Game Room: October Roundup

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NBA 2K13
Photo: 2K Sports

NBA 2K13

Publisher: 2K Sports
Systems: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PC, PSP

In recent years, the NBA 2K franchise has been the gold standard for not only basketball sims, but sports video game franchises in general. This year's iteration is an evolutionary step that builds on the vast improvements of the past two years. The presentation -- this year overseen by rapper Jay-Z -- shows extraordinary polish and an almost eerie integration with real-life, same-day games and outcomes. The game doesn't just look like a broadcast; it is actually its own portal into the day's actual NBA games and scores. The gameplay is as robust and intricate as ever, though the controls aren't well documented and can be overwhelming for beginners. There is Kinect playcalling support though, again, it's not always easy to tell which plays you can actually call that way. When it works, though, it's very cool.The controls are fluid and the opponent AI is highly demanding; if you try to play arcade-style, fast-paced charge-and-shoot basketball, the game will beat you every time. Like any good sports sim, the only way to win reliably against a stronger opponent is to learn your team's strengths, set up smart plays and execute them well. New this year is the Dribble Stick, which is an evolution of IsoMotion from years' past. Player likenesses are mostly spot-on and, aside from the occasional hitchy animation, the game could easily be mistaken for a television broadcast. NBA 2K13 is another winner for anyone looking for a top-notch sports sim -- it just would be nice to have a little more handholding to learn how to exploit all of the new moves and capabilities.

Score: 9 out of 10

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