Review: NBA 2K12

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NBA 2K12 is a testament, in video game form, to America’s love of professional basketball. Perhaps more than any other sports video game*, 2K Sports’ latest offering shows a respect and love for its source material that most other titles do not match.

And given the labor troubles afflicting the NBA this season, NBA 2K12 may be the only way basketball fans will be able to enjoy the professional game for a long time. That makes it a little harder to decide if NBA 2K12 is a “must buy” for the fan and his or her hard-earned $60.

On the “pro” side, NBA 2K12 offers a quality single-player experience and by featuring a dozens of NBA legends in its “NBA’s Greatest” mode, 2K Sports offers a worthy successor to 2K11′s “Jordan Challenge” feature and thus has probably done more than any other developer to make annual sports titles feel like a worthwhile experience.

On the “con” side, real-life business issues mean consumers may not be able to use this year’s game as a mirror for the real-life NBA for several weeks, if at all.

A die-hard NBA fan who is most interested in the opportunity to play as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird or any of the other all-time greats featured in the game will probably get his or her money’s worth from NBA 2K12. But someone who wants to play online matchups with current NBA rosters will be disappointed. It may not be fair that a real-life labor dispute between NBA players and owners may reduce the game’s value, but that’s life.

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