NBA 2K12: Hits and Misses

Posted October 12th, 2011 at 3:30 pm

It was always going to be difficult to top what was practically universally beloved in NBA 2K11 – and the league lockout only introduced an additional obstacle in the way of doing so. NBA 2K12 is one of the most top heavy sports titles imaginable. What it does well is exceedingly impressive but faulty features or those that dont live up to potential do enough damage to affect the overall perception and complete value of the product. Continue on for a look at what NBA 2K12 got right and where it stumbled in this ‘Hits and Misses’ review. 


•NBA’s Greatest
This is where primary resources for NBA 2K12 were spent and it pays off with an enriching experience even if it may not have longevity beyond the first play-throughs. Check out the extensive impressions of the mode here. The authentic touches given to the 15 match-ups in terms of presentation, commentary, the nature of the audio, and rule implementation is fantastic. It’s just unfortunate that those special elements can’t be applied to games elsewhere and are instead limited to the mode itself.

•Roster of Historic Teams
NBA 2K12 features 36 historic teams – some carrying over from last year (but thankfully with more of the real players included) and several new ones being introduced. Actually the 36 is double the 18 of 2K11 so that is significant advancement. It’s a great mix of popular squads and time periods with most complaints coming from the absence of Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller (and with that no classic Pacers teams).

For those bored or fed up with the current state of the NBA the teams are all compelling in their own ways or based on individual history as a fan. For myself it’s fun to re-live the days of Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton but really all the teams of the late 80’s and 90’s for nostalgic reasons. They have to be unlocked by completing the NBA’s Greatest mode however – and the Kings and Warriors are limited to the early run of copies via insert code.

NBA 2K12 builds off what 2K11 did very well – though it doesn’t feel all that much different overall and instead has improved incrementally in a number of areas. Gameplay has been the central focus of the NBA 2K series and it still excels there. The new post-up mechanic is the biggest enhancement this year. The number of options available in the post are now numerous and work well which helps better balance out offensive effectiveness from the outside-in. I also really like the ability to contest shots or passes well with the right stick. The overall flow is quite good and fast breaks are also more effective after years of struggles in that area. There’s a rich satisfying feeling for winning or even down to executing a single play successfully.

Despite all that there are some bothersome elements such as the CPU shooting (and making) an abnormal amount of threes with far too many players capable of making them consistently, the abundance of deflected passes and inability to “thread the needle” or pass to a cutter in the paint, the lack of ability to choose to bounce pass, defensive rotations are sometimes questionable, and for some reason players can’t outstretch their arms when defending inbounds passes. It was also an odd design decision to paint gaudy giant colored circles on the court for zone defenses – though this can be turned off with “Who to Guard” in the controller settings.

The broadcast style presentation is enhanced this year – with new camera angles, intros, and quarter-breaks. “Playoff crowds” finally make an appearance and greatly improve the atmosphere. The crowd doesn’t always react properly to events but are much improved otherwise. NBA 2K continues its excellence in commentary with Steve Kerr as an additional analyst. It’s very impressive how the commentary flows – even if something happens on the court that needs to be addressed immediately the guys will go back to and continue the story from the point they left off. The new pre-game intros are sharp as well.


•My Player
What was supposed to be a huge improvement to the career mode is fatally hampered by incredibly bad trade logic. Check out the extensive impressions of the mode here. Rosters are constantly churning – often through trades that made no sense for the team or involve big name players that would never be moved. The gameplay experience is still lacking due to poor teammate AI, opponent 3PT attempts/percentages too high (no sliders in this mode), and difficulty in simply moving around as players are like magnets pulling the user into what become akin to brick walls. Despite having the NBA Draft with generated players they actually aren’t added to the team rosters which creates issues of its own. There is also a freeze that halts progress if the user’s team wins the Championship. My Player does do some things well – its attempts to implement more off-the-court elements are appreciated but they mean little when everything else isn’t properly established first.

•Online Play/Online Association
Arguably the worst online experience in years and little progress has been made in the last week plus since release. Check out the extensive impressions of the mode here. Online play is plagued by overwhelming numbers of disconnects and heavy lag/poor responsiveness – while popular modes such as Crew were removed without any prior notification or even acknowledgement since. It’s embarrassing that the promoted new website, which is to house important features consumers were anticipating, not only wasn’t ready for release day but remains unlaunched. The biggest disappointment comes with Online Association – admirable in the goal of delivering an online component to the complete offline mode – but coming up short by not including all the necessary options and admin control.

•NBA Lockout
This is no fault of 2K Sports but the lockout does have an effect on the product’s value. 2K was smart to increase the presence of legends and historic teams in a year when fans would potentially be turned off by today’s NBA. They could have planned a bit better though by expanding NBA’s Greatest presentation for use elsewhere, making it easy to edit historic teams and move players onto other rosters, and by allowing historic teams to be used online (without having to pay for it through upcoming DLC). The lack of rookies does sting even in a down year for talent and well-received features such as NBA Today are rendered irrelevant.

NBA 2K12 is a game that one desperately wants to love but the severely troubled features make it difficult to do so. Coming off a year in which NBA 2K11 delivered just about the total package – 2K12 extends on a good thing with its historic team-related content and the relevance to the product but otherwise fails to come near re-creating the perfect storm of last year.

Previous Coverage
Online Association Impressions
Online Play Impressions
NBA’s Greatest Impressions
Regarding the Uproar (Blog)
An Opening for EA NBA? (Blog)
My Player Impressions
Online Problems Persist
New Jerseys Leaked
360 Hard Drive Loading Analysis

  • Kace0

    Definitely the fairest review of NBA 2K12 I’ve seen. Doesnt ignore the problems but gives credit for what people like about it. Good job.

  • Tlupher3

    “NBA 2K12 is a game that one desperately wants to love but the severely troubled features make it difficult to do so. Coming off a year in which NBA 2K11 delivered just about the total package – 2K12 extends on a good thing with its historic team-related content and the relevance to the product but otherwise fails to come near re-creating the perfect storm of last year.”  The only video game website review that I have found putting NBA 2k12 down.  This should be the proof needed to show how ridiculously bias PASTA is with 2KSports!!!  I challenge PASTA to find me one site that gives NBA 2k12 a poor review.  Just one site, thats all I ask. Because I can’t find one.  

    • Alex

      I challenge you to find a review from a site that actually tested things like online play and My Player instead of reading off the list of what 2K told them was great to mention in their review.

      • Tlupher3

        1 site Alex that’s all I ask.  You won’t find it!! Everyone listen to what all of these EA lovers are trying to say.  That PASTA is right and is the only person in the world that actually reviews sports games correctly.  And that all the other websites (all giving 2k SPORTS great reviews) are wrong and they no nothing about video games.  2k sports isn’t the scam this website is the scam!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Tlupher3

          And let’s be fair here guys. PASTA isn’t just pointing out problems with NBA 2k12,  he is hammering the game as if it is horribly flawed and no one should buy it.  Which is unfair and really unprofessional.  Especially when the game is getting amazing reviews everywhere else you look.  

          • XP33

            if you care about online play or my player then thats right you shouldnt buy it. 

          • In case you didn’t notice he mentions what he likes AND dislikes about the game. I completely agree with him on this review and I have always gotten 2k basketball games. The online everything is downright pathetic and the trade logic isn’t far from pathetic, BUT the historic teams, presentation and gameplay are amazing!

          • Tlupher3

            Ryan it’s not just a bad review on online play and my player,  he personally trashes the game as if it is unplayable like his beloved NBA ELITE!!!! PASTA is a joke!!!!!!!!  He will write one paragraph on the good and 2 pages on the bad.  Are you kidding me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Jk

          this pasta guy is beat. this is the best game ive played all year. i think about it a lot during the day even when i’m not playing it.   what a joke this review is.  go get the new hannah montana video game pasta ull love it

          • Jerky

            ronnie2k sighting!

        • Celtic43

          i’ve have played the game extensively and what pasta says is very fair and true. The online is the worst of any 2k game in recent memory as well as the worst of any game period. And i played my player for 2/3 of the season and my lineup on the celtics is arenas crawford Wchandler ME(65ovr) Nene. So i havent played my player since i want to play with my fav players on my fav team its just unrealistic. The game shoul have been 8.75 tops its got 9for graphics 9gameplay 9 presentation 7myplayer and 1 for online. People can play online games on their pphone a big money gamelike this should have adequate online. not to mention no rookies  so shut your mouth and think about what your writing ive been a diehard fan of 2k since forever when ben wallace was on the cover and im gettin sick of their bullshit with online if i want half the game to not work or a third of it then i will pay for it accordingly

          • Tlupher3

            Really CELTIC43, you’re a 2k guy?  Your not fooling anyone.  But hey thanks for the 8.75 review that’s a damn good review from an EA lover like yourself. And what I’m talking about Celtic43 you proved in your 8.75 review.  I said the game is amazing and PASTA is unfair for his nasty remarks, remarks similar to your recent remark.  “the worst of any game period”  Really?  Come on buddy like I said before, you’re not fooling anyone.  By the way… EA SPORTS sucks!!!! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

    • JKE

      How about Kotaku’s? They actually played it and pretty much mention the same problems Pasta does.

      • Tlupher3

        JKE that was a great review.  Never wants did it bash the game similar to PASTA.  In fact they said its a must buy.  I said find a bad review!!!!  Of course NBA 2k12 isn’t perfect but if you listen to PASTA you would think the game is a flawed as his beloved NBA ELITE!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Alex

          Funny you bring up NBA Elite when Pasta’s heat on that was part of why the game got canceled. Of course you wouldnt care about that cause 2K fanboys ignore that stuff and get radar alerts anytime a problem with a 2K game is talked about.

          • Anonymous

            I agree that Pasta is pretty fair with his games and duly slammed Elite, but I don’t think he was one of the reasons the game got cancelled; I think it more Jesus Bynum and the Boozer Free Throw Line dunks… 🙂

        • Perrylarry44


    • f00tball101

      Yep and he’s also an EA fanboy – or employee or both.

      • The Truth

        I agree.Pasta aint nothing but a EA fanboy so who gives a hoot about his review of NBA 2k12

    • f00tball101

      Also look at the Madden 12 Hits and Misses – The list of misses should have been waaaaaay longer. Like i said, Pata’s a EA Fanboy

  • Alex

    2k12 was a rip-off. I already returned it. Shouldnt have bought into the hype of paid off websites.

  • Typo: “Actually the 36 is double the 18 of 2K12 so that is significant advancement.” Should read: …double the 18 of 2k11.

  • 545LOW

    another year another scam from 2k sports why is anyone surprised

  • KMoney

    The problem is most other sites don’t have sports fans reviewing the games.  This is why I like reading the in depth reviews on here.  I still buy the games regardless because I’m such a huge fan, but respect and enjoy a sports fans input rather than websites that are biased towards non sports games.

    • That’s all it’s about. Important to be as informative as possible so people can make the best decision for them – whatever that may be.

      • Anonymous

        I’ll choose this site over OP because all their 2k fan boys never play online. They never play a real person. I haven’t played against the AI in 2k since 2k1. I go to practice when I first get it. Learn how to dribble and them I’m online. At least people here play online.

        The love for 2k11 and 2k12 when the online portion is broken reminds me of the love for Sony’s MLB.

        I only play for competition. I’m grown. I can’t go next door and play my buddy. We can only play online and I love playing people I don’t know. You will never know what your going to get. Figure it out and beat them. I’m in it strictly for competition. I can’t get that winning a chip against the AI.
        If the online portion is broke it’s useless for me. 

        Last year they got me. This year I haven’t brought it yet. I won’t until I hear the online portion is working.

        • Aron Ivars.

          Yeah, I get your point. But some of us live in regions where online mode is unavailable. When you bypass it by registering to another region, it becomes unplayable (referencing from NBA2K11).

          But I’m part of a group of 4 who meet regularly and play together, 2 at a time head-to-head. We never play against the AI, this game should be played with other human players imo. We make an Association controlling every team and play out a whole season, but we never finish. Now with a 14 game season per team, we are hopeful we can at least make the playoffs.

          So I feel for you man, since the online portion is way too broken. Hope it will get fixed, but I won’t be able to experience it.

  • craigory

    glad i passed on this game cause i was close to buying it. totally happy just staying with 2K11 until the lockout is overwith. 

  • Grvl

    id give 2K12 a solid 7.5 and maybe an 8.5 if online gets a lot better. Im still not happy that they took out crew

  • KobethaGreat

    lol at anyone whod complain about this review cause it actually points out the problems. face it 2k12 is a game for people to play offline with legends. thats it. but they charge $60 and for people who want to play online or my player or association they get the crap end of the stick.

  • DartMound

    2K12 is a disgrace online. Instead of fixing it 2K is more then happy to tweet out all the high score reviews they bought.

  • The_Roll
  • L-Rez

    thanks for a real review. very few of them out there for 2k12.

  • SWiZZY




    • FuckYou

      wow, whatta douche..  you’re not cool cause you talk like that..  oh, and this game sucks dick, like you.

  • GreenerRO

    glad that you always point out what promises these companies havent lived up to. if no one does theyll continue misleading people

  • KAITO230498

    looks fun but I think I’m gonna stick with 2k11

  • ……

    nice write up, pasta……for me, I fully agree with the hits…..they are the main reasons why I bought the game….knowing that I don’t have to create historic players and having a challenging time playing against the A.I is more than enough for me……as for the misses, I don’t care about my player, online or worry about rookies or updated rosters as I hardly have much interest or feel that they are most important. 

  • wow Pasta, you hate this game. Just give up and move the f#$ck on. Your hits were filled with disappointmens and your overall anger at this game shines through. Everyone talks about 2k11 like it’s the best thing since red bull and vodka; 2k11 still had flaws after a year of being out. Give 2k12 a chance and let 2k sort their sh!t out.

    • Hate the game? Of course not. NBA 2K11 was my favorite game last year. That doesn’t mean they get away with providing features that don’t work properly.

      • TheLTRAIN7

        pasta im not sure if u have reached this stage yet with your myplayer but for me seeing the “where amazing happens” commercial that the nba created for me is one of the coolest things that ive seen in a game for a while. 

      • Tlupher3

        NBA 2k11 was your favorite game last year?  Are you kidding me PASTA!!!!  You say that now, a year later, after sales went out the roof and NBA ELITE got canned!!!!!  

        • Frek

          No he says that cause he gave it his top game of 2010 award idiot. 

          • Tlupher3

            Hey Frek EA SPORTS sucks!!!! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!!!!

          • Tlupher3

            “Despite all its triumphs NBA 2K11 still had its share of weak areas. The NBA Today feature didn’t work for a full month and there were freezing issues when entering the main menu. My Player had a freeze of its own that halted many careers. Post-release support has been weak, with just a single patch and inconsistent and lackluster roster updates. Knocking Tony Parker in an update seemed to be an attempt to attract coverage rather than being merited. The controls, though improved, still were not completely user-friendly and sometimes animations would take over at inopportune times. Online play is still tragically sub-par even though it showed some improvement. Considering the sales of the series over the past few years and especially this year there is no excuse not to provide a top notch online experience.” 

             That was in his article of why it was is favorite sports game of the year.  Even in the positive articles he writes about NBA 2k he hammers the game!!!!  The only reason he said it was the  best sports game of the year (sports game not favorite game) was because if he didn’t he truly would have been discovered for what he is, An EA SPORTS employee.  I remember when the game was about to be released he spoke on a webcast with Operation Sports about how disappointed he was is NBA211 and that NBA ELITE was doing so much more, and that it had a chance to overcome NBA 2k11.  Really PASTA, lets just forget that webcast ever happened.

        • Perrylarry44

          because he fake

      • Anonymous

        The you should be crapping on MLB The Show heavy too, for its broken online

        • I always have been tough on The Show for that. So much so that people claim I hate The Show. They also claim I hate NCAA this year. They also claim I hated Madden 11. Being critical and holding accountable doesnt equal hate – but loyalists perceive it that way I suppose. 

  • ReggieK704

    well i think the game is a significant improvement over 2k11…just feels more like the NBA imo..but i could care less about online personally, i could never understand the benefit of playing sport games online just wayyyy too many cheesers out there that makes it unenjoyable to me but i do understand and dnt blame the ppl who like online for there disappointment….but there is a rumor the somebody might be able to unlock and get us the REAL rookies by this weekend (w/o the black arms)….

  • sheredia

    as great as this game is, pasta is keeping it real……that’s all.

  • Anonymous

    I think you’re a bit too harsh on MyPlayer, and 2K12 in general but it’s pretty close to my feelings on the game. Nice review.

  • cp32

    pasta I agree with the post up improvement. however, i have begun to wonder about the skill level of ranked online games. The amount of contested jumpers that go in are ridiculous. You should be rewarded for creating open looks.

  • Willo

    Pasta, heard anything about a myplayer patch yet?

  • Playmaker22

    Ive been a 2k fanboy for years, but not now. I’m a big time online pla yer and the online section for this game is flat out horrible!! This is the worst online experience I’ve had with a game. Everything pasta pasta said in his review is true in my eyes. And one of the most annoying things that kills me online is the shooting. It’s basically a shootout with almost every long distance shot going in by almost anybody that shoots them. That definitely needs to be fixed or my copy will be permanently on the shelf as it is now while I wait for a patch to correct this horrible mess!! Back to madden!!

  • Skihawks

    I bought a copy yesterday. The intro is awesome. I played a quarter of the legends Bulls-Hornets matchup. The gameplay is much better than last year. Need to tweak the sliders a bit but overall it is an excellent representation if the sport. Definitely in the same class as The Show.

    I am hoping 2K adds more classic teams through DLC. Give me one Suns team, even pre-Barkley like the 1990 squad with Chambers, KJ, Majerle and Hornacek.

  • Buc

    I can see maybe how some hardcore 2k fans can see this review as coming across bias toward the game. But since I’ve been following Pasta, going on 3-4 years now, I can say he holds game makers accountable. Every single year gaming sites continue to FAIL to hold games accountable for their online play. I have no idea why they rush their numbers out and hand out 9’s and 9.5’s and 10’s and etc…when they’ve not even had a fair amount of time to analyze the game. Every single review this year praising the game failed to take online play into account. That’s a fact, because they didn’t give it enough time to allow the masses to purchase the game and start playing.

    So as a 2k fan and sports fan in general, I like the game. The game is much better than 2k11, and although I’ve not been having any problems playing online association, like some of you claim you’ve had, the online portion of the game is still not good at all. The shooting percentages are bad, connections problems apparently still exists, and I’ve not played 1-on-1 with anyone or Team-up, but the lag appears to still be there as well.

    So if all these so-called fair reviews were really doing their job, there is no way the game should receive 9’s and 10’s solely because of the failed delivery of the online experience. Whether you play online or not, 2k sports put the feature in the game, marketed the feature to consumers, and failed to deliver upon release.

    If you’re not an online player, you will probably find the basketball game to be the best basketball game ever made. So in a nutshell that’s what it all boils down to this year. All the other problems surrounding the game are miniscule compared to online.

    • Barimanlhs

      I think part of the online being reviewed (or lack there of) is due to the fact that not everyone plays online like you said. Also many times companies get copies fo the game WAY before the servers are even up and running so it may not even be an option for them.

      While I hold 2k at fault for not addressing thier servers, the issues could also be from so many people jumping directly online to see if they fixed it, causing them to crash or underperform (again). All speculation from my stand point but it is still something you think would be addressed (unless they really dont want an online function other than association)

      • Aaron

        not everyone plays my player. not everyone plays association. so those shouldnt matter in a review either? just what the gameplay is like? online makes up like 1/3 or 1/2 the game and they dont review it cause they rush out reviews (or want to make 2K happy by ignoring it) and its shameful

  • Barimanlhs

    I wrote this in the My Player review and felt it was aplicable to this conversation

    I have yet to incounter these trade issues in My Player but I will say I was incredibly frusturated when I first started it. I felt like I couldnt move aroudn the court and it seemed like my team (the suns) couldnt do anythinf effectively. I have noticed though that I have changed the way I play the game and now I am much more effective on both offense and defense. I think the earlier issues where from trying to do the same things that were effective last year (and i recall the same type of learning curve in last years game)The biggest issue I have currently is the fact that it seems like Im racking up the endorsments WAY too quikly! In fact I already have the intro billboard, the jordan brand embassador, dime and 2k magazine covers…after 7 games played! And it isnt like im doing anything incredibly special, just averaging around 18ppg, 6 rbs, 2 asts, and 1.5 steals. Hopefully I wont see players being tossed around like hotcakes but I do wonder if there is a difference in the trade logic when you play every game as opposed to only key games? Less games means techincally less chances to become a star so the logic might be to deal away anyone that could impeed your progress? Seems kind of logical to me, although it is still concerning.

  • sizzle

    realist review of 2k12 ive seen

  • DNA

    I love the game, online is weak but I don’t play online so I really don’t care…anytime in life when something is proclaimed to be the best your always going have detractors trying to poke holes or simply disagree just to disagree its human nature

  • Clintbeastwoods

    Hey EA PADRE since nba 2k12 is so horrible do you suggest that people should purchase NBA ELITE instead?

    • Perrylarry44


  • CardLover

    OK. For all the people complaining about Pasta’s review…

    If you wanna read only the glitters, go to some place else or write your own review (which nobody’s gonna read).

    Get some f-ing life…Was Pastapadre being biased toward EA? Nope, he did same hits and misses with Madden, and MLB the Show, etc.

    Pasta was being objective when he wrote these. He did not give a poor review, nor good one. It’s a warning to potential buyers that you might be disappointed (at least before the patch) at the hyped My Player Mode and online plays. The fact he wrote NBA lockout as a miss probably means there’s not as many misses as other games.

    Other review sites gave their review when, like a week ago? Pasta played much more than other reviewers have played and provided what he thought was hits and misses.

    • My complaint about his review is that “The NBA Greatest is really good… except that there’s no Barkley or Reggie…” “Historic teams are great however if you want the extra teams…” “Gameplay is really great this year despite the computer AI….” And those are the HITS!!

      “Now, let’s talk about what’s wrong with the game…”

      Does that sound like a fair review?

  • NELL86

    2k blew it big time this year smh!!!

  • Sdot is a retard

    meh i was gonna pick up this or gears3  but it looks like gears3 is what im going to get 

  • jeffrey

    online is flawless for me

  • gryphonblaze

    will they patch the gameplay issues where the AI can sink alot of threes and the slippery controls in on ball deffense? i hope they fix this things coz it aint fun if the cpu can do it and the user can’t do.even with a hand to the face the AI sinks shots too much for ps3 users 2k better realease a patch for gameplay wise or do i have to wait next year im selling my 2k12 then coz the 2k11 controlls were tight on O and D should not be slippery. 

  • MJDrizzyCudi93

    that’s what i been saying about my player the whole time. 

  • Tlupher3

    I just thought it was worth mentioning, because everyone is saying he does the hit and miss reviews on EA sports titles too.  I want everyone to read this quote from his Madden hit and miss review.  Defending, yes defending the glitches in Madden as just being problems that come with only having one year to develop a game. LOL!!!!!!!! Really is that why the announcing is AWFUL!!!!!!  Here is quote from PASTA defending Maddens glitches, WHAT A JOKE!!!!!!!!!

    The vastly improved presentation and gameplay combined with a much more enjoyable Franchise mode help to cover up the flaws that comes with growth that can’t be completed and goals that can’t be reached in just a single year. It’s finally alright to be excited about the Madden franchise – that is if they don’t change course in their vision yet again.

  • NavdeepRandawa53

    this is stupid i buy the game thinking it would be great now all these problems fuck i should get a refund and this is not fair if they have these many problems why did they release game before fixing it I am Navdeep Randhawa 18 las plumas way oroville ca 95966 and i deserve a refund

  • Breakerfall92

    Too hard in My Player, you can’t move without a defender being in your face. And ridiculous AI moves. Jason Kidd constantly takes 40 ft 3 pointers when guys are open by the hoop.