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NBA 2K13

Release Date: 
Game Platform: 
PS3 / Xbox 360 / PC, Wii, PSP
Visual Concepts/ 2K Sports
Star Rating: 
9 out of 10

Buckets and Bling, that’s what 2K does.

The Pitch: The uncontested champion of Basketball simulations is back for its 2013 outing and 2K Sports is taking this opportunity to see how farthey can push the boundaries of the franchise while they wait for someone, anyone, to step up and try to take their crown.

What It Really Is: It’s the video game equivalent of a king who’s sat on the throne for so long that he’s become eccentric...and his kingdom loves him for it. 2K Sports is too smart to do an unnecessary overhaul, but it does love to tinker with a winning formula. This year’s tinkering has led to some interesting developments - dribbling controls mapped to an analog stick; the option to play some 2v2 (or 3v3 or 4v4) street ball; and the inclusion of both the 1992 Dream Team AND an oddball celebrity team that includes the likes of Justin Bieber and Jersey Shore’s Pauly D. Normally, the latter team would be a laughable addition and we’d call out 2K Sports for jamming this gimmick into an otherwise straightforward and excellent simulation, but the opportunity to have Sir Charles Barkley stuff a basketball down Bieb’s throat is too satisfying to criticize. Ready-Made Press Blurb:NBA 2K13 has the most swag of any game ever! And our tween nephew tells us that’s a good thing.”

Fun Fact: Jay-Z is executive producer on NBA 2K13, so his Brooklyn Nets get special treatment and his tracks are peppered throughout the menus and cut scenes. Jay-Z is so prevalent on this game that, for a second, we thought Def Jam bought the rights and would call it NBA 2KJZ.

Special Edition: NBA 2K13 also arrives with a Dynasty Edition option this year. It includes the game, a special edition, full-sized Spalding basketball, controller skin, in-game all-star add-ons and a pair of 2K Ink’d earbuds from Skullcandy.

Who’s It For: Superficial hoopla aside, the core of NBA 2K13 remains carefully intact. This is still the best Basketball simulation you can buy and diehard Bball fans won’t be disappointed with the gameplay, the realism and the myriad of modes that’ll suit everyone from ballers to coaches to commissioners.