players in the other modes as well, but aren't as immediately apparent as they are on your created rookie. Also new this year is that you have to balance your popularity among teammates, the media, and the fans during meetings with management where you choose different replies and statements. Want to be a team player? Fine. Want to go full on diva and ask for a trade or demand for your coach to be fired? Go for it. The fans might not like you so much after that, though. It is a very interesting concept that makes the already solid career mode even more interesting.
A new mode, called My Team, is a sort of Ultimate Card Game mode where you build a collection of random players and other stuff and have to craft them into a real competitive team by picking up new players and more along the way.
All of the other modes and features we expect are back, of course. The Association dynasty mode is back. You can play standard season modes. Playoff modes. NBA Blacktop streetball games all the way from 1v1 to 5v5. The All-Star Game, including the 3-point contest and dunk contest. You can play online games and even make an Online Association to have a full league run by you and your friends. There is a ton to do here.
Following in the footsteps of NBA 2K11's Michael Jordan love-fest and NBA 2K12's NBA history lesson, NBA 2K13 includes a ton of noteworthy classic teams through the years along with a celebrity team (yes, Justin Bieber is in the game ...), and the best feature - the 1992 U.S. Men's Olympic Basketball Team. The full 1992 Dream Team is here, including Charles Barkley in a videogame for the first time in forever, and they are pretty awesome. You can also play as the 2012 U.S. Men's Olympic basketball team as well, and pitting these two titans against each other is pretty epic and exciting.
The rest of the gameplay is just as smooth as it has ever been. These games just feel good to play and give you all of the tools to play as closely to the real NBA players as you want. Leaning into a defender in the post. Darting through a gap in the paint as a point guard. Faking a defender on the perimeter so you can take a step back and drain a three. It all just works so well and feels so good when you pull it off. And, of course, you can tune the gameplay however you want with a ton of A.I. sliders and rule changes (man I love sliders in sports games ...).
NBA 2K13 also has some Kinect voice command features. You can call in substitutions by player name along with some other on-the-fly play calls out on the court. You can also get called for a technical foul if you swear too much or complain about a call, which is good for a laugh.
Graphics & Sound
The sound is also well done with great color commentary that actually reflects the real life teams rather than just a bunch of canned preset phrases and excellent play-by-play calls that match up with the on-court action perfectly. The soundtrack, once again consisting almost exclusively of hip-hop, once again actually manages to fit perfectly in the game even if it isn't necessarily your favorite genre.