It’s without a doubt that 2K Sports and Visual Concepts have created the greatest basketball simulation franchise of our generation, what with NBA 2K11 taking home more accolades than any sports game to date. NBA 2K12 saw some improvements in gameplay, and some added pizzaz, but to my dissapointment the My Player mode felt almost the same.
Reward the gamer
What is lacking: The sheer amount of hours it takes to create a beastly player in NBA 2K12‘s My Player mode is unreal, from actually playing the game to doing drills, practicing, etc. At the end of the day, what do we have to show for it? The amount of attribute points you get per drill is a joke, and creating a good player has turned into a grind fest. Skill points are too expensive and hard to earn, going back to my earlier point. It is possible to keep the game challenging, and still make it fun, right now, it’s more challenging than fun. Make it possible to earn more skillpoints, or make skills cost less, significantly less.
What we want: Enough with the shitty attribute points, seriously, the most points you can get from drills is 400 and a 1 point increase to a stat? Make championships matter, add more milestones, make awards matter, overall make the My Player mode less boring and more rewarding. Make it able for us to sign our player with different sponsors, add an ego feature that will allow us to mold the player into how we want them to react in certain situations. Better character customization such as haircuts and accessories would be nice, and the addition of the dunk contest and 3 point shootout will make the All Star weekend even more rewarding.
Reward the player
What is lacking: Remember playing Sony’s basketball sim, NBA: The Life? Though it had a short run, it had the most fulfilling “superstar mode” of any sports game to date. You had the backdrop of a family rooting for you, your agent you had to interact with, events you had to attend, it actually felt like you had a life outside of each individual game (not to mention the cutscenes were very enjoyable). I’ll still never forget the moment my player got drafted and he left the stage to call his mom, that is immersion.
If the NBA 2K series implemented a similar line of immersive events and situations, the replay value of My Player mode will skyrocket. I say this because I ended my My Player run after my second season, and I’ll explain why. My entire reason for wanting to keep playing was to make my player the best. A 5’9″ PG drafted 4th overall to the Houston Rockets, Jamal Knight carried his team to a winning season his rookie year, ending the year as a starter with many Player of the Week awards, Sophomore Rookie game MVP, Rookie of the Year, but without a championship ring. This is why I played a second season. With the second season down, a championship ring on Knight’s finger, an AllStar game MVP, Finals MVP, Season MVP, and many more awards under my belt, I still found the My Player mode to be incredibly unrewarding, and here’s why: each season is EXACTLY the same.
At the end of the season, if you win the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, you make a trip to the White House (you don’t take a picture with Obama like last year though), and that’s it, literally. The season restarts and it’s back to square one. No parties, no cutscene, just a picture of the White House and some skimpy point bonus. There’s simply no reason to continue playing after you’ve won your first trophy, because you know you’ll do everything all over again, and it’s just a rehashed mess.
What we want: Revamp the non-gameplay part of My Player. Give us a life off the court: photoshoots, outings, meeting with the GM, custcenes, random events, etc. Bring back the agent, allow us to request for a better pay (the newly implemented payment system in the game felt like an after thought at best). The abilities need to be revamped, completely, it’s way too expensive to make a good player. Allow us to purchase a crib, make it the focal point of character customization. More player customization: the ability to create a custom pregame ritual, crossover move, a set of voices to choose from, and for the love of almighty God, give us new suits. Having the commentators actually talk about you is nice, give us more of that.
Fix the gameplay
The amount of times I’ve passed the ball to a teammate on the sideline, only to have him step out of bounds with no defender on him (he literally walks out of bounds) is preposterous. Teammate AI is sporadic and borderline idiotic: always taking the last second shot in a quarter even if it’s past half court, not playing smart, over dribbling, etc. There are so many glitches in the game – players bumping into each other, losing the ball, the game overall plays nothing similar to an actual professional basketball game at times.
What we want: Make coaches matter, give different skill points for different coaches, give each coach their own playing style. Better teammate AI, improved trade system. Fix the pick and roll system, add better plays and more variety in playcalling. The whole momentum thing is just horrible. Timeouts and Coaching AI needs to be fixed. AI needs to notice fast break situations and not call plays that result in players stopping to setup a play in a 3 on 2 fast break. Give us the ability to start as a decent player, why is a player of 61 overall even in the NBA to begin with? Allow my player to be a team captain, so we can call plays no matter what position we’re in. Bring back the D-League, training camp, and summer circuit.
These suggestions are not meant to bash the game developers in any way, they are just simply that, suggestions; things that we feel will make the NBA 2K franchise so much more enjoyable and fun to play. Some of these suggestions were from the mind of my great friend, @murderwattz, who’s probably the only person that plays NBA 2K12‘s My Player mode more than I do.