Game Reviews

NBA 2K13

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| NBA 2K13
NBA 2K13
| NBA 2K13

As basketball fans gear up for the beginning of the 2013 season, they're no doubt looking for a great NBA game to tide them over until October 30th.

Sadly, NBA 2K13 is not that game - at least, not in its mobile incarnation.

Its predecessor NBA 2K12 was hampered by sub-par controls and stilted gameplay that struggled to keep up with the action on the court.

NBA 2K13 manages to offer a tantalising glimpse at what a quality mobile basketball title might look like, but it squanders its potential with inadequate controls and uneven presentation.

Posting and toasting

From the outset, everything about NBA 2K13 looks good – assuming the game doesn't crash on you three times when you try to load it.

While technical issues for a new game are understandable, this doesn't instil a lot of confidence in what's to follow (especially when the developer notes the crashing in the game's App Store description).

The players and team rosters are all accurately portrayed, with crisp graphics that look fairly realistic during the cinematic cut-scenes and pre-game animations. Much like NBA 2K12, however, the characters look a bit jaggy and grotesque in close-up action sequences.

While this is bad enough on its own, the sketchy player graphics look positively photorealistic compared to the painfully two-dimensional crowd, which behaves like a herd of zombies.

Regardless of whether you just made a huge play or you're calling a time-out, the tepid reaction from the crowd will be unchanged as they continue clapping in a steady tempo.

In many ways, NBA 2K13's graphics encapsulate the whole game: they look great at first, but quickly disappoint.

From way downtown

The controls in NBA 2K13 - while versatile - are still as glitchy and unresponsive as they were a year ago.

If you use the Classic control mode with a virtual thumbstick you'll find yourself struggling against the momentum of the players when you take control of them.

The thumbstick is prone to over-correct subtle movements, and this tendency results in hilarious and frustrating back court violations as you try to routinely pass the ball on your way to the front court.

The Touch mode – which allows you to control the action with a few taps and swipes - is only marginally better, and still struggles to keep up with the fast pace of the AI players.

Still, both allow you to have a passable go at arcade-style controls in an NBA game on a mobile device, which might start to excuse NBA 2K13's other faults if not for its steep £5.49/$7.99 price tag.


The addition of a multiplayer mode is a nice touch, and one sure to appeal to basketball fans, but NBA 2K13 is still best-suited to the Quick Game mode, which allows you to play a game on the fly without any setup.

NBA 2K13 offers a staggering number of customisation options and allows you to play through a full 82-game season (plus a seven-game playoff series) if you feel like rolling up your sleeves and really getting involved.

Unfortunately, the game in its current incarnation simply doesn't merit that much of your time or attention.

NBA 2K13

Sub-par controls and uneven presentation keep 2K's NBA series from finding the net for another year