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You wanna be a baller?

By Joe O'Leary
On October 9, 2012


 After an offseason filled with absolute dynamite storylines (the Dwight Howard saga, Lin and Lamb landing in Houston, Ray Allen to Miami and Brooklyn's debut, just to name a few), the NBA season is slowly kicking into gear in preseason play. Of course, fans can get a jump on the action with 2K Sports' latest, "NBA 2K13," if they want some more basketball before tip-off on Oct. 30.

In recent years, 2K's flagship basketball franchise has been anywhere from "pretty good" to "this is pretty amazing," and "2K13" lands a lot closer to the latter. It simply feels like basketball done right; the visuals, presentation, gameplay and experience are all at the very highest ends of sports game quality in today's market.

Gameplay in "2K13" is much looser and harder to completely control than in recent years, specifically "2K11," as the ball has become the emphasis of physics instead of something attached to players' character models in-game. This means the game plays more free; instead of relying on your players perfectly executing a play, you can put the ball where you need it to be for the assist or three-point shot. To give the player more control in a sports game like this is important and it pays dividends to the player, who can pop up for shots in a completely natural-feeling movement.

The graphics and presentation are both stellar. Players look their most realistic yet, which is awesome concerning players UConn students know and love in the game. Walker, Drummond and Lamb all play just as they did in their Huskies uniforms. 2K has nailed the feel of just about every player in the NBA in gameplay. The game's presentation is fantastic, thanks in part to executive producer Jay-Z. His choice of music adds quality to the game; he hand-picked two dozen tracks, that can be played instead of commentary by selecting "2K Beats" from the main menu. Otherwise, the menus flow well and loading screens are minimal, only annoying in modes where you cycle through many games back-to-back like "My Player."

My experience in "My Player" is really the heart of why I love "2K13." The game contours to every kind of player, from those who love to play in the paint, to sharpshooters from the far ends of the arc. I decided to play my orange-haired, blue-bearded player, who managed to get drafted by the Celtics as the second coming of Ray Allen, and was used alternating as a point and shooting guard. When I was a point guard, the game wanted me to move the rock and rack up assists; when I subbed in at SG, the name of the game was posting up three-pointers. This translates to the full game: players do what they're expected to do. No more AI brainfarts, no more blown coverage, simply well-played, low-error basketball. "NBA 2K13" comes out of 2012 as its best sports game, and I didn't even mention the competing Olympic Dream Teams from 1992 and 2012 or the video game debut of the NBA Celebrity Team, featuring Pauly D from "Jersey Shore," Bow Wow and Justin Bieber as a squad ready to take on the world.

OK, I did mention those. So now you have no excuse.

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