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Clayton Kershaw is sexy photo
Clayton Kershaw is sexy

Kershaw will totally win MLB 2K13 Perfect Game Challenge


Go Dodgers!
Feb 25
// Kyle MacGregor
Clayton Kershaw is just the best. And as a lifelong Dodger fan, I'm thoroughly looking forward to Kid K and Zack Greinke dominating atop Los Angeles' rotation this season. But as much as I would love to ramble on about the D...
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Bundle pack

2K Sports couples NBA 2K13 with MLB 2K13


Enthusiastic sports phrase!
Feb 20
// Brett Makedonski
2K Sports has announced that accompanying the March 5 release of MLB 2K13 will be a combo pack that features NBA 2K13 alongside the baseball game. The bundle will retail for $80, which is a savings of $40 over purchasing...
Perfect Game Challenge photo
Perfect Game Challenge

MLB 2K13 sees return of the Perfect Game Challenge


$1 million pool will be spread around
Feb 11
// Jordan Devore
2K Sports will once again be putting on the MLB 2K Perfect Game Challenge, though the format has changed somewhat for MLB 2K13. Starting on April 1, players can begin competing for a total of $750,000 spread across 30 MLB Te...
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MLB 2K13 to hit Xbox 360 and PS3 this March


Surprise! It's back
Jan 09
// Jordan Devore
While there were no guarantees that we would be getting another Major League Baseball 2K title this year, 2K Sports and Visual Concepts have come through for Xbox 360 owners and will be releasing MLB 2K13 on March 5, 2013 for...
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A look at Wii U exclusive features in NBA 2K13


Sponsored by Gatorade!
Nov 12
// Conrad Zimmerman
2K Sports released this new video showing some of the unique features players of the Wii U version of NBA 2K13 will be able to look forward to when it launches next week. Given special attention is the Gatorade Biometri...
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JAY Z is the Executive Producer of NBA 2K13


Aug 01
// Dale North
Yep, that Jay Z. And he's not only adding to the soundtrack. 2K says that he'll "lend artistic vision" to upcoming b-ball title NBA 2K13 as its Executive Producer. The 14-time Grammy winner and part-owner of the Brooklyn Net...
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NBA 2K13 announced with All-Star Weekend pre-order DLC


May 30
// Samit Sarkar
2K Sports has announced that NBA 2K13 is due out for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Wii, and PSP on October 2, 2012, in North America, and October 5 worldwide. A Wii U version is also in development; it will be released during ...
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Live show: Inning 2 of MLB 2K12 on Mash Tactics


Apr 23
// Bill Zoeker
Ready your sports balls! King Foom is taking another shot at flawless pitching today on Mash Tactics. Major League Baseball 2K12 is the game, and $1 Million are the stakes. 2K Sports is once again holding a contest for player...
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Live show: Pitching the perfect game on Mash Tactics


Apr 18
// Bill Zoeker
Sports! King Foom's pitch hand is feeling strong today, so he's going for the gold. Today on Mash Tactics, Foom and his friends are attempting to pitch the perfect game in Major League Baseball 2K12. 2K Sports has made it a t...

Review: MLB 2K12

Mar 29 // Ian Bonds
MLB 2K12 (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 [reviewed], PC)Developer: Visual ConceptsPublisher: 2K GamesReleased: March 6, 2012MSRP: $59.99 Let me get this out of the way right now: if you've played last year's iteration of the game (or even 2K10), this year's MLB 2K remains virtually unchanged from previous versions. With the exceptions of a few coats of polish, updated rosters, and some other minor tweaks here and there, it's the same ballgame from before. That said, while the majority of the framework remains the same, graphically there have been better touches throughout making character models more realistic (though somehow more dead-eyed than usual), and everything seems brighter and more vibrant. Animations still have some stagger and hiccup, but nothing I hadn't seen in previous years. The menu presentation, however, will make you wonder if you'd accidentally purchased last year's game. However, when it gets down to gameplay we finally see some improvements, but to be fair, they are minor. Pitching now comes with a caveat: throw the same pitch over and over, despite your catcher's suggestions, and the hitters get wise and start anticipating what you'll throw. Switching up your pitches is now more important than ever, as batters will hone in on what you've thrown and make you pay for it with a base hit. It's with these hits that suddenly, gameplay falls apart again. Fielding here now seems unnecessarily tough, with meters appearing to determine whether or not your throw will reach the base with enough power, or even at all. Sadly, even without these meters, your fielder may not be sure where to throw or how, as they stutter through animations and allow runners to score before finally deciding to throw to where the runner used to be. Evidently, it's all determined by whether or not the fielder's feet are both planted before he throws, but when charging a ball and trying to stop a runner from scoring, who has the time to wait for a fielder to stop moving? If you've never played an MLB 2K game, this can be very frustrating, as the game itself gives no coaching to newbies. There are a few training drills, but they're slipshod and don't detail enough of the controls. The same can be said for pitching and hitting: while throws and hits were usually done with flicks of the right analog stick, I had to eventually switch to the "classic" mode of "press button to throw/swing" as the drills provided no marked improvement to my game. The analog stick movements may have awarded a bit more precision and immersion into the simulation, but overall I found them to be more of a nuisance than anything. The other gameplay modes also end up being carbon copies of previous years. My Franchise and My Player are back, and while My Player tricks you into thinking you're setting up a unique player with specified skills (a heavy hitter or a strong-arm pitcher, for example) with the point distribution suggesting how to improve your stats, the layout and feel are still the same as before. And while it may be deep, unless you want to live out your Moneyball fantasies, My Franchise is the RPG of baseball simulations and is perhaps best avoided for fear of yawning yourself to death. There is at least one new feature to the game called MLB Today Season, where players can select a team and compare their stats as they play alongside the real-life version of that team in a day-to-day, game-to-game season. Despite the overall sameness, at least the color commentary has changed. The announcers all seem to actually be watching the game you're playing, and their comments all seem fresh and real. I never once heard the same remark twice, and they followed along with stats and plays so well, I thought it was a live feed coming from the Internet. Speaking of online, there's the matter of playing MLB 2K12 with people other than those on your couch with you. There are a few instances of lag, but nothing game-breaking. However, animation frames still seem to jump and hiccup, and during the opposing team's pitch is when you don't want to have that. Searching for games online is confusing, and trying to focus your search by number of innings, skill, or difficulty level seems futile due to the same confusing menu system from last year's game (controlled by the right analog stick). When it comes down to it, MLB 2K12 isn't a terrible game. But if you've played it before...well, you've played it before. If you haven't played it before, it's not a very good jumping-on point due to little to no in-game tutorials, and the animations won't win any new fans either. For baseball to be the "national sport," it takes a nation to love said sport. I just can't see how they can love what MLB 2K12 delivers.
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George Carlin said baseball was known as America's national pastime because "it takes so damn long to play a game." He was right. Never is this more clear than in playing simulated baseball in a videogame. While it does often retain the fun and excitement of being at the ballpark, it can also unintentionally include the tedium as well. Guess what MLB 2K12 includes?

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MLB 2K12 supports new playoff format, MLB 12 doesn't yet


Mar 05
// Samit Sarkar
Last Friday, Major League Baseball announced that it will be expanding its playoff format to a ten-team field starting this season: each league's three division champions will get a first-round bye while the four- and five-se...
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Kate Upton demonstrates MLB 2K12 pitching to MLB stars


Feb 20
// Samit Sarkar
David Price, you are a lucky man.Last week, 2K Sports released a second digital short promoting next month's release of MLB 2K12. Called "Finger Mechanics," it features Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover model Kate Upton...

Preview: Mixing it up with MLB 2K12

Feb 17 // Samit Sarkar
MLB 2K12 (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [previewed], PC, Wii, PSP, DS, PlayStation 2)Developer: Visual ConceptsPublisher: 2K SportsRelease: March 6, 2012MSRP: $59.99 (PS3, 360) / $69.99 (360 Combo Pack with NBA 2K12)It's unclear at this point whether Take-Two will renew its exclusive licensing agreement with Major League Baseball. But even if this is the last MLB 2K game, the developers at Visual Concepts aren't phoning it in: they're focusing on fixing gameplay instead of buzzword-filled new features, and I give them credit for that. It's not a flashy approach, but if they pull it off, I expect fans to give the game a better reception.Visual Concepts has fixated on the pitcher-batter confrontation, the heart of baseball. Unlike McGilberry in his perfect game, real MLB pitchers constantly mix up their strategies for attacking hitters. That's what separates them from minor-league hurlers: they rarely abuse a pitch or return to a particular location in a certain situation. They have to adapt because they're facing MLB hitters, who got to the big-league level by punishing pitchers who became predictable. If you tend to go with, say, a splitter in the dirt on 0-2, and a shoulder-high fastball on a 1-2 count, hitters in MLB 2K12 will quickly pick up on that habit and learn to lay off. In addition, if the pitcher you're playing with has four or five pitches in his repertoire, and you consistently stick to one or two, batters will come to expect them -- and when a hitter knows what to look for, he's much more dangerous. (The game determines the baseline frequencies for each pitcher -- whether he tends to throw a certain pitch 8% of the time or 28% of the time -- from his Inside Edge scouting data.)MLB 2K12 gives you a good deal of feedback to tip you off to your tendencies. Analyst Steve Phillips might point one out with a comment. The visual feedback is more immediate and noticeable. All of your pitches are lined up on the left side of the screen as circular icons with numerical effectiveness ratings. If you're beginning to overuse a pitch (that is, throwing it too often compared to the Inside Edge data), the icon's background will turn from a neutral teal to yellow. That's a warning that you're becoming too predictable. If you continue to throw that pitch, the background will eventually become red, which lets you know that hitters are starting to look for it above your other options.It's also important to mix up your location and keep hitters on their toes. Going to the down-and-away well too often will cause that corner of the strike zone to turn black, which is a sign that you should go elsewhere. It'll be tougher to hit your spots, though, since Visual Concepts has tweaked breaking balls to be more realistic. You won't get the same sharp break on a 12-6 curveball if you start it above the strike zone as if you start it chest-high. At any time, you can pull up a screen showing exactly how many pitches you've thrown in each area, as well as Inside Edge data that illustrates a pitcher's real-life pitch frequencies. In practice, the adaptive hitting AI indeed made my life miserable when I began to overuse my fastball. A pitch's effectiveness rating also drops when you give up hits with it, and it varies from hitter to hitter. I only spent an hour or so with the game, but I had a couple of long innings because batters began to hammer my outside-corner heater after they learned to expect that pitch in that spot. That was doubly true for Albert Pujols. He smacked my fastball in his first at-bat for a single, and when I faced him again two innings later, I noticed that the fastball's rating had decreased. It appears that MLB 2K12 will really force you to adapt just as real pitchers do.Visual Concepts hasn't neglected hitting, either. Criticisms of past MLB 2K games always mentioned that they lacked hit variety -- it seemed as if you'd keep seeing the same soft liners to infielders. New ball physics this year have greatly improved hit variety and distribution, and it's all tied to the pitch that was thrown and the way the hitter made contact, just as it should be.Throwing in the field has also seen a significant upgrade. The new throw meter dynamically responds to your fielder's position. If you're charging a slow roller and you cue up a throw that your fielder has to make on the run, the green section of the throw meter will be much smaller than it would have been had you allowed him to set his feet before throwing to first. Of course, the meter also depends on the skill of the fielder in question, so someone with a more accurate arm will have a larger "sweet spot" even if someone's upending him with a slide as he's releasing the ball. The one new mode in MLB 2K12 is called MLB Today Season, and it's a spin on the traditional season setups in sports games. It allows you to play along with a real-life team, one game at a time. Let's say you're a Dodgers fan, and they lost the first two games of the 2012 season to the Padres. The MLB Today engine will import the exact scores and statistics from those games into your MLB Today Season, and you can pick up from there with the next game on April 7th and try to alter the course of the Dodgers' season.MLB Today Season forces you to play game-by-game, so you can't play at any pace other than that of your team's real-life counterpart. But by the end of September, the real Dodgers might be languishing in fourth place while your in-game Dodgers are celebrating an NL West crown!My Player has also seen a tweak in the direction of NBA 2K12: you'll select a role for your player that will affect the way your attributes develop. Speedsters won't hit a lot of home runs, but they'll be able to run down balls in the gap and steal a lot of bases. Sluggers, on the other hand, won't be fleet of foot. I'm still not sure that MLB 2K12 will be a legitimate competitor to Sony's MLB 12 The Show. But I liked what I saw, and it appears that the competition will be as close as it's ever been between these two franchises. Here's hoping Visual Concepts finally gets it right.
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This is the third year in a row that 2K Sports is holding its Perfect Game Challenge for its MLB 2K series. They're changing the format this time, but previously, the first person to throw a verified perfect game would win $1...

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MLB/NBA 2K12 Combo Pack due out for $69.99 on Xbox 360


Feb 17
// Samit Sarkar
2K Sports' next baseball game, MLB 2K12, launches on March 6, 2012, for 360, PS3, Wii, PC, PS2, PSP, and DS. It will be the only simulation baseball title available on the Xbox 360, where MLB 2K12 alone will retail for $59.99...
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MLB 2K12 gets an 'official' trailer


Feb 10
// Liam Fisher
There's been no shortage of trailers hyping up this year's model of 2K Sports' MLB series. Last week we were lucky enough to get the teaser trailer, but now we've got the "Official" trailer and man... it's something spe...
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MLB 2K12 gets a crackin' teaser trailer


Jan 31
// Liam Fisher
Well folks, baseball season is approaching once again and, of course, that means it's almost time to pony up for the newest iteration of MLB 2K12. Just in time to get you hyped up, 2K's released a new teaser. As is the way w...
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Wind up for MLB 2K12's Perfect Game Challenge


Jan 13
// Liam Fisher
For the last two years, 2K Sports has promoted their MLB 2K line with a million-dollar race to a perfect game. As expected, the contest returns this year alongside MLB 2K12, but things are a bit different. Rath...
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NBA 2K12 welcomes back basketball, with basketball


Jan 05
// Brett Zeidler
So, I don't exactly follow basketball to any degree, but I remember hearing about the whole lockout controversy that prevented the NBA from starting last fall. Apparently the NBA has finally come to an agreement though, beca...
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Triplet of super awesome NBA 2K12 launch videos


Oct 06
// Kyle MacGregor
This is pretty much the best sports game commercial EVER! I may be a die hard Dodger fan, but I love San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Brian Wilson. He's not be my favorite guy to see take the mound when my beloved bums ar...
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NBA 2K12 bounces to iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch


Oct 04
// Dale North
He flicks...he scores!. NBA 2K12 gets the App treatment, as it's coming for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, set to hit the App Store on October 4, 2011. There's a finger friendly control scheme that offers touch-based ...

Becoming a freak with NBA 2K12's My Player mode

Sep 08 // Wesley Ruscher
NBA 2K12 (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [previewed], PC) Developer: Visual Concepts Publisher: 2K Sports To be released: October 4, 2011 I was "The Great" hailing from my alma mater, but really, you can be anyone you want from practically any school in My Player mode. There's an almost infinite feeling to the possibilities in NBA 2K12's create-a-player system. Strangely, on the surface it may look a little shallow -- initially allowing only for basic head and facial feature selections -- but once a feature is chosen, the ability to tweak every facial feature from lips to ears amplifies tenfold. It doesn't stop with the face, either. Being "The Great," I sported the one new accessory to this year's game, the headband. If you saw it on a player last year, then you can assume it is in NBA 2K12. The game even goes as far as setting where logos can be placed on certain accessories. Shoe aficionados fear not, even more kicks have been added to make sure your player has the look you want. You're going to spend a lot of time in My Player, and 2K knows this. Making sure the character creator was super robust was as important to them as having the best-playing basketball videogame around. Once my laces were tied and my hair was the way I liked it, it was on to the Rookie Showcase. This is a big change from how My Player worked in NBA 2K11. Last year, players entered the Draft Combine, which consisted of three games in empty, lifeless gyms to showcase your rookie's talents. While it was true to how things really work, it was more or less a three-hour training mode, and boring, to boot. This year's Rookie Showcase is a game that pits all of the league's top prospects in one make-or-break contest to see where they stack up for the oncoming draft. During the game, a letter grade is assigned based on performance. Scoring a lot, racking up assists, and playing good D can go a long away in ensuring a cozy draft spot. There are also objectives assigned throughout -- in my case, I needed to get eight assists and help hold the opposing team to less than 29 percent from behind the three-point line. But while there is only one game to play, it is not the only way to impress the scouts en route to landing a big rookie contract. After the Rookie Challenge you'll find your player's linguistic skills put to the test in the pre-draft interview. In my case, three interviews with prospective teams were lined up: the New York Knicks, Indiana Pacers, and Charlotte Bobcats. It's pretty amazing just how extensive each team's questions for my star point guard were. With the 17th pick, the Knicks representative started out asking if I could handle the pressures of playing in the spotlight of a big city. There were four answers to select, ranging from "I was born for this" to "it's not for me." You can answer however you want, but rub teams the wrong way and you'll be heading to the bottom of the draft. The Pacers had the 15th pick, but I showed them no interest and was quickly, but politely, let known I wasn't in their interest either. The Bobcats with their 19th pick asked how they thought I stacked up with their current guard D.J. Augustin and if I could handle playing with a team that is still building -- basically the "Do I mind losing?" question. With my interviews concluded, a mock draft slotted me as the 17th pick to the Knicks. It's extraordinary just how much time and effort in one year has clearly been put into NBA 2K12. I was told over 100 possible questions, consuming 30-35 hours of recorded audio, could have been asked depending on my position and interested team during the interviews. With the Rookie Challenge and interviews behind it was time for the draft. Apparently, a lockout frees up NBA commissioner time, as David Stern's vocal talents -- a first -- grace NBA 2K12's draft. The draft goes by quickly, but I still waited in anticipation, sweating it out as the Knicks passed me by. So much for the mock draft. Like a real draft, the experts don't always call it right. Two picks later, though, I was property of the Charlotte Bobcats. Where the draft ends, the true beginning of My Player commences. Unfortunately, with time not on my side, I was only able to scratch the surface of what's been added past the robust beginnings. Perfecting your skills is just as important as making sure you're a role model for the sport. Fan support, team chemistry, and league-wide popularity go a long way in helping reach the end goal of the Hall of Fame. There are eight new skill games to improve a cornucopia of attributes, all the way from ball-handling to specific moves such as the step back and cross-over. A new "key game" selection feature helps make hoop dreams come true faster. Instead of pounding out 82-plus games every season for your player's career, a new option allows those pressed for time to skip to the marquee match-ups for their star. This means that monotonous games against the Sacramento Kings will be passed in favor of taking on Kobe and the Lakers, or whoever your team's rival is. Having the option to jump to the next key game really opens the door for My Player to be NBA 2K12's mode of choice. It takes all the great action of the regular game and boils it down into a condensed 10- to 15-game personal experience. And if creating a rookie from scratch isn't for you, there's always the Create A Legend mode, which does practically the same thing with any player in the game. NBA 2K11 was already one of the best sports games ever created and 2K could have easily taken this year off. After seeing NBA's Greatest Mode and now My player for NBA 2K12 ... like I said before, October 4 can't come soon enough.
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They call me "The Great." I'm a 6'3'', Mohawk-rocking, inked-up point guard out of Cal State University Fullerton. I have a killer crossover and can drain triples all day. Oh, and one more thing... I'm a future NBA Hall-of...

Going old-school with the NBA's Greatest mode in NBA 2K12

Aug 24 // Wesley Ruscher
NBA 2K12 (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [previewed], PC) Developer: Visual Concepts Publisher: 2K Sports To be released: October 4, 2011 My hands-on with the new NBA's Greatest mode began with one of the league's most decorated players ever, Bill Russell. Hitting the court with Russell's 1964-65 Celtics, I was faced with the task of taking on none other than Jerry "The Logo" West's Lakers in what was perhaps the birth of the rivalry between these two fabled franchises. As the contest began, it was hard not to notice the attention to detail that encompasses more than just the feel of the game, but the actual look. The grainy black-and-white presentation and audio filter -- giving the announcers a vintage transistor-radio-sounding effect -- truly captured the essence of what it must have been like to have watched this game live on television. All the attention to detail would have been wasted if the game wasn't an accurate representation of what it was like to play basketball in each respective player's era. In the case of the '64-65 Celtics, this entails jump balls every quarter for possession and the removal of basketball's biggest game-changer, the three-point line. Not having the ability to drop treys all day long really changes the game’s fundamentals. The three-point shot has only been in use since the 1979-80 season, but it's definitely something I've come to rely on for a tactical advantage when I take it to the virtual court. If you want to be successful in these earlier games, mastering 2K12's improved post-up game is important -- close, well-thought-out shots are the key to victory. Switching gears, but oddly enough, not teams -- this is even more strange, considering I'm a Lakers fan -- I jumped into the shoes of another Celtic great, Larry "Legend" Bird. My decision to pick this classic Lakers villain stemmed from the notion that regardless of the pain Bird caused my Lakers in the ’80s, playing as one of the game’s most clutch shooters simply sounded like heaven. Bird's challenge pits his 1985-86 team against the high-flying Atlanta Hawks, complete with Dominique Wilkins, Doc "Current Head Coach of the Celtics" Rivers and all 5'7'' of Spud Webb. In making sure to create the most authentic historical simulation, every classic team's -- of which there are 34 in total -- bench goes at least ten players deep. After battling back to take a one-point lead at the half with Bird and crew, I passed off the sticks to let another give the game a go. As I observed Patrick Ewing and his '94-95 New York Knicks take on a young Orlando Magic led by baby Shaq, I found myself really getting into the game, occasionally screaming in excitement when an impressive dunk was made. Sitting back and watching 2K12 in all its glory is truly stunning. The game looks and animates so well to the untrained eye, it would be easy to confuse this game with a real broadcast -- especially when you listen to the game’s announcers. The on-the-fly commentators are perhaps the most impressive to date in a sports sim. Not only do they call the game, but they inject history and stories about the players into their commentary. I think the aspect that blew me away the most was when one of the announcers was discussing Shaq's retirement and was interrupted when Ewing threw down a monster jam. Instead of just moving on, he actually went back to the thought and continued the story seamlessly when the action on the court resumed a more natural pace. Realistic commentary, authentic visuals, and an unparalleled attention to detail make NBA 2K12 one of the most robust sports gaming packages ever. 2K11 literally disintegrated its competition last year, and while this year's game is again running unopposed, 2K Sports didn't stop shy of making perhaps the definitive virtual NBA experience for fans. October 4 can't come soon enough.
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It's hard to know exactly where the NBA would be today without the onslaught of game-changing superstars that shaped one of the country's most dynamic sports. Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird defined the e...

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2K Sports reveals full 'Greatest' line-up for NBA 2K12


Aug 19
// Nick Chester
"Holy s**t, there's a New York Knick in there!"That was Destructoid New York-based sports man Samit Sarkar's reaction to 2K Sports full reveal for its "NBA's Greatest" roster. The 15-player legends roster will be a part of NB...
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Eminem, Travis Barker grace NBA 2K12 soundtrack


Aug 12
// Nick Chester
I don't really play sports games, but every once in awhile I'll pop one in for its slick soundtrack. Because who buys CDs these days? Looks like 2K Sports isn't going to let me down with NBA 2K12. The complete 28-track music ...
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2K Sports introduces NBA's Greatest mode for NBA 2K12


Aug 03
// Samit Sarkar
NBA 2K11 drew mass-market attention by putting Michael Jordan on its cover, but his appearance on the box highlighted the mode that sold many gamers on the title: "The Jordan Challenge," in which players could relive ten clas...

Retrogazing with Karakasa Games: Maniac Mansion & Beyond

Jul 27 // Allistair Pinsof
Future Wars (Delphine Software, 1989) It’s a great game with plot that has this nice sense of mystery to it. You progress through with a real sense of accomplishment in it. You get to solve this mystery and figure out where you are. It’s like, "Hey this is cool. I’m exploring the future!" But, there are some things in that game that we hate. Maniac Mansion (Lucasfilm Games, 1987) [This one came from Thunderbeam! producer Wiley Wiggins] Maniac Mansion is a big influence on us because of the multiple viewpoints. You get to play as this group of kids, send them on missions and flip between them. A lot of puzzles have to do with combining different abilities and activating different things on areas of the map at the same time. Damocles (Novagen Software, 1990) Paul Woakes wrote a series of games before the modern Mercenaries series. It started with Mercenary but the best games in that series were Damocles and Mercenary III: Dion Crisis. They created an entire solar system.I don’t think they were procedurally generated. I’m not sure -- the guy who made them fucking insane. You could wander around and you could explore. Every house was populated with objects. If you got really good at the game, in Damocles, you could find the author’s house. In it, you could find the author’s computer and just delete objects from the game. You can even delete planets, causing them to explode. “Delete object 15. Oh, the planet exploded. You’re dead!” It was amazing. Captive (Mindscape, 1990) This is another Atari ST/Amiga game. It’s kind of a Dungeon Master clone but it’s set in the future. You can actually retrieve your [character's] corpses in captive and put them in a regeneration machine to bring people back to life. Captain Blood (Exxos, 1988) I really love Bloodian, the language [in the game]. Especially if you played it on the Atari ST, the speech in that game is just terrifying as hell. All the speech was delivered in symbols and you’d have to figure it out.The weird thing about Captain Blood is if you put in the code for help it gives you all the answers. The alien communication -- just talking back and forth to get information was a lot of fun. And the fact that if you got really pissed off, you could just blow up their planet was great. Frontier: Elite II (GameTek, 1993) It was fantastic. You explore a procedurally generated universe. David Brabern is fucking genius and therefore needs to exist, but he needs to makes Elite 4. Everytime someone asks, he says, “We’re working on it. It’s going to be 15 to 20 years but we are working on it.” The original and specifically its sequel, Frontier, were fantastic because it was a procedurally generated universe but you could explore every planet. You didn’t have to but you could. I spent a solid year playing that game every single day. I got to some incredible ranking. There is a sense of wonder in that series. Frontier: First Encounters (Frontier Developments, 1995) Games like Elite were great because you could go off into space and explore or do something else. Elite was a truly open-ended game which was great. The third one kind of spoiled the series in a way, because it had plot on top it. I actually played First Encounters again for the first time in a long time, last year. And, I appreciated it a lot more because it had everything that was in Elite II but it had a plot to it. It did some clever things. I think the reason I disliked it when it was first released is because it was really buggy. Everyone hated it because the game would crash when you would try to go to almost any world. It’s only after seven series of patches, when everyone had already forgotten about it, that it became a good game. The way they reveal the plot is really clever. You can subscribe to various newspapers with different political alliances and you’ll see headlines that tell you the plot -- you can choose to get yourself involved with it or not. ----- Interested in checking out these games? They are all available for free at Abandonia, except Maniac Mansion. Interested in hearing more classic picks from Karakasa Games? Click here! Interested in scrubbing my back for $20 a week? PM me or contact me on Twitter!
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For this entry in Retrogazing, I spoke with Karakasa Games’ James Curry about memorable PC games that influenced him. As it turns out, Curry knows a thing or two about weird-ass, ludicrously ambitious adventure games ma...

Preview: NBA 2K12

Jul 21 // Steven Hansen
NBA 2K12 (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [Previewed]) Developer: 2k Sports Publisher: Visual Concepts To be released: October 4, 2011 The idea behind this year’s iteration of the franchise was to make a gameplay jump commensurate to that made between NBA 2K10 and NBA2K11 and it shows. For example, the post game was completely redesigned in last year’s game, yet the team felt the need to go back to the drawing board and shake things up once more. Now, pressing Y (or triangle) in the post is used for activating the post game, freeing up both triggers and the right stick. This opens up the post game entirely compared to last year’s game, as every single move in the game’s impressive arsenal suddenly becomes available to players in the post. This newfound freedom effectively captures one of the leading tenets of NBA 2K12, which is making sure the gamer is the one scripting the actions and flow of a game, not canned animations. Accordingly, from the start of a shot, you will have control over what your player does. This includes things like switching hands in the air while attempting a layup and even deciding to kick out a pass right after committing to taking a shot. It’s all about putting control in the player’s hands. The game’s AI has also seen a lot of tweaking. For example, the same zone defense scheme that the Dallas Mavericks used to best the Heat now plays much more smartly. One of the complaints about defensive players in last year’s game was their Spidey Sense-like ability to reach and arm out and deflect a pass without even looking. The team admitted that it was a band-aid meant to discourage players from running their player down court before their team was going to get a rebound and then having the rebounder pass the ball to the now-wide-open man down court. In NBA 2K12, issues like that have had time to be addressed much more thoroughly. The AI system has been completely rewritten to be more dynamic. In last year’s game, the AI would run specific plays, which could often lead to the player figuring out the plays and making the appropriate jumps on the ball over and over. Worse still, when the AI had its play snuffed out, they would default to a generic brand of basketball intelligence, defaulting to simple plays. The new system is now much more divergent, giving the AI more options if their primary options aren’t available. This keeps the players on their feet and makes the AI more of a challenge as well as more like a human opponent, which should do well to extend the life of the game. I got to play as the NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks in the latest build of NBA 2K12 and played against the same Miami Heat team Dallas trumped in the NBA Finals earlier this year. Given my brief experience with NBA 2K11 going in, I was surprised by how quickly I was able to notice some of the gameplay changes made in NBA 2K12. One of the things that stood out to me most during the game is the new physics engine, which handles all forms of contact, and reacts according to the situation. For example, shorter players will have a much tougher time out rebounding bigs, and player on player contact differs depending on whether the contact takes place in the air or on the ground. The other notable impact of this system is the newly implemented live ball physics. In last year’s game, the ball didn’t seem to go live often, and most players could keep a handle on it fairly easily. In 2K12, the ball can make contact with anything and react accordingly, leading to a lot more intense scrambles for possession. The live ball physics forced me to watch my play style immediately because no longer could I make contact with people without paying careful attention to the ball. I lost handle of the ball a lot early on because I would be running down the court and I would basically dribble it off my own teammate inattentively -- something the game rarely accounted for in last year’s game. Not only did it help make me feel like I was playing a more accurate brand of basketball, but I got to experience some of those aforementioned intense scrambles for possession and they were exciting. A lot of other subtle touches have been made that won’t be lost on fans of last year’s game. The entire first row of the crowd is now live. That is, it’s fully possible to interact with them; for example, diving into the first row while trying to keep the ball in bounds or having a lunging defensive player’s momentum take him over the scorer’s table. The facial animations and character models have all seen tweaks in the name of authentic player representation and the team was particularly happy with white players finally having a more realistic looking skin tone. I was also pleasantly surprised to see a letter rating system (F, B+, etc.) pop up after taking shots. A high letter grade doesn’t always ensure a made bucket, nor does a low letter preclude a possible bucket, but the system rates both how well you took the shot and the quality of the shot itself. It would take into consideration if you were well defended or didn’t have your feet set. It’s a nice bit of immediate, tangible feedback that feels like it can be used to adjust your game accordingly. Speaking of adjusting your game, it also has a feature allowing you to adjust your play style on the fly, bypassing menus and keeping you in the action. With the system, you’ll be able to assign specific players a specific role, or quickly swap between playing philosophies (lock down the paint, pressure shooters, etc.), whether it’s just for the present play or for the rest of the game. Thankfully, one of my few complaints with last year’s game has also been addressed. Refs no longer hold onto the ball for an inordinate amount of time when the player is taking the ball out or shooting free throws, which livens up the game’s pace by removing those occasional, jarring stops in the action where the player would mash the A button and scream at the ref to give them the damn ball. A combination of reworked AI and an advancing physics engine actually made NBA 2K12 feel more fluid to me than last year’s game, despite 2K12 being so far out from release. If you’re a basketball fan, I think the only question left might just be “Which cover am I getting?”
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As we reported earlier, NBA 2K12’s cover athletes -- yes, athletes -- have been revealed, but I’m sure some fans aren’t sold yet. After all, we want some advancement in our games, right? Well, I was able to ...

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NBA 2K12 cover athletes revealed: Jordan, Magic, and Bird


Jul 21
// Steven Hansen
The folks over at 2K Sports have upped the ante in the cover athlete game once again. Last year’s well-received NBA 2K11 surprisingly sported former minor league baseball player (and professional basketball pl...
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E3: NBA 2K12 includes PlayStation Move support


Jun 06
// Samit Sarkar
Sony has been working hard on getting third-party publishers to support PlayStation Move, and now, they can count 2K Sports among them. The sports publisher trotted out none other than Kobe Bryant at Sony's E3 press conferenc...
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MLB 2K11 $1M winner knew 'zero at all' about baseball


Jun 03
// Samit Sarkar
The March release of 2K Sports’ Major League Baseball 2K11 came with the fanfare of the publisher’s second annual competition to throw an in-game perfect game for a $1 million cash prize. This time around, 2K twea...

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