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Still has same issues as 2k12, poor quality product
on October 8, 2012
This review covers the PC version only. And I tested this with a team of maxed out players to make sure it's not because the players are bad players. I'm also using a pc with an i7 and 5850, well above what is needed to make this game run smoothly. Here are some immediate issues I noticed.
Movement lag (UPDATED)- Turn down the defensive assist under controller settings and your player will move much more smoothly and more accurately.
AI - CPU defense is still pretty bad. Basically if you let your computer teammates defend against the computer offense, the offense will almost always sink the shot. That means you have to frantically switch players every time the ball is passed. This is usually fine for most games. But I think either because of the movement lag or another bug, you're caught out of position quite frequently when switching players. The AI on your team also chooses some of the worse times to switch on defense. There were instances where the cpu would stop guarding a player that was driving down the lane and switch on defense with you because your player is standing nearby. Of course the opponent will continue driving for an easy lay up. The AI also does not box out properly on almost every missed shot. I've seen Kevin Love let Steve Nash run in front of him to get an offensive rebound much more frequently than the real Love will allow. Transition D is horrible. Defense seems to be defaulted to walk back on D. This leaves transition offense super powerful and effective.
Shot release timing - I do like that 2k provides a grading feedback system on your jump shots. One of the grades is the timing which shows if you released too early, perfectly on time, or too late. But I think there's an error in showing what's a correctly timed release. In order to get a "perfect" release according to the grading system, you actually release after the player has reached the peak of his jump. If you actually play basketball, you know you generally try to release right at the peak of the jump or slightly before. Often times in the game, "perfect" releases also have the animation glitch so that it looks like the player double clutches before releasing. And from what I can tell there is minimal difference in shot percentage between the "perfect" release and releasing "early" even though the "early" release animation looks more realistic.
Stealing and blocking - The game is still a bit unbalanced between how successfully you steal/block and how well the cpu steals/blocks. The cpu just has a much higher success rate. I suppose you can adjust the stealing success in the sliders, but there isn't one for blocking.
The graphics are good, although the faces of the players took a step back from 2k12 I think. They look more like weak caricatures of themselves.
The production is very good which has Jay Z to thank. The menu system is still a mess. And the auto scouting in association mode does not work. Simulated a whole season and got to the draft and found out my three scouts did not scout any draft prospects.
Hopefully a patch for the pc will be released at a reasonable time to address some of these issues.
UPDATE after some more playing:
The AI for transition D: 2K has shifted the transition defense of the AI in 2k12 to overly good to just plain horrible in 2k13. On the one hand the AI D will lock on to the ball handler. For example on a 2 on 1, the AI defender seems to lock on to the person with the ball no matter what and gives no attention to other offensive player, even if that other offensive player is closer to the basket. This means you don't even have to try to bait the defender to bite on the ball handler and then pass to the open man.... The other man will just be open. The other situation isn't really transition D problem, because it just doesn't happen in real life. If the point guard pushes past the person guarding him and starts running a up full court, and the rest of his team decides not to run with him, and the AI D already has some of the players on the defensive side of the court, the pushing point guard can often get super close to the rim before the rest of the defensive team reacts and starts switching on D. The point guard will often get an open or mildly contested lay up. From the other defensive issues this game shows, I think one of the root issues is that the AI does not know how to properly switch/rotated on defense.
Another defense AI problem: It seems the game's default has defensive players walking back on D after a score. So if the computer scores on you, if you inbound fast enough, and you have a player with a faster speed rating (or has a faster start) than the one guarding him, your player will simply out walk him to the other side of court. One simple up court outlet pass after inbounding will generally catch the defensive player out of position for an easy dunk/layup.
Useless Turbo: The turbo doesn't seem to make your player go that much faster. Maybe like 10-15% faster? I don't know, but I think NBA players are capable of moving much faster than 10-15% above their jogging speed when they want to.
Useless speed rating: The actual movement speed between the lowest rating and the highest rating is very noticeable. But if you compare a 99 speed player with a 60 speed player during an in game transition offense, it's not as noticeable. Sure the 99 rating player will be faster, but only marginally so.
Spin and drop: No matter how good your ball handling, ball security, off hand dribbling skills are, if you perform a spin move with the defender not exactly out of position, you will drop the ball to the court. So be very wary. But this doesn't seem to affect spin shots or spin drives which are ridiculously effective.
Rebounding bugs: If you make a player who is tall, say around 7 ft, and you give him really good jumping stats say more than 60, you'd expect him to be able to outreach other shorter, less jump able person for a rebound right? Wrong! What ends up happening quite often is your player will jump really high to go for the ball, but unless the ball also bounces that high off of the rim, your player will out jump the ball and end up having your player's arms miss the ball, the ball hit his face/chest, and bounce to someone else for the rebound. This doesn't happen every time, but it's so utterly stupid and frustrating every time you see it. It completely ruins the realism of the game every time it happens. Another rebounding issue is that players refuse to reach laterally for the ball... they only reach their arms straight up. You better hope you jump directly under the ball, because if you don't, your 7 foot 7 center will be out rebounded by a point guard.
Baseline shots: All those who have played older versions of NBA 2k before know this issue: your player is near the baseline close to the paint, goes for a layup from near or behind the backboard, proceeds to throw the ball into the back side of the backboard, gets called for turning the ball over out of bounds, and you throw the controller in the air. Why is this still not fixed, 2K!!!!!!
Out of bounds: Unlike in real life where a defensive player will be called for a foul if he pushes the ball handler out of bounds, 2K13 insists it's not a foul and instead just a turnover out of bounds. I think what makes it worse is that when you try to direct your player to move away from the out of bounds lines, the game doesn't seem to know where that line is and will often have your player stick a foot out of bounds to push off and go inbounds. Kind of defeats the purpose doesn't it?
My player name restriction: 2k13 forces you to create a My Player when first starting the game (who then dances like an idiot on the home screen... imagine a Michael Cera character trying to get down). And from that point on, if you want to start a My Career, all created players must use the My Player name you put in earlier. You can change everything else though, so who thought the name restriction was necessary?