OS Scores Explained NBA 2K12 Overview (Xbox 360)
The Greatest Mode, 64 total teams, superb gameplay
My Player, Everything associated with online, Lack of Association upgrades
Bottom Line
This game has plenty that can be fixed, but the ridiculously awesome gameplay and classic teams together make it well worth your money.
out of 10

NBA 2K12 Review (Xbox 360)

We have changed how we do reviews and also how we score games!

Want to know more? Read about how we complete our reviews under the new system. You can check out the review process here, and then you can scope out the scoring guidelines and then check out how we score games now with our scoring rubric

Day One: Gameplay Impressions
Day Two: Game Modes Impressions

It's been one year since we were all blessed with the God of video game basketball in NBA 2K11, so of course our hype levels were at an all-time high with 2K12 releasing last week. The hype built up so much that we were expecting nothing less than a Jordan-esque legend. But in the end, the game didn't quite live up to all the buzz.

Don't get me wrong, this game is fantastic and a must buy for every basketball fan out there, but we were all expecting a classic. Instead we ended up with a great game, and we're disappointed by the fact. We may be greedy and selfish, but this is what happens when 2K consistently puts out a great product. The expectations become so ridiculously high that they will be near impossible to meet.

So I'm not being negative, the game is the best virtual NBA to date. And it all starts with this little thing, which everyone is falling in love with, called gameplay.


The biggest complaint you heard about 2K11 were problems in the gameplay. There were the cheesers who used lead passing and spin dunking to dominate the competition. There were animations that could end a game-tying trip down the court. And of course, the infamous backcourt violations that happened way too often. But all of those have been fixed and then some. Cheesers will still cheese, there will always be a way for them to do that. However, those animations are gone along with the unnecessary turnovers.

Aside from the minor issues that upset so many people last year, 2K really focused on improving every aspect of gameplay. Player movement is much more seamless this year; it looks like you're watching a game on TNT. Signature styles are pretty slick, too. Dirk looks just like he did when he dominated The Heatles last June. LeBron's shot looks amazing when he fades back to miss wide open treys. And Durant's shot makes me want to cry for days because it's so beautiful; he should be in Seattle. By the way, where are all of the alternate Sonics jerseys? Anyone know? I'm waiting.

The play calling system is another huge step for the 2K series. In my opinion, the one thing the NBA Live series did correctly was their play calling system. They always dominated 2K on that front. In 2K12, the play calling system is actually pretty good, though. The diagrams look better, the plays run quicker and smoother and your teammates actually move around.

The new collision engine, something I've been praising the past month, is spot on. Driving to the lane isn't simple anymore, and neither is posting up with Howard; nothing is automatic. The new total control takes affect here as well. Being able to change your shot in mid-air has really added more to everyone's play style. Depending on your team, your point guard might not be able to drive to the hole. Everything changes based on which team your playing you are using. You have 64 teams to play with, good luck mastering them all.


Honestly, the only thing that could make the presentation better is if 2K snagged licenses from TNT, ESPN, ABC and NBC. It looks and feels like a real game. The visuals, the overlays, the commentary, I could go on all night. 

The pre-game intros are awesome, especially for key games when it shows the quick 30 second clip. And when they show the starting five with those 3D player models, I begin to drool. Another sick overlay is when in the bottom corner they start advertising for a future game; 3D models of the team's top players just chilling there? Priceless. 2K has never disappointed when it comes to presentation, and they kept up the tradition this year.

The commentary is easily the best in the sports genre bar none. Especially coming from the awfulness in Madden, this was more than a breath of fresh air, it's like being reborn. Harlan, Kellogg and Kerr do a great job. They aren't reading a script, they're using their knowledge to talk about the NBA. I was extremely impressed when they were discussing Rose's development in the league, then they stopped talking about it because of a monster jam. The next thing I heard, word for word: "But to get back on the topic of Rose..." Wow. I never thought I hear that in a video game. 2K brought it this year in terms of presentation.

I'd also like to dabble a bit in The Greatest Mode here, because the presentation there is another thing of beauty. With the black and white, Technicolor and the classic NBA on NBC overlays ... I'm speechless. Mad props to 2K for pulling all of this off.

Game Modes

Now this is where 2K12 starts getting hit with the bad marks. My Player, the mode that was supposed to be amazing, falls short. There are glitches, problems with the AI and issues all around. It's improved over last year, but the problems are like your nagging grandma who won't leave you alone. The endorsements are awesome, even if they can be considered gimmicks. 

Association mode is fun as usual, but it's basically the same as last year. There are more free agency options, which is a great addition, but it's not enough to make the mode stand out. Also, with the rookies being left out thanks to the lockout, the realism factor isn't really there. A lot of teams have gaping holes that the rookies should be filling.

However, even with the issues in My Player and Association, there is one mode that will is vastly underrated. The Greatest, which has as much hype as anything, isn't getting too much love. The classic rosters, presentations and commentary really put the mode in a league of its own. Even after I unlock all of the teams, I'm still going to be playing these over and over again.


Name one thing 2K says will improve every year, yet it seems to get worse. If you said "online servers," then you are correct.

The servers have been constantly going in and out since the game hit shelves, leaving thousands of frustrated fans crying for a solution. I know 2K is hard at work trying to solve this problem -- I've been in contact with them -- but these servers need to be ready when the game launches, not three weeks later. (Disclaimer: I don't know if it is actually three weeks, that was only a number I pulled out of thin air. I have no idea when the servers are expected to be running properly.) 

Other than the server issues, online feels very laggy when compared to 2K11. The passing and player movement -- two huge upgrades in offline gameplay -- seem like they're just broken. I know all online gaming has some sort of delay, but when it's getting complicated to pass the ball something is wrong. Sure after a few games I got used to the lag, and I'm sure most of you did too, but I don't want to have to readjust my passing every single time I ball online.

The big upgrade to online this year is The Online Association. I haven't been able to delve into this mode too much yet, but I have muddled around through the menus and have been a part of a couple bogus leagues. The menus are decent, but they seem a bit busy. A few nice things I noticed, though, include the ability to set a good time to meet with your opponent in the league, rather than sending a billion XBL or OS messages. The league is even set on a timer, where once it hits zero the league will advance past the current games.

Final Thoughts 

NBA 2K12 is a bag of mixed goods. In my opinion, the good outweighs the bad by a pretty decent margin. The gameplay alone is something that has set the bar for not just basketball gaming, but sports gaming in general. The NBA's Greatest is one of the most addictive game modes I've ever played in any video game to date. And the presentation is yet another piece of the 2K12 puzzle that puts every other sports game to shame. 

But as I said, there is bad to go with all of the good. My Player has a few too many tweaks that need to be made and Association is just stale with no upgrades or rookies. I know it's the NBA's fault that the rookies aren't in the game, but the fact of the matter is that it takes away the reality and fun of the popular mode. And I don't need to even get started about the online play; you all know the problems that are there.

So after a year, when we fully enjoyed 2K112K12 is finally here. Though the problems are annoying and the online is sloppy, the game is still a must buy for any basketball fan. 

NBA 2K is still the GOAT.

Learning Curve: If you don't know much about basketball and/or didn't play 2K11, you better hit Training Camp right away. Remember, we're talkin' 'bout practice this year.

Control Scheme: To pull off all of the moves, you need to be skilled. NBA 2K isn't a pick-up-and-play game anymore -- it's for the hardcore fans.

Visuals: Can I really rave about this anymore? The presentation and graphics are beautiful.

Audio: This falls under presentation too. The addition of Kerr to Harlan and Kellogg is awesome. Plus this is the best 2K soundtrack I've ever heard.

Online: Terrible. The servers need to be reliable for a change.

Value: The game has its flaws, but it's still the best NBA game ever made. You'll be playing this for a long time.

Score: 8.5

What does an 8.5 mean?? "8.0 - 8.5 (Great) -- These games are really quite good. There are a few notable flaws with the game holding it back from being a classic, but these games are worth the money, and for even casual fans of the sport they are definite purchases."

NBA 2K12 Videos
Member Comments
# 1 eaterofworlds888 @ 10/10/11 01:06 PM
I still haven't fooled around with my player much but from what I hear the trade logic must be pretty bad. The association is still great I think. Greatest Mode is awesome. The Presentation in this game is THE GREATEST I have ever seen. A patch would be much appreciated for MY Player. Once that comes the game gets a 10 in my book.

The gameplay is top notch too
# 2 Super Glock @ 10/10/11 01:08 PM
Interesting review, must admit I was believe this game deserves a 9 making it a classic but oh well. I just want this game to get the credit it deserves. To each his own.
# 3 JJT @ 10/10/11 01:14 PM
Dustin, my last names the same as yours, lets try and get it in the game next year!
# 4 J-Clutch1 @ 10/10/11 01:14 PM
I agree with the score. Online would make me go as low as 7 though. It can be that bad.
# 5 Dalsanto0026 @ 10/10/11 01:17 PM
I feel for the online players, I don't know why 2K can't get this area of the game right.

I agree with this review. This game (atleast offline) is the greatest basketball game ever made.
# 6 Mos1ted @ 10/10/11 01:19 PM
I agree that this game has some glaring problems but is still worth the price of admission.
# 7 Peninc @ 10/10/11 01:53 PM
Like most I was expecting a 9. Overall good and fair review.
# 8 ps3veron @ 10/10/11 02:06 PM
The most accurate review I have read! Thank you!
# 9 RaychelSnr @ 10/10/11 02:06 PM
Originally Posted by Giants4Natic
That is not true. I cant stand online play on anything except shooters

To many laggy games and to many cheesers to even make it worth while.

I know many love it but the off line is a master piece and lowering the grade because of the rookies is not fair because it is not 2K fault. And by next week the rookies could be back if lock out ends and no mention of that possibility
The game's score was mostly lowered because Online doesn't work and My Player is buggy, among other things. You are trying to put words in Dustin's mouth here which really isn't fair at all. Also, we review games AS-IS, not 'what they might be.' That's the only fair way to assess games at launch. You think the game's a masterpiece, that also means you play exclusively offline.
# 10 eaterofworlds888 @ 10/10/11 02:24 PM
Originally Posted by apollooff320
Association is messed up just like my player. All the trade logic and CPU blowing up teams happen on both.
Really? I've played about a month into association and haven't noticed it yet. The two trade offers I have got were both dumb. I just declined them. But, I don't think a single trade has actually happened yet. Only beef I've had with Association so far is that the headlines are all about rumors of trades, contract signings, or retirements. I liked how in 2K11 the majority of headlines were about games from previous nights. I could just click on the ones provided there and check out the stats and become familiar with other teams around the league. Now, I don't really know what games to check out because I don't know which ones were important. I instead have to check out all of them. However, this is a small con. But, yea if trade logic is as bad in association as in my player then 2k needs to patch it.
# 11 KOYO78 @ 10/10/11 02:26 PM
One word ONLINE this is Part of our $65 dollars EA madden does the same and it will be a mutiny on here there is no excuse for how bad online is
# 12 bigsmallwood @ 10/10/11 02:26 PM
2K12 while phenomenal, is not a perfect game...however it is well deserving of a higher score than 8.5....#thatisall
# 13 RaychelSnr @ 10/10/11 02:30 PM
Originally Posted by bigsmallwood
2K12 while phenomenal, is not a perfect game...however it is well deserving of a higher score than 8.5....#thatisall
Maybe on your old archaic college paper grading scale

(Insert plug to actually read the scoring rubric to see how we actually score games with a full 10 point scale here)
# 14 skillz7854 @ 10/10/11 02:39 PM
It needs a patch up because online is bad the players reactions are slow 3 pt needs to be turned down there we should also be able to choose any Jersey we want online.In till a patch comes out it deserves a 8.5 then a 9.3
# 15 llatson2 @ 10/10/11 02:46 PM
so if nba 2k12 didnt have online play all together then the rating would be higher, right.
# 16 mr_geez @ 10/10/11 02:51 PM
Good review, except one thing. I have beef with this statement:

The passing and player movement -- two huge upgrades in offline gameplay --
IMHO passing and movement offline is a big step back in 2k12 in comparison to 2k11 (and I even played 2k11 right after 2k12 to confirm it). Passing is so unresponsive and sluggish (only alley oop passes are the same as they were in 2k11, btw oops are the only sure thing to finish a fast break and not get sucked into this awful contested lay up animation) it kills all the openings that occur on the hardwood and I don't even want to mention amount of unforced turnovers that the "new" passing system produces.

Movement looks good, but I think players have way too much momentum which is a problem especially during inbound plays on opponents half. Way too many times receiver of the inbound pass (the whole process of "inbound plays during Time Outs is also buggy, most of the time the inbounder I choose during time out is not inbounding the ball and it leads to whole play not "playing out" properly) commits backcourt violation because of way exaggerated momentum while receiving the ball. I don't want my players to turn on the dime but right now it is a bit hardcore (2k11 had it correct).
# 17 coolcras7 @ 10/10/11 03:09 PM
Has operation sports given any game this year a score higher than 8.5 ?
# 18 DustinT @ 10/10/11 03:26 PM
Originally Posted by llatson2
so if nba 2k12 didnt have online play all together then the rating would be higher, right.
No, it would have taken a huge hit.
# 19 DustinT @ 10/10/11 03:27 PM
Originally Posted by Giants4Natic
That is not true. I cant stand online play on anything except shooters

To many laggy games and to many cheesers to even make it worth while.

I know many love it but the off line is a master piece and lowering the grade because of the rookies is not fair because it is not 2K fault. And by next week the rookies could be back if lock out ends and no mention of that possibility
I didn't knock it down because of the rookies, I just stated that it sucks and that it does affect the realism of an Association. In other words, I stated the obvious.
# 20 DustinT @ 10/10/11 03:28 PM
Originally Posted by coolcras7
Has operation sports given any game this year a score higher than 8.5 ?
No games have deserved anything higher. You should go read our grading scale

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