NBA 2K13 Demo Impressions


The NBA 2K13 demo was available for download two days ago and since that time I have played the 5-minute quarter between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat nonstop.

The hype surrounding NBA 2K is always biggest right before the launch and after playing this demo, I am confident that NBA 2K13 will be the best basketball game yet.

Here are a few takeaways from playing the demo:

How does it look?

The game looks absolutely amazing. It’s a significant upgrade from NBA 2K12 from the graphics to all of the little detailed animations. Every player feels different too. Russell Westbrook moves just like he does in real-life from simply dribbling up the court to kicking out his leg on a contested jump shot. There is a noticeable difference in controlling each player which really adds to the game. LeBron James’ strength is impossible to miss when you are controlling him or trying to drive past him. Kendrick Perkins’ screens are better than Chris Bosh’s. The size and weight of a player matter more than ever in NBA 2K13. The physics have been revamped as well so that on a fast break, Serge Ibaka isn’t chasing down LeBron. If LeBron is ahead of you, it’s over, just like in real life. Bosh isn’t staying in front of Westbrook either. Chalmers isn’t even staying in front of Westbrook without a great defensive effort. Simply put, the physics have greatly improved and are more realistic now.

New controls

The biggest change in NBA 2K13 is the right control stick which is now used to pull off dribble moves. It can still be used as a shot stick too but only while holding down the left trigger. Once you get used to the new controls, you have more control than ever before in a 2K game. I was never a fan of the isomotion because I felt like I didn’t have quite as much control as I’d like but now those days are over. If anything, the game has now become a lot easier because of the more control you have. This is not a bad thing although it may shrink the gap between the experienced gamers online and the new ones. The shot controls have most notably become easier to pull off as well. Hop steps in the lane, eurosteps and spin moves can all be done with button pressing as well as the shot stick which has made them extremely easy to do. NBA 2K13 feels a lot different than NBA 2K12 but it didn’t take me that long to get used to it and now I feel like I have more control when playing 2K13 than I ever did with 2K12. I think this means the potential for 2K13 is greater.

Signature skills

One of the new additions to NBA 2K13 is the 31 signature skills that are assigned to players. It is clear that even in playing the demo these signature skills will impact the game a lot and in a good way. It makes the game feel more authentic but some of them may be overblown a little bit. For instance, I have yet to see Shane Battier miss a 3-point shot from the corner. Kevin Durant and Westbrook don’t miss at the rim. LeBron gets those chasedown blocks a little too easily. Overall, it’s another element added to the game that will make it seem more realistic.

Thunder players

I have played almost exclusively with the Thunder in this demo. You can’t sub in the demo so I have barely played with the bench players including James Harden. Playing with Westbrook and Durant has been awesome though as they are both monsters in this game. Like I mentioned before, Westbrook is impossible to stay in front of. The demo is only on pro level and you can literally score every play with Westbrook if you want to. It’s really fun working to get to those open midrange shots from the elbow with Westbrook like he does in real life. There is such a variety in the ways you can take shots that I hardly ever recall seeing the same shot twice. Durant is fun too. His shot looks a little better than it did in 2K12. He is absolutely money on his spot-up threes and it is clear that it is really hard to affect his shot at all. Ibaka is really fun to use on defense protecting the paint and blocking shots. A lot of his blocks sent the ball out of bounds which almost never happened in 2K12. He is also automatic on his midrange shot whenever he’s left open.


Overall, my time playing the demo has been awesome. I have no doubt that 2K13 will be far better than 2K12 and be a candidate for Game of the Year. The detail and authenticity in the demo is the best I’ve ever seen and playing with the Thunder especially is so realistic. The full game will come out Oct. 2 so we are just a few days away now. I will be one of those guys standing in line come midnight for sure.