2K Sports' latest basketball game, NBA 2K13, has been out for just over a week now, but ask any fan of the ongoing franchise how it's shaped up. They're likely to tell you that this is easily one of the best entries to date, between the improvements made to the gameplay (primarily with dribbling through the right analog stick – or the buttons if you're old-school) and the numerous modes that will keep you pumped well past when the actual NBA 2012-2013 season starts.
But have you uncovered everything? Could you have missed a thing or two getting into the game? Sure, the main contests are fun, and putting the Heat against the Lakers just to show off against your friends – that never gets old. But what other goodies await you in this dynamic simulator? Well, that's what we're going to find out. We delve into NBA 2K13's best content, right here, right now…
The Olympic Show-Offs
Not many folks get into Olympic basketball, because, honestly, Team USA has dominated for what seems like ages now. But what if you pit one Team USA against…another? NBA 2K13 features the entire 1992 Dream Team, including the likes of Charles Barkley (making his appearance in a basketball game since the Sega Genesis days), Scottie Pippen, and, of course, Michael Jordan, a mainstay since he debuted in NBA 2K11 with his own career mode. How would they fare, you think, against the current 2012 Dream Team, consisting of LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, among others? With NBA 2K13, you can certainly find out – and we gotta tell you, the results aren't as clear cut as you might think. Try it out for yourself…
Be an All-Star
Though it isn't entirely available for purchase to the public, those of you who pre-ordered NBA 2K13 gained access to the NBA All Star Weekend, and though you can play superstar against superstar anytime in the game, these extra skill contests really test your basketball skills. Care to see who would master a three point shootout? This game gives you the chance to pit against your friends and see who's better on the line.
Perhaps the most interesting addition, however, is the dunk contest. Rather than awkwardly trying to move your player around with analog sticks, the game instead relies on the use of push-button tactics, like a Guitar Hero-style mini game. Button prompts come rolling down the screen, and if you hit them with enough timing, your dunk comes off looking pretty as a picture. Screw up, and, well, you blew it. Though this is more of a rhythm thing than a skill thing, it's fun to slam a dunk with your player and show Blake Griffin a thing or two. Who needs a car to leap over?
Doing More For My Player
If there's something that's of vital importance in NBA 2K13, it's you. And I don't just mean you as the game player, but you as a game character. Yes, you can make a difference in the My Player mode.
Any mode that you take on in NBA 2K13 nets you virtual currency, which you can use to better your player's appearance and performance, across a list of skills and items that are available for purchase. From there, you'll improve your performance and team chemistry, and eventually rank up in status, right up there with some of the NBA's best. Just don't get too cocky, mister.
This mode goes beyond how you present yourself, though getting to pick your outfits for press conferences and court appearances is pretty cool, especially if you have a particular style in mind. You can also choose what sort of pre-game warm-up to use, whether it's LeBron James' little chalk throw or something else along those lines. Sorry, you can't bring out music instruments. Maybe next time.
On top of that, the skills play an important part, because you really want to make sure you're balanced, lest you prove you're not quite at superstar potential. Fortunately, you'll make enough virtual currency in the game to keep this in check.
My Career, and How You Make It
Along with appearance, you can conduct your off-court persona using a virtual Twitter account, so you can gain followers and talk trash with fellow players and coaches. Relax, you won't get banned for it. Your actions both on Twitter and in press conferences will also have a reflection with the commentators who talk about you during the game (Kevin Harlan, Clark Kellogg and Steve Kerr), so you'll want to make sure you leave a lasting impression – and not the bad kind.
And in the hopes of not upsetting your team or acting too much like a diva (hey, some players do that, don't deny it), you can also call the general manager to have meetings. Depending on your status in the NBA, you'll either have some pull that will force him to listen to you…or you'll need to play ball. If you're good enough, you can even put a trade into effect, even against his will. That'll show him!
On top of that, you'll also need to keep tabs with your coach. In this mode, you'll need to listen to his feedback, or else you'll be benched. (Because even the best get benched – just ask Kobe Bryant.) His feedback is pretty solid throughout the game, so if he thinks you're not shooting too much outside the line, you can attempt to do more three pointers. If you don't drive to the basket often enough, he'll call you out there, too. Don't be too much of a jackass – LISTEN.
These modes really go a long way into making you feel like a pivotal part of the NBA universe, whether you're playing as yourself or an Olympic superstar or the next LeBron James. But most importantly, have fun with it. After all, you have the power to drive the ball to the basket. MAKE IT HAPPEN.