Let's but to the chase: I got a sneak peak at NBA 2K13 (Oct. 2 release). The gameplay is still strong, the graphics are still sick. Movements and, more importantly, collisions are even more realistic. Here's what I think about some of the new features on the way...
New dribbling feature: All special dribbling moves (cross overs, spins, etc.) are now executed with the right analog stick. Basic movements are still done with the left analog stick (some shooting, passing, and post moves will be with the right analog stick as well). I LOVE this idea. However, it was tough to get a read on how well it worked since I only played one game (and, because I stink, I wasn't able to use it very effectively). VERDICT: UNDECIDED, BUT PROMISING.
Call Your Plays with Kinect: I didn't see this, but I was told about it: You can use Kinect's voice recognition software to call out plays on offense, or say, call for a double team or an intentional foul on defense. VERDICT: ASSUMING IT WORKS, AWESOME.
More control in MyCAREER Mode: You know how, like LeBron James and Dwight Howard dictated where they wanted to play? Well, MyCAREER mode has been tweaked to give you a similar amount of power over your player's basketball fate. You can sit down with your GM an influence whether you're staying or where you're going. But this is what I really liked: Before you're drafted, you play in basically a giant showcase game with the other rookies. How you perform will dictate where you're drafted. Let's say you're a huge Celtics fan, you have a late-first round grade but the Miami Heat draft you! No good, right? Well now, before the draft a couple of teams will ask to meet with you. Don't want to play for the Heat? Tell them you're not interested, and they won't draft you. Oh, and you can also now customize your draft night suit! VERDICT: AWESOME.
Dream Team 1992 vs. USA 2012: Okay, this is the big one for a lot of people. Remember all the annoying debates about whether this year's USA Olympic squad was better than the original 1992 Dream Team? Well, 2K13 won't quite end the debate, but it's the closest we're going to get. Both the 2012 team and now the '92 USA basketball teams are in this game. That's right, you can pit LeBron, Kobe and Durant against Michael, Magic and Bird. VERDICT: DO YOU REALLY HAVE TO ASK ON THIS ONE? AWESOME!
JAY Z everywhere!: So 2K13 is a Jay Z production. He put together the sountrack, which includes an All-Star lineup with the likes of Kanye, U2, Puff Daddy, Phoenix, and many more (and, of course, Jay Z himself). So if you're a JAY Z fan, that's good news. Me, I'm not a big Jay Z fan (sorry). And I kinda preferred the old days when game soundtracks had a lot of lesser-known bands and artists so you could get a taste of something different. But maybe I'm just a cranky old man. VERDICT: MEH.
Oh, and just a tip: PRE-ORDER THIS GAME! If it's going to be a holiday gift, tell your parents to order it now and then wait. If you pre-order, you get the full NBA All-Star weekend festivities, including the dunk contest and three-point contest.