Hands-On Preview: NBA 2K13 – Now With More Swag, Courtesy of Jay-Z

We’ve had hands-on time with NBA 2k13 a couple of times now. During our last preview we got a chance to look at the finesse of dribbling and defending. Now, during our most recent sit down with the game, we get a chance to see what adding a visionary like Jay-Z as an executive producer brings to the franchise.

I am sure many gamers like myself must have thought to themselves, “Why Jay-Z?” Here’s your answer:  to infuse the game, not only with hip hop, but to bring to the forefront the culture and attitude of basketball in general. Does Jay-Z deliver as the Executive Producer?

Many gamers will remember the opening scene of NBA 2K11, a scene which — because of its epic nature — gave me chills. You had Michael Jordan walking out of the player’s tunnel right before the Bulls versus Lakers 1991 first playoff game turning and asking “Are you ready?”

NBA 2K13 tries to recreate that magic, but this time with a Jay-Z twist, as the game opens up to the rap icon performing Public Service Announcement and the opening line is “Allow me to re-introduce myself….” It’s a statement that helps describe exactly what he has done to the franchise, by re-introducing it as a force to be reckoned with.

Obviously Jay-Z influences the music of NBA 2K13 but he also played a large role in the overall visual look through music video-style presentations and displays seen throughout the game. Jay-Z played a role in making sure that, for the first time ever, the USA Mens Basketball “Dream Team” of 1992 was present as well as 2012’s gold medal winning Team USA. Jigga also used his clout to secure Scottie Pippen and Charles Barkley for the game in order to ensure that the Dream Team was complete and ready for prime time. You can finally settle the debate of who really was the best men’s national basketball team.

I got the chance to play the Dream Team versus 2012 Team USA on a court designed specifically for the occasion, along with commentary created specifically for the match up. It felt great seeing the entire Dream Team take the court and have Larry Bird drop long range three pointers while watching Clyde Drexler float a few layups.

Also new to this year’s game is Virtual Currency or VC. When VC is earned it can be used to trick out your “MyPlayer” character with everything form blinged-out watches, new sneakers, your Signature Skills and even equipment. You can gain VC in almost anything you do as well as purchase VC via micro transactions, a new Facebook social game and a companion application as well.

Items in the game now are broken up into three different areas:  game day (what you wear on the hardwood), game arrival (your dress attire for interviews and getting off the team bus) and blacktop (your casual attire). NBA 2K13 increases the RPG-esque aspects of the game now by incorporating stat modifiers to items that are purchased such as ankle braces, shoes, etc.

Two brand new aspects of the game are the celebrity team as well as the shoe creator. That’s right,  you can take control of a celebrity team which includes Justin Bieber, Bow Wow, Sean Kingston and Jersey Shore stars Vinny and Pauly D. Justin Bieber even did a motion capture session to be incorporated into the game and Pauly D’s blowout never looked better in high definition. Even more impressive was the shoe creator which allows players to customize up to 45 different shoe components and layers to create your own unique shoe and style. Sneaker heads everywhere will be losing their minds with this mode.

NBA2K13 looks to be a monster title and plays like the gold medalist of all basketball games. Combine that with  Jay-Z and you have a must-have title for any basketball fan. Stay tuned for more info on the game and our full review when it launches on October 5th, 2012.

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Al Zamora

Al has been gaming as long as he can remember and will continue to game until his fingers break off or video games cease to exist. A New York native born and raised he crashed into the gaming journalism scene in 2006. Since then he has become the on air personality for DSTV and loves every second of cursing while interviewing developers about serious topics. Aside from being a gamer he also has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering that does not help in the gaming world but does provide for fun stories when people say "what?".Favorite games: Contra (NES), Mega Man II (NES) and Final Fantasy III (SNES)

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